Land tortoise can be found in many homes, and people get used to them so much that they consider it almost a pet. This is far from the case, and her outward calm and leisureliness should not be misleading. On the contrary, turtles are wild reptiles and get used to new home conditions for a very long time, over several months, often experiencing stress.
Where and how best to contain?
The debate about how to better contain these reptiles has been going on with varying success for a long time. There is a fairly reasoned point of view that it is better to keep small land turtles on free pasture. Indeed, there is a certain reason for this. Moving freely around the house, she herself is looking for a place convenient for herself, she is not affected by some negative factors inherent in a long stay in a confined space. But according to the statements of most experts, with such a free content of minuses, there are much more than pluses.
- Firstly, the turtle in this situation will not receive the optimal parameters of humidity, illumination, air temperature. On the contrary, most likely, she will feel dust in herself in secluded places of the apartment, drafts and a high probability of getting injured.
- Secondly, in the wild, these reptiles dig soil. Where will they take it in the conditions of free movement around the house?
And finally, the turtles are used to nibbling something solid (limestone, chalk, shells), and meeting with some household items and various rubbish will do nothing but harm.
Types of home terrariums: advantages and disadvantages
First of all, it is necessary to determine what sizes of the terrarium are sufficient to contain the turtle. The calculation is not at all complicated: the length, width and height of the habitat should be 2-6 sizes of its inhabitants.
For example, the total length of the turtle is 10 cm. Therefore, the length of the terrarium needs 0.5 m at least. In the same way, the width is calculated. The height of the dwelling is equal to the length of the reptile, multiplied by 2. If you need a room for two turtles, then the area is doubled. Nothing complicated. Of course, more space for life is only welcome.
The material for the pen can be wood, thick plastic, plexiglass, ordinary glass. It must be borne in mind, however, that turtles do not recognize the glass surface and can beat against it. To prevent this, you can gently stick a fragment of a tropical-themed self-adhesive film onto a transparent wall.
So, which home terrariums are most often found:
Necessary internal arrangement of the terrarium
Bottom of the terrarium
To maintain a leisurely pet, you need soil. Otherwise, the claws of the animal may wear out and the legs may become deformed. Some owners of turtles put ordinary sawdust on the floor of the terrarium, but experts do not recommend this.
It is better if the soil most closely matches the natural habitat. Coarse sand and fine pebbles placed in separate zones are well suited. On a hard spot, the turtle will sharpen its claws, and in the sand it likes to bury itself. Sometimes a rubber absorbent bath mat is placed under the ground (it won’t hurt).
When a turtle swallows soil, you need to make sure that it freely passes through the gastrointestinal tract without clogging it. It is better to use several types of substrate, placing them in different parts of the terrarium.
The most commonly used types of soil:
- large pebbles;
- shell rock;
- loamy sand;
- napkins (for quarantine terrariums);
- large bark.
When creating a similar soil with a turtle, the territory can be cleaned every 2 weeks. It’ll be enough.
If the turtle periodically eats the substrate, this may indicate a lack of certain nutrients in its body. If the reptile eats soil of plant origin, such as moss or bark, this may indicate a lack of fiber in its diet. In this case, it is more often necessary to give it hard, dried food, for example, hay, beet tops, dried leaves of various plants.
When the turtle periodically swallows stones, sand and shell rock, we can conclude that it lacks calcium. To make up for it, put sepia in the terrarium or organize calcium top dressing using special reptile vitamins.
Some craftsmen under the corral floor arrange a “warm floor” system, which automatically maintains the required temperature.
Lighting and heating
These are important elements of the terrarium. To maintain the optimum temperature – 26-30 degrees above zero – both heaters and simple incandescent lamps with a power of not more than 60 watts are used.
A UV lamp creates an imitation of the sun’s rays necessary for the normal life of a tropical animal. Only under the influence of ultraviolet radiation does the body absorb calcium reptiles. You can use lamps 10-12% of the spectrum.
Lighting and heating devices should be placed at a distance from the terrarium of at least 20 cm so that the pet does not receive burns. A reasonable solution is a safety grill on an incandescent lamp (just in case).
You should know that the usual daylight hours of the thermophilic reptile lasts from 10 to 12 hours, which means that the light at night must be turned off.
There is no need to achieve the same temperature throughout the pen. The turtle will like the warmer zone and the cooler part of the terrain: in a warmer place, the reptile will warm up, eat, drink water, swim, and in the cooler zone you can put a house for rest. This role will be played by a small wooden box with a sawn inlet. But even there you should not lower the temperature below 24 degrees in order to avoid colds.
Of course, you should attach a small thermometer.
The necessary humidity can be maintained by daily spraying the terrarium with cool water.
Place for food and feed
The feeder must be placed in the warm part, and it must be stable. Otherwise, the turtle will surely knock it over and then kick it for a long time and hard. For example, a light plastic cat feeder will not work, it is better to adapt a small but heavy ceramic plate for feeding and dig it a little into the ground.
The feeding place is best arranged on a flat, smooth surface, such as ceramic tile or a piece of linoleum. After eating, the reptile usually immediately goes to the toilet, and you can easily and immediately clean this “tablecloth”.
The usual diet for an armored pet is a mixture of vegetables and herbs. Moreover, greenery, which contains coarse fiber, is simply necessary.
Land turtles have a slow metabolism, and it is recommended to feed them no more than 3 times a week.
What can be given:
- carrots (and tops including);
- bell peppers;
Sources of coarse fiber can be dandelions, plantain, salad. Solid products need to grind on a coarse grater, the rest is easy to cut. It is better to give food in large pieces, as it is necessary for grinding the beak of the turtle – ramfoteka. Before cooking, all ingredients are thoroughly washed with water. Sources of proteins needed by the body can be mushrooms, soy, peas, beans, low-fat fish. They can be given 1-2 times a week.
Food should be varied by changing the ingredients of the salad.
Before picking a diet for the turtle, find out the history of the origin of its species and try to give it the food most typical of the area.
- dairy products (including cottage cheese and cheese);
The pet drinks water in fairly large quantities. It can not be given cold, it is better to warm up to 30 ° C.
Some content recommendations
- feed dog and cat food;
- contain in a terrarium without soil;
- unattended let out a walk around the house;
- allow contact with other pets (if any);
- place reptiles in a too small terrarium;
- keep the terrarium on a cold floor (only on a stand with a height of at least 20 cm);
- give poisonous and medicinal plants as food.
- diversify the diet;
- 2-3 times a week, bathe the animal in warm water (pour water into the tray to the middle part of the shell so that the pet does not swallow water);
- in the warm season, walk for 1 hour a day in the sun.
Watching the life of turtles is very interesting. And in order for this domestic centenarian to continue to please the household with her entertaining behavior, the conditions of detention must be observed. They are not so complicated.
Video on how to properly contain land turtles in a terrarium: