Midland Painted Turtles: A Complete Care Guide

Midland Painted Turtle

The Midland painted turtle is a beautiful and interesting pet, but it will require plenty of special care and attention to keep it healthy and happy inMidland Painted Turtle captivity.

To help you understand these cute critters ad how to look after them a little bit more, here’s our complete guide to the Midland painted turtle:

 

The Midland Painted Turtle – An Introduction

The Midland painted turtle (Chrysemys Picta Marginata) is an attractive subspecies of the painted turtle that comes from the Emydidae family of pond turtles. Other types are the Western painted, Southern painted and Eastern painted turtle. They are found in the Western Hemisphere, most notably in America and the Great Lakes.

They can get to around 9 or 10 inches in size (females), so they aren’t the smallest turtle type you can adopt, but some do only grow to 5 inches (males).

In captivity they can live to about 30 or 40 years, so they aren’t a small time commitment. Some people really love that fact, though, because it gives you the chance to make a really strong bond with them.

Unfortunately, the life length and specialist care they need often results in an excess of turtles requiring rehoming. However, it is better to move the animal on to a rescue or a new home than it is to let it loose in the wild, which would be terrible for both the turtle and the local ecosystems.

The Midland painted turtle is the hardest to identify because there is no particular distinguishing feature. As with their other painted pals, though, they are very beautiful with a black, brown or green body and shell and bright stripes, splodges and bars across it.

In the wild you will find the Midland painted turtle in gentle bodies of water with soft muddy or sandy bottoms, lots of plant life, basking sites and freshwater.

 

The Midland Painted Turtle As A Pet

The Midland painted turtle can cohabit with other painted types, like the Western painted, as well as similar breeds like red sliders. As long as they have lots of space they won’t show aggression towards each other and should cohabit peacefully.

When it comes to handling a Midland painted turtle, you should minimise contact. They are very shy and can carry salmonella, which is why turtles are commonly not recommended as pets for families with very young children.

Instead, because the turtles won’t run away when you approach to watch them, you can enjoy observing their day to day activities. They are a lot of fun to watch as they swim about and explore.

If you do need to handle them for tank cleaning or to take them to the vet, they can be easily picked up with one hand (for smaller turtles) by the shell, or if they are larger, with one hand on the front of the shell and one at the back. Be careful to watch their mouths as they can bite.

Chrysemys Picta Marginata

Choosing A Midland Painted

Buy a Midland painted turtle from a reputable source like a verified breeder or a rescue facility. They should have a full history for the turtle, be willing to show you the turtle, its habitat and veterinary certification for parasite checks etc.

As a good visual guide, you can also keep an eye out for:

  • Bright eyes
  • Clear eyes with no discharge
  • Strong legs and arms (they should react when they are picked up but not panic)
  • An active disposition (no lethargy)
  • No cracks, pits or obvious wounds
  • No sagging between their body and the shell
  • No excessive basking
  • No swelling anywhere
  • No fear of getting in the water
  • Any signs of vitamin A deficiency or parasites (misshapen shell, white patches on the shell, nasty poop)

If you can, get the turtle to an exotic animal vet for a check before paying for it (accompany the breeder) or ask for a check from a vet of your choice. This may be difficult as the turtles are not very expensive, but if the breeder is good, they will do this for you. They should also ask you lots of questions to check that you are a suitable owner.

 

Midland Painted Turtle Care

Your Midland painted turtle will need a very specific environment to live in that replicates its natural environment as much as possible. Below, we’re going to look at the main aspects of their enclosure size, lighting and other factors to make sure your turtle feels happy in their new home:

Tank

The Midland painted turtle loves to swim, which means they cannot really thrive in a small tank.

Instead, a large tank at least 10 gallons per inch of shell is advised. It should be a minimum of 60 gallons and even bigger if you want lots of turtles.

If you buy a hatchling or juvenile Midland painted, you will only need a smaller tank of 20-40 gallons taking special care to only add 10 gallons of water to it. Once the turtle gets more confident and water proficient you can add more water and eventually move them to a bigger tank overall.

The tank itself will need to be at an ambient temperature of about 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit, with the water kept at about 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit. As well as your general tank lighting, depending on where you live you will need a water heater to keep the water at the right temperature. This heater should be turtle tank suitable, have a visible thermometer and work automatically if the water temperature starts to drop.

If there is a lot of water in the tank you may need two heaters to heat the water. You will also need an excellent filter. Try to buy one with double the filtration power you would buy for fish. So if it filters 60 gallons consider that to filter 30 gallons of turtle water. This is because turtles are much messier than fish and they poop a lot more!

Lastly, do change at least a third of the water every week. You will need to treat the water to remove chemicals from it before adding it to the tank.

 

Substrate & Enrichment

You don’t need to add anything to the tank in the way of decorations and substrate, but this will be boring for the turtle and for you.

Instead, try to add things like large smooth aquarium rocks, slate stones and other non-edible items in the water itself. In areas above water you could add turtle logs and even plants and other items for the turtle to hide or forage in. These are important to manage the Midland painted turtles stress as they need to be able to hide to feel secure. Just make sure the items are smooth, non-toxic and easily cleaned.

Other Midland painted turtle owners like to add floating and weighted plastic and real plants in the water, and even add extra basking stations too, just to give the turtle a more interesting environment.

 

Basking

All turtles need to be able to bask so that they can thermoregulate, which they do by going in and out of the water (and onto the basking station). The basking temperature needs to be about 88 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, provided by a ceramic heat lamp or tube lamp. This lamp should be off at night to remove the UVA light source and allow your turtle to rest.

You also need to include a UVB light in this section which is incredibly important to a turtle’s health. It enables them to make Vitamin D3, something they need for strong bones and a strong shell. Without it, they can become deformed and very sick.

When you choose a light you will be able to see how far from the basking station you need to place it so that it provides the right amount of UVB. You also need to change the bulb regularly to avoid it decreasing in the UVB it puts out.

Many manufacturers sell basking lights that combine normal UVA lighting, UVB and heat together. Whatever you do choose, you should buy thermometers and other measuring equipment so you know exactly what your basking station is putting out for your turtle. This is an essential aspect of Midland painted turtle care and worth investing more money in overall.

 

Feeding Your Midland Painted Turtle

The Midland painted turtle loves meat as a baby and juvenile. As they get older they lean more towards veggies.

In your care, regardless of the animal’s age it should have a very well-rounded diet to make sure it gets all the necessary vitamins and minerals.

Here are some suggestions for their food:

Turtle Pellets – some people only feed turtle pellets to their turtles. However, many keepers recommend pellets only make up some of their diet, with fresh foods making up the rest for interest and nutritional quality.

Seafood – Feeder fish are great for Midland painted turtles because they offer the animal some interest and encourage it to move to catch its food. Ghost shrimp are also great for this.

Veggies – There is a vast amount of veggies your Midland painted turtle can eat including; pondweed, red leaf lettuce, endives, romaine lettuce, dandelions, water lilies and water fern. You should include a mixture of floating plants and chopped prepared plants for variety.

Insects – Mealworms, blood worms and crickets are turtle favourites, especially if offered alive to trigger the turtle’s response to fast movement.

Some keepers will also give their Midland painted turtles supplements which is something you should discuss with your veterinarian who can advise you accordingly. They can also discuss a diet plan with you based on your turtle’s age, weight and health needs. Most adult turtles need feeding three times a week, and younger turtles – everyday.

 

You’re Well On Your Way To Owning A Midland Painted Turtle!

The Midland painted turtle is very cute, and very easy to care for once you get to understand the basic reptile husbandry needed to help it thrive.

With our guide above, and a really good veterinarian who can offer specific advice, you’ll be well on your way to keeping your very own Midland painted turtle healthy and thriving for a very happy long life under your care.

Be sure to check out My Turtle Shop Here for the essentials you need to help you set up.

 

*Photo credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/fujidude/27730831161/

The Map Turtle: A Complete Care Guide

Map Turtle

The map turtle is a popular turtle type to keep as a pet, showcasing interesting behaviours and a really cool reptilian aesthetic.Map Turtle

Keeping a map turtle happy and healthy involves a lot of effort, so some research is needed before you can get started on this new and exciting pet adventure.

To help you, we have gathered all the information you need to know about caring for this cute little species including details on feeding, habitat and handling.

Read on to find out all about keeping map turtles as pets:

 

An Introduction To The Map Turtle

The map turtle comes from a larger group of 14 different species and five of those are broad headed. All map turtles are part of a genus called Graptemys.

Our focus today is on the Mississippi map turtle which is sometimes labelled a ‘false map turtle’ which still falls under the category of map turtle. Overall, the care of map turtles is specific to map turtles as a group so you can apply the same rules to different types of map turtles in a general sense.

When it comes to the look of a map turtle, it is quite varied. It’s carapace is keeled and serrated, it’s frontal limbs are broad and its feet at the back flattened and specially designed for dynamic movement in the water. Many map turtle’s carapaces are plain blacks, greys and browns, but some have orange, tan, green, yellow or white accents across the shell. They also have a stripy head, neck, legs and tail.

