According to Feng Shui, a home turtle is an excellent talisman, a respected and wise symbol, attracting success, longevity, financial well-being and good luck to the house. But if it is an animal, not a figurine, he will need to provide appropriate care.
In this article, we will consider how to feed a land and water turtle at home, how to properly maintain and care for them.
Not all turtles are the same
Turtles belong to the class of reptiles, or reptiles (although here, given the presence of a solid, unbending shell, this name does not seem entirely appropriate). These are ancient animals that arose more than 200 million years ago. The most important difference between turtles and other reptiles is the presence of a protective cover, an armor that protects the animal from external threats.
All turtles are not only divided into 2 large categories: land and sea. In addition, they differ in size, habitat. There are 2 main suborders, dividing by the type of how they hide their head in shell:
- cervical – place the head inside the shell in the form of the letter S;
- side-by-side – hide the head towards the side paw.
- marine – live in bodies of salt water;
- ground – live either on land or in fresh waters.
Accordingly, terrestrial are divided into land and freshwater.
In total, there are more than 300 species that form about 14 families.
By size land turtles are divided into:
- major – elephant tortoise (Galapagos), reaching a length of 2 meters, and weight – 400 kg; leopard (panther) turtle – 1 meter of growth and 50 kg of weight; Seychelles giant tortoise – 1 meter in length and up to 120 kg of weight, etc .;
- small – Cape speckled (the smallest in the world), reaching 10 cm in length and weighing a maximum of 200 g; Central Asian – growth up to 20 cm, weight up to 10 kg; Egyptian turtle – up to 10 cm in length, weight up to 6 kg, etc.
Freshwater there are:
- medium – cayman species (length up to 1 meter, weight up to 30 kg), red-eared (up to 40 cm in length, weight up to 20 kg), European marsh (40 cm in length and weight up to 15 kg);
- small – a painted turtle (up to 15 cm in length, weight up to 4 kg), black marsh (up to 18 cm in length, weight up to 4 kg), Kagliz card (length up to 18 cm, weight up to 3 kg), etc.
Marine They are also divided into large and small – in total there are more than 70 species.
By type of food are divided into:
- predatory (they need up to 90% of food of animal origin) – this includes almost all aquatic animals (especially young ones); it is noteworthy that with age predatory individuals can become omnivorous;
- omnivores (50% of the plant and 50% of animal food) – both land and sea;
- herbivores – (up to 90% of plant foods) – some types of land turtles.
Features of the diet: how to feed turtles
The diet of these pets will depend directly on what specific type of turtle you have acquired. However, there are products that are stricter it is forbidden to give both aquatic and land species. This is the meat of poultry and wild poultry and livestock (even boiled), any thermally processed food (i.e., fried, boiled, baked) that a person eats.
Such food is not processed by the animal’s stomach, it causes stagnation and acidification of food in the stomach, which, in turn, leads to serious illness or even death of this creature. It is worth restricting feeding the tortoise with plant foods containing a high concentration of oxalates – this is spinach, peas, and white cabbage. You can not feed the turtles with citrus and fruit fruits (unless it is a tropical species), as well as nuts, tomatoes and tomatoes.
What does the turtle eat at home, and what kind of food can it be given to it – we will consider in more detail.
For aquatic turtles, the main diet should be food of animal origin – these are mollusks, fish, aquatic insects, various larvae (daphnia, moth, tubule), land insects: caterpillars, grasshoppers, feed cockroaches, house flies – provided that they are not poisoned. You can give bugs – however, there will be little nutritional benefit from them.
Such turtles of earthworms, small frogs and tadpoles, live rats and mice, a raw beef heart eagerly eat. Small fish can be given whole, but large is better to cut. Do not give crab sticks to aquatic turtles – this is food that is harmful to them. In addition to these products, you can use special dry food – however, you can’t feed the animal with only one of them, just like you can’t feed the turtle with only one type of food for more than a week: the type of product must be changed at least once every 5 days. One of the most popular freshwater animals that they love to breed as a pet is the red-eared turtle. It is noteworthy that they eat both animal and plant foods. Young or small individuals are fed only animal food, not more than 1 time per day. Up to 50% of plant foods are introduced into the diet of adult individuals – this indicates that red-eared turtles are predators at a young age, and omnivores in adults.
