Turtles are interesting pets to own, but a lot of people don’t know how to take care of them. If they are properly cared for, turtles can live for many decades, but you need to pay close attention to their diets, living arrangements, and treatment. Turtles need to have plenty of room to live in where enough light, shade and moisture will also be supplied.
Because turtles hibernate during winter months, they are looking to hide at this period. The best way is to keep them outside during this time of year and they will find a way to hibernate. Keep in mind that a turtle that does not hibernate is known to develop liver diseases.
So if you keep your turtle outside in order to respect its natural cycle try to keep children away from the turtle hideout so they won’t be tempted to dig it out. Be aware that if your turtle hibernates, you won’t see it again until late spring.
Some people use refrigerators to try to recreate an environment for ideal hibernation. This option is not recommended as a refrigerator can be victim of a power failure and a sudden increase in temperature could interrupt the turtle’s hibernation and even be fatal to the pet. So as a general rule, if you plan on keeping your turtle inside, don’t let it hibernate.
If you really decide to keep the turtle indoors, you need a tank of at least forty gallon capacity, with clearly demarcated areas for land and water. Sixty six percent of the aquarium should be water and one-third should be land because you need a place where they can lay in the heat of a lamp.
The most ideal temperature of the aquarium is about eighty degrees during the day and seventy degrees during the night. Because they are cold-blooded animals, they would need more time to acclimatize themselves to temperature fluctuations and so it is not a good idea to take them out of their environment to show them around as the difference of temperature could affect their immune system.
Some turtles carry salmonella so be sure to clean your hands after handling them, but, their environment also needs to be kept clean too. You might have to think about a water purification system to clean the water and keep it clean. It is not a good thing to fill up the tank with tap water, which may contain chlorine, and fluoride and therefore could harm the pH balance. Use filtered water for drinking needs and de-chlorinated water for their swimming needs.
Various types of food for your pet turtle are available commercially, but the food needs depend basically on the species, however they must never be fed more than two or three times a week. Do not put any wood chips or tree bark in your tank because if a turtle ingests this, it can cause health issues plus it will also contaminate the water very quickly and cause molds or fungus to grow.
Don’t forget turtles need twelve hours of sunlight, so if you are keeping your pet indoors, you have to put up a UV lamp to provide the Vitamin D3 turtles need. This is why you see these creatures basking in the sun for hours, so when inside keep the tank at a place where there is not much temperature variation and some shady area for them to relax.
You could either make them with wood and stones or buy them from pet stores, but if you want to keep plants in the tank, make sure that they are safe for the turtles. Try to pay careful attention to your turtle’s behavior to keep it happy and it will provide lots of enjoyment for your whole family.