As a rule, pet owners want to know everything about them. Age, character traits, and other important trifles. All this helps to find out how to properly care for a creature that has settled in your house (find out all the details of keeping turtles at home). Well, today we decided to tell you our readers that how to learn to determine the age of turtles, and why it is so important.
How turtles grow
All creatures are defenseless; however, as they grow, some have teeth, others have. claws, and the third – the shell grows. As you guessed, the latter refers to turtles, in which the size of the shell increases with their growth, a metamorphosis of its color occurs, and also, the shape of the body changes. So, for example,
the carapace darkens and stretches out in length, and when the male turtle reaches puberty (an important aspect, if you want to practice), then a recess appears on its plastron, longer claws, a thicker and longer tail, the color of the nose and eyes changes .
In the case when the processes of growth of turtles occur quite intensively, the new horny layers on the periphery of their scutes become light in color, and then processes of pigmented cells grow along which pigment is transferred – usually in the form of dark spots or thin rays. But, over time, these annual rings become older, and the pigmented areas no longer differ from earlier ones – this often happens with turtles, which are kept in captivity at home.
Exactly body sizes can tell us a lot about the age of the turtle. Therefore, below we will give you information regarding what parameters turtles have, depending on their age.
The ratio of the body size of the turtle and its age
If the length of the newborn male is 2.5-3 centimeters, then by 1 year the length of his body reaches 5-7 centimeters, by 2 years. 7-9 centimeters, by 3 years old – 8-12 centimeters, by 4 years old – 10-14 centimeters, by 5 years old – 13 centimeters.
If the body length of the newborn female is 2.5 – 3 centimeters, then by 1 year it reaches 5-7 centimeters, by 2 years – 7-9 centimeters, by 3 years – 9-15 centimeters, by 4 for years – 13-18 centimeters, for 5 years – 17 centimeters.
The size of the body can be influenced by the conditions of the turtles, their diet (find out), as well as the features of the species to which it belongs, however, based on these average parameters, you can calculate the approximate age of your turtle by the length of its body.
How to determine the age of the turtle by the number of rings on its shell
Another quite informative way to determine the age of the turtle is the method of determining it by the number of rings on the shell of your pet. If you take into account that within 1 year 2-3 rings form on the shell, you can calculate the total number of rings and calculate the average number of years. However, if you are calculating the age of the tortoise according to this method, you should take into account the fact that the size and number of rings may depend on the conditions of the tortoise and whether it hibernated. As a rule, the first rings on the shell of a turtle appear when she is not yet 1 year old. From this moment, you can start a rough time report. But, we would also like to draw your attention to the fact that in old turtles the carapace becomes smooth and the rings become pale, and it can be difficult to calculate them … Also, if you consider the age of the tortoise, based on the number of rings on its carapace, we would recommend you not to forget about periods of active growth: the first period is from a newborn to 2 years old. grooves determine the development period from 4 months to 6 months, and in the future it is customary to rely on a cycle around the year.
there are experts who, according to the number of rings on the shell of turtles, can tell not only everything about her age, but also about the conditions of detention and even the illnesses she had. So, take a closer look at the shell of your pet – he hides a whole biography …
In modern houses and apartments you can meet a wide variety of pets. Often, as such you can see not a fluffy cat or a faithful dog, but more exotic animals – a land Central Asian or aquatic red-eared turtle.
When a pet appears in the family, a natural interest is caused by its age. There is no absolute way to determine the age of the turtle. There are several ways in which age can be determined fairly accurately.
Determining age by the number of rings on the shell
If you want to find out how to determine the age of a land tortoise, you should first look at its shell. Rings on the shell of a turtle appear at an early age, when she is not yet a year old. During this period, the most active growth occurs, and in a year 2-3 rings grow on each shell scale. In the future, growth slows down and an average of one ring grows per year. True, a number of factors influence the number of rings, such as the conditions for keeping a reptile or the number of periods of its hibernation. To more accurately determine the age, you can count the rings on several scales of the shell and then derive the arithmetic mean.
