Turtles As Pets For Beginners

Turtles As Pets For Beginners

Turtles As Pets For Beginners

Turtle Care

Caring for turtles is a very important part of owning a turtle. As a pet owner, you will no doubt want to give your little turtle all the “turtle care” in the world. This will make sure he/she grows to be strong and healthy.

What do turtles eat? Of coarse giving your turtles the right types of food is a very important part of turtle care. There are many things to know about turtle food to make sure your turtle stays alive and well.

In general, it’s important that a turtle has a varied diet. A general rule of thumb for turtle diets is to feed them 50% protein (meat-based) foods and 50% plant-based, vitamin-rich foods.

Turtles As Pets For Beginners

Depending where you live depends on what turtle is best for your pet. In  America the painted turtle is a common and one of the easier turtles to take care of. You can find more information about keeping a painted turtle as a pet here.

You have to be prepared for the long haul before you decide on getting a turtle as a pet. Painted turtles have been known to live up to 50 years in captivity. Whilst their average age is normally around 30 years.

The box turtle is another common turtle through America and can be easily found to purchase.

In Australia the long neck turtle is a common pet but they cannot be taken from the wild. You have to purchase one from a licenced reptile breeder or owner.

The turtles as pets for beginners are quite strong and hearty turtles. I understand that being new to having a pet turtle is exciting but it is extremely important that you do not over feed your new friend.

Old and uneaten food needs to be removed from the tank so it does not turn the water rancid.

Equipment Needed For Turtle Care

Turtles As Pets For Beginners


Baby turtles up to 6”/15cm in shell-length are normally kept indoors in glass tanks or enclosures that include ponds.

The smallest tank for the tiniest turtles should be at least 4’/120cm long, 18”/45cm wide, and 18”/45cm tall.

Part of good turtle care is making sure your turtle has a safe place to swim from which they can climb in and out.

They also need to be able to bask in warm sunlight or appropriate artificial lights.

In setting up a habitat for your pet turtle you can use gravel, objects for your turtle to lie on such as logs and islands, a water filter and also a submersible water heater.

You should check on the requirements of your turtle species as it’s often a good idea to add a little bit of aquarium salt to the water. You should consult a pet expert before doing so.

What you will need in order to take proper care of your turtle will also depend on whether they will live indoors or outdoors.

Exercise For Pet Turtles

Turtles need a lot of exercise – which surprises many people. You should make sure your turtle has plenty of room to swim around and also access to “land” structures.

Some turtles love to climb around out of the water as well as swim. Exercise is an essential part of turtle care and should never be ignored.

Here’s a video which shows how to care for box turtles


The Difference Between Turtle And Tortoise And Terrapins

Difference Between Turtle And Tortoise And Terrapins

Difference Between Turtle And Tortoise And Terrapins

The Difference Between Turtle And  Tortoise And Terrapins


What’s the difference between turtle and tortoise and terrapins? We’ve all heard the terms used, and there are many people who use these terms interchangeably; but while there certainly are similarities, there are many differences.


What Are The Similarities?

Let’s start with the similarities. All turtles, tortoises and terrapins are reptiles, and they all fall under the same classification – Testudines.

All three are ectothermic, meaning their body temperature is based on the temperature of the air or water surrounding them.

They all lay eggs, they all breathe air and they all have scales and shells. But this is where the similarities start to end.

Difference Between Turtle And Tortoise And Terrapins

If these basics are all similar, why the three different names? The difference comes in the habitat and the diet of the reptile, as well as the shape of its shell.

There may also be a difference in the names where you live. In the USA, all members of the Chelonian family are called turtles.

In the UK and most of Europe, the word terrapin is used when talking about freshwater turtles and the word turtle in used when talking about sea turtles.

In Australia, both sea and freshwater varieties are known as turtles.


Differences Between Turtle And Tortoise And Terrapins

Starting with the basics, turtles spend most of their lives in water, including freshwater and saltwater.

Tortoises spend all their time on land with some living thousands of kilometres from major water sources.

Terrapins are the crossover between the two, with their habitats divided between marshy, brackish waters and land.

This is however where it can get a little confusing if you just happen across a turtle (or is it a terrapin) out of the water?

You’ll find both turtles and terrapins will leave the water to bask in the sun, using rocks, logs, sand and other surfaces to get the most of the warm sunlight.


Turtle, Tortoise And Terrapin Habitats

As we’ve mentioned above, tortoises live mainly on dry land, and you’ll find them in hot, dry areas such as parts of North America, Mediterranean Europe and Asia.

Sea turtles spend much of their life at sea, only coming ashore to lay eggs and can be found all over the world.

Terrapins, or freshwater turtles, live in brackish or freshwater creeks, lakes and ponds across the world. They may be found in stagnant or flowing waterways


Check Out Those Feet…Difference Between Turtle And Tortoise And Terrapins

Turtles and terrapins have webbed feet helping them swim, while sea turtles have feet that are like flippers helping them glide through the water.

The feet of a tortoise however are very different. Their feet are stumpy, helping them walk long distances across land – you won’t see tortoises swimming with feet like these!

Their front legs are used to dig, while for freshwater turtles and terrapins, they often tear apart food with their claws.


