- Types of domestic turtles
- Conditions of detention
Most pet lovers prefer to enjoy the company of warm-blooded fauna, covered with wool or feathers. True, fans of the underwater world and those who wish to have an aquarium with fish in their house are also many. But those who choose terrariums and reptiles living in them, amphibians and insects, you will rarely see. But if snakes, spiders and scorpions make their pets risk only a few, then, for example, many turtles start without hesitation. Like, the animal is quite safe, and care for the turtle at home will not work.
But it was not there! Having brought home such an exotic pet, newly-made torto-owners face a lot of problems. After all, a turtle, first of all, needs special conditions of detention, it needs specific feeding. In addition, this animal has the feature of falling into hibernation, and from all sorts of diseases it is not insured. So, deciding to have a turtle, you simply have to equip yourself with the necessary knowledge.
Types of domestic turtles
The most common types of domestic turtles are red-eared, Central Asian and marsh. These animals differ from other pets in a very long life. In comfortable conditions and with competent care they can live about thirty years.
Most often, by purchasing these pets in pet stores, we become owners of red-bellied turtles. They are water turtles, which spend most of their time in the water. However, they need to periodically get out on land, where red-bellied turtles rest, and stroll. This kind of turtles differs by the patterned coloring of the shell and special marks – red or yellow spots on the sides of the head.
Central Asian turtles lead the land way of life. These are large enough specimens, reaching a mass of more than one and a half kilograms. The length of the shell is about twenty centimeters, and its color varies from a light-red to a dark olive color. In nature, Central Asian turtles are active only about three months a year. All the rest of the time they spend in burrows.
Swamp turtles. These habitual, and not exotic, turtles are widespread in Russia. And in our homes they tend to get directly from nearby ponds, bypassing shops and markets. Simply, being tempted by the opportunity to settle such unusual pets in our house, we make pet animals out of free animals. They do not differ in bright appearance (they have a one-color dark shell), but they can boast excellent health.
Some new owners of turtles are mistaken, believing that any kind of these domestic dwellers require standard conditions of detention. Yes, of course, in many respects the requirements for the content of turtles are similar, but there are also some differences.
Conditions of detention
Depending on the natural habitat for different turtles (aquatic or terrestrial), they must also be equipped with appropriate conditions in captivity. So, for example, to keep any turtle you will need a terrarium or (and) an aquarium. But…
For a water-colored turtle, only a large aquarium or aquaterrarium with a volume of at least 100 liters is suitable. In addition to water, there must still be an islet of land. It is best to purchase a special islet with inclined descent, rough surface and a large area of the island itself. The surface size of the island should be at least a quarter of the total area of the entire aquarium. It is also necessary to install a lamp under which your turtle will warm up. The aquarium is filled with standing water, which is changed once a month.
For the maintenance of the land-based Central Asian turtle, you will need a spacious terrarium with soil and a system for maintaining temperature and humidity. Comfortable temperature for these turtles is 25-28 degrees. The soil layer should be thick enough for your turtle to dig it. In addition, a lamp must be installed in the terrarium. In the summer, land tortoises can be strolled, and if possible, they can equip a street enclosure for them.
Swamp turtles are quite suitable for the same aquaterarium as for red-eared. Only water in the aquarium should be much less, since in nature these turtles live in shallow water. Over the island of land, it is also necessary to install a lamp, under which the turtle would be able to bask. They eat marsh turtles in the water, here they defecate. So the water in the aquarium for a swamp turtle needs to be changed more often.
As for the lamps for turtles, it must be incandescent lamps, since fluorescent and ultraviolet lamps do not heat. And turtles have the feature of falling into hibernation in winter. However, for a successful experience of this period, the tortoise needs special conditions with a constant maintenance of the necessary temperature. Therefore, it is better not to let your pets get into hibernation in the winter. To do this, you just need to raise the temperature in the terrarium or the aquatorarium, as soon as you notice that the animal has become less active and began to refuse to eat.
Among the turtles there are quite harmless herbivores, there are predators, and there are others who will not give up both plant and animal food. Therefore, when purchasing a home turtle, be sure to find out what type of food your pet needs.
So, for example, red-bellied turtles need protein food. Therefore, they are fed with bloodworms, minced meat or special granulated fodder. Let’s notice, that only meat to turtles to give it is impossible differently they will fall ill with a rickets. Therefore, include in their diet fish (boiled) and complement the menu with green salad, young cabbage leaves and pond algae. Feeding red-bellied turtles at the age of two years is spent daily, and more adults are given food two or three times a week.
Land-based Central Asian turtles are fed with coarse-fiber plant food. Excellent non-starch roots (carrots, beets), leaf lettuce, white cabbage, hard grass, dandelion leaves, zucchini, apples are ideal for their nutrition. All these fruits and vegetables (except for lettuce and cabbage) must be grinded on a grater, then put in a feeding bowl, and after one and a half to two hours the leftovers should be removed from the terrarium.
Marsh turtles are predators, although some of them are omnivorous. Therefore, the basis of their diet should be protein food. It is best to feed them with earthworms, large bloodworms, pond snails, fish and meat. But if adult marsh turtles can be given whole fish or small pieces of meat, then for feeding young turtles this food must be crushed, cut into small narrow strips similar to worms.
Unlike the same cats, dogs or even birds, the turtle does not need constant and thorough care. The main care for these pets is reduced to timely and proper feeding, as well as to cleaning the aquarium or terrarium. However, for example, the landed Central Asian turtles also need to periodically cut their claws and beak. True, this need arises only when the litter in the terrarium is not hard enough to claws naturally. For this procedure, look at the turtle for the lumen. If the tips of the claws are transparent, then they can be cut off – this is just an extra part that has no blood vessels. Trim claws with a clipper. Also cut off and the edges of the beak, which are then aligned with a nail file.
In addition, land tortoises need periodic bathing. This procedure is necessary not only for hygienic purposes, but also to maintain the water balance of the turtle body, as they drink through the skin. Once a week, the turtle is placed in the bath for twenty to thirty minutes. The water should be soft, without the addition of detergents and a temperature of about 30 degrees. In the water, you can add a decoction of chamomile, and during the moult and baking soda. And do not forget that this is a land tortoise, so during a bath its head should remain above the water.
Red-eared turtles, if necessary, are cut off only with claws, but do not touch the beak. Swamp turtles do not shorten either the beak or claws. So all the hygienic procedures for these turtles are reduced to changing the water and cleaning the aquarium.
In the care of turtles, as in the rules of their maintenance, there is a kind of taboo. Violation of these prohibitions can lead to very sad consequences, since it is very difficult to treat an injured or diseased turtle. And that the animal contained in house conditions, was not exposed to potential danger, remember, that it is impossible to do.
- You can not feed predatory turtles with just one protein food. Be sure to give them and vegetable food.
- You can not give herbivorous turtle meat in any form. Feeding with meat will lead to irreversible changes in the liver and even to the death of the animal.
- You can not contain turtles (any!) Without additional heat source.
- You can not keep water turtles in aquariums without an island of land. They can just drown.
- You can not keep in the same aquarium (terrarium) animals of different sizes or several males. Injuries and fights are inevitable.
- You can not keep turtles free. This is dangerous for their life and health.
- You can not feed the turtles with food from your table (without comments) and special foods for other animals.
In short, you should not allow in the contents of turtles of all that may badly affect their health or be dangerous to their lives. How else? After all, we are responsible for those who have tamed.
We advise you to read: Guinea Pig: Care and Content