Determination of age by the length of the shell
Wanting to find out how to determine the age of the red-eared turtle, you need to measure the length of its shell. It is worth noting that the red-eared aquatic turtle, under good conditions, lives 30-50 years and reaches a size of 28-30 cm, while the length of the shell varies as follows:
- First year: 6 cm;
- Second year: female – 9 cm, male – 8 cm;
- Third year: female – 14 cm, male – 10 cm;
- Fourth year: female – 16 cm, male – 12 cm;
- Fifth year: female – 18 cm, male – 14 cm;
- Sixth year: female – 20 cm, male – 17 cm
For a land tortoise, the dependence of the length of the shell on age is as follows:
- First year: 5 cm;
- Second year: 6 cm;
- Third year: 8 cm;
- Fourth year: 10 cm;
- Fifth year: 12 cm;
- Sixth year: 14 cm
It is worth noting that with age in turtles, the rapid growth of the carapace slows down and almost always stops at a length of 18 cm. True, there are known cases when the carapace of Central Asian turtles reached a length of 25-28 cm
Those who buy turtles are trying to learn how to determine the age of a land tortoise. Such reptiles have been living on Earth for a very long time, but people have only recently begun to start reptiles as pets. Looking at such animals, people have a lot of positive emotions, especially since care and maintenance is not difficult and does not take much time. But for a long life, a pet needs to know the age when buying.
Studying the question of how to find out how old land turtles are, you also need to highlight that there are aquatic species. Land at birth do not exceed 3 cm in length. In appearance they are tiny and they weigh only 10 grams. After a year, such a reptile grows, but increases in size by only a couple of centimeters. During the time when the shell of the turtle is 18 cm, its growth stops. After 10 years, the reptile is already considered large and adult. At this age, her shell will be 17 cm in diameter.
Determining the age of land reptiles is possible by unusual signs. This is a shell that has an amazing property. Up to one year, rings appear on the shell. During growth throughout the year, up to 3 rings appear on the scales. After a year of life, growth is not so rapid and for each new year will appear an additional one ring. True, it is not always possible to understand precisely by such a characteristic how old the tortoise is. There are other factors that contribute to a change in the number of rings.
Their quantity is affected by the indoor climate, conditions of detention, care, hibernation, quality and quantity of food. To determine the age, you can also use simple calculations. Given that in one year the reptile increased only by a couple of centimeters, and at birth it was 3 cm, then you need to measure the shell itself. Data is recorded, and 3 cm is subtracted from them. Next, the resulting number is divided in two, and the result will characterize the age of the pet.
Both methods that allow you to find out the age of the reptile are not accurate, and only the approximate period of life is allowed to understand. Only an experienced veterinarian can accurately tell about age, who will conduct a series of body examinations and only then will be able to establish the exact years of the reptile.
It is worth noting that for turtles, the determination is made according to other factors and rules. The common method for determining age in both types of reptiles can be attributed to light seams on the shell, in young reptiles they will always be light. Such parts begin to darken at the age of 4-5 years.
The number of years is also determined by the shape of the shell. To be precise, its shape allows us to understand that the reptile has already reached puberty, in which case the shell will be oval. In addition, his drawing not only begins to darken, but can be almost imperceptible or completely disappear. Mature males will have stronger claws and tail, in contrast to females.
To simplify the calculation of years, you can use the data, but they are taken to account for parameters in the wild, for land turtles. Captive content may distort the data in the table:
Having figured out how old the pet is, you can understand how much he needs to live about with the normal course of life. After all, death in reptiles at home occurs due to improper maintenance, nutrition and infectious diseases. On average, they are able to live from 20 to 50 years, it all depends on the breed and conditions.
Today in the world there are a little more than three hundred species of turtles, of which only seven species live on the territory of our country. These unique reptiles are characterized by great endurance and amazing vitality. A characteristic feature of the turtle is its excellent immune system, which easily copes with various infections and contributes to the rapid healing of wounds. The animal is able to maintain viability for a long time even without food.
The origin of the turtle
The question of origin is occupied by the minds of many scientists so far. Permian ancestors are considered Permian cotilosaurs or eunotosaurs. This small and very lizard-like ancient animal had short and fairly wide ribs, which together formed a kind of shield-shell in the back.
Some scholars suggest that turtles owe their origin to a special group of parareptiles, which were descendants of the amphibian discosaurus. The first, most ancient specimen that fell into the hands of scientists was the very well-known in scientific circles Odontochelys semitestacea. This turtle was characterized by the presence of the lower half of the shell, as well as teeth, which are completely devoid of modern species. The second oldest turtle is Proganochelys quenstedti. This animal had a full-fledged and well-formed shell, and also had teeth.
The largest land tortoises from the genus Meiolania had a shell, the length of which often exceeded two meters. In addition to the huge shell, the animal had a very long and incredibly powerful tail, which was decorated with flattened bone spikes arranged in two rows. The species is characterized by the presence of a triangular skull, on which are elongated, blunt type, with spikes pointing back and to the side.
