Pet Turtle

Beginner’s Guide to Care For Pet Turtles

Turtles have become one of the most popular pets recently, but to keep them healthy and kickin’ you need to learn how to take proper care of your little friend. Read the article below and learn the basics of caring for turtles.

If a family member (including yourself) is allergic to furry animals, a pet turtle might be a good pet choice. These amphibians are friendly, generally interesting exotic pets and easy to care for. Turtles aren’t the cuddly type, but they’ll never fail to amuse you and are a good option if you’re a newbie at owning pets. If you’re ready to adopt or purchase a new pet, keep reading for the basics about how to care for a pet turtle.

Pet Turtle

Feeding Pet Turtle

Omnivore turtles’ diet basically consists of snails, fish bits, bugs, worms and vegetables. Some species are strict herbivores which means they only feed off greens and veggies.

Feed your pet turtle once or twice per day. Unlike humans or other pets, turtles don’t need snacks and treats, but they should be fed a diet of fresh foods on a regular basis. Up to 25 percent of turtle diet can be supplied with commercial pellets. If you’re new to keeping pets or unsure what exactly to feed your new companion, ask a vet or petshop clerk for a feeding schedule.

Best Living Spaces for Pet Turtles

Depending on species of turtle, you should provide an aquatic or land aquarium or tank for your pet. Obviously, aquatic turtles will require more water in its living space. Make sure to ALWAYS use non-chlorine water. Experts recommend you to do full research on what type of turtle you want before purchasing one. Study everything about water requirement, appropriate size aquarium for best performance and comfort, heat requirements and diet. UV light settings in the tank will help it produce vitamin D3 to stay healthy. Your tank will likely need an air and water thermometer so you can verify optimal temperatures. Install a filter to keep water clean, but you still need to deep clean the tank and change the water regularly to keep your turtle safe and healthy. Provide enough pebbles and aquarium decorations to make resting and climbing spots. Make sure to remove dirt, debris, uneaten food, and droppings frequently. You can also use turtle-safe aquatic plants in the tank.

Learn to Handle a Pet Turtle Safely

Turtles aren’t exactly the cuddly and pet-craving type of animal, but handling and giving them a little pet won’t hurt them. When you’re going to pick the turtle up, gently approach from the front and let the animal see your hand getting close. Carefully hold the midsection or the sides of its shell to pick the turtle up. You should NEVER ever pick a turtle up by its head or leg, for it might lead to fatal injuries. Turtles are not much social so it’s not strange of them to crawl inside their shell or attempt to wiggle away. Once your pet turtle is used to being picked up and handled, it might get friendly.

Although known as super slow animals, turtles are able to escape if set free and unwatched.  Don’t place a turtle on its back or turn it too quickly as it can cause injury or stress. When you are done playing with your turtle, gently return it to its home and wash your hands.

Tip: Just like dogs and cats, turtles can bite when they feel anxious or afraid. If a turtle bite breaks your skin, clean the wound immediately with warm, soapy water to avoid infection.

How to Clean a Pet Turtle

Aquatic turtles usually remain clean due to swimming in water all the time, but some may need a good clean up from time to time. A gentle and quick rinse will remove shed skin and built up algae.

Turtles can harbor salmonella bacteria and since it can make humans very sick, it’s best if you don’t use your sink or tub for your turtle’s bath. You can clean your pet turtle in a dedicated small basin. Here’s how to bathe a turtle at home:

  • Use lukewarm water and a toothbrush and scrub its shell and limbs gently. Remember to keep the toothbrush out of reach and use it ONLY for turtle cleaning.
  • Clean the turtle’s creases where algae and other debris can collect.
  • If your turtle is shedding, you’ll notice flaky patches of skin. No need to worry if shedding occurs in limited amounts; in most cases this is normal. However if the shedding is excessive, consult a vet.
  • Do not use shampoo or soap while cleaning the turtle. They might irritate and hurt the animal.
  • Rinse the turtle off when you are done scrubbing and place it back in its tank.

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