The map turtle’s native habitat is the Mississippi River and across other wet habitats within North America. It is a really interesting turtle type because it has such unique and specific evolutionary features and adaptations. This makes the map turtle very specific in the care it needs to receive to fully thrive in captivity. For that reason, if you’re a beginner turtle owner or you’re buying for a child, this probably isn’t the turtle for you.

 

Choosing A Map Turtle

It is always better to buy a map turtle that was born in captivity because they are already adapted to captive conditions. This makes it much easier to keep them happy, but most importantly, healthy because they will be much less likely to have diseases and parasites than wild animals.

When selecting your turtle it is important to ensure that the animal is as healthy as possible, which is more likely with a recommended breeder. A good map turtle breeder will:

  • Be open and honest about the turtle’s history
  • Check that you are a suitable owner for the turtle
  • Offer support and advice long after you have purchased the turtle
  • Offer certification of vet checks and other health checks
  • Be able to show you more than the one turtle in their care
  • Offer live on arrival or suitable dead on arrival procedures if sending the animal through the post

It is important that if you purchase the turtle from a previous owner or from a rescue facility that you are certain the animal is in great condition. A healthy turtle should be:Graptemys geographica

  • Clear eyed
  • Heavy when being picked up
  • Reactive when picked up
  • Have no fresh shell damage
  • Have no injuries on it’s tail, head or limbs
  • Show no sagging between the shell and the body
  • Show no signs of discharge from the nose, eyes or mouth

If you’re unsure, look elsewhere. Not only do you not want to purchase an unhealthy turtle but you don’t want to encourage unscrupulous breeders or sellers to get away with abusing turtle’s and making money from it.

 

Mississippi Map Turtle Behaviour

Mississippi map turtles live to about 15-25 years in great conditions and in the wild they are at home in the water. Even when they aren’t in the water, they generally won’t stray far from it.

In their natural habitat they can be found in groups where the females are the ones ‘in charge’ because they are usually bigger than the males. For this reason, it is never recommended to have more females than males as disputes can occur.

When you own a map turtle the chances are you won’t be able to handle it too much. They are naturally shy, even when raised in captivity and they feel safest in the water, not in your hands. If you do need to pick them up you can pick small turtles up by the sides of the shell, and larger pets by the front and back of the shell. Do keep their mouth well away from your fingers though as they do have a nasty bite.

 

Mississippi Map Turtle Housing

 

Water

Just like other aquatic turtles, the Mississippi map turtle loves an enclosure that is filled with water. You’ll need to ensure that you have a good filter in place to keep that water nice and clear unless you opt for an outdoor pond enclosure. Turtles are pretty enthusiastic eaters and will leave a mess so investing in a really strong filter is important.

A way to drain the water easily is also handy because you will need to give the whole enclosure a good clean about four times a year.

The water you do use has to be treated before being put in the enclosure as it contains chemicals that will make your turtle sick. The treatment removes those harmful chemicals.

Interestingly, because these turtles are often found in rivers you will also need some sort of current running through the water for it to feel as natural as possible. This current should be paired with heated water which can be warmed with a water heater. The water needs to be about 75 degrees Fahrenheit and about 1w of power warms about a litre of water, so in larger enclosures two heaters will be needed.

Tank/ Enclosure Size

When it comes to choosing the size of a tank, males and females require different sizes.

Females grow to about 6-10 inches long will need at least a 125 gallon tank of around 72 inches, but as males are smaller at an average of 6-10 inches long, they will need a minimum of a 75 gallon tank (90 gallons is better) that is about four foot at least.

As the animals require a lot of water the minimum height needs to allow the turtle to be submerged from feet to head if it stands feet up from the bottom. A minimum of 300mm is usually a good guide for adult map turtles.

Of course, the more space the better and most turtles do best with a large enclosure with plenty of space for exploring and living out natural behaviours. Many people may start with a small setup for a younger turtle and expand as the turtle grows but as the turtle will not be harmed by living in a larger enclosure than it needs, it is better to start with a full sized enclosure.

Heating

The ambient tank temperature for the map turtle needs to be about 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

The map turtle will need to be able to bask in its enclosure. This ensures that they can get dry, warm and take in the UVB which is vital to various health functions they need to do to be in great shape.

You will need the basking area to be around 80 degrees Fahrenheit which can be provided by a heat lamp. The manufacturer will list the distance from the lamp to the surface needed to heat it up adequately. You can test that temperature periodically to ensure it is as warm as your turtle needs.

The basking area itself has to be big enough for the turtle to be able to fully fit on it, and be able to turn. It should also include a ramp for easy access to and from the water. The platform itself could be a smooth wooden platform, driftwood or other interesting surfaces. As long as the items are treated and are turtle safe you can be quite creative with this aspect of the tank.

Some people like to use floating platforms in addition to the basking area so that the turtle has multiple options to gain access to dry land if they want it.

Lighting

You can add a lot of lighting to a turtle tank to replicate daylight, but it is the heating bulb (above) and the UVB absolutely essential for your turtle to be healthy. The UVB is needed so that your turtle gets vitamin D which enables them to process calcium in the body which is essential for bone growth and health.

You can use a special UVB lamp or tube for the UVB needed. Alternatively there are combo heat and UVB lighting lamps that sit in a ceramic lamp holder and they tend to need to be about 11-12 inches away from the basking surface to be effective. The manufacturer should provide instructions to let you know the distance requirements of the bulb. Whichever option you choose, the UVB has to be on 12 hours of the day and the bulb has to be replaced every 6 months. You can use a timer for this to ensure the turtle has properly replicated day to night conditions.

Enrichment

For a turtle to be happy the tank has to contain enrichment. Artificial plants are a great example of this as they are easily maintained, can provide colour and interest to the tank and give the turtle a place to hide. A mixture of submerged and floating decorations will ensure the turtle can move and hide as they wish, providing that all important security for them.

Using fresh plants in combination with artificial plants is a good idea to create a diverse and layered environment. As long as the turtle has lots of yummy veggies in their diet they shouldn’t spend too much time noshing their enclosure plants.

It is also a good idea to use clean substrate like large smooth pebbles to line the bottom of the enclosure. This imitates the natural debris and stones the turtle would interact with in their natural habitat.

 

What To Feed Your Mississippi Map Turtle

There are plenty of foods that the map turtle loves to eat with turtle pellets making up about 25% of their diet, and then protein and veggies making up the rest.

Common Map Turtle

Dead food-grade chicks and mice are great treats for the turtle. Crickets, locusts, shrimp, salmon and cockroaches are also great sources of protein. Putting some live insects in the enclosure can provide a great source of stimulation and interest for your turtle too. Do make sure that the insects are bred for this purpose though so you can be sure there is no disease present that could spread to your turtle. It is also important to avoid any processed foods.

When it comes to veggies – dandelion leaves and romaine lettuce are great choices. The key is to mix and match what you’re giving every day so that the turtle gets a good mix of nutrients.

 

You’re One Step Closer To Caring For A Map Turtle

The guide above is a great essential introduction to caring for a Mississippi map turtle. They do have specific needs but it is worth putting the effort in to make sure that they thrive. These little guys might not be the best pets for cuddling, but map turtles they are fantastic to observe, especially if they truly are happy in the enclosure you give them.

Be sure to check out My Turtle Shop Here for the essentials you need to help you set up.

The Musk Turtle: A Beginners Care Guide

Musk Turtle

The musk turtle is a popular choice for reptile lovers hoping to adopt a more unusual pet. They are cute and interesting to observe, and with theirMusk Turtle interesting behaviours they make a great species of turtle to take on.

Reptile husbandry takes a little bit of learning and practise, and the musk turtle requires some specialist care for it to be happy and healthy.

The good news is that we have collected loads of useful information about caring for musk turtles to help you get closer to owning your dream pet. From what to feed them, to musk turtle tank guidance, we’ve made a handy guide to help you out with all things common musk turtle.

Read on to learn all about the musk turtle and how to keep it healthy and happy in your care:

 

An Introduction To The Musk Turtle

Musk turtles (Sternotherus odoratus) are also known as stinkpot turtles because they release a nasty odour from special musk glands if they feel threatened. The idea is that the smell puts predators off attacking them/ eating them in the wild. In captivity, they don’t tend to do this.

The turtle comes from a wide range of areas including South Central America, South Eastern Canada and beyond. In native areas you will find the musk turtle in ponds, gentle meandering streams and other shallow, gentle watery habitats. Interestingly, unlike other aquatic turtle species you won’t see the musk turtle basking very often.

The musk turtle reaches an adult length of about 3-5 inches in general, with males being a little bigger, with a slightly bigger tail than the female. Both sexes of the turtle have shells that range from brown to black, with some more charcoal colours mixed in. The species also has a distinctive green or yellow stripe running from their nose to neck.

 

The Musk Turtle As A Pet

Musk turtles are a ‘pet you watch’ not a pet you handle. They tend to have a lot of sass and get up to all sorts of fun in the tank. You will see them swimming around, exploring their surroundings and generally being cute little active turtles.

This type of turtle is very small and can be handled by lifting the shell, but it does have a nasty bite if you aren’t careful. Its jaw is very strong and designed to crush crustaceans and snail shells so you really don’t want to experience that power on your fingers!