The assumption that absolutely all turtles are centenarians is nothing more than another misconception. It is proved that only one species – the giant Galapagos tortoise, is able to live more than two hundred years. The average life expectancy of other species, as a rule, does not exceed 20-30 years. The Balkan tortoise in nature has been living for no more than a hundred years, and some individuals of the Mediterranean and red-eared turtles can live for four decades.
It is interesting! An elephant tortoise named Garietta lived 175 years, and the life span of the Madagascan radiant tortoise Tui-Malil was almost 188 years. Other centenarians are known among these representatives of reptiles.
A large turtle has a very slow metabolism, therefore, it rightfully belongs to the most long-living species on our planet. This animal is able to do without water and food for a year or more. The tortoise is characterized by the presence of wrinkled skin on the body and a very slow speed of movement, as well as the ability to slow down and stop its heartbeat, so the aging process is almost invisible. The tortoise rarely dies by natural death. As a rule, an animal dies from pathogenic microflora or becomes a prey of a predator.
Turtles in the wild
The animal leads a solitary lifestyle. A pair is sought only during the mating season or in preparation for wintering. Land tortoises use mainly plant food for nutrition. Most freshwater species are predators and feed on a variety of fish, mollusks, arthropods and other invertebrates. Sea turtles are represented by predatory, omnivorous and herbivorous species.
It is interesting! Different types of turtles inhabit a significant part of land and water in the tropics and temperate zone. In our country, you can meet a big-headed, leathery, Far Eastern, swamp, Caspian and Mediterranean tortoise.
The main reason for the reduction in the number of turtles is the capture of these animals in order to obtain high-value meat, which is considered a delicacy. Such a product is eaten raw, boiled and fried. Turtle shells are widely used in the manufacture of traditional female hair ornaments in Japan. The number of some species of land turtles is reduced as a result of the settlement of traditionally inhabited by animals places.
Small-sized species of land and freshwater turtles have been very successful in recent years as unpretentious and very original pets. When kept in captivity, the animal must be settled in a terrarium, aqua terrarium or aquarium. The choice of content depends on the lifestyle of each species. Improper feeding and grooming conditions often become the main cause of animal death at home.
At home, red-eared, musky, Caspian, silt or big-headed, marsh turtle, and Chinese trionics are most often found. For these species, it is necessary to ensure the presence of:
- a spacious aquarium;
- an ultraviolet lamp heating a land island, occupying a third of the total area of the aquarium;
- filter system;
- high-quality special food.
As natural feeds you can use fish, finely chopped raw meat, worms, mice, small frogs, snails, as well as plant foods represented by vegetables, apples, bananas and algae. You can use special balanced forages with sufficient microelements and vitamins to feed your pets. Young turtle needs to be fed daily. Adults and well-formed individuals should receive food every three days.
It is interesting! In any species of turtles, the vocal cords are very poorly developed, however, some varieties of these exotics can hiss quite loudly, which allows them to scare off enemies and express their dissatisfaction.
The temperature of the aquatic environment must be maintained at 26-28 ° C, and the island for rest should warm up to a temperature of 30-32 ° C. It is necessary to strictly control the purity of water, carrying out its timely replacement.
Such species are found in terrariums. For a medium-sized turtle, it will be sufficient to highlight a terrarium of 80-100 liters. The washed and dried river gravel should be filled up with a layer of 5 cm to the bottom. It is imperative to provide the land turtle with a small bath-pool filled with warm and clean water. The standard lamp power for heating should be approximately W per liter of terrarium volume. The optimum temperature should be 18-30 ° C.
Land species are herbivorous turtles, and therefore the basis of their diet is represented by 90% of plant foods. About 10% of the diet is animal food with the addition of mineral and vitamin complexes. Feed the turtle with a finely chopped mixture of herbs, vegetables and fruits, supplemented with bran, soybean meal, cottage cheese, dry yeast, seaweed, minced meat and boiled egg.
Do not keep up with modern fashion – people do not cease to amaze, making more and more unusual and exotic pets, including reptiles. Against the background of such diversity, red-eared turtles look rather modest, but among their counterparts they stand out with their bright appearance, personality and charisma. In addition, they do not require complicated care and high cash costs, such as crocodiles or pythons. Red-eared turtles live for a long time, and often in their entire lives they have far from one owner. And the new owners, and buyers of an already adult reptile, are faced with the question of how to determine the age of the red-eared turtle, if there is no reliable data?
Representatives of the breed are aquatic reptiles, but at the same time they need an island of land. Such requests can be satisfied by purchasing a special tank – the aquaterrarium, to equip it properly. In addition, a similar capacity can be selected for the design of the room, making it a real decoration of the room, and not at the expense of the comfort of its inhabitants.
