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Turtle Care 101: How to Take Care of a Turtle

Florence has a great admiration for pets and animals in general. This passion has resulted in her offering useful tips on pet care.

Turtles might not be cuddly, but they are cute! Here's a comprehensive guide to caring for your pet turtle.

Turtles might not be cuddly, but they are cute! Here's a comprehensive guide to caring for your pet turtle.

Taking Care of Turtles

Turtles may not be cuddly, but they are cute and fascinating. They are also a great choice as pets since they are easy to maintain as long as you provide them with a habitable environment. There are different types of turtles, all of which you can keep as pets as long as you familiarize yourself with how to take care of them.

If you want to keep your turtle happy, you need to provide the following:

  • Food
  • A hiding place
  • Special lighting and heat
  • Protection from predators

This article will teach you turtle parenting skills to ensure you are successful in your commitment to rearing one.

Housing Your Turtle

There are two types of turtles: aquatic, which spend 75% of their time underwater and only go on land when basking or laying eggs, and semi-aquatic turtles which spend 50% of their time in water and the rest on land.

When putting up a house for your pet, you need to acknowledge the fact that turtles are cold-blooded creatures and highly sensitive to temperature changes. Consider the following features when choosing the right tank for your pet.

Turtle Housing Requirements

  • You need non-chlorinated water that should be added depending on the type of turtle you are rearing. If you are rearing the aquatic turtle, the habitat should be 75% water, and if it’s semi-aquatic, water should cover 50% of the habitat.
  • Other than the swimming water, you need to provide a spring of fresh water for drinking. This water should be changed on a daily basis to prevent contamination.
  • Heat and lighting are essential, and you can use UV-B and UV-A bulbs that mimic natural light sources. UV lighting is responsible for providing your pet with Vitamin D.
  • The tank should have proper ventilation for the provision of fresh air.
  • A turtle requires the water to be around 70 degrees Fahrenheit and the air to be around 80 degrees. Your turtle tank needs to have thermometers to read these requirements so that you can always adjust accordingly.
  • It should be divided into swimming and basking areas. The size of the latter depends on the size of the turtle or the number of turtles you have. Also, if you have a semi-aquatic turtle, the basking area needs to be large since he spends most of the time on land.
  • If you are rearing multiple turtles in the same aquarium, each turtle will require at least 10 gallons worth of space.
Healthy turtle meal

Healthy turtle meal

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Feeding Your Turtle

Different turtle species have different nutritional requirements and, therefore, may require you to talk to a veterinarian before feeding your pet. Some turtle species are herbivorous, meaning they feed on plant materials only. Carnivores feed on meat, and omnivores feed on both meat and plants.

Whichever type of turtle you are rearing, it is important to ensure that the food you feed him meets the nutritional requirements. You can easily get turtle food from your local pet store, which offers the following nutritional benefits:

Fruits and Veggies for Your Turtle

Leafy GreensOther VeggiesFruits




Carrot tops






Collard greens









Flowers and Proteins for Your Turtle











Turtle Feeding Recommendations

  • Fruits and vegetables: Fresh veggies are essential in filling your pet’s daily diet. Ensure the veggies are chopped up before feeding your turtle.
  • Commercial foods: From time to time, you should sneak commercial food made specifically for turtles since it is rich in calcium and phosphorous and has vitamin A.

Keeping Your Turtle Hygienic

Good grooming for your turtle is essential and it ensures that your pet is always healthy. You can achieve good grooming by following the tips below.

Turtle Hygiene Tips

  • Regularly clean the aquarium and change the water to prevent contamination. When cleaning, ensure you remove all parts of the tank, including materials on the basking spot of your turtle. Cleaning should be done with warm water and anti-bacterial soap, and you should leave the rocks to soak before cleaning them thoroughly. After cleaning, put everything back and refill the tank with non-chlorinated water.
  • Ensuring the filtration system is always working properly so as to prevent feces and food particles build up.
  • Always ensure you clean your hands before handling your turtle to prevent germs transfer.

Ensuring Your Turtle Is in Good Health

Turtles are prone to aquatic diseases if you fail to meet some of the care requirements, including poor husbandry or low water quality. However, you can keep your pet healthy by doing the following:

Turtle Health Considerations

  • Offer an appropriate aquarium size: Your turtle requires adequate housing to minimize contamination and the size should be determined by the number of turtles you keep and the size of the turtle. When the tank is too small, your turtle will not have enough space and can easily suffer from stress. If the turtle gets stressed, his immune system will weaken making him prone to infections.
  • Proper heating: The aquarium should be properly heated so as to maintain the optimal body temperatures of your turtle. You can use a heating lamp which imitates sun heat hence prompting the turtle to heat out of the water to busk. The other option is the use of heat water which is especially suitable if you are rearing the pure aquatic turtles.
  • Light provision: Adequate light is essential as it provides your turtle with calcium which helps in bone and shell health. UV-B lighting should be provided to turtles of all ages.
  • Good diet: Feed your turtle depending on the species. If you are not sure which the right food for your pet is, consider talking to the vet for advice. If you are rearing the aquatic turtles, they prefer eating in water and you should always remember to remove any leftovers to prevent water contamination.
  • Always provide high-quality water: The aquarium water should always be fresh and free of food particles. You can tell the tank is dirty if you smell a bad odor or if the filters are blocked.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2018 Florence Esther

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