Tag Archives: Turtle

For the Love of Reptiles: Your Reptile Match II

21 Feb

        In my last article “For the Love of Reptiles: Your Reptile Match”, I covered snakes and lizards. But there is another great reptile pet still to be mentioned. Turtles and Tortoises.  I saved these critters for last because I believe they are the most complicated to care for and need the most explaining.

        With so many turtles its hard to choose which one, if any, would be your best choice.  Just as I said with other reptiles, size is one of the first things to consider. Turtles and tortoises can reach all types of sizes.  One of my favorites is the Adalbra Tortoise, which can reach well over 300 pounds. Sizes can range from this all the way to the Spotted Turtle, which grows no larger than your palm. After that thought, pose this question to yourself. Do you want an aquatic turtle or a land turtle/tortoise? This is something you want to consider very carefully.


 If you are aiming for an easier pet, land turtles are the best choice. You can keep your pet inside or outside.  An indoor tank is more ideal for smaller species like the Box Turtle. If your room is already room temperature then in most cases all you need is a UVB lamp. If you have a warmer climate species then you  may need additional lighting to reach ideal temperature.  If you want an outdoor enclosure then there are many options, however its best to give the turtle a lot of space to walk around. Outdoors you can really have fun with your pet. Depending on the species, you can add foliage, which is great for hiding places. Planting fruits in the pen for the turtles also ensures a fun natural snack your pet will surely enjoy. Since the sun gives natural UVB rays, it’s not necessary to have a UVB light as long as natural light comes in the pen every day.  It’s always wise to have a shelter built for your pet to get away from natural elements and for night time, adding a warming lamp in the shelter is very beneficial. Always research your species to see what is needed for their enclosures.           

 Unlike land species, aquatic turtles can be quite complicated. Aquatic turtles are usually very social. If raised in captivity, they quickly learn who feeds them and have quite the personalities. There are many types of tanks to hold an aquatic turtle. Important things to know are that no madder the species, a basking/resting area is always needed.  Turtle water gets really dirty, really fast. Dirty water is a huge cause of illness in water turtles. So its important to keep a close eye on the water quality. A water heater and hiding places are also important for the happiness of your pet. You can add fish in your tank as well as snails and natural plants, all of which may become food at some point. You can also create a pond outside for your turtles, but I think a indoor tank is very rewarding.

        Turtles are not easy to take care of. Every turtle must have UVB lighting. No exceptions. Without this, their bones become weak and their shell can become deformed. Calcium usually must be added to the diet and what you feed the turtle can be absolutely vital to its health. The supplies for the upkeep of indoor enclosures can be expensive quick, but if your are up for the challenge, these animals make amazing pets!  (Above pictures: Box Turtle,Yellow-Belly Sliders, and Snapping Turtle).

Ciara Utech



Trachemys scripta elegans, Mans Punching Bag XI

5 Jul

I have heard the stories of calcium blocking foods and I know I have listed some above according to other “expert” sites.  But let me say this, I have been feeding these types of diets for over ten years now and have yet to ever have a reptile suffer calcium deficiencies in any way.  These theories of calcium blocking are based on human standards from the FDA and are not proven to be accurate by any veterinarian studies that I have seen.  If fed in moderation and not exclusively these foods will not cause calcium blockage.  Are we done now, with that ignorant argument?  As a matter of fact if you e-mail me a qualified veterinarian’s report I must be able to verify that the Veterinarian in question is actually practicing or has practiced somewhere for more than a year in the United States.  The study must state that specifically within a varied diet that includes vegetables and proteins that the calcium blocking vegetables in proportion to the others included in such a diet will cause a calcium deficiency and I will send the first two people to do so $25 via PayPal.  If you want to add a calcium supplement of some kind I would use non treated bird cuttlebone and just let it float around the tank.  The turtle will break off pieces itself and eat them.

We have seen that these “cute” little turtles are expensive and when all things are considered I would guess that most people doing the right thing and researching before buying will actually pass and get something else which is probably a good thing.  I would rather you purchase a different reptile than buy one on impulse only to have it suffer or worse be released into the wild to fend for itself.  While this article is thorough it is not intended to be nor should it be considered the only authority.  I would recommend as I always do that you read a book or at least another article about Red Eared Sliders Trachemys scripta elegans before purchasing one.  I wrote another such article for Associated Content which if you like to read that one as well you can find it by clicking here.

Trachemys scripta elegans, Mans Punching Bag X

4 Jul

You’re going to drain as much water as possible and then wipe down the entire enclosure with a rag removing any algae and other materials that the filter somehow missed.  After that you’re going to add all the water back as well as the turtle and then after the tank is refilled you will add the filter and plug it in.  After about ten minutes plug the heater back in the reason for the time lapse is that sudden shocks of temperature drop to the heater may cause it to malfunction.  Never for any reason, place your mouth on the siphon to get it started as you may get more than you bargained for with used turtle water.

Dietary needs are met through offering a varied diet of greens, fish, shrimp, worms, and even crickets.  In my experience the juvenile turtles will eat just about anything.  I prefer feeding frozen foods like krill and live worms such as night crawlers.  For greens give a rough chop to Green leaf lettuce, dandelion greens, red leaf lettuce, endive, kale, romaine, and zucchinis.  I would make about half cup of this mixture and place that in the aquarium to float around.

You’ll have to remove this daily and I use a fish net to do so as the juveniles will only eat small portions but once you figure out what they will eat its easier to adjust the amounts of foods to their needs.  Adult Red Eared Sliders Trachemys scripta elegans diet will be 75% plant matter.