Turtles can make good pets, but that doesn’t mean they are for everyone. Like all animals, turtles require care and can present certain challenges for their owners. If you are looking to own a turtle or a tortoise, but don’t know much about the reptiles in a shell, here are five things to know about owning one.
Turtles Carry Salmonella
Salmonella is commonly known to be a food-borne illness found in things like peanut butter and other different foods; however, it is not just that. Turtles often carry the salmonella bacterium that causes many to get sick. And the sickness caused from it isn’t fun, such as wretched days of fever and diarrhea.
Young children, the elderly, or any person with a weak immune system is especially susceptible to salmonella, so it is not recommended that a turtle should be owned if a child five and under or an elderly person lives in the home. One doesn’t even have to touch the turtle to get sick, as salmonella can live on surfaces that the reptile comes in contact with. Wash your hands after handling a turtle.
One can’t be a lazy owner with a turtle
If one wants to be a responsible and good owner, then he or she better be prepared to put a lot of energy and effort into owning a turtle. The creatures may seem like low maintenance pets, but they are anything but. The tanks need to be cleaned often, as well as needing the right light, temperatures, and water filtration system. The good news is that if properly cared for through the right environment, turtles can actually live to be quite old.
Never let a pet turtle loose outdoors
If you want to get rid of your pet turtle, putting it out in the wild is not the way to go. They probably won’t survive, but if they do, the turtles can threaten native biodiversity. The red-eared slider turtle is one of the world’s most invasive species.
Clean the water
Turtles need to bask to survive, and that means that the water needs to be clean. Dirty water will lead to your turtle getting diseases, so clean the tank early and often.
Turtles aren’t your cuddle buddies
Turtles are not like social creatures like you and me. They do well on their own and prefer to be left alone, so don’t confuse the beloved reptile for lap dogs.