Many land turtles belong to omnivorous – this means that their main diet should be vegetable, but at least once a month they will need to be given live mollusk, fish, rat, etc. However, this will depend on the specific breed of the turtle and its diet in the natural environment. Omnivores include Central Asian, Egyptian, Greek, flat and other species – they can sometimes be given food of animal origin.
However, among land turtles, there are only herbivorous species, so it is important to know how to feed them at home. Most land species are herbivores – among them are steppe, yellow-footed, Balkan, panther, yellow-headed and red-headed turtles. They are saturated with dried, fresh or frozen (if not season) domestic or wild herbs. Once every 10 days you can give some vegetables – pumpkin, beets, red peppers. Remember that only tropical turtles can be fed sweet fruit.
Herbivorous carrots, plantain and dandelion leaves are especially fond of. To provide the required amount vitamins in the body of turtles, you can give boiled protein 1 time in 10-14 days (no more often). Please note – the older the bug, the more plants should be present in its diet (this also applies to aquatic predators – with age, such species need more algae).
Do turtles drink water
The structure of the turtle’s head and larynx is such that it is difficult for her to drink water: the drunk water immediately pours out through the nostrils. Under natural conditions, some species of turtles can do without water; there are those who use it in small quantities. The main liquid of the turtle is consumed from food, or through the skin (during water procedures). A turtle can drink water as such only in case of severe dehydration.
Thus, equipping a terrarium or an aquarium for a turtle, you should not attach a standard drinking bowl – the animal will not use it for its intended purpose, it can interfere and irritate the turtle. To provide her with sufficient water balance in the body, you need choose the right diet – more juicy vegetables, fresh grass, fruits (if it is a tropical species). The young leaves of dandelion and clover are 85% water – thus, eating them, the turtle will get enough moisture.
Is there a difference between meals in winter, spring, summer, autumn
What do turtles eat at home, and is there a fundamental difference in their nutrition at different times of the year? Experts answer this question differently. However, everyone agrees that turtles, like other animals, are able to feel the changes in seasons and weather, which affects their diet. So, herbivores and omnivorous turtles prefer juicy fresh greens and vegetables in the summer, whereas in the colder months they prefer frozen or dried vegetables and soaked hay.
As regards the amount of food consumed at different times of the year, the following tendency is noted: in the summer turtles eat more often, but in smaller quantities, but in winter – less often, but more.
How to feed a turtle: rules and features
So, we figured out what the turtle eats, depending on its species, habitat and seasons.
Consider basic rules for their feeding:
- Small turtles and young individuals need to be fed 2 times a day, adults – no more than 1 time per day.
- The amount of one-time food consumed should be such that the turtle chews for half an hour. This will be enough for her to saturate for a day.
- Chunks of food should be no more than half the volume of the turtle’s head – otherwise the pet may choke on food.
- You can’t feed predators with plant foods, and herbivores with animals.
- You can’t feed your pets with only one type of food – it’s the mixture that will be the most optimal diet for them. For example, lettuce and vegetables, a clam and a slice of fish, etc.
- Water turtles should receive all the necessary vitamins from food, so it is important to correctly compile their diet. But herbivores can be fed with calcium powder – adding it to the food mixture. You can put cuttlefish bone in the terrarium (it contains a lot of calcium) – an animal with a calcium deficiency will bite off the necessary pieces.
Summing up, it’s important to say: it doesn’t matter whether a land or aquatic turtle lives in your home – you must follow all the principles of nutrition, care and maintenance of a turtle, regardless of its type. This is the only way this pet will be able to live for many years, remaining healthy and physically active.