Owning a turtle as a pet is not the right decision for every household. Though they are fascinating, quiet, and undemanding creatures, they may even outlive you. But, it does not mean that they are not an appealing option as a pet. All you have to do is to consider their complex housing and feeding needs.
It is true that turtles may be your perfect pet. Though they work less than dogs and cats, you need to take into account a few things before you buy one.
You can find a variety of turtle species, where there are such that can make better pets than others. Some are known to grow to large sizes, while some are preferred for their sociable nature. All types of turtles have different requirements, such as space, lighting, and diet.
Here, we have listed some types of turtles that are popular as pets. You will get to know about various things about these turtles so that you can find the one that is right for you and your family.
Red Eared Slider
These pet turtles are one of the most popular aquatic turtle species. These types of turtles are quite friendly and sociable than other turtles. They are also active and are widely available. Also, they are commonly housed indoors, but if you give them the right shelter, cleaning, and warm temperature what they need, they can work well in an outdoor pond. As they grow, it becomes easier to give them the space they are actually outside.
These types of turtles can grow to a large size of up to 12 inches, and they need a large tank with a sufficient basking area to live happily. You also need to provide them a UV lighting and a good-quality water filtration system. They are also known for being somewhat messy.
Owning these turtles can be quite expensive than some other pet turtles. This is due to their size, dietary needs, and large housing needs. You can enjoy the companionship of these hardy and healthy species for 50 years if they get the proper care.
When we talk about types of pet turtles, we can’t ignore Mud turtles as one of the preferred choices for many people. These turtles grow up to 4-5 inches long, and they have a lifespan of 25-50 years, depending on how they are cared for and maintained.
These turtles are native to Africa, Mexico, and even some places in North America. There are four types of Mud turtle species, where two of its species i.e., Mud and Stripped Mud turtles, have the size of around 4.5 inches when adults.
The other species, named Yellow Mud turtles and Sonoran Mud turtles, can grow up to 6 inches in adulthood. You must also know that since their name is Mud turtle, it does not mean that they live in mud or their enclosures need to be muddy.
The lifespan of Reeve’s turtles is 10-20 years, and they grow up to 4-9 inches. These turtles are known as Chinese Pong turtles and are quite popular in some countries, such as China, Japan, and Taiwan. These turtles love to live in still or slow-moving water, like lakes, ponds, and streams. Make sure they have lots of vegetation and basking areas.
If you are going to place these turtles in your home, the tank should have at least 50 gallons of water. Though these turtles are not colorful as you may find them in black or dark gray, turtle lovers still adore them for their attractive and passive behaviors.
As these turtles are more likely to get diseases, so make sure to keep an eye on their shells on a regular basis. When it comes to the care requirements of these pet turtles, they are similar to Red-eared sliders. Also, they are smaller in size, so they do not require a large enclosure.
African Sideneck Turtle
These types of turtles have distinctive long necks that they can’t retract fully into their shells. Also, these turtles have a different structure from traditional water-based turtles. They are popular in the pet world due to their unique appearance and size. But, at the same time, they need more care than some other turtles.
You need to keep these turtles clean, and their water should be cleaned every week. For this, the best way is to use a good filtration system as it will keep the water clean, and you need less frequent water changing.
Though they are small in size, they love swimming. Due to this reason, they require a large tank of at least 75 gallons. Make sure to get them a suitable basking area along with good UV lights. Always remember that these turtles need a minimum of 70 degrees temperature to live, and it should never drop than this. This reason makes them the ideal pet turtles for indoors.
You have to give them a fresh diet in order to prevent the deficiency of Vitamin A and D3. They are curious turtles and do not hide or rush away when you try to interact with them.
Eastern Box Turtle
These types of pet turtles require plenty of space. But due to their easy to adapt nature and also if they get the right housing, they can easily live indoors and outdoors. They like to live in a humid environment and also love to have a shallow pool of water in the enclosure. Make sure to give them UVB light with a suitable basking area if you are keeping them indoors.
It is very important to maintain their temperature because if the environment is too cold or too dry, this can lead to respiratory infections in them.
They can be shy but never aggressive. When you treat them gently and with minimal handling, you will start to see their real personality. In case if you have shown them a tasty tidbit, they may come out to greet you.
Western Painted Turtle
If you are looking for a distinctive and attractive pet turtle, a Western Painted turtle can be the best choice for you. These types of turtles have detailed shell markings that make them look appealing.
