How To Take Care Of A Pet Turtle: A Quick Guide
Turtles are fascinating creatures that can live for decades, so you can always be sure you have a companion for life. In this article, I will give you an essential guide on how to take care of a pet turtle. While turtles may seem like quiet, unassuming animals, they require care just like any other pet. If you think you can keep your turtle safe and happy in a tub and some leaves, think again. You will need to provide your pet turtle with the proper housing, excellent nutrition, and good hygiene.
What Type of Turtle Do You Have?
How to take care of a pet turtle will depend on the type of turtle you have. There are hundreds of types of turtles, but we will discuss the most common types that people keep as pets. If you have not yet gotten a pet turtle, you could also choose from these species.
Central American Wood Turtle
This is also known as the ornate wood turtle and is mostly herbivores. However, this type of turtle would not mind the occasional worm or insect. They grow as long as nine inches.
Remember, if you have a tortoise, there is a difference in caring for a tortoise than a turtle. Tortoises live on land as do turtles, but turtles spend more time in the water. A Greek tortoise is a land dweller and strictly an herbivore, but it will still need a shallow water dish to soak in. They can grow up to 12 inches.
African Aquatic Sideneck
This type of turtle is an omnivore is noted for their fold necks, which can grow as long as eight inches. As the name suggests, they are mostly aquatic but still need a bit of dry surface to get light.
This type of turtle can grow as long as 11 inches. It is the most popular type of pet turtle to have. They mostly reside in the water.
These turtles have colorful shells and bodies and can grow up to seven inches. They are omnivores and the most common turtles native to the United States.
Your Turtle’s Housing
The right kind of home you provide is key to how to care for a pet turtle. The best type of environment you can provide for your turtle is a terrarium. A terrarium is similar to an aquarium, but you get a good amount of land and water for your turtle.
Make sure you have enough space at home for a good-sized tank. Giving your pet enough space is important in how to take care of your pet turtle. A turtle needs enough room to explore. A sloped rock is a perfect basking spot. Create a gentle slope with soil or smaller rocks, so the incline is not too steep. Line your tank with peat moss or soil, but avoid pebbles or small rocks because your turtle may accidentally choke on them.
How much water you need depends on the type of turtle you have. The general rule for how to take care of a pet turtle is the water should be twice as deep as the turtle’s length. You also need to ensure you are providing a clean home. Install a filtration system, so you do not need to change the water regularly. Clean water means less dirty particles that lead to infections.
Turtles need heat and light, which is why they need a good amount of land even though they are mostly water dwellers. You will find your turtle basking on a patch of land or on a rock and sitting still. They need to bask in either sunlight or lamplight each day to stay happy and healthy. Do not use just any regular type of lamp, though. You should get a reptile lamp that emits light and temperature safe for animals.
Your Turtle’s Diet
To know to take care of a pet turtle, you need to determine if your turtle is an omnivore or an herbivore. An herbivore is an animal that strictly lives off a plant-based diet. Meanwhile, an omnivore eats both plants and meat.
Generally, herbivorous turtles like dark, leafy greens, such as kale, collard, and mustard greens. Turtles also enjoy other vegetables, such as carrots, squash, and zucchini. Tortoises are herbivores, so remember this if you happen to own a tortoise. If you have an omnivorous turtle, they will eat insects, fish, and worms. Pet foods for turtles come canned or pelleted.
How often do you need to feed a turtle? They actually do not need to be fed every day. Feeding your turtle five times a week is a good, general rule to follow. For baby turtles, you will need to feed them two times a day.
How to Put on an Over-Head Dog Harness
Now that you have picked out the perfect harness for your dog, it’s time to learn how to fit a dog harness.
Before putting on an over-head harness on your dog, make sure it is loose so you can easily slip it onto your dog. You can tighten and adjust accordingly once the harness is on. For a proper dog harness fit, follow these steps.
- Slip on the loosened harness over your dog’s head.
- Swing the chest piece up and the buckles attached to the
chest piece. Fasten these buckles to the back of the harness.
- Adjust the sides, the belly, and the neck for a fit snug.
One way to know how a dog should harness fit as you're putting it on and adjust it is to fit your fingers between your dog and the harness. A snug and proper fit should measure about two fingers.
How to Check if A Harness is Fitting Your Dog Correctly
While the two-finger measure is a quick way to figure out the right fit, another way to know how should a dog harness fit is to check for your dog’s reaction to the harness and their behavior while in the harness.
If you see any of these signs, you readjust or resize your harness:
- Your dog manages to wiggle free from the harness.
- There is loose fur around the harness area.
- The harness is causing chafing.
- The back of the harness keeps rotating.
- Your dog is resistant to walking and other activities while wearing the harness.
Turtles are some of our most ancient and fascinating creatures, so it’s important to be a responsible pet turtle owner. I hope this article has given you the basics on how to take care of a pet turtle. Like any pet, they have specific needs you to consistently see to. With a clean environment, good hygiene, and proper nutrition, you will have a secure and happy pet turtle.
Since reptiles are cold-blooded animals, they like to thrive in warm or hot climates, so keeping one as a pet requires monitoring the temperature of your pet’s new home.
If you are looking to buy a pet turtle, the first thing you need to know is how long do pet turtles live? Now, that information is very elusive.