Phone: 407-566-8292

49 Blake Blvd Celebration, FL 34747
Fax: 407-566-8295 | info@celebrationvet.com

Pet Turtles

ID-10017525Turtles are fascinating animals and can make great pets for someone who is willing and able to spend a tremendous amount of time and care on this docile species. These wonderful creatures have roamed the earth for more than 200 million years, meaning turtle ancestors lived amongst the dinosaurs. When given the right amount of care, turtles can even outlive human beings, so if you think you want to get a pet turtle, here is some important information you should know first.

In the USA it is illegal to sell a turtle that is less than 4 inches long. If you are buying a baby turtle because it looks cute, know that you will be doing so illegally. Turtles are classified as an exotic animal, which means you will have to check with your local and state regulations on what kind of turtle you can own and how it is to be kept in your home.

Because turtles carry salmonella you should not own one if you have children in the house younger than 5 years old, there is someone whose health is compromised due to illness, or if there is an elderly person living with you. These people are the most at risk for salmonella related illness that can cause severe illness and even death. Salmonella is dangerous because it sticks to surfaces, therefore when cleaning the turtles environment you will need to take care to ensure that you as well as the turtle are protected from cross contamination.

Still interested in getting a turtle? Here are some tips to choosing a turtle. First step is knowing the difference between a turtle and a tortoise. Turtles spend most of their time in the water, have webbed feet and tend to be omnivores. Tortoises live on land have stumpy feet like those of an elephant and are herbivores. There are many different kinds of turtles and tortoises available for purchase, but finding the right one depends on your ability to create an environment inside a tank or in your backyard that has all the elements a turtle or tortoise needs to be healthy and live long. This means you must research the breed you are interested in and decide if you are able to properly care for that type of turtle.

Common turtle environments include a pond with a log or rocks for sun bathing, a sun lamp, and a dry area where the turtle can come out of the water to get some exercise. It is suggested that prospective turtle owners buy a tank that is no smaller than 40 gallons. When putting bedding in the tank you should not use wood chips or bedding because the turtle can eat them and become ill, not to mention that the bedding is hard to clean and can encourage bacteria to grow inside the tank. Many turtle owners try to recreate the exact environment that the turtle would live in if it were wild. If you’re keeping your turtle in a tank make sure that the tank is kept at 80 degrees fahrenheit during the day and no colder than 70 degrees fahrenheit at night.

When adding water to the tank or the pond make sure to conduct a Ph balance test to ensure that the turtle isn’t being exposed to acidic water or water fused with fluoride and chlorine. However, you can clean tap water by using chlorine, but you must let the water and chlorine sit for 24 hours before it will be safe to use inside the turtle tank. It is recommended that you add partial new water to the tank every week and clean the tank thoroughly every 2-3 weeks. When preparing to clean the tank ensure that you have a safe place to hold your turtle while you clean, this environment should not be used for anything else other than holding your turtle. To clean the water in the tank in-between tank cleanings take a fish net and scoop out any uneaten food or waste to stop the water from becoming contaminated. You may need to do this daily as turtles eat in the water. A water filter can help you to keep the water clean and healthy.

You should feed your turtle a mixture of vegetables, fruits, bugs, and mosquito larvae. This mixture ensures that your turtle is getting all the nutrients he requires form his diet. Juvenile turtles require a strict diet of bugs and larvae until they mature into omnivores. Also make sure that any plants you place inside the tank are turtle friendly, because the turtles will munch on them and anything poisonous will kill you pet.

For more information about turtles you can consult the Humane Society website, or find a group of turtle enthusiasts to learn from. If you have a pet turtle and decide you don’t want to keep it anymore, do not release it into the wild, instead list it for sale and make sure it goes to a good owner. Releasing turtles into the wild is illegal and dangerous. Before purchasing a turtle make sure that you are able to make the commitment that a turtle needs.

Leave a Reply