Turtles can be a fantastic choice for a pet, but you should keep in mind that they do require some dedicated care. There are some essential considerations that turtle owners should never forget when caring for their new pet. Here are five of the big ones.
Lighting is an element that can’t be overlooked when caring for your turtle. Turtles bask in warm light to regulate their body temperature and require UV light to maintain healthy shell and bone structure, according to the PetSmart website. You can opt for incandescent bulbs for heat and fluorescent bulbs for health. As for time, you should provide 12 hours a day of both a UVA/UVA fluorescent bulb and an iridescent bulb.
Once you have your heat source arranged, you can’t forget a basking spot to let your turtle soak it all in. Provide them with an area outside of the water so they can get a chance to bask. You can opt for aquarium gravel to create a beach for your turtle. You can also choose a basking platform available from pet stores.
All turtles require water to survive, and aquatic turtles are especially demanding. A 55 gallon enclosure is the minimum size for most species of a single adult turtle, according to the Turtle Towns, a turtle care company. Larger turtles can require much larger tanks. Tortoises require shallow water that allows them to drink and wade.
In addition to basking platforms, it’s a great idea to include aquatic plants, rocks, figures and other terrarium additions. It’s also necessary to provide something that the turtle can use to hide themselves, such as an artificial or natural rock or wood piece that they can crawl under.
Aquatic turtles like to munch on crickets, mealworms or comet goldfish. But they need their greens too and should be fed 1 to 2 teaspoons of dark leafy greens a few times a week, suggests PetSmart. You can also opt for pellets or other types of formulated turtle food from a pet store.
Tortoises are herbivores, so you should stick with vegetables and fruit. Some good greens include kale, collard and dandelion greens. You can feed them sweet potatoes, squash and other fruit as well.
Owning a turtle or tortoise can be a fun and rewarding experience as long as you provide the most important elements of care.