When purchasing a cute, small turtle, it is worth considering that the pet will grow to very impressive sizes. Life expectancy (from 30 to 50 years) is associated with reptile living conditions, the closer they are to natural, the longer the pet will live. The owner should know the age of the “rubella” by no means because of idle curiosity, but for two important reasons:
- to provide it with the most comfortable conditions;
- determine the appropriate diet and feeding schedule.
How are red spots related to the age of the tortoise?
- the spots located behind the eyes (due to which the representatives of the breed got their name), in young turtles of a scarlet hue, but with growing older, acquire a more saturated, burgundy color;
- in young animals, the carapace is green in color with stains, but during further growth and maturation of the individual, it becomes dull, dark.
Such signs may suggest a young reptile or not, but do not allow to know its exact age. Another option is to measure the carapace of a reptile. Again, inaccuracies are possible here – a turtle living in better conditions, a larger tank and receiving a balanced diet will increase in size much faster than its wild relatives or domestic ones, which are less fortunate with the owners.
In addition, there are several varieties of red-eared turtles, in which the size of the carapace is different at certain periods of growth.
Video how to determine the age of a little-eared tortoise
Reliable determination of the age of the pet
It is not difficult for a specialist to look at its age with just a glance at the reptile. But what to do to inexperienced owners who have got such an unusual pet? You can use several methods – measure the length of the carapace, evaluate the nature of its pattern, the shape and color of the shield.
It does not give a 100% correct result, but still deserves attention, since it is quite simple to perform. Initially, it is important to find out whether the turtle is a male or a female, what is not so simple to do, especially when it comes to a young individual. And only after that it is possible to measure the diameter of the carapace of the reptile and compare the data obtained with the basic information:
- in rubella in the first year of life, the size of the carapace is 6 cm, regardless of gender;
- in the second year of life, the diameter of the shell shield of females increases to 9 cm, males – to 8 cm;
- by the 3rd year, the carapace of females grows to 13-14 cm, and in males its length does not exceed 10 cm;
- in the 4th year, the size of the shell of males and females increases by an average of 2 cm;
- in 5-year-old individuals, the length of the carapace is 18 cm, when it comes to the female, and 14 cm in males;
- at 6 years, the female’s shield increases by 2 cm, the male – by 3 cm.
When the reptile reaches 6 years of age, its shell grows to its maximum size, and subsequently its diameter remains virtually unchanged. Even if this happens, the increase is small, and gradually the growth stops completely. The size of the carapace of the red-eared turtle is associated with the following factors:
- variety of diet;
- the size of the aquaterrarium;
- habitat conditions;
- lack of hibernation or the presence of this period.
Given such nuances, it is easy to understand that the errors, often quite significant, cannot be avoided in the calculations. Having received the data in this way, you can correct the result by another method – the most reliable.
This method is based on determining the age of a reptile from the image on its carapace. Experts consider the tortoise shell its individual identifier, comparing it with a fingerprint in humans.
If the turtle eats well and lives in suitable conditions, then the shield pattern will be unique. But when the reptile lives in an inappropriate environment, is injured, dries up or experiences other difficulties, its guards can become deformed, desquamate, which negatively affects the pattern.
On the shell is a series of concentric rings that indicate its age. They appear in individuals after the first year of life, and then intensively manifest over 2 and 3 years. For every 6 months, 2-3 rings become larger, after which the process slows down, and then only one ring appears in the year.
If you count the number of rings, it is easy to find out how old the four-legged floating pet is. Even if he got into a new house already being a large, adult individual. To get the exact number, you need to count the rings and take the average result. And in this case, some discrepancy between reality is possible.
This method is based on evaluating the color of the carapace – with age, the intensity of the shade undergoes a change. The younger the individual, the brighter and calmer the color of its shell. After 4 years, his tone becomes darker. In older red-eared turtles, the shield is almost black, the same applies to rings.
As they grow older in the reptile, the carapace becomes regular, oval in shape, and its surface becomes smooth, which is not found in young animals. Young turtles are more active, energetic and inquisitive, they move more and climb everywhere. Old individuals are inactive and phlegmatic, they can often be found during rest. But such signs are observed not only in turtles, but also in other creatures – almost all of them show the same age.
It is worth noting that if the pet was purchased still small, then there is no particular need to calculate its exact age. The main thing is to distinguish between the needs of young, adult and elderly reptiles and provide suitable food and amenities. But, regardless of age, the red-eared animal needs clean water, ultraviolet rays, heat and the maintenance of certain parameters of both water and air. This is the key to a healthy pet life, long and full.