Having exotic pets in recent years has become almost a sign of high social status, and sometimes the "advancement" of young people. Often people choose turtles, mistakenly believing that they are unpretentious, do not require special care, they can be kept like fish. But remember: a turtle is a living creature for which you take responsibility, and therefore be prepared to first study in detail information on how to care for a turtle.
Popular misconceptions regarding turtles:
- Do you think that the turtle does not need a house, that it can live with you, freely moving around the apartment? You are deeply mistaken!
- Do you think that this is a small compact animal that can be kept all its life in one original aquarium or aquaterrarium? The turtle is growing, albeit slowly, but substantially! Some of them reach 30 cm in diameter, and the size of the aquarium should allow it to move freely. Keep this in mind before buying a turtle.
- Are turtles unpretentious? I guess, yes. But they are very sensitive to temperature, it should not fall below 25 ° C, for some species – not lower than 30 ° C.
How to care for the turtle you just purchased: first steps
Change of residence is stressful for any living organism. In order to facilitate the transition to new conditions for your pet, do the following. Draw into the aquarium or bowl of sufficient size a little (3-5 cm) warm (at least 28 ° C) necessarily clean (filtered) water and leave it for several hours. Do not disturb the animal. It is possible that in the first 1-3 days the turtle will refuse food, this should not scare you, but it is still necessary to offer it food.
Land Turtle Care
From the name it is clear that this species of turtles does not need an aquarium for maintenance. A wooden box or a plastic box can become her house. If you do not plan to change it, immediately calculate the size. To do this, specify the size of the turtle and, based on this, make a box: its length should exceed the diameter of the shell of an adult animal by 4-5 times. It is undesirable to use glass containers – it would be prettier, but the turtle, not understanding why it cannot pass through the glass, will spend hours trying to do this, scratching it and wounding itself. This will be stressful for the animal. The height of the box should be sufficient so that the turtle does not get out of it. It is not difficult to calculate: the height should slightly (by 5 cm) exceed the length of the body of an adult turtle.
The substrate also depends on the type of animal you have. If the turtle requires high humidity, choose coconut fibers, sphagnum moss or peat. If its natural habitat is desert, dry grass (hay) and shredded paper will do. Do not cover the bottom of the box with a sheet of paper, turtles love to dig the substrate – do not deprive the animal of this pleasure. It is undesirable to fill the bottom with sand, as they eat it together with pieces of food. A small amount of sand will not harm the animals, but still … A separate plate for eating does not change the situation.
How to care for a turtle so that it does not hurt. Light and warmth are strictly necessary for these animals. In the absence of light, the animal will suffer from rickets, in the cold – colds. Therefore, in the box, install an ultraviolet lamp for lighting, with a spectrum of UV-B. Ideally, the lamp should illuminate one corner more than the others, so that the turtle itself can choose the conditions of existence. For heating, another 40-60 W lamp should be used, depending on the conditions (monitor the temperature). The day-night cycle is conveniently maintained using a timer that will turn the lamps on and off. Daylight hours should be 13-14 hours in the summer and 11-12 hours in the winter. At night, a slight decrease in temperature is preferred (by 3-5 ° C).
"Furniture". If you put a large stone or other decorative element in the box, it will be happy to climb on it and descend. But this is not a prerequisite. If you still installed them, follow the mount: the animal will try to move and turn them around. It is important that the feet and carapace are not affected. Artificial plants should not be installed – the turtle will nibble them.
Shelter for turtles is necessary so that they feel comfortable.
Capacity with water. It should be shallow (otherwise the turtle may fall into it, roll over and die), optimally – a saucer.
In addition, bathe turtles 1-2 times a week, cleaning their carapace with a soft brush (possibly a toothbrush). Use clean, warm water for swimming.
They should be fed with fresh vegetables (cucumber, cabbage) and grass (coltsfoot, shepherd’s bag, plantain), sometimes (infrequently) give slices of sweet fruits and berries.
Caring for the Red-eared Turtle
The content of the red-eared turtle is fundamentally different, since this species is semi-aquatic. With proper care, these animals live up to 75 years. The size of the shell of an adult reaches 30 cm in diameter. Males, as a rule, are smaller than females, but they have a longer tail and claws.
Trachemys spend most of their time in the water, but they also require sushi. Therefore, these animals need an aquaterrarium. As sushi, a gravel rock or a wooden platform can be used.
Keep in mind that the red-eared turtles are dirty, and therefore the water area should be washed often. Using gravel is not necessary, but if you want to use it, make sure it is large enough so that the animal does not swallow it.
The amount of water varies depending on the size of the animal. The turtle should swim freely (the depth should be no less than the length of the turtle multiplied by 2). The length of the pool should be 4-5 times greater than the length of the body of the animal, and the width should be 2-3.
Given the incredible ability of this animal to litter, you will need a filter. But even this will not save you from changing the water: once every 2 weeks, 25% of the water must be replaced with fresh water, and once a month it is necessary to wash the entire aquarium. To avoid rapid water pollution, you can feed the turtle in a separate container.
To maintain the appropriate temperature, it is recommended to use a thermometer and a heater. Recommended temperature is from 24 to 30 ° С. When choosing a heater, keep in mind that the turtle will want to play with it by hitting the walls of the aquarium, so using glass heaters is undesirable (or put it inside a PVC tube). The air temperature should be 24 ° C. You can use an incandescent lamp to heat the air in the aquaterrarium. For young or sick individuals, the temperature should be slightly higher. The maintenance of turtles at low temperatures (18-22 ° C) will lead to a decrease in activity and colds.
On warm and sunny days, organize walks for your pet, but make sure that it does not overheat. The rest of the time, UV-B type ultraviolet lamp is necessary. This is strictly necessary for normal calcium metabolism. Otherwise, the likelihood of developing rickets is high.
Keep the animal safe
The use of light and heating equipment poses a risk of electric shock. Therefore, carefully monitor the insulation and grounding of all devices. In addition, protect or do not use glassware, because turtles are curious and can damage them, resulting in animal death.
These turtles feed on both plant and animal food. They need animal protein (the exception is old turtles). They are recommended to feed with slices of lean meat, fish, seafood (fish, shrimp, etc.), vegetables (cabbage, cucumber), use ground egg shells or special vitamins with minerals for reptiles as a source of calcium. Cubs should be fed daily, adults – 2-3 times a week.
The following foods should be excluded from the diet of turtles: legumes, sorrel, canola, rhubarb, radishes, mushrooms, fatty meats, offal, canned and salted foods.
In limited quantities, you should use products: celery, shellfish, beef, lettuce, cabbage.
Recommended products: seaweed, grape leaves, plantain, dandelion (leaves), grass, zucchini, peas, potatoes, grated carrots, slices of tomato, figs, grapes, melon, blackberries, banana, strawberries, apples, citrus fruits, geraniums, daylilies, onions , earthworms, snails, crickets, shrimp, boiled eggs, live fish (it is not recommended to use frozen). In addition, if the turtle refuses to eat vegetables, they can be presoaked in fish stock (without salt!).
Once every 2-3 weeks, fortified supplements and reptile minerals must be added to the diet.
Turtles do not require much attention, but you must know how to care for the turtle. Compliance with the rules of care will provide them with a long and happy life.