For this reason, these turtle types aren’t recommended as beginner turtles.

 

Choosing A Musk Turtle

The musk turtle lives about 30-50 years so it is a big commitment, but also a great opportunity to truly make a bond with your new pet. Of course, sourcing a healthy animal is important to make sure you do have them with you for as long as possible.

It is advised you only have a lone musk turtle as they are not sociable. If you really need to have multiple turtles you should avoid having multiple males as they can fight and compete.

There are two routes to getting a stinkpot turtle responsibly. One way is to purchase from a breeder who should:

  • Offer vet certification to show the turtle has been checked over
  • Willingly answer any question you have about the animal
  • Be willing to show you other animals as well as your chosen turtle
  • Want to ask you questions to check your suitability for turtle ownership

Don’t be afraid to thoroughly look into the breeder to check their reputation and authenticity. They should only breed turtles in captivity and never get them from the wild, even if they claim they have somehow done so ethically.

You can also get a musk turtle that is an unwanted pet. As they live so long, circumstances can change and responsible owners hand them in to rescue centres and don’t release them back into the wild. Although sad, this is the right thing to do if you can no longer care for a turtle because releasing a captive turtle into the wild is bad for the turtle and the ecosystem.

If you don’t mind getting a turtle that is a little older it is worth rescuing one from a reputable rescue centre. They need a home and you may also get them at more of a ‘bargain price’. This Youtube video is a great example of a musk turtle success story, with Maria the turtle getting a great new owner dedicated to her rehabilitation. The rescue centre will also support you in keeping your turtle healthy and happy if you need some follow up advice.

 

Common Musk Turtle Health Issues

There are potential health issues that can happen to the musk turtle. Being aware of these issues is helpful so you can keep an eye out for them. You should also make sure you have a great exotic pet veterinarian within your locale so that you can seek advice and treatment whenever you need it.

Here are some of the most common musk turtle health issues:

  • Shell rot – presents with a white look to the shell and a soft feeling to the shell
  • Parasites – presents with fatigue, runny stools and weight loss
  • Vitamin A deficiency -presents with appetite loss, swollen eyes with discharge, kidney issues
  • Abscesses – hard swelling anywhere on the animal that may push out a thick pus

As a general rule, you should observe your musk turtle every day to get used to how it behaves normally. This will help you to quickly identify it isn’t as it usually is and get it to the vet for assessment.

Stinkpot Turtle

How To Care For A Musk Turtle

Enclosure

Tank

Because these cute little guys are so active it is important to give them as much room as you possibly can in a musk turtle tank with an ambient temperature of about 75-80 degrees.

A good general rule is a minimum of 10 gallons per inch of shell. The turtle is also going to grow so it is a good idea to have an extra 20 gallons more than the size your turtle needs now to allow for that growth and to give you time to get a bigger setup arranged.

The tank must be reinforced and designed to hold water because that is what it will mostly be filled with. These turtles will spend most of their time swimming around.

Water

Your turtle should have a shallow end of around 10 inches of water, and 24 inches in the deep end (minimum). Some people, however, choose to have one depth of water with various areas the turtle can get out easily, which is OK too. The trick is to allow the turtle plenty of water to swim and enjoy safely.

Most musk turtles will enjoy a gentle current in the water, which can be made naturally with the filters (mentioned below) or with water jetting aquarium devices.

The water you give to any turtle has to be treated so that it has no nasty chemicals in it that could harm your turtle. The water also needs to be heated to about 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit which can be achieved with an underwater heater suitable for use in aquariums with turtles (hardier than fish aquarium heaters).

The heater should have an adjustment setting so that you can change the temperature to the different times of the year, replicating the turtle’s natural environment. It is also handy for the heater to have a visible thermometer in it so you can keep checking if the water is at the right temperature.

As well as a water heater you will need a water filter to keep your musk turtle tank nice and clean.

Check the filter you want is able to filter the amount of water in your tank at least and then some. This is because water filters for turtles need to filter more mess than if they are in a tank with fish.

Turtles produce a lot more waste than fish so the filter should be designed for more water than it is filtering, so it is able to handle the mess. Lastly, the filter should be clog-proof and quiet so as not to disturb your turtle.

 

Basking Area

Although these turtles do not bask as much as other turtle types, they do need to do it for their health. It helps keep them physically and mentally active and healthy, and enables them to make vitamin D so they can absorb calcium from their diets.

A musk turtle basking area does not have to be huge or special. It just needs to be big enough to fit them on it with some space for them to turn around. It should also be stable so they can stay still on it and so you can control the temperature and light on it at any one time.

On the platform you will need to get the temperatures at between 85 and 95 degrees, ideally with a basking lamp that puts out heat, UVB and UVA. UVB is essential for maintaining your turtles health so it is important not to accidentally get a bulb that does not provide this light.

The manufacturers usually state the distance from the platform you need to place the bulb to get the required temperatures. However, it is still worth using thermometers and other measuring devices to ensure you keep an eye on the temperatures of the platform. The bulb should not be too close or too far away, and it needs to be replaced regularly to avoid it decreasing in the levels it puts out.

You can also get tube lights that do the same thing which cost more but tend to be overall more safe and effective at delivering the heat and rays to the turtle.

 

Tank Accessories

This type of turtle really enjoy lots of tank furniture and enrichment to enjoy. Some great ideas for musk turtle tank accessories are:

  • Smooth, large, stable rocks
  • Clean and smooth driftwood
  • Weighted and floating artificial and real plants, plus some decent sized floating plants that will hold the weight of your turtle
  • Many people also like to line the bottom of the aquarium with turtle pebbles that are designed for turtle tanks. Just make sure none are small enough for the turtle to get in its mouth
  • Turtle logs – halved logs designed for turtles to crawl underneath

Whichever features you choose do be careful your turtle cannot get wedged underneath any of the features in the tank. As long as they can get in any hiding spaces, move around and get out again, they will be fine.

 

What To Feed Your Musk Turtle

In the wild a musk turtle will eat snails (and their shells), small crustaceans, aquatic insects, tadpoles and duckweed and other pond plants.

When keeping a musk turtle in captivity you will need to vary what they eat regularly so they get a good selection of vitamins and minerals. They will happily eat pelleted turtle foods as well as shrimp, crickets, bloodworms, earthworms and snails. Any live or dead protein given to the turtle should be bred for food so that it is free from disease and bacteria. Duckweed, water hyacinth or similar pond species non-toxic to turtles are also consumed by them and make good additions to their tank for foraging.

 

You’re One Step Closer To Owning A Musk Turtle!

Musk turtles are interesting, cute reptiles that require specialist care to keep them happy and healthy. With our guide, and plenty of advice from a breeder and a good vet, you’re well on your way to being a stinkpot turtle owner! Soon enough you’ll be helping your new shelled musk turtle pal thrive in your care.

Be sure to check out My Turtle Shop Here for the essentials you need to help you set up.

The Essential Guide To Caring For The Box Turtle

Box Turtle

Thinking of getting a box turtle? They are very cute, but they also require specialist care to make sure they can be happy and healthy living inBox Turtle captivity.

In this guide we have collected lots of information about caring for Eastern box turtles so that they thrive in your care.

Here’s your essential guide to Eastern box turtle care:

 

Eastern Box Turtle Introduction

The Eastern box turtle has a shell that graduates up to a high dome and they usually have mixed markings of red, orange, brown, yellow and black. They also have bright orange eyes and black and yellow markings on their head as well as orange and black limbs.

The turtles can get to about 5 or six inches in size as adults and can live to around 50 years old if looked after well.

The box turtle is a reptile that comes from the terrapene genus and descends from Northern America. They look like tortoises but form part of the American pond turtle family.

They are commonly seen in the wild (although numbers are dwindling), but many are kept as pets with the Eastern box turtle – a subspecies of the box turtle – being the most common species found in captivity.

You’ll find these beautiful little shelled guys in all kinds of environments. From grassy fields to meadows, moist forests and shallow streams – they’re really adaptable within the Eastern American climate.

This adaptability is what makes them a good pet choice, although they do still require some special care to ensure they truly thrive.

Eastern Box Turtle

Box Turtles As Pets

Box turtles are small and so they are easy to handle, which makes them great pets, although they don’t necessarily love to be handled. That being said, they can develop bonds with their owners and become a real asset to the family in that way.

Many reptile owners also appreciate that box turtles are quite hardy and less specialist in their needs than other turtles. Although, they are still more specialist than other types so they aren’t necessarily the ideal turtle for a beginner.

If you choose to buy a box turtle do consider adopting an unwanted pet. Responsible owners who can no longer care for their box turtle will give it to a veterinarian or suitable rescue centre. There, you can often adopt a turtle at a discounted rate and feel assured that it is healthy and ready for adoption. Be wary of taking on box turtles offered ‘free to a good home’ as you cannot be sure of their health or history.

If you do want to buy from a breeder take care to buy from a reputable seller. They should be happy to answer all your questions and they should ask you questions to check your suitability for box turtle ownership. If they ask you lots of questions, this is a good sign and shouldn’t be taken as them being nosy or intrusive. They want the best for the turtles they breed, which is what you want from a breeder.

