Red Eared Slider As A Pet: A Complete Care Guide

Red Eared Slider As A Pet: A Complete Care Guide

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

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

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

Swimming with the Leatherback Turtle

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.


Turtles As Pets For Beginners

Turtles As Pets For Beginners

Turtles As Pets For Beginners

Turtle Care

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

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

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

Turtles As Pets For Beginners

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

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

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

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

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

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

Equipment Needed For Turtle Care

Turtles As Pets For Beginners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exercise For Pet Turtles

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

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

The Difference Between Turtle And Tortoise And Terrapins

The 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.

 

 


How Long Do Green Sea Turtles Live

How Long Do Green Sea Turtles Live

How Long Do Green Sea Turtles LiveHow Long Do Green Sea Turtles Live

Green sea turtles Live to over 80 years in the wild. The green sea turtle is also known around the world as the green turtle, the black sea turtle or the Pacific green turtle.

From 5cm at birth to 1.5m fully grown, green sea turtles are the second largest of the sea turtles behind leatherback turtles.

The name however doesn’t come from the colour of their shell, which is generally olive to black in colour; these turtles are named after the fat that lays underneath the carapace which has a green hue.

Migrating long distances from feeding grounds to hatching areas, green sea turtles are listed as endangered or threatened in many countries.

This often due to human activity such as being hunted for food, pollution and being caught in fishing nets.

They often suffer from habitat loss in areas due to growing real estate development taking over their traditional nesting grounds.

 

Green Sea Turtle BreedingGreen Sea Turtle Breeding

The green sea turtle generally live 80 or more years in the wild, and can take anywhere between 20 – 50 years to reach sexual maturity.

This means a female green sea turtle may not lay her first clutch of eggs until she is 35 or older.

While male turtles can breed every year, the females only breed every three to five years.

The green sea turtle can lay anywhere between 75 – 200 eggs in each clutch, and can lay numerous clutches before leaving the nesting areas.

Eggs take around two months to hatch and then make their way to the sea. Like any other sea turtle, only a percentage make their way to the ocean, and only a small percentage make it to being an adult.

Juvenile Green Sea Turtles

What Do Juvenile Green Sea Turtles Eat?

Juvenile green sea turtles tend to be omnivores and eat a wide variety of plants and animals. Such as insects, crustaceans, seagrasses and sea worms.

On the other hand adult green sea turtles eat seagrass and algae. Adults are herbivores and spend their eating hours cropping the seagrasses and eating algae. With a serrated jaw, they are more suited to the vegetarian lifestyle.

Australian Geographic notes that in 2011 scientists started using satellite tags to follow the movements of two young green turtles in the waters off Port Stephens in NSW.

It was found that, along with foraging, nesting and migrating in the tropical regions of northern Australia, young turtles drift into more temperate waters to take advantage of feeding on seagrass and invertebrates.

Interestingly, green sea turtles nest on the very same beaches they themselves hatched on years earlier.

Green Sea Turtle Predators

Green sea turtles have predators no matter how old they are. The main predator for adults are large sharks, particularly tiger sharks. Killer whales are also known to predate on green sea turtles.

For hatchlings and eggs, the predator list grows – fish, dogs, birds, ghost crabs, lizards and more.

It has been estimated that the rate for baby green sea turtles to make it to adulthood is 1 in 1000.

 

Living Near Rookeries

If you live near a turtle hatching area, anywhere in the world, it’s important to know when your local nesting and hatching seasons are.

One of the biggest threats, especially to hatchlings, is light. Hatchlings use the light of the moon to guide the way to the water. And the light from buildings near the nesting areas, can distract the hatchlings and they start to crawl away from the water, making them more susceptible to predators.

Other major factors when it comes to green sea turtle deaths are by-catch by trawlers, marine debris and pollution, disease, strikes and cuts from boats and propellers, hunting, and changes in the temperatures between nesting beaches and marine habitat.

 

How Long Do Green Sea Turtles Live

 

Green Sea Turtle Breeding & Rookeries

Green sea turtles are threatened the world over and there are only a few large nesting populations left.

Here in Australia we have some of the largest nesting areas in the region for many marine turtle species including the green sea turtle.

Green sea turtles make their habitat around coral reefs that are rich in seaweed and near seagrass pastures in tropical and subtropical regions.

 

The main population of green sea turtles in Australia occur in the southern Great Barrier Reef, the northern Great Barrier Reef, the Coral Sea, the Gulf of Carpentaria, the north-west shelf of Western Australia, Ashmore Reef, Cartier Reef and Scott Reef.

 

Major rookeries (or nesting areas) in Australia occur in the Southern Great Barrier Reef area. Nesting and hatching occurs from mid-October through to early-April with the peak being in late December through to early January.

Places such as Mon Repos near Bundaberg offer the potential to see nesting and hatching green sea turtles.

