Getting any pet – a parrot, fish, rabbit, cat or tortoise, there is a natural desire. Know how many years it will live.
Indeed, many perceive their pets as full members of the family and want to enjoy their company longer. People buying a red-eared turtle should take into account that although reptiles belong to the long-livers of the natural world, they risk not living even half the deadline without proper care.
What is this reptile?
Trachemys (another name for yellow-bellied) belongs to the family of American freshwater turtles. The natural habitat is shallow, often marshy ponds, with a weak current. They feed on both plant and animal food. Distributed in the Americas.
External feature – two symmetrical stripes, red, yellow or orange, located behind the eyes (on both sides of the head). The color of the dorsal part of the shell (carapace) is richly green with black and yellow lines. The lower part (plastron) is painted in a pale yellow color with a dark pattern. The pattern from the shell goes to the skin of the paws and head, so the reptile looks striped.
How to determine age and gender?
It is possible to determine the sex of a turtle only after it reaches the age of puberty. But even in adults, the differences between males and females remain very blurred and sex determination is possible only by secondary characteristics. The most notable are:
Rubella turtle in aquarium
- Claws on the hind limbs. In males they are long, sometimes bent and thickened.
- Tail. The males are wide at the base, long with a narrow tip.
- The size. Females are noticeably larger.
- The shape of the shell. In males it is longer and narrower.
- The structure of the abdominal part of the external skeleton. Plastron in females is even, and in males – concave.
Please note: some differences are subtle or may be absent, therefore, conclusions are drawn on the basis of several signs.
To obtain more reliable data, you can use scientific methods – a blood test for hormones, radiography and ultrasound.
Finding out how old a reptile is is an even bigger challenge. The easiest way is to clarify this point with the seller. If this is not possible, then determining the date of birth will be only approximate. The error will be several years.
One of the most reliable ways to find out age is to measure with a ruler the shell of the turtle from the front to the back edge, without taking into account the bend. By one year, its length should be equal to three to four centimeters.
Further dimensions depend on gender:
- 2 years. Females – 9 cm, males – 8 cm;
- 3 years. Females – 14 cm, males – 10 cm;
- 4 years. Females – 17 cm, males – 12 cm.
In addition, you can find out the age:
- Counting the rings on the shell. The first is formed before the tortoise reaches twelve months. Every year, 2 to 3 rings are added to the pattern.
- By color. The darker the shell, the older the animal. Young turtles (up to 4 years old) have a rich, bright color, then the carapace begins to gradually darken.
How many live in the wild?
Although natural conditions are optimal for turtles, 10% of all individuals survive to old age. Their maximum age rarely approaches 30 years, more often the limit is 15-20 years. This is due to natural causes: predators, diseases, human intervention in the ecosystem.
How many years live at home?
In the absence of external threats, the life span of turtles increases significantly. In a home terrarium they can live up to 50 years, in a zoo – 30 – 35 years.
Causes of premature death
The most common causes of death of pets are:
- Incorrect conditions. Small aquarium, dirty unfiltered water, untimely cleaning, inappropriate temperature conditions.
- Infections May appear from aquarium plants, decoration elements, live food.
- Malnutrition and lack of vitamins. In nature, a turtle can make up for the deficiency of any element on its own, while keeping a diet at home is the task of the owner.
- Lack of qualified veterinarians, who can correctly and timely diagnose health problems and prescribe adequate treatment.
Trachemys in nature
How to extend life?
The life span of a turtle depends only on its owner. With the creation of favorable conditions, proper care and a balanced diet, it increases. To do this, you need:
- Choose the size of the aquarium. A minimum of 150 liters per adult reptile. In smaller containers, only small turtles can be kept for up to 2 years.
- Equip the aquarium not only with water, but also a small island of land (up to 1/3 of the total volume).
- Maintain a stable temperature and prevent drafts.
- Once a week carry out timely sanitization.
- Carefully select decorative elements. Some species of algae are poisonous to preptiles. In addition, you can not decorate the aquarium with artificial plants and fine soil – turtles will definitely try to eat them.
- Carefully pick up the turtle and avoid falling., even from a small height. Besides the fact that they have a smooth, slippery shell that can easily slip out of their hands, some individuals can bite and scratch quite enough.
- Ensure proper feeding. Turtles must not be heat-treated food. It is forbidden to give beef, rabbit, turkey, pork, fruits, cereals. Be sure to include in the diet: animal protein (crustaceans, fish, snails, cockroaches), greens (algae, lettuce, dandelions).
- Add mineral top dressing to food.
In fact, it is quite simple to extend the life of a turtle – you need to provide it with comfortable living conditions that are closest to natural, monitor its condition and timely apply the necessary measures.