 

Indoor Box Turtle Care

Tank

As box turtles are so little they don’t need a lot of space, although the bigger the enclosure the better because every pet animal deserves the most possible space to live in.

The minimum sized tank is around 20 gallons but realistically, more towards 40 or 50 is better.

Forage

In the tank the box turtle requires different products that it can hide under and investigate. Safe logs (without any sharp bits) are a good example of this, as well as clean leaves and twigs that you’d expect in their natural habitat in the wild.

The turtles also like a shallow pool for soaking. Unlike aquatic turtles, they don’t require water to swim in and many actually can’t swim. So, the pool has to be shallow and easy for them to get out of.

Lighting & Heating

*The lighting and heating advice in this section relates to the Eastern Box Turtle. If you are buying another type of box turtle it is important to check the specifics for that turtle type as they differ slightly.*

The overall lighting in the tank can be provided by a 75-100 watt bulb on for 12 hours of the day whilst the turtle gets the shady environment they need around and under the logs, plants and leaves you provide.

The lighting needs to be on for 14 hours for baby box turtles and unwell turtles. The lighting should also be on a little while before you feed your turtle so that its temperature adjusts. If this isn’t done you may find your turtle is not in the mood for breakfast.

This lighting can add warmth to the tank but most people use heating lamps as well. You may need extra warming lamps throughout if the room the tank is in gets cold.

The ambient temperature of the tank needs to be around 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit in the day and between 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

If the box turtle is not kept warm enough it will start to slow down and eat less, which can lead to it getting unwell and potentially catching disease through lowered immunity.

Some owners like to heat the tank up from the bottom rather than through overhead lighting. This can be problematic because the turtle then has no escape from the heat.

Overhead lighting/ heating tends to be preferable so the turtle can stay cool, especially if you not only provide logs and shelter, but you allow one end of the tank to stay shaded and less light-filled. Having separate heating also enables you to keep the tank at an ambient nighttime temperature without the light having to be on, ensuring that nighttime is properly replicated for normal sleeping/ behaviour patterns.

You’ll also need to make sure the humidity is about 60% for Eastern Box Turtles (higher for very young box turtles).

BaskingBox Turtle

Basking is one of the most important elements of a box turtle’s care. Box turtles require sunlight for their mental and physical health, which makes UVA and UVB rays essential for keeping the animal healthy.

UVA rays keep your box turtle healthy, happy and active. UVB rays are the ray type box turtles need to create vitamin D which helps them absorb calcium from what it eats. Without this it may get shell malformation and general bone disease.

The important thing to know as a pet owner is that UVA and UVB won’t get into the turtle’s tank through daylight in your house. You need to provide the right lamps for your turtle to provide these rays. As well as the general lighting we mentioned above you will need to provide concentrated UVB and UVA lamps on a basking platform for your turtle.

You can usually get lamps that emit both types of UV, and those lamp manufacturers will list the distance the bulb needs to be from the basking platform to provide the right UV levels. The lamp has to be at exactly the right level as not to provide too little or too much heat and UVA/ UVB for your turtle.

Once you choose the bulb it is important to replace it as often as the manufacturer recommends so that the emitted UV rays do not decrease.

Some people also like to allow their box turtles to spend time outside foraging in a pen in summer. This boosts their natural UVA/ UVB levels.

I recommend these Heat Lamps here.

Monitoring

The light levels, UVB and UVA levels, humidity and warmth within the tank all need monitoring to make sure the turtle is getting the right care. Thermometers and other monitoring equipment don’t cost much and yet, they can be the difference between your turtle being sick or healthy, happy or very lacklustre so they are worth getting.

 

Feeding Your Eastern Box Turtle

It is important to make sure that your turtle is fed well. They are omnivores and a well balanced diet will help keep them active, happy and healthy for life.

Box turtles enjoy a diet of meat, fruit and veggies which spans across all kinds of sources in the wild. They can feast on anything from slugs, to mushrooms, worms and roots in the wild.

In captivity your turtle needs to be given around 50% protein, 20% fruit and 30% veggies. Some people also provide their box turtles with pellets, but they shouldn’t make up any more than a quarter of your turtle’s diet if you do use them.

Here are some suggestions for foods within each category:

Protein: Tuna, worms, snails (shell and all!), crickets, boiled eggs, shrimps

Fruits: Plums, watermelon, blueberries, grapes, kiwi, bananas

Veggies: Tomatoes, squash, dandelions, carrots

These items need to be varied every week so that your turtle gets a mixture of nutrients. The food given should also be clean and sourced from reputable sources (in the case of insects and meat) so that your turtle doesn’t get sick from the food you give them.

Extra Eastern Box Turtle Feeding Tips:

  • Speak to your vet about supplements for your turtle. Some people supplement with calcium, but it’s not always necessary. An exotic reptile vet can advise on this to help you decide.
  • Avoid processed food, white potatoes, any dairy, sweets, bread, refined grains, sugars or rhubarb as they will make your turtle sick.
  • Remove uneaten food every day and clean the rocks you place the food on thoroughly every couple of days.
  • If you have more than one turtle they should have their own feeding area to ensure they eat enough and don’t compete over food.
  • Consider giving your turtle live insects (bred for food) as they enjoy the movement aspect of catching food, which stimulates their mind and keeps them active.
  • Feed the turtles at dawn or dusk as that is when they naturally eat in the wild.

 

You’re Well On Your Way To Owning A Box Turtle!

Owning a pet like a box turtle can be challenging, but incredibly rewarding. By reading guides like this one, and consulting breeders, box turtle owners and exotic pet veterinarians, you can ensure that your new Eastern Box Turtle thrives in your care.

Be sure to check out My Turtle Shop Here for the essentials you need to help you set up.

How To Care For A Southern Painted Turtle

Southern Painted Turtle

The Southern Painted Turtle is a stunning animal that makes for a truly interesting pet. It does take specialist care, though, to keep it happy andSouthern Painted Turtle healthy.

If you’re considering getting a Southern painted, this guide will give you all the information you know to keep your new reptile friend in the best condition. From enclosure guidelines, to feeding tips, here’s all you need to know to care for your beautiful new Southern painted pal:

 

The Southern Painted In The Wild

Southern painted turtles (Chrysemys Picta) are stunning animals with a smooth shell. They have a black and green shell and body, with bright red and yellow markings and stripes.

In the wild, you will find the Southern painted in all kinds of watery environments like streams, meandering rivers, marshes, ponds and other slow moving sources of water with a soft bottom. They can be found across North America most commonly, but can be found much further afield too.

Sadly, the animals can be caught for food, for fun or to be unethically sold in the pet trade by humans. In the wild other animals will prey on Southern painted turtles for their meat and eggs, which is why they use the water as their ‘safe place’ where they hide and pull their body into their shell if attacked.

If you see a Southern painted in the wild you can expect it to be basking on objects on or around the water, like logs or stones. They will commonly be seen with other Southern painted turtles and the group of them together is called a ‘bale’.

 

How To Get A Healthy Southern Painted

Southern painted turtles are beginner turtles because they can be handled easily at just 6 inches long, their adult size. They do, however, get snappy if you make quick movements near their head and they aren’t naturally friendly. So they may well be a turtle to enjoy watching, not touching. Although it is handy to know you can pick one up to examine or move to another enclosure/ travel box if needed.

If you care for your Southern painted well it can live up to about 20 years or more in captivity. Of course, this is only if you care for them well and also if you get a healthy specimen to begin with.

Getting a healthy Southern painted turtle means buying one from a breeder, or taking on an unwanted pet. Both methods involve you doing a lot of checks and homework on the seller to make sure the turtle is in good health.

Rescue centres are a good starting point because they can speak to you about painted turtles they have, as well as giving you advice on breeders should they not have any suitable animals for you.

As a general rule, breeders and people looking to move their pets on should be willing to answer any questions you have. They should be able to give you a full history of the animal too. Breeders will also be able to provide information like who the parents of the turtle are, and they should also be able to show you other painted turtles they have in their care.

You’re looking for:

  • Clean living conditions
  • Ethical living conditions
  • Healthy turtles with no signs of damage, discharge or distress
  • Lively turtles
  • Transparency from the owner/ breeder

They should also be willing to give you vet check certificates or allow you to go and do a vet visit with them before you take the turtle home and hand over your money.

The Southern painted is going to be with you for a very long time, hopefully, so it makes sense to check if it is a healthy and happy animal when you buy it. This avoids a lot of expensive veterinary care on your part, and potential heartbreak if your new pal is so sick it doesn’t make it.

 

How To Care For A Southern Painted

Tank

The tank of a Southern painted needs to be about 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit in ambient temperature.

The tank of a Southern painted should ideally be around 10 gallons per inch of shell. So an adult six inch Southern painted needs around a 60 gallon tank, ideally. 40 gallons is probably the minimum size tank you could get away with to keep one male Southern painted turtle, but it is not ideal. As the females tend to be a little bigger they need a minimum of 50 gallons, with 75 or more gallons being ideal for them to be happy.

You should also add 20 gallons for every extra male, or 40 gallons for every extra female.

