Is a Turtle the Right Pet for You?

Turtles and tortoises are good pets . They are pets that are happy just to be watched or carefully handled. They are an affectionate pet but they are cute and interesting. Unfortunately many pet turtles die prematurely because their owners do not properly care for them. Turtle care is not difficult but it does require some preparation and research. First you need to do is decide what kind of turtle you can provide the best home for. This means deciding how much time and money you can provide the type of turtle you pick. Aquatic turtles live a long time. Given proper care these turtles can live somewhere between 20 and 50 years. Aquatic turtles require owners who are willing to put in a lifetime commitment for their care. The more common type of pet turtles is a turtle that lives on land and water. If you live somewhere where the climate is warm these turtles actually do well in outside habitats. These kinds of larger turtles thrive in sunshine and fresh air. They will graze on grass that is not treated with chemicals cutting down on the amount of commercial turtle food you must feed. You can feed these larger turtles by hand but like with all turtles you should wash your hands immediately afterward. The best turtle for households with children is the Mud or Musk turtle. Turtles that first time adult owners might want to consider are called Red Eared Sliders. These turtles adjust to different kinds of climates. Do research on the kind of turtle you plan to adopt before bringing it home. There is some general care that applies to all turtles , but to be a successful turtle parent you must know about the specific needs of the species you choose. Turtles require enough space to swim or live in. You need to provide an aquatic turtle a large environment to swim in. Land turtles require less space but the larger ones are happiest in an outdoor pen. Mini Turtles are a good choice of turtle for people who have limited space. All turtles require UVB light. They get essential vitamin A and D from this type of lighting . It is the only way for their body to absorb these essential nutrients. If your pet turtle does not get these nutrients they may die from infections and acquiring a soft shell. In order for your pet turtle to take full advantage of the UVB light you should provide a basking lamp. The turtle will use the basking area to help regulate its body temperature. You can easily create this area by using UVB bulb as the primary light source in their habitat. Water needs to be changed in your turtle's environment at least weekly. Certain types of aquatic turtles many require a water filtration system much like are used for certain types of fish. Other turtles will just acclimate to your tap water. It is important to keep the water free from bacteria and algae. Some turtles hibernate when the weather turns cold. Species like the Red Eared Slider turtle do not hibernate in captivity. Other species of turtles you will need specific knowledge in order to provide the correct environment for the time they hibernate. Turtles are omnivores and many will eat about just anything. You should only feed the diet recommended for the species of turtle you keep as a pet. Many will require supplementation in the form of liquid vitamins or food to be healthy. Some will do best being feed commercial turtle food only. Remember all turtles can pose a health risk and should not be kept in any home with a person who has a compromised immune system. You should always wash your hands after contact with the turtle and should keep the turtle away from human food stuffs. Turtle's main health risk to human is the spread of Salmonella. Using common sense and keeping the environment clean will greatly reduce your risk of contamination. Supervise young children with the turtle and always help them properly wash their hands afterward. If you do a little research and provide the proper care for the type of turtle you choose you will have a unique pet for many years .