Aquatic turtles are pleasing and entertaining pets. They are difficult to maintain and care for. Freshwater pet turtles require intensive labor, more than any other pet reptile. There are many species of turtles like the sea turtles, land turtles, and freshwater aquatic turtles. The following aquatic turtles are the most popular ones in North America.
These are commonly known as the Red-eared Slider turtles. The related species like Cooters and Chicken Turtles are also kept as pets and can live till a ripe old age. These freshwater pet turtles, although very tame, can bite. The males get aggressive with each other during the mating season. The young sliders are carnivorous and as they grow, they prefer more herbivorous food. The Red-Eared Slider grows up to 12 inches long and needs larger tanks or outdoor ponds to live.
These turtles live in soft-bottom ponds and pools. They burrow into the mud and hibernate. They prefer more land and shallow water to grow in. Many mud turtles are carnivorous. Therefore, do enough research before picking one as a pet.
These freshwater pet turtles are small in size and can grow up to 5 to 8 inches. They are found in China, Japan, and South Korea. They are easily identified by the three pronounced ridges down their brown backs, and a yellow plastron with brown spots. These aquatic turtles are prone to shell infections. Thus, keep them in clean water with plenty of UV light. They are carnivorous pets, but will also eat turtle pellets. Also, as the wild species of these aquatic pet turtles is on the endangered species list, avoid buying them from unknown sources.
These aquatic pet turtles are found all over the world except Australia and Antarctica. They live only in water and can grow very large. They therefore require large tanks or outdoor pools. These carnivorous aquatic turtles can bite, and they bury under the sand to wait for their prey. They are not easy pets and do not get very tame.
These American aquatic turtles are found across Canada, Georgia, and Louisiana in America. Painted turtles grow up to seven inches long. These water pet turtles have yellow stripes on their head and red and yellow stripes on the neck. These active omnivores are messy creatures and their tanks have to be cleaned regularly. They can eat from your hand.
Turtles as Pets
Aquatic turtles are not meant for children. Children cannot provide optimum care for them. These creatures, many times, are carriers of Salmonella that can infect children. Aquatic turtles need their habitat to be cleaned regularly and therefore children often lose interest in maintaining proper care for them.
Aquatic turtles require homes or enclosures that have regular UV light exposure. They can be affected by soft shell syndrome if the UV light is not provided. They require a high-quality good filtration unit to maintain the quality of water and keep it clean. The water level should be enough for the turtles to swim in. Provide them with a basking area and basking light. Maintain the water and the ambiance temperature at optimum levels.
Diet and Feeding
Aquatic turtles are omnivorous creatures and eat everything from insects to lettuce. However, it doesn't mean that you can feed anything and everything edible under the sun to your freshwater pet turtle. There are some commercial foods available in the market. You can feed your aquatic pet turtle 'food sticks' to keep it healthy.
You can also give it a mixed diet of fish food, little bits of meat, fruits, and vegetables. Aquatic turtles have bad table manners and therefore make sure that their water is clean and free from decomposing food and meat. Feed your pet turtle with small live fish once a week. The fish hunt will provide it with some exercise and entertain you as you watch it dive after its food.
You should keep a dish of fresh water in the pen as the living water is full of its excreta. If you notice lethargy or cloudy skin patches or milky eyes in your turtle, it means malnutrition. Visit a veterinarian with knowledge about reptilian health and find out the cause.
These exotic creatures have specific needs that are required to maintain their health. There are many factors to be considered other than ample light, moisture, clean water, a basking lamp, and a UVA bulb. When raising an indoor aquatic pet turtle, keep in mind that the tank capacity should be at least 40 gallons. Provide ample land area and water area. Make special arrangements for the turtle to bask under the basking lamp. Do not remove it from the water to play or show off. These sudden temperature changes may be stressful to your turtle. Aquatic turtles are cold-blooded and therefore their body takes time to adjust to the temperature change. Use de-chlorinated water for the tank and fresh spring water for drinking.
Do not use wood chips or tree bark in their dwelling area. These grow fungus and may be harmful if the turtle ingests them. Turtles require 12 hours of sunlight. Therefore, provide proper UV light so that they receive vitamin D3 that is necessary for them to stay healthy.
Indoor aquatic turtles should not be allowed to hibernate. If you have an outdoor pool or enclosure, the turtle can hibernate. Do not place your aquatic turtles in the refrigerator to provide the ideal hibernation conditions. The change in refrigerator temperature due to power cuts may disturb its sleep and prove to be fatal. If you wish to breed aquatic turtles, try and recreate their natural habitat. They will undergo hibernation and complete their natural cycles. Do not disturb them while they are asleep.
If you are planning to own a turtle as a pet, keep in mind that these intelligent animals can distinguish between friends and foes. Aquatic turtles have many requirements to stay healthy and live longer. It is not easy to keep an aquatic turtle as a pet. You need to put in a lot of care and attention regularly for their well-being. Research well about all the information regarding the pros and cons of having wild animals as pets. If you are ready to take this responsibility, adopt an aquatic pet turtle. These tame and sociable creatures do not ask for anything other than a proper environment and good pet care. Remember, you are responsible for a precious life.