Water

The Southern painted is aquatic so it has to have water to be happy. Around double the length of the average Southern painted (6 inches) is a good starting point for depth. However, more than 12 inches is probably better for a happier turtle.

You will need to use a water heater to keep the water nice and warm at around 70-75 degrees, with two water heaters being placed if you have a very large tank. You will also need to treat the water to remove chemicals before putting it in, and pay for the best filter you can afford. If it filters 60 gallons and you have a 30 gallon tank, that is a good choice for a turtle tank. Turtles make a lot more poop than fish, so you need to work hard to keep them clean and hygienic.

BaskingSouthern Painted Turtle

Southern painted turtles are often spotted in the wild basking. This is the area of the enclosure you need to make sure has heating and lighting to keep your turtle happy and healthy.

Turtles rely on UVA light and heat to trigger their inner biological systems, telling them it is time to be active and move. They also get their body heat and energy this way. For this reason, you need to make sure the surface temperature of the basking platform is around 80-85 degrees.

This platform also requires something called UVB, which is what your turtle uses to make vitamin D, which allows them to absorb calcium from the food they eat. Without this they can get a nasty condition with their shells where it becomes deformed.

You can get a lamp or tube light (like these ones) that provides warmth, UVA and UVB and most manufacturers will state how close each lamp wattage should be from the platform to provide the right levels for the turtle.

This distance has to be very precise so the turtle gets the benefits of the rays, but also so they don’t get burnt.

You can use special thermometers and ray guns (check these ones here) to capture the levels of this platform. By checking the levels you can change the bulb when needed so your turtle never gets less UVA, heat or UVB than they need.

You can make the Southern painted turtles basking platform from driftwood, smooth wooden planks or even large stones. As long as it is stable and they can fit on it and turn around (plus a gentle ramp to get on and off) you can be quite creative with how it looks.

Enrichment

Southern painted turtles require enrichment in their tanks to be happy. Non-toxic plastic and real floating and weighted plants are always fun for them to investigate and hide in. Smooth rocks are another great choice, as well as floating basking stations. Anything you do add needs to be:

  • Non-toxic
  • Smooth
  • Unable to trap them by falling over
  • Unable to trap them because of the gap it provides

 

Keeping The Southern Painted In A Pond

Some people feel the best enclosure for a Southern painted is a pond outside. This is because it is the most natural option for them, and it also keeps them away from younger children inside the house, controlling the risk of salmonella.

If you live in an area where the weather is nice and sunny most of the time you could well keep your Southern painted outside. To do so you need to provide them with:

  • A prefab/ natural pond of 50 gallons+
  • Filtered pond water
  • Ramps so the turtle can get in and out of the water
  • Fencing of 6 inches deep and 2 foot high plus netting to keep other animals out of their enclosure
  • Basking spots
  • Burrowing spots

If your winter dips below 40 degrees Fahrenheit you also need to provide an indoor enclosure for your painted Southern turtle. Hibernation is an option but it is risky in captivity so do speak to your vet about it.

Southern Painted Turtle

 

How To Feed A Southern Painted

The painted turtle likes to feast on so many different food types. That is because they are omnivores and they regularly eat whatever they can find in the wild. Snails, insects, roots – they will eat most things.

However, in captivity they don’t have that same natural range of foods so you need to provide the right nutrients for them to keep them healthy. These types of turtles do well with a lower level of protein provided every couple of days, plus veggies the rest of the time as their staple foraging food.

Protein – Worms, insects, snails, chicken, crickets and mealworms are all great options. Just be sure they are not processed and are bred for use in the food chain. To stimulate your turtle’s natural instincts try offering them live insects every now and then. They will love the movement and it will encourage them to move instinctually to catch them for food.

Vegetables – Duckweed, romaine lettuce and dandelion greens free from chemicals and processing are all great foods for your turtle. Try introducing some floating veggies to encourage your turtle to eat as they would in the wild.

You can also feed your turtle something called turtle pellets (such as these here), but they should not make up their entire diet. Your vet can advise on these, as well as supplements sometimes recommended for turtles.

If your turtle is not eating it could be down to a number of reasons such as a Vitamin A deficiency, boredom, injury or parasites. The best thing to do is speak to a vet who has turtle experience so they can quickly diagnose the problem. It is better to be safe than sorry with sick turtles, as the sooner they are diagnosed the better their chance of getting the right treatment to get them back to health.

 

When Will You Get Your Southern Painted Turtle?

A Southern painted pet is an exciting, interesting and sometimes loyal pet.

With our tips and information above – and your own further research – soon you will be caring for your new Southern painted well, helping them to absolutely thrive in your care for many years to come.

Be sure to check out My Turtle Shop Here for the essentials you need to help you set up.

Red Eared Slider As A Pet: A Complete Care Guide

Red Eared Slider

The Red eared slider is a cute little turtle that can make a great pet. They can also live two decades or more in captivity, though, so they are a bigRed Eared Slider commitment.

They also need special care and consideration to keep them healthy, so it’s important to be committed not just to their lifespan, but their care needs to.

To help you get started out in your red eared sliders adventure we’ve got lots of tips and tricks to help you care for them really well:

 

A Basic Overview Of The Red Eared Slider Turtle

Red eared slider turtles (trachemys scripta elegans) are also known as – red eared terrapins, slider turtles and water slider turtles. They have four main marks that allow you to identify them including;

  • A shell made up of different sections called scutes
  • The scutes have a yellow outline
  • The legs, neck and head have light green/ yellow stripes
  • The bottom shell is yellow and has a spot in each scute
  • There is a red mark just behind each eye

Generally, the males and females look the same but there are subtle differences. A prime example of this is that males are a little smaller than the females. The males also have longer frontal claws.

When allowed to thrive, red eared slider turtles get to around 5-11 inches and they can live over 40 years in the wild. Red eared sliders in captivity have a shorter lifespan of about 20 years.

 

Choosing A Red Eared Slider

Red eared sliders are very difficult to care for, and so, they are commonly invasive as pet owners simply abandon them into the wild, believing this to be the best thing for the animal. This is a bad idea for the turtle and the local ecosystem, so please never do this.

If you want to get a red eared slider, the first thing you should do is read guides like this one and really do your homework to check you can care for the animal for its entire life, in the way it needs for it to be healthy.

If you do decide to get one, please try adopting one from a rescue to discourage the breeding and sales of more turtles. Doing this helps out the turtle, who needs a forever home, and it helps you because it tends to be much cheaper than buying from a breeder. Sometimes, they are even available to adopt for free.

If you do want to buy from a breeder, choose a reputable breeder who has a good reputation. You may want to do this to get a ‘morph’, which is a slider bred to look different, such as an albino or pastel slider. Do keep in mind morphs are prone to more health issues and will likely be more expensive to buy.

A good sign that a breeder is not reputable is when they sell turtles under 4 inches, which is actually illegal in the US without a permit. Very large companies should also be avoided as they likely got the turtles from turtle farms or from the wild, which is unethical.

Wherever you get your turtle from, check for the following details so you can tell it is healthy:

  • Are the eyes clear and open?
  • Is the turtle alert and aware of you?
  • Can you see multiple animals to compare?
  • Is the shell and body free from wounds and recent damage?
  • Are the growth rings on the shell smooth and even?
  • Is the body filling the shell well?
  • Can the turtle get around well?
  • Are the ears in good shape and free from lumps?
  • Can the turtle dive easily?
  • Is the turtle nice and heavy?
  • If you pull one of the turtles legs, does it pull it away with a good level of strength?
  • Is the enclosure clean and large?
  • Is there heat and lighting?

If the answer is no to any of these questions you may want to skip this seller.

In addition you should check out the sellers policies, veterinarian check certificates, ability to answer questions about eating habits and mating, and their overall reputation in the reptile community. It is so important to do your research before you make any plans to buy or rescue an animal.

 

Enclosure

The enclosure of the red eared slider does not dictate how large it will grow so keeping a slider in a small tank to keep it at a small size will not work. Instead you should offer minimum enclosure sizes for different turtle sizes, working towards the following requirements:

Water

The minimum requirements for a red eared sliders water amounts are:

  • 10 gallons of water per inch of shell length
  • Depth of water that is at a minimum the same length as the turtles shell (ideally more)

The water temperature needs depend on the age and life stage of the turtle. Assuming they are thriving and have no other health conditions, a 9-10cm male is considered adult, and the female is about 15-19cm as she reaches adulthood. The general water temperature guidelines for the red eared sliders are:

  • 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit for baby turtles under a year old
  • 74-76 degrees Fahrenheit for turtles in juvenile stages
  • 70-88 degrees Fahrenheit for adult turtles

You can measure the temperature of the turtle’s water using an aquatic thermometer but it should never be left in the enclosure because the turtles may interact with it and hurt themselves.

You can use an aquarium water heater to heat the water in your turtle’s enclosure. It should be completely plastic encased, known to work well for the water amount in your enclosure and it should have safety features that shut it off if it malfunctions. If the enclosure contains vast amounts of water then you might need to install two.

You can use the same timer plugs used for the heat and UVB lamps to put your water heaters on a timer. Unless you have a hatchling in your care, generally echoing the natural cycle of colder water at night and warmer water in the day makes sense for the turtle’s habitat.

