Pet Turtle Care
By Michael Russell
Turtles are fascinating pets to own, but many people get them not knowing how to care for them. They need to have the right amount of space, light, shade, and moisture to survive. You need to learn what turtles require before you get one.
The best place to keep a turtle is outside. Turtles hibernate in the winter and if they are kept inside they won’t hibernate. This can cause them to develop liver diseases. A turtle’s natural cycle should not be messed with. Also, if you keep a turtle pen outside you can create a completely natural turtle habitat.
Some people that keep turtles inside use refrigerators to make them hibernate. This is not recommended though because if the refrigerator suddenly rises in temperature or if the power goes off, the turtle’s hibernation will be interrupted. This can be fatal for them. If you plan on keeping your pets inside, just don’t let them hibernate.
Also, if you keep your turtle inside, you must have a tank that is at least forty gallons. There has got to be enough room to have a land area and a water area. Two-thirds of the aquarium should be water and one-third should be land. You also need a place where they can lay in the heat of a lamp. You should keep the tank around eighty degrees during the day and seventy degrees at night. Turtles are cold blooded animals so they take a long time to adjust to temperature changes. For this reason, you should not take the turtle out of the tank to play with it. This sudden change in temperature can harm their immune system.
Some turtles do carry salmonella so be sure to wash your hands after handling them. Your turtle’s environment also needs to be kept clean. Keep the water fresh and keep any waste out. You might want to get a water filtration system to keep the water clean.
You should not use tap water for the tank, because tap water contains chlorine and fluoride. This can really mess up the ph balance. De-chlorinated water needs to be used for the swimming area and filtered water for them to drink. There are many commercial diets available for turtles. Dietary requirements differ depending on the species. You should feed your pet two to three times a week.
Do not put any wood chips or tree bark in your tank. If a turtle ingests this, it can cause problems. It will also get contaminated very quickly and cause molds or fungus to grow.
Turtles need twelve hours of sunlight. You should get a UV lamp for your tank to provide the vitamin D3 that sunlight gives off if you keep it inside. They need this to stay healthy. This is why you will often see turtles sitting out in the sun. Try to keep the tank in a room where the light doesn’t change that much.
Turtles also need a shelter to go in. They are sold at pet stores, but you can also make one using wood or stones. If you decide to keep plants in with your turtle, just make sure they aren’t poisonous to them.
Try to pay attention to your turtle’s behavior and take care of it the best you can. Turtles are very interesting to watch and will provide lots of enjoyment for your whole family.
Your Independent guide to Pet Care
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