Basic Care of Pet Turtles

Care of pet turtles might not seem like a lot, but they have big needs. To keep your pet turtle lively, pick up proper turtle supplies and housing from a reputable reptile dealer, make sure you feed your turtle the right foods and always keep the tank clean.

Housing Fit For A Pet Turtle
Regardless of whether you have a turtle in a tank or a turtle in a pen outside, your turtle needs some type of housing that allows him to get out of the weather or away from your prying eyes from time to time. To create housing of this type, make sure the material is not edible. Turtles tend to bite at things in their cage, and the last thing you need is for your turtle to eat something that can be toxic to his system.

Turtles are reptiles, and reptiles are cold-blooded creatures. But even cold-blooded creatures need to breathe. Turtles cannot stay underwater indefinitely. They also require adequate heat. If you have a turtle in a tank in the house, you'll need a heating lamp. A turtle that is kept in a pen outside during the summer months will require water that is deep enough for him to swim in and also a shaded spot that remains cool even on hot days, where he can submerge himself if needed. At the same time, a hollow log or some such natural device works well as a house for those days when your turtle just wants to rest uninterrupted. Sand, a pile of dead leaves or other debris works well for the turtle who likes to burrow. Never use wood chips in the turtle pen, however, as they may eat the wood, and it can cause the turtle to become sick. Finally, only keep a turtle in an outdoor pen during the warmest months of the year. Outdoor pens must be safe from both domestic and wild animals.

Feeding Your Turtle
Turtles are messy eaters. If possible, don't feed your turtle in the water. Instead, feed him on the rocks. If the turtle is fed on the rocks, he will generally paw at his food, shredding it and also dragging his claws against the rocks, which helps keep his claws trimmed.

If you have more than one turtle, be diligent about how much each turtle gets to eat. An aggressive turtle can claim all of the food or chase off the other turtles. He may even nip at them, snipping off tails and toes in the process. Separate an aggressive turtle from the others. If you don't, he might become overweight, which will shorten his lifespan, and he might starve other turtles in the tank, shortening their lifespan, as well.

Make sure you check with a specialist about what types of foods your turtle should be eating. Though most turtles are omnivores, like humans, they should never eat the way a human eats. Do not feed a turtle table scraps, sweets or snacks. Green vegetables-raw-a few fruits, and meat or turtle pellets, depending on what type of turtle you own, are good sources of nutrition.

Keep drinking water separate from the water your turtle swims in. Turtles almost always defecate in their swimming water, which means the tank water can become contaminated in a very short while. Change the drinking water in his water dish once a day or more if needed. Change the tank water as often as needed, as well. Because turtles are extremely messy with their food, the tank water will become dirty fast. If possible, clean the tank every other day.

Turtle Filters
If you keep your turtle in a tank in the house or in a pond in the backyard, make sure you use a turtle filter on the outside of the tank as opposed to a filter on the inside of the tank. Because a full-grown turtle should have at least a 50-gallon tank, filled three-fourths of the way with water, you'll need a good filtration system. Otherwise, you'll be stuck trying to change water at least twice a week-pretty much an impossible task. To keep your tank clean for a longer period of time, the use of a turtle filter on the pump can help. A turtle filter is composed of tighter mesh, and it traps more particles than a regular pump filter.

Always Wash Your Hands
Whenever you touch your turtle or any of the supplies in your turtle's housing unit, you should wash your hands thoroughly. Additionally, do not allow young children to hold or carry turtles around. This is for the safety of the child, as well as for the turtle. Turtles carry plenty of germs, including salmonella, which can harm a human.

With this advice, you can protect both your family and the turtle, while maximizing the amount of fun you'll have with your new pet.

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