Lastly, you will need to filter the water in your turtle tank using an aquarium filter that is approved as safe for this kind of use. In addition to this kind of filtration, a way to empty the tank is essential. This is especially true if you choose to keep the red eared slider in a pond where you may need to empty the pond at some point for maintenance.

Enclosure Type

  • 100 gallons minimum tank size for any age red eared slider but ideally 120-125 which is more common and tends to be more well-priced
  • Purchased from a reputable retailer, but ideally custom-made and expertly made
  • Alternatively an indoor and outdoor pond which is preferred by the red eared sliders and can be easier to access and maintain by owners (the pond still needs to be 10 gallons of water per inch of turtle shell length)
  • Based somewhere the weight of the water will not affect your home’s structure. The ideal location is on the lowest part of your home

Lighting & UVB

It is important to never use coloured lighting in a red eared slider tank, instead, focus on providing a high quality selection of essential UVB and additional lighting.

UVB is essential to the health of your slider. It enables them to fight off infections, feel good and create vitamin D. For this reason, a red eared slider enclosure must have a source of UVB. The bulb has to be between half and three quarters of the length of enclosure above the basking area. This is assuming there is nothing in between the bulb and the basking area.

As red eared sliders like to bask in strong sunlight they should have the strongest levels of sunlight where they bask, and lower amounts elsewhere, so they have different options. You can measure the UV in their tank using a special metre.

In addition to the UVB light you will need to also add either an LED light or full-spectrum fluorescent to replicate daylight light levels in the turtle’s enclosure. This extra light helps to keep your turtle happy and it will boost the growth of any living plants you keep in the tank.

You should keep all these lights on for up to 13 hours a day (11 hours minimum) which is then trimmed over winter to replicate the change in seasons. You can get timers for this to avoid the inconvenience of manual lighting switching on and off.

Heating

Red eared sliders are cold blooded and use heat outside of their bodies to aid essential functions. They bask in the heat lamp to do this, which is an essential aspect of their maintenance and health.

The basking temperature of a red eared sliders platform should be:

  • 104 degrees Fahrenheit surface
  • 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit air

Using a thermometer you can check the temperatures of the area, as well as using an infrared temperature device which can be pointed from the light at the surface, with the heating light placed at the right distance (recommended by the manufacturer). The lamp should also be at the same distance as the UVB light from bulb to platform.

Overall, halogen bulbs tend to do the best job, equipped with a dimmer so you have control over the temperature on the platform.

In addition, a dome shaped lamp fixture and ceramic socket are important parts of the setup as they allow the animal to heat itself fully in a concentrated area.

BaskingRed Eared Slider Turtle

Remember, red eared sliders like to spend most of their time in water but they still need some time on land to bask so they should have areas they can use for this purpose. The space doesn’t need to be very large, and you can be quite creative with it. Large smooth rocks, driftwood and other items can look really cool in an enclosure whilst enabling the turtle to bask like it would in the wild.

Enrichment

It is important to decorate your turtle tank once you have all the basics right. Decorations that encourage the turtle to climb, smell, explore and generally stimulate them mentally are really important and will go some way to keep your turtle both happy and healthy.

All of the factors above combined set you up for a healthy and happy environment for your slider to live in.

 

Keeping A Pet Red Eared Slider In Native Environments

Many people who live in areas that red eared sliders are native will house them in outside ponds where the sunlight and heat are all provided by the natural weather system, just like they would be in the wild. This does have to be done cautiously though, and if the area is not where red eared sliders are native light and heat will need to be supplemented.

Mostly, though, many people argue outdoor ponds in the right climate are the best possible option for keeping red eared sliders because they get everything they need from nature, apart from the food you provide.

 

Housing Red Eared Slider Turtles Together

Red eared sliders are commonly seen in social groups in the wild, but that may not translate to red eared sliders in captivity. One slider on its own will actually live quite happily, so there’s no real need to get more than one. If you do want more remember to:

  • Add 20 more gallons of water per additional turtle at least
  • Provide more areas for basking
  • Pay close attention to feeding so you know that all the turtles are well fed
  • House turtles of a similar size together

 

Brumation

Brumation is a natural process all reptiles go through and it is recommended for red eared sliders in captivity to replicate natural behaviours. Brumation is where they slow down and cool for a period of time in winter. It is its own separate process and one that requires a lot of reading and information to get right. You can find out more about reptile brumation from Marla the Western Pond Turtle in this Youtube video.

Red Eared Slider Turtle

Feeding

Red eared sliders feeding requirements are different depending on their age. As a general guide you can follow these feeding guidelines:

Measurements –

  • One portion of protein as much as your turtle consumes in up to 10 minutes
  • One portion of veggies is the same as the turtles shell size
  • One portion of pellets is the same as the turtles head size

1 Year Or Less

  • Turtle pellets on alternate days
  • Veggies everyday
  • Protein every day
  • Overall diet is half and half veggies and protein

Juveniles And Adults

  • Protein once or twice a week
  • Veggies every day
  • Turtle pellets twice a week or three times maximum
  • Overall diet is three quarters veggies one quarter protein

As red eared slider turtles only eat in water to get the food down (they don’t make saliva!) the food has to be sprinkled in their water when it is time for them to eat. You will want to take their uneaten food out with a net to stop the food rotting and contaminating the tank.

When it comes to what you should feed the sliders they eat a huge range of different food types so you can mix and match.

Protein

Protein is best given in whole form rather than cut into chunks so the animal benefits from all the different parts of the animal. Some examples of great protein sources for sliders are:

  • Dead crayfish
  • Shrimp (alive or freeze-dried)
  • Captive bred frogs
  • Mealworms
  • Crickets
  • Earthworms
  • Captive bred snails
  • Captive bred tadpoles
  • Live mollies, guppies or platies

Dead frozen chicks, quail or mice can be given occasionally as a treat.

Overall, feeding the red eared slider turtle wild animals or insects, or processed meat or food or any kind is a bad idea because any additives or chemicals could be harmful to them.

Veggies

Try to give the sliders plenty of variety when it comes to their veggie intake. Here are some examples of great veggie sources for red eared sliders:

  • Endives
  • Collard greens
  • Dandelion greens
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnip greens
  • Clover
  • Carrot tops

Fruit like; skinned apples, melon, pears and grapes can be given to your red eared sliders as a treat.

Turtle Pellets

When it comes to turtle pellets it is up to you which pellet to choose as they all have pros and cons. Every turtle owner has their favourite, so it is worth doing some research so you are using a trusted brand. Whichever brand you do choose, don’t go over 25% of your red eared slider turtles diet intake with pellets as they need the protein and fresh veggies as well to thrive.

 

You’re On The Way To Being A Brilliant Red Eared Slider Owner

With our guide, you’re well on your way to understanding what is involved in caring for these turtly awesome pets.

There is a lot to owning and properly caring for these beautiful, interesting and often-abused animals. The more that you can fully understand what red eared sliders need, the more able you are to help your little shelled friend thrive in your care.

Be sure to check out My Turtle Shop Here for the essentials you need to help you set up.

Red Eared Sliders

The Essential Guide To Keeping The Alligator Snapping Turtle As A Pet

Alligator Snapping Turtle

There are only two types of snapping turtles in the entire world, the alligator snapping turtle and the common snapping turtles. Both areAlligator Snapping Turtle indigenous to certain parts of the United States, but are commonly kept as pets worldwide.

Common snapping turtles tend to be more common than the alligator snapping turtle.

If you’re interested in keeping an alligator snapping turtle as a pet, this guide is a great starting point.

It’s all the essentials you need to know to understand this cute little shelled friend that bit more.

Let’s take a closer look at the alligator snapping turtle and how to care for it:

 

A Little Background On The Alligator Snapping Turtle

Alligator snapping turtles (macrochelys temminckii) are the largest freshwater turtles in North America and usually live in waterways like lakes, canals, rivers and bayous. The water is always preferred to be deeper if possible, and you won’t commonly find them in a pond or shallow stream. That being said, they can be found in swamps and more shallow waters.

The turtles can be found in the Southern parts of the United States and despite them being pretty tough, they are sadly listed as vulnerable by the International Union For Conservation Of Nature.

When it comes to their temperament with people – they are sassy. They will lunge and give you a nasty bite, especially if they feel threatened. They won’t go out of their way to hurt you though as they are quite timid, so an attack is always a defensive, rather than offensive move. Still, you can hear of stores of those whom were bit by snapping turtle.

There are lots of reasons that people love the alligator snapping turtle. One reason is that it has a really interesting style of hunting. They camouflage themselves with leaves and mud and then use their tongue as a fishing lure.

The unsuspecting fish will then be attracted to the lure where it is then ambushed by the turtle. You can see this impressive ambush hunting style play out in this Youtube Video.

 

Alligator Snapping Turtle StatisticsAlligator Snapping Turtle

Life Span – Some alligator snapping turtles can live well over 100 years although there isn’t much known about wild snapping turtle average lifespans. Their average lifespan in captivity is up to 70 years.

Size – Males are smaller than females, but both will have a shell about 16-26 inches long.

Weight – Males weight between 20 and 75 pounds and females weigh anywhere from 70 to 200 pounds.

