The vast majority of diseases of land turtles are associated with improper maintenance. Insufficient heating and humidity, improper diet, lack of ultraviolet radiation, vitamins and mineral supplements, impaired wintering regimen – all this leads to a gradual, often very slow progressive development of disorders in the animal’s body.
Not all wild animals are able to adapt to captive conditions. Even in professional collections of turtles, maladaptation syndrome is one of the most common causes of their death in captivity. For some reason, we consider land turtles to be practically domestic animals. In fact, these are quite “wild” reptiles, and only a few species successfully breed on farms. Most turtles taken from nature adapt to captivity for many months. At the same time, their behavior remains outwardly quite normal. However, this does not exclude the possibility of stress. As a result, any acute effects on the body can cause a shift in the delicate balance achieved during the adaptation period. For example, after receiving milk, some turtles can quite safely survive this stress, while others will die within a day with a clinic of acute colitis. Some seemingly normal land turtles will endure hibernation for several months at room temperature, while others will die or “wake up” with severe lung or kidney pathology.
You can discuss a lot about the correct conditions for the maintenance of land turtles. There is also an “anti-terrarium” approach to keeping turtles (ie keeping them on a “free grazing” in an apartment). It is based on the positive experience of keeping many animals under such conditions. Indeed, firstly, on such an area, the tortoise can navigate and choose the appropriate conditions for it on its own (if the range of the proposed conditions "fits" into the boundaries of its environmental requirements). Secondly, the negative effects of a closed small volume are excluded (relative constancy of environmental conditions, etc.). however, this content has many more disadvantages. Almost always, light, temperature and humidity will be too low, and dust, allergic background and risk of injury. too tall. in addition, the turtle must dig the soil, gnaw some abrasive material (and not collect wool, debris and small objects from the floor) and winter in the necessary conditions (or not winter at all).
As a result, unfortunate ugly creatures, taken to the limit, sometimes from the best of motives, get to the reception. Most often, a land turtle is spared to plant in an aquarium, because it scratches there “pitifully”, is not fed with carrots, because it “does not like it”, it does not turn on heating, because it hides from the light, oil vitamins are dripped into the feed (the more, the more better) etc. Once again, we consider it necessary to emphasize: we insist that the conditions of detention must comply with the rules, especially during the treatment period.
So, for the maintenance of land turtles terrarium required. The terrarium should be spacious. Better rectangular. For one medium-sized turtle (7 – 12 cm), a volume of 60.100 liters is sufficient. The width of the terrarium should be 2-3 times the width of the largest tortoise living in it, so that animals can easily move in it.
It is convenient to use a conventional light bulb (for example, a table lamp) as a heat source, which should provide uniform heating of the area on which all animals living in it could be located at the same time. The temperature range in the terrarium should leave 25 – 35 ˚С.
Many captive turtles willingly lie in the water. Drinking bowls and trays with water must be submerged in the ground so that their edge does not press the animals from below while drinking. Deep pallets should have comfortable traps to facilitate the exit of turtles from them, and the water level in them should not exceed half the height of the shell of the smallest of them. 1-2 times a month, it is good for turtles to do warm baths (35 C), which helps cleanse the intestines and stimulates appetite. After bathing, the turtles are wiped dry so that they do not catch a cold from accidental drafts.
The terrarium should have soil. It is best to use river gravel or a mixture of sifted land and rounded pebbles. The thickness of the layer is 3-10 cm. Sand, granite chips, peat and shavings are a poor type of soil.
All land turtles need shelter. Often for this purpose, wooden boxes with a sawn-in entrance are turned upside down. Half of a flower pot sawn along is also suitable.
Shallow ditches, bowls and plates can serve as a feeder. They should be clean, not stand directly under the lamp and fill with food for only 2-3 hours.
Adult turtles should be sprayed once a day with water from a spray bottle, but so that the soil in the terrarium does not get wet. The humidity in the terrarium should be low, with the exception of the spring season.
Tortoise feed It is a finely chopped mixture of herbs, vegetables, fruits and vitamin and mineral supplements. In summer, turtles eagerly eat dandelions, clover, coltsfoot, chick, plantain, lawn grass, etc. offer them berries: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, as well as summer fruits. In winter, feeding a tortoise is a more complicated problem. Ideally, the diet should consist of 70% greens and vegetables, 25% of fruits, and the rest – various protein, vitamin and mineral supplements. As a mineral top dressing – glycerophosphate, carbonate, borogluconate, calcium palmitate, bone meal or ground eggshells at the rate of 100 mg of “pure” calcium per 1 kg of tortoise weight. The main components of the mixture should be green salad or cabbage (preferably young, with dark green leaves) carrots and apples.
Turtles should not be given milk, bread, citrus peel, cut bones of apples, pears and stone fruit, cherries, poisonous plants (nightshade, buttercups, medicinal plants containing alkaloids, and from indoor plants – Diffenbachia spp., Euphordia spp., Azalia spp., and some others), canned and dry pet foods, cereals and other “human” foods. In large quantities, you can not give cucumbers, grapes and sweet fruits, onions, garlic and spicy greens, spinach, cruciferous (except cabbage), rhubarb and asparagus.
With the right stable content, a land tortoise can live for tens of years without stress.
As a guide, we recommend the following books:
S.V. Kudryavtsev, S.V. Mamet, V.E. Frolov. "Reptiles in the Terrarium," Hobbking, Rural Nova, 1955.
D.B. Vasiliev. “Turtles. Maintenance, diseases and treatment ", Moscow," Aquarium ", 1999
The main mistakes that are made when keeping Central Asian turtles, as well as other land species in the net:
1. No need to keep the turtle on the floor. With this method, drafts, dust, dehydration, infectious diseases (including deep mycoses), ingestion of foreign bodies and injuries cannot be excluded.
2. You cannot bathe a turtle and then let it go to the floor. A temperature drop of only 10 ° C can cause a cold.
3. You cannot make a nest of woolen cloth for a turtle.
4. Do not allow contact with other pets.
5. You can’t immediately put “friend” or “girlfriend” in the terrarium. If purchased with a healthy turtle, quarantine is required for at least a month.
6. Do not leave the turtle on the street unattended.
7. Do not use sand, sharp stone chips, small sawdust or keep the turtle just on a smooth surface as soil.
8. There is no need to feel sorry for the tortoise planted in the terrarium if it scratches there “plaintively”. Digging turtle ground is an urgent physiological need. In nature, she does this for most of her “free time”.
9. If the turtle leaves the light, this does not mean that it does not need to be heated.
10. Turtles drink only if they do not have enough water in the feed. But they prefer to swim and "go to the toilet" in the water. Water should be in the terrarium constantly.
11. Do not feed the turtle milk, bread, or minced meat.
12. Do not give only one type of food. Food sources of provitamins A – carrots, tomatoes, red pepper (for land) and raw liver (for water) must be fed at least occasionally.
13. Feeding containing calcium salts 9 Conventional calcium gluconate tablets are almost not absorbed) must be given necessarily and constantly.
14. You can not give vitamin preparations (primarily containing vitamins A, D3, B12) and selenium "by eye". Do not give vitamin D2.
15. No need to smear the turtle with oil preparations, and even more so with vitamin A.
16. Wrong winter hibernation for turtles is very harmful and dangerous to life and health.
17. After contact with the turtle or cleaning the terrarium, wash your hands, as the turtle may be a carrier of salmonella. The worms of turtles with very few exceptions are harmless to humans.
18. If the turtle does not seem to be completely healthy, you should contact the veterinary clinic as soon as possible. Many diseases in the mainstream stage are difficult to treat.