Tips for Taking Care of Water Turtles
Water turtles make great pets and are relatively easy to take care of at home. Water turtles exist in different parts of the world and occupy everything from salty seas to clear water ponds. Their size and characteristics are remarkably varied. Depending on the species, they can grow to be quite large. So, if you are considering water turtles as pets, it is best to educate yourself about some of the features of these creatures. The details will help you make all the right choices from housing through to maintaining the health of your pets. Here is brief overview of some of the things to consider when thinking of water turtles as pets.
Home – Turtle owners should plan on trying to recreate a home for the water turtle that reflects its natural setting in nature. They need room to swim and so a large aquarium preferably with heating is a good bet. Ideally there should be a section for swimming and a rock shelf on which the turtle can rest when not swimming. If you are