Time Spent In Water – They can hold their breath for around 40-50 minutes and may spend most of their time in the water

Social Life – Alligator turtles are solitary animals.

Reproduction – Females nest from April to June and lay up to 45 eggs at a time nearby to the water. Eggs hatch about three months after being laid.

Status – Alligator snapping turtles are endangered and have some level of legal protection because of this, but the enforcement of the protection is difficult to maintain.

Diet – Alligator snapping turtles eat all kinds of foods depending on local availability. They will eat fish, snakes, crustaceans, plant roots, small mammals and even birds.

Threats – Sadly, the main predator of an alligator snapping turtle is humans. Whilst baby turtles can be eaten by various birds and mammals, humans are the main predator for human turtles. They may get hunted for food, to be illegally kept as pets (more in this below) and they can also be run over on highways and roads.

 

Keeping An Alligator Snapping Turtle As A Pet

It is always recommended that you buy a domestic alligator snapping turtle rather than take an animal from the wild. This is the most ethical and environmentally friendly choice, and gives you the best chance of having a healthy animal in your care.

Here are some tips on caring for your new prehistoric looking friend:

How To Hold An Alligator Snapping Turtle

Small turtles can be held by holding the turtles at the sides carefully, making sure you have a good grip of the animal. Adult turtles can weigh as much as a person so it is a little harder. You will need to hold the shell behind the head and in front of the tail being extra careful to avoid the mouth, which is very strong. You should never hold the tail of a snapping turtle as this could cause spine damage.

When handling your turtle please also remain aware of the risk of salmonella. In 1975 the US Food and Drug Administration stopped turtles under 4 inches (carapace) in length being sold to reduce the risk of salmonella. However, all turtles can carry it and there is no way to tell if they do or not. The best thing to do is always wash your hands after handling the turtle and never touch your mouth before you give your hands a good scrub.

Children are at a particularly high risk of getting salmonella from turtles as their immune systems are lower. In fact, the CDC recommends you don’t even look to own a turtle or similar animals if you have children aged five or under because of the salmonella risk.

Quarantine

You should quarantine your turtle for around 90 days at least, away from any other chelonians in the house. During this time it is a good idea to visit an exotics experienced vet to check the animal over and run some basic tests.

Some basic observations you can do yourself include:

  • Is the turtle heavy? If not it could be unwell.
  • Is the turtle alert? If it seems overly docile it could be sick. They do relax after a while when being handled but at first they should have some reaction to being picked up.
  • Are there soft spots on the shell (top and bottom) if there are, the turtle could have shell rot.
  • Are there any flies on the turtle? If there are, there could be some infected wounds.
  • Are there any signs of damage to the turtle’s shell or body, such as blood? Open wounds need attention.
  • Does the turtle have swollen eyes? If so it may be deficient in vitamin A and its diet needs changing accordingly.
  • Does the turtle have an abscess? See your vet if it doesn’t go away on its own within a few days.
  • Does your turtle have less of an appetite, nasal and eye discharge? It may have a lung infection and requires immediate attention.

Of course, over time you will get to know what is normal for your turtle. The best option is to see a vet as soon as you notice there are any issues so that they can be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

Protecting Your Turtle During Transport

Whether you are taking your turtle to the vets or home from the breeders it has to be transported properly to avoid damage.

You should never transport them in water because they could drown. Instead a container with some damp newspaper or paper towels will work well for smaller turtles. You may have to add some heat pads and use a polystyrene container if the weather is very cold (your breeder should be able to advise you on this).

With larger turtles you will need to think carefully about how to setup the transportation for them. The seller should be able to advise you on this so you can plan it long in advance of the journey.

Temperature

You’ll need to raise the water temperature of the turtle’s enclosure to remain at between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This will differ depending on whether you have a northern or southern alligator snapping turtle type. Using a turtle tank thermometer and the appropriate warming accessories will help you monitor this.

The water should also have sunny spots and shaded spots, which you can provide with a mix of reeds and other suitable plants in the pond.

Enclosure

Snapping turtles grow really quickly so it’s a good idea to be ready to expand their enclosure as they grow along the following measurement guidelines –

  • Hatchlings – 20-50 gallon tank up to a year
  • Juveniles – (Over 8 inches) 55 gallon tank until adulthood
  • Adults – 200-800 gallon enclosure

As a general rule, the bigger is better with an alligator snapping turtle enclosure. They also require running water and space to be immersed in that water, as well as a land area.

You can choose from a metal or a plastic tank, with metal tanks needing pond liner to avoid the metals seeping into the water and hurting your turtle.

When the turtle gets bigger it will need a pond built and will likely be too big for a tank. Cement ponds tend to be more durable but more expensive.

The pond should be –

  • Over three quarters shallow and warm
  • A maximum depth of three metres in the middle
  • Offering a gentle slope and no difficult steps for the turtle to navigate to get in and out

When the pond is built you should add appropriate protection for the turtle as raccoons, cats and other animals will try to prey on the turtle.

Lastly, the water will need to be filtered and circulated to keep it clear and full of oxygen. You can make ponds that don’t need filtration but it is much harder. Either way, both types of ponds will need a way to drain the water for the best maintenance options.

Lighting

Alligator snapping turtles do not necessarily require UVB lighting, but will appreciate incandescent basking lights in the tank for when they do decide to get out and bask.

Substrate

Lots of turtle owners will recommend that the tank contains no substrate which will help the water stay clean and reduce the chance of bacteria growing.

However, that doesn’t mean your snapper should not have a little hiding place. It’s a basic instinct your turtle has and it will help them feel safe.

Lining the tank with smooth rocks too large to be swallowed by the snapper or trap the snapper underneath is a good idea. You can seal these to the surface with a waterproof, aquarium sealant. You may also want to think about providing turtle suitable plants, or turtle suitable plastic plants or even some treated driftwood (which can look really nice).

Basking Site

Snappers don’t really bask but they do need to get oxygen and rest. For this reason you should add things like large rocks, logs and other safe items for your turtle to climb on and bask. You could simply get a turtle basking platform to meet this requirement.

Feeding Your Turtle

In the wild snappers tend to eat whatever they can, making it a varied diet.

Your turtle will need that same variation, with babies and juveniles getting fed daily and adults getting a feed every other day.

Over-feeding them will only dirty their tank so try not to feed them more food than about the size of their head (as a general guide). Over time you will get a feel for how much food your turtle tends to require.

When it comes to preparing the diet of your turtle you’ll need to provide lots of varied food types even if you give them a commercial feed.

In captivity zoos will often feed snappers fish, worms, small mammals, age-appropriate commercial feed and raw beef and chicken. Live foods can also be fed to your snapper in the form of shrimp, crickets, minnows, snails, worms and similar animals. Live foods help keep your turtle stimulated and active.

Fruits and veggies like kale and lettuce will also help to boost the diet of your snapper.

Hibernation

Although snapping turtles can hibernate for a short time in the wild it is thought to be a risky practice for snappers in captivity under three. For your turtle’s safety, you can stop it from hibernating by keeping its water at a warmer temperature.

If you do wish to hibernate the turtle wait until it is over three years old and consult your exotic animal veterinarian for advice on how to do it properly. It needs to be done really carefully for the safety of the animal so it is best to seek advice.

Water

As with substrate, the topic of water and alligator snapping turtle enclosures is complex and important. There are guidelines with the salt content, temperature, chemical structure and filtration that need to be carefully assessed before the turtle is purchased.

The same rules for the other elements apply here and will influence the health of the turtle, so it is important to get right before you get your turtle.

The best thing to do is speak to the breeder you’re purchasing from, and consult other experts in regards to your setup as a whole.

Before making your purchase, read as much as possible on caring for turtles to help you get a really good insight into these incredible animals and how to give them a healthy, nurturing environment that ensures that they thrive in your care.

snapping turtle tank

“The turtle’s teachings are so beautiful. So very special. It teaches us that everything you are, everything you need and everything you bring to the world is inside you, not external, and you carry it with you, and are not limited to a place, space or time.” – Eileen Anglin

 

If you’re considering getting an alligator snapping turtle, or common snapping turtle, there’s a lot of work to do to prepare for this tiny little prehistoric cutie’s arrival.

The more research and preparation you do, the more likely your new little alligator snapping turtle is going to be happy, healthy and content in your care.

Be sure to check out My Turtle Shop Here for the essentials you need to help you set up.

Swimming with the Leatherback Turtle

turtle in the ocean

With what is likely to be one of the most terrifying mouths in nature, the Leatherback Turtle is unfortunately in decline across the world. OnceSwimming with the Leatherback Turtle prevalent in oceans across the world (apart from the Arctic and Antarctic), many of these turtles fall victim to human activity as well as natural prey.

Often known as the Lute Turtle or Leathery Turtle, the Leatherback turtle is the largest of all living turtles and is only beaten by three crocodile species when comparing reptiles by weight.

Leatherback turtles are easily distinguished from other sea turtle species– the carapace is covered by skin and oily flesh rather than a bony like substance and ridges along the carapace allow these turtles to dive to depths of over 1,200 metres, staying down for up to 85 minutes.

