Dogs, green iguanas, cats, parakeets, parrots, are the first animals you can think of when deciding to adopt a pet. But have you thought of turtles as pets?
Among other popular options, we find the turtle, which can be easily adapted to our human-animal instinct.
Turtles as pets also require certain special care to be taken into account, since it is a slow-moving and calm animal, it does not mean that we can neglect the care it requires.
My turtles as pets
Turtles like reptiles have populated the planet for millions of years, and not much has changed since then. Its main feature is a hard shell that protects it from predators and they have a life expectancy as long as their owners, or even longer, with some species living over a hundred years.
There are varieties between land turtles and sea turtles, but turtles as pets? Yes, of course, but be very careful with the species that we choose. You should stay away from unconventional means of purchase, such as informal buyers, since many of these turtles are in danger of extinction, precisely because of animal trafficking.
The main recommendation is to go to a recognized pet store in your city to buy a copy that suits you. Keep in mind that the feeding of this reptile can change between one turtle and another.
Types of Turtles as Pets
You must recognize the different species of turtles that exist, so you know what food you must provide, how much they can grow since some pets grow to sizes that do not adapt to your home and also make sure that you are not buying a copy in the dark line of extinction.
It is one of the most common as a pet, requires a habitat of at least 2 square meters, and eats mainly vegetables.
It can measure up to 30 centimeters and correct lighting is necessary.
Mainly from Asia and Africa, although today you can find it almost anywhere in the world. They do all their daytime activities and eat mainly vegetables.
It hibernates in winter, it is perhaps the smallest of all, that does not mean that it does not require a suitable terrarium for its needs.
Red Belly Turtle
These pet turtles are aquatic and eat meat, they have hibernation season and enjoy doing their daytime activities, although they are not many. It is a sea turtle highly anticipated by turtle lovers.
How to care for a Turtle?
Caring for a turtle does not mean the same challenge as caring for an iguana, although they do not move with great agility or speed, their space should not be small, they are very active, in their path, to exercise, they are in constant movement to maintain their firm muscles and power to support the weight of your shell. Some of the most important cares to consider are:
A comfortable space for our Land Turtle
To know what space your turtle will need, you must analyze what will be the maximum size it can reach in its adult state. Land turtles can live both in an artificial habitat and in open garden-type spaces that you have at home, if it is aquatic, an aquarium will be the idea.
Whether on land or water, terrariums need accessories such as correct lighting for day and night.
How to feed a Turtle?
It all depends on the turtle, what species we have bought. You must document yourself according to the species they are offering before buying it since according to this it will feed on plants, fruits, insects, or meat.
Land turtles eat mostly vegetables with certain small bites of fruit and smaller bites of insects. At home, they can also feed them with special turtle food that they sell at any vet.
Cold-blooded reptiles, like iguanas and snakes, cannot regulate their body temperatures, so they need heat sources such as the sun or adequate light and heat lamps for this purpose.
Not all do, so you should know what species of turtle you acquired. If it is one of the turtles that hibernate, your pets must be fed very well during the summer, two weeks before their hibernation cycle you should start to decrease the food portions until they begin to fast, you can consult this topic in more depth in your veterinary store or with an experienced vet or turtle keeper.
Do not forget to decorate the terrarium or the garden with stones so that your turtle walks on them. Not only will they be decorative elements but they will also allow our pet to file their nails. Also, this animal has a fondness for digging holes, be careful that it does not fit very deep if it is done outdoors because you could lose it forever.
Do not feed it with dog and cat food, sweets, or bananas. Water is an indispensable factor for them like many other species, do not forget to always keep fresh water available for you to drink. The grooming of your turtle is important, do not let the fecal materials accumulate in their habitat, cleaning it regularly is a law.
You must have an aquarium that is less than four times the size in adulthood that your pet will have. It must have space to swim with a certain freedom, but also have dry areas, made up of stones or earth so that our turtle rests regularly.
Clean your fish tank weekly, cleaning the glass, and the debris that may have adhered to the stones. Allow the fish tank to have a natural source of sunlight, or failing that, artificial lighting, but keep in mind that the artificial will not replace the sun.
Advantages of having a Pet Turtle
- They live for a long time, which means that your friend did not abandon you for many years.
- They take care of themselves after the cleaning services are adequate, the space available for them is correct and they have food and drink available, they do not need your constant attention.
- Apart from the initial investment in an artificial habitat, aftercare is very inexpensive.
- They do not make noise nor are they the object of chaos.
- They hardly ever get sick but watch for changes or spots on the shell.
- They do not promote allergies in humans.
Disadvantages of having a Pet Turtle
- If you want an active pet that licks, hugs you, and jumps when you get home, buy a dog, not a reptile.
- When it hibernates it disappears, that is, it hides or remains immobile and it seems that it had left home for a few months.
- They do not like to be disturbed, you are not lifting them regularly, they may bite you or they can get stressed and sick.