Turtles may not be cuddly, but they’re certainly cute and generally easy to care for. If you’re well researched and prepared you can give your turtle a home that it can happily live in for up to 20 years.
If you’ve ever wondered how to take care of a pet turtle, or you already have one but want to brush up on your turtle parenting skills, consider this your turtle tutorial from our exotics vet Stephanie Greenwood
If you still have questions, please feel free to contact us for advice or to book a turtle check-up.
Where to start
You’ll probably want a terrarium for your turtle, and it’s best not to skimp on size as your pet will need both water and land with plenty of room to explore. Even the smallest turtles should have a terrarium or aquarium no smaller than 29 gallons, 4ft long, 18in wide and 18in tall.
Clean water is essential, so you will need a strong filtration system and regular changes of water to prevent a build-up of particles that can lead to infections.
Temperature is also important, so do your research to check exactly the level of warmth your type of turtle needs and invest in thermometers for both air and water to ensure those temperatures are maintained.
It’s good if your turtle can get some sunlight too, as it helps their shells develop property – without it they can get metabolic bone disease.
Diet and health
It depends on the type of turtle you have, of course, but the Clent Hills Vets team advises that turtles will generally eat insects, fish and dark, leafy greens. You can also buy canned or pelleted turtle food and freeze-dried mealworms.
As a general rule, you should only feed your turtle four to five times a week, mimicking the limited amount of food that would be available in the wild, although young turtles should be fed every day. Calcium supplements are also a good idea.
Finally, be sure to check regularly for any physical signs of illness. These may include:
- swollen eyes
- discolouration on the shell
- avoiding food
If you notice any of these, do call us on 01527 889810 and we will be happy to give you more advice or book your turtle in for a check-up.