Turtle Facts

* Often referred to as sea turtlesDifference Between Turtle And Tortoise And Terrapins

* Live in oceans across the world

* Only access land to lay eggs

* Streamlined, flatter shell to help with gliding through the water

* Flippers instead of legs

* Grow up to almost 2 metres

* Many species are omnivorous, enjoying seaweed and algae as well as smaller prey. The Leatherback turtle eats jellyfish regularly


Tortoise Facts

 * Live on dry landDifference Between Turtle And Tortoise And Terrapins

* Live in hot, dry climates

* Tortoises in areas with colder winters may hibernate

* Domed shell

* Stubby legs for walking

* Don’t swim

* Can vary in size from 25cm through to over 1 metre

* Almost entirely vegetarian however some may eat a small amount of meat


Terrapin Facts

Difference Between Turtle And Tortoise And Terrapins

 * Live in freshwater rivers, creeks and ponds, both stagnant and flowing

* Flatter shell to help with swimming

* Legs with webbed feet and claws

* Good climbers and will climb riverbanks to bask

* Grow to the size of a dinner plate

* Can live up to 50 years

* Most species in Australia are omnivorous eating weed, small fish, small crustaceans and berries. Others are carnivorous, only eating fish, shrimp, crayfish and the like.


It is easy to mistake turtles and terrapins, especially when you’re in a country that calls them all turtles!

While turtles and terrapins have their similarities, they also have their differences, namely their habitat, the amount of time they spend out of the water and the food they eat.

Tortoises are of course quite different.


So, what’s the easiest way to remember who is who in the turtle world?

Turtles are often referred to as sea turtles and only leave the water to lay eggs.

Terrapins live in the water, however will leave the water to lay eggs and bask in the sun, as well as to move from space to space.

Tortoises live on land and spend their time on land – they don’t swim, they don’t hunt and have a majority vegetarian diet.


There is always some confusion as to what a turtle, terrapin and tortoise is, and with different names between each country, this confusion is understandable.

I hope the short guide above will help you tell the difference between turtle and tortoise and terrapin if you happen across one of these reptiles in the wild.

Painted Turtle Pet – What To Feed A Painted Turtle

What To Feed A Painted Turtle Pet

What To Feed A Painted Turtle Pet

Painted Turtles Have Beautiful Colors And Markings

The painted turtle is small reptile that has a shell or carapace with various colors. Some species have red or yellow running through their carapace.

Their legs and neck are dark, with a colored striped tail and yellow eyes. The male painted turtle are known to be smaller and flatter than the female counterpart.

What To Feed A Painted Turtle PetThe painted turtle are diurnal species, which means that they are active mainly in the day.

Painted turtle spend most of their time in the night sleeping in the water however some painted turtle have been discovered to be active at night.

Painted turtle become very active when we have sunrise and spend their time in the water and on rocks.

Painted turtle are omnivorous, which mean they feed both on plant and animals.

The male painted turtle reaches maturity between 4 to 6 years. While the female becomes mature from 6 to 10 years. The main predators of the painted turtle are man, bird and snakes.


Painted Turtle Habitat

What To Feed A Painted Turtle Pet

Painted turtle are prevalent in North America and are one of the most common turtle species in United States and Canada.  They have also been discovered in European and Asian nations.

Painted turtle prefer shallow water and dense vegetation. They are found around freshwater environments and are also present in brackish waters. Painted turtle can also survive in polluted waters.


Painted Turtle Size

Apart from their beautiful color, another aspect of painted turtle is their manageable adult size.

The adult western painted turtle grow up to six inches, while the south painted turtle are more than six inches.

Those painted turtle found in the East are between 6 and 7 inches. The male painted turtle is not as big as the female.


How Long Do Painted Turtles Live?

Painted turtle have a long life span, and are recorded to live up to 50 years in captivity. So they are a long time companion as a pet.

If feed and kept in a good environment you can expect your painted turtle to live up to 30 years. The life span needs to be considered when getting a painted turtle as a pet.

Painted Turtle Pet Habitat

Proper lighting and temperature are crucial for maintaining your turtle in good health.

The house should be between 70-90F, and the water temperature may be between 63-76F degrees.  Check measuring tank thermometers and humidity daily will be a good choice in maintaining their body temperature.

Expect to replace the UVB lamp for basking area every six months.


What To Feed A Painted Turtle

Since they are omnivorous, painted turtles enjoy a wide variety of foods. Painted turtle food needs to be provided with it’s nutritional needs in mind. You can supplement the basic foods below with turtle treats

But nothing is as good for your turtle as natural foods, such as worms, insects, fish and vegetables, especially leafy greens.

In the wild young painted turtles mainly consume plants until they get older. Ask your veterinarian about providing calcium and vitamins for your pet turtle.

Find a veterinarian specializing in exotic species to care for your pet. It is unlikely that a normal dog and cat veterinarian can treat your painted turtle.

What To Feed A Painted Turtle Pet

Painted Turtle Diseases

Turtles are prone to eye disorders, conjunctivitis, and corneal ulceration. Subcutaneous abscesses are another common problem with painted turtle; appearing as swelling of the skin.

In case your painted turtle is not eating well or breathing slowly, go to your veterinary doctor will be a wise choice. Your doctor will take a fecal sample to ensure that your painted turtle have doesn’t intestinal parasites.

When keeping a painted turtle ensure that it is in a suitable aquarium with an adequate lamp for heating. Direct sunlight is preferred.

Make sure you have a cooler place so the painted turtle can take shelter if desired. Furthermore, the housing must be safe, that is to say, that the turtle will not escape.

A painted turtle will require good quality water as dirty water can lead to various diseases and infections. An aquarium pump is necessary. Painted turtles cannot be let loose in the house or garden.