 

Where To See Green Sea Turtles

There’s numerous places to see green sea turtles right here in Australia and across the world. In Queensland, try Heron Island, Mon Repos; in Western Australia try Ningaloo Reef; while in the Northern Territory, Bare Sand Island is a popular location.

Where To See Green Sea Turtles

According to the Department of Environment and Energy, Western Australia has one of the largest remaining green sea turtle populations in the world, estimated to be in the tens of thousands.

The Lacepede Islands in Westerns Australia are one of the most critical nesting areas, supporting the largest green sea turtle rookeries in the state.

In the United States, you will find green sea turtles on the Hawaiian islands, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Florida’s east coast. Other areas include Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina along the Atlantic coast

In 2016 ABC reported on the Raine Island Recovery Project – raising the height of a remote, inaccessible to the public island off the far north coast of Queensland to help save the nesting site for thousands of turtles.

This island, located about 620km north-east of Cairns, is the nesting ground for approximately 60,000 green sea turtles each year, and researchers have been reshaping sections of the beach to help protect the breeding grounds, as well as keeping the island safe for green sea turtles.

Through conservation efforts such as the Raine Island Recovery Project it is hoped that the number of green sea turtle hatchlings increase in the coming years.

Green sea turtles play an important part in the marine world and there are plenty of ways you can get on board to help conserve this species across the world.


What Do Leatherback Turtles Eat?

What Do Leatherback Turtles Eat?

What Do Leatherback Turtles Eat?

What Do Leatherback Turtles Eat?

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 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.

 

Leatherback Turtle Mouth

With large food requirements, these turtles are 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.

 

Swimming With The Leatherback Turtle

With what is likely to be one of the most terrifying mouths in nature, the Leatherback Turtle is unfortunately in decline across the world.

Once 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.

Leatherback turtles to dive to depths of over 1,200 metres, staying down for up to 85 minutes. Leatherback turtles are the deepest diving reptiles. 

What Do Leatherback Turtles Eat?

Leatherback Turtle Size

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.


 

Where Do Leatherback Turtles 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 turtes 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 alsoo 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.

 

Threats To LeaLeatherback Turtlestherback Turtles

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 Pacific population of Leatherbacks have 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.

You can find out more about how many leatherback turtles are left in the world here.

 

Where Can You See Leatherback Turtles

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.


Painted Turtle Pet – What To Feed A Painted Turtle

Painted Turtle Pet – What To Feed A Painted Turtle

What To Feed A Painted Turtle Pet

Painted Turtles Have Beautiful Colors And Markings

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

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

The painted turtle are diurnal species, which means that they are active mainly in the day.

What To Feed A Painted Turtle PetPainted turtle spend most of their time in the night sleeping in the water however some painted turtle have been discovered to be active at night.

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

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

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

 

Painted Turtle Habitat

What To Feed A Painted Turtle Pet

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

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

 

Painted Turtle Size

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

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

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

 

How Long Do Painted Turtles Live?

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

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


Painted Turtle Pet Habitat

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

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

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

 

What To Feed A Painted Turtle

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

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

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

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

 

What To Feed A Painted Turtle Pet

Painted Turtle Diseases

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

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

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

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

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


Keeping Turtles As Pets

Keeping Turtles As Pets

Keeping Turtles As PetsPet Turtles

Keeping turtles as pets requires a lot of care and know-how. You may need special equipment to maintain your pet turtle’s habitat.

You’ll need to know the answer to “what do turtles eat?” and of course you’ll need to learn about turtles and what it takes to keep them as pets.

It also depends which type of turtle you have as to how you’ll need to care for them.

Pet Turtle Habitat

In order to keep a turtle as a pet, you’ll need to have a good habitat for him/her. A turtle habitat needs to have a variety of things.

First of all, you need some type of enclosure made for holding water. Next you’ll need a gravel susbtrate, some logs/rocks and interesting things for your turtle.

You should always make sure your turtle can access “land” and can bask in sunlight or else specially designed UV lamps. If your turtle lives outdoors, you’ll need a different setup altogether but the concepts are the same.

Turtles love lots of space to swim, roam and climb. They love getting around and this is good since it counts as exercise.

 

What Do Pet Turtles Eat?

One of the first questions you’ll need to find the answer to is “what do turtles eat?“. Of course you want your pet turtle to be 100% happy & healthy.

So you need to make sure his/her dietary needs are taken care of. There are some important things to think about when looking at turtle food.

First of all, you don’t want to give them anything that is poisonous to them! There are certain flowers & vegetables that turtles just shouldn’t have.

Likewise, not all turtles should eat meat! You should check on your specific type of turtle before deciding on what to feed him/her.

Keeping Turtles As Pets

Any pet turtle owner wants their pet to be happy & healthy. This includes making sure they are mentally stimulated in a positive way as much as possible.

You can of coarse choose how far you want to go with this. Some people cuddle their turtles, let them explore their house and even talk to them.

Anything which is not dangerous to your turtle, but is interesting for him/her to do is probably a good thing!