Though these pet turtles are not large, they need a large tank or outdoor space with an effective water filtration system, UV lights, and basking area. Make sure that they have a maintained warm temperature. They have similar housing needs to the red-eared slider.
They can be shy and do not like frequent handling. You must also know that these turtles like to eat while swimming. So, you need to select their food carefully so that you can lift them easily from the water surface if it is not eaten. It works great in keeping the tank clean for longer.
Mississippi Map Turtle
These turtles have a unique dorsal fin along with their shell. Due to this reason, sometimes they are also referred to as the ‘Sawback’. They do not require a large enclosure like other types of pet turtles on the list. So, if you have limited space, these turtles can be an appealing choice for you.
Though they can live up to 30 years, they have a shorter lifespan than average. Also, they can be a little cautious of people, which increase the chances of stress in these turtles. They do not like more handling, so make sure to keep it as minimum as possible. You have to work on creating a peaceful environment for them and also a covering place.
These types of turtles are quite hardy and are also less prone to health problems than other turtle species. They need clean water, good UV lighting, and an appropriate diet – these things are necessary to prevent fungal infections as well as the development of any kind of deficiency in these turtles.
If you have limited space, it does not mean that you can’t have any pets. If your kids want to have a pet turtle, you can consider the Spotted turtle as they are one of the smallest species that can easily be kept in captivity. Moreover, they also have an appealing appearance with their distinctive spotted shell. When they get the right housing, they can happily live indoors or out.
Having a Spotted turtle means you are going to have a long-term commitment as some of them even live more than 100 years of age. These types of turtles are not particularly strong swimmers, so make sure that their tank or pond should not be too deep. They also need warm basking areas so that they can get out of the water to rest.
You can give these turtles a good diet with plenty of meat, some leafy greens, and fruits as well.
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Tips on How To Take Care of Pet Turtles
How to Feed your Pet Turtle
Feeding your turtle can be a little difficult for you. Some turtles love to eat worms, fish, snails, and bugs, while some eat only plants and vegetables. So, you must know what to feed your turtle.
You can give food to your turtle 1-2 times a day. Always keep in mind that all types of turtles do not need snacks and treats, but make sure to feed them a proper diet of fresh foods on a regular time. You can choose to give them an additional 25% of their diet with turtle pellets.
If you don’t know what to feed your turtle, you can ask your vet or the pet store for guidance.
How to Get the Best Living Space
All turtle lovers must know that indoor pet turtles feel more comfortable in an aquatic turtle tank. The amount of water required in the tank depends on which type of turtle you have. Also, make sure to use non-chlorinated water.
Before you bring your pet turtle home, it is very important to do research about its required living space, such as the amount of water, size of aquarium or tank, as well as its heat requirements. You should also install UV lights to keep your turtle healthy. You should also have water and air thermometer so that you can easily find the optimal temperatures.
Make sure to keep the water clean and clean its filter regularly. If there is any debris, uneaten food, and droppings, removes them frequently. Adding pebbles and rock will help them climb and also give them resting spots.
How to Handle your Turtle
Though turtles do not need contact like other pets, they feel good to handle and pet them. When you pet them, be careful and approach them from the front. Make sure to pick your turtle on the sides of the shell. Never grab them by a leg or the head. Don’t be surprised when you see your turtle slinks into its protective shell.
You need to keep an eye on your turtle when placed on the floor. Check if it does not escape. Once you are done playing with your pet, keep it safely to its home, and don’t forget to wash your hands properly.
Do you know that turtles can also bite? Yes, they bite when they are afraid or anxious. So, in any case, your turtle bites you resulting in the breakage of your skin, simply clean it immediately with soapy water to evade any infection.
How to Clean your Turtle
Since turtles spend most of their time in the water, so most of them clean on their own, some turtles need a bath frequently as a part of their pet turtle care routine. You just need to rinse them to remove dead skin or algae. You can clean them in a small basin as well.
For cleaning, you need to have lukewarm water and a human toothbrush, and make sure to scrub its shell gently. Don’t miss cleaning turtle’s creases as these areas can have algae and other debris. Also, never use soap or shampoo as it can irritate your turtle’s body. When you are done with cleaning, rinse your turtle thoroughly and place it back in its tank.
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Though these types of pet turtles can make interesting companions, don’t take them lightly in terms of commitment. They need adequate living space and some equipment for keeping their enclosures clean and warm. Also, take care of their diet.
Just make sure to give them proper attention to ensure they are healthy and happy. Fulfilling all these conditions means you are going to have your pet turtle for many years.