Eating to Grow

Starting out between 15 – 30gms and at just 5 – 7 centimetres long on average at birth, Leatherback turtles end up being the largest sea turtle species across the world. Fully grown, they can reach lengths of two metres and can weigh up to 900kg. In comparison, the smallest sea turtle is the Olive Ridley or Pacific Ridley which only reaches one metre in length and averages out at 45kg in weight once fully grown.

With large food requirements, the leatherback turtle is always on the search for food. The oesophagus is lined with papillae, sharp, keratinized prongs that allow this species to mainly eat jellyfish and other soft-bodied animals. These prongs, made from cartilage, line the throat allowing the turtle to grip onto the jellyfish. Without these prongs, as the turtle expels excess water, the jellyfish would slip straight back out. The papillae also help to protect from jellyfish stings while eating.

What begs the question however, is just how such a large animal survives on a jellyfish diet, which is essentially water, and a small amount of protein and fat.

The Leatherback turtle has quite a long oesophagus leading from the mouth through to the back of the body, and then looping up again until it reaches the stomach. Essentially, it acts as a storage unit, and as food is digested and released, more food enters the stomach; it’s like a never-ending procession of food through the body.


Where will you travel?

Leatherback turtles can be found in almost all oceans in the world and while they feed in temperate waters, their breeding is done in tropical areas. They are oceanic and it is rare to find one close to shore, particularly here in Australia, unless they are one of the few laying eggs in the Great Barrier Reef region.

It is thought that Leatherback turtles take one of the longest migration routes between breeding areas and feeding areas, with an average of 6,000km each way – that’s just under a return trip between Brisbane and Perth.

Despite feeding in temperate regions and breeding in tropical regions, they have been found in waters with temperatures as low as 4 degrees Celsius (approx. 40 degrees Fahrenheit) and are the only reptile known to remain active at these low water temperatures.

Life as a Leatherback turtle

There are four main subpopulations of the Leatherback turtle found across the world – the Atlantic subpopulation, the Pacific subpopulation, the South China Sea subpopulation and the Indian Ocean subpopulation.

Atlantic Leatherback turtles are found in waters from the North Sea to the Cape of Good Hope, feeding in areas near Quebec and Newfoundland, and nesting in the regions of Trinidad and Tobago, Gabon and Antigua. The coastline of the Mayumba National Park is home to one of the largest nesting populations with almost 30,000 turtles visiting every year. Small nesting areas are also located on the east coast of Florida, and in Costa Rica.

Pacific Leatherback turtles have two distinct populations, the first nesting on beaches around Indonesia and the Solomon Islands, and feeding in regions such as California, Oregon and Washington to feed. The other finds food in the regions around South America and nest in Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

Unfortunately, the Leatherback turtles in the South China Sea region, namely Malaysia, have all but disappeared. In years past there could be up to 10,000 nests in Terengganu, however egg consumption by humans have added to the decline. So far, conservation efforts have failed.

The last sub-population is those living in the Indian Ocean. There is little known about the turtles living in this region, however it is thought that nesting areas are around Sri Lanka and the Nicobar Islands.

The Struggle to Survive  

It is estimated that only one in a thousand hatchlings survive to adulthood and like many other creatures, one of the largest threats to the Leatherback turtle is human activity, and this happens from birth through to old age.

In some areas of the world, turtle eggs are taken from nests to be used as food or aphrodisiacs. They also fall victim to fishing nets and lines, boats and plastic, which is often mistaken for jellyfish. Some Leatherback turtles have been found with almost 5kgs of plastic in their stomachs.

Other predators strike while the iron is hot so to speak, and many hatchlings don’t make it to the water. Fish, dogs, seabirds, crabs, saltwater crocodiles, lizards, dingos and foxes all prey on eggs and hatchlings, while for adult turtles, the main predators are sharks, killer whales and crocodiles.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, the population of Pacific Leatherback turtle has declined the most over the last 20 years, with as few as 2,300 adult females thought to remain in the wild; this means the Pacific Leatherback turtle is the more endangered marine turtle population. It is also thought that the Atlantic population, while currently more stable, will start to decline as fishing increases.

Where can you see the Leatherback Turtle

You’ll find Leatherback turtles in coastal countries across the world. Found in all tropical and subtropical oceans, at times they also extend into the Arctic Circle. From Alaska and Norway through to the southern tip of New Zealand, you may be lucky enough to spot a Leatherback turtle.

There are turtle rookeries along both the Queensland coastline where you may get the rare opportunity to see Leatherback turtles lay eggs and hatch. They have been known to occasionally feed and nest within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and have sporadic nesting points throughout Queensland.

With the Leatherback turtle in decline across the world, developing safe rookeries is essential as is ensuring that items such as plastics are kept out of the water. While natural predators will always be around, there are plenty of steps we can take to ensure the future of these turtles.


The Difference Between Turtle And Tortoise And Terrapins

Difference Between Turtle And Tortoise And Terrapins

Difference Between Turtle And Tortoise And Terrapins

Turtle, Tortoise or 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.


How Many Leatherback Turtles Are Left In The World?

How Many Leatherback Turtles Are Left In The World?

How Many Leatherback Turtles Are Left In The World?

Leatherback turtles

Leatherback turtles are a species of turtle characterized by their lack of a bony shell and their distinct large size.

Leatherback turtles are in fact so large that they are listed as the fourth heaviest reptile behind three species of crocodile. They have been known to weigh up to 900 kg and grow up to 1.6 metres.

The turtle’s name emanates from the leathery texture of its carapace which is in other species a hard, bony shell.

Leatherback turtles’ conservation status is classified as “Vulnerable.” Their bodies have perhaps what is described as the most hydrodynamic body shape that resembles a large teardrop.

Their anatomy closely resembles other species of turtles in that they have flattened forelimbs that are specially adapted for swimming in open ocean waters.

The front flippers are distinctly larger with claws being absent on both front and back flippers.

Leatherback turtles are also listed among the deepest diving marine-dwelling animals known to man.

It is worth mentioning that leatherback turtles’ diet mainly consists of jellyfish and other soft-bodied marine animals. Find more on what leatherback turtles eat here.

So how many leatherback turtles are left in the world and what are the threats to leatherback turtles? Let’s discuss these among other concerns related to this species of giant turtle below.

 

How Many Leatherback Turtles Are Left In The World?

Populations of leatherback turtles are distributed between four distinct zones. These are;

  • Pacific Ocean
  • Indian Ocean
  • Atlantic Ocean
  • South China Sea


 

The Pacific Ocean Leatherback Turtle Population

Leatherback turtle Pacific populations are spread in the region between Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, parts of the Northern Hemisphere which include North America.

Other areas where leatherback turtles nest are the West coast of the South American continent, and parts of the southern hemisphere.

Australian leatherback turtles nest along the Queensland coast from Bundaberg to the tip of Arnhem land. These rookeries have always been small and have dwindled in numbers recently all along the QLD coast in Australia.

Experts estimate around two thousand three hundred adult females in the Pacific region.

How Many Leatherback Turtles Are Left In The World?

The Indian Ocean Leatherback Turtle Population

While little research has been conducted on leatherback turtles dwelling in the Indian Ocean, marine life conservationists assert that the Indian Ocean population is genetically distinct from the rest of the species.

 

The Atlantic Ocean Leatherback Turtle Population

It is estimated that leatherback turtle numbers are higher in the Atlantic region thanks to an abundance of jellyfish; their primary prey.

Their range covers the region off the Canadian coast, to Costa Rica and the biggest leatherback nesting site in Gabon.

The latter plays host to over 30,000 leatherback turtles each year between the months of October and April.

 

The South China Sea Leatherback Turtle Population

Other suspected leatherback turtle nesting sites are located within the South China Sea region mainly Malaysia.

The region was once considered to be the world’s biggest nesting site, but consumption of turtle eggs has led to their steady decline.

 

Threats To Leatherback Turtle Populations

Leatherback turtles similar to other species of turtle are at their most vulnerable after hatching.

In their early life stages, leatherback turtles are vulnerable to predation by shorebirds, crabs and small mammals.

Hatchlings that manage to reach the water face the threat of predation by fish and other predatory marine life.

Adult leatherback turtles have only the threat of being eaten by large sharks. Mainly the tiger shark.

The reason for this is that their flesh has too much fat and oil making it unpalatable.

Human Threats Leatherback Turtles

The biggest threats to leatherback turtles are however related to human activities.

Pollution, accidental catches, and entanglement in fishing nets are the most deadly threats to leatherback turtles.

Ingestion of plastic bags has also been known to be fatal as it causes intestinal blockage and malabsorption.

The loss of breeding rookeries from developments and erosion of beaches from developments in the area which affect the tides.

 

How We Can Reduce The Decline Of Leatherback Turtle Numbers

Humans are the number one cause for the decline of how many leatherback turtles are left in the world. It is up to everybody to stop polluting the land and waterways. It is very easy for plastics on land to end up in the oceans of the world.

How Many Leatherback Turtles Are Left In The World?The protection of rookeries will assist in the leatherback turtle numbers to start rising. This includes the human consumption of eggs.

It is our responsibility to reverse the effects we have caused and to protect this magical species of turtle.