Having a pet turtle can be a rewarding and interesting experience. Turtles can make great and unique pets and some are quite long lived, living up to 50 years in some cases. A key to being able to enjoy your pet turtle is knowing how to care for your turtle properly.
There are a lot of different turtle species in the world today, but there are only four species that are popular as pets. Those include the mud turtle, the sliders, the box turtles, and the painted turtles. These types of turtles seem to do a bit better living in captivity than other turtles, and are easier to contain, care for and feed due to their size.
Caring for a pet turtle is mostly about making the turtle’s environment in its aquarium as close to the turtle’s natural environment as possible. Aquariums are really the best way to house a turtle. The aquarium should be at least 20 gallons in size. The aquarium will need to be filled with sand and will need to have an area with water in it that the turtle can swim and hunt in.
Turtles like to be able to hide, so there should be some rocks, plants and sticks in the aquarium to provide some shelter. When putting plants in the aquarium, be sure to find out what sort of plants can be harmful to the particular type of turtle you are getting.
Turtles are omnivores, but they should not be fed random scraps or spicy human foods. Many pet turtle owners will feed their turtles a combination of vegetables and live fish. In fact, it is possible to feed a turtle mostly raw vegetables and have the turtle thrive. However, the best care for your turtle is a well balanced diet, and that includes more than just vegetables. Many pet stores now carry special turtle food sticks. While the food stick provides all the balanced nutrition that the turtle needs, feeding the turtle live fish periodically will give the turtle some exercise.
Turtles need to be kept between 70F and 85F, so make sure the room you are placing the turtle in has the adequate temperature control. Turtles are used to natural light with a combination of shade and sun. If your are placing your turtle’s aquarium in direct sunlight, make sure the turtle has adequate water to drink and plenty of water to swim and submerge in as well as secluded shaded hiding places.
The effect of bright summer sunlight coming through the aquarium’s glass can make the entire aquarium too hot for the turtle without shade and water. Many pet turtle owners place a sunlamp above the aquarium to regulate the temperature and light if the aquarium is in a room that does not receive much sunlight or in the winter months when it is difficult to keep the aquarium in the appropriate temperature range. Some owners will place a heating pad underneath the turtle’s aquarium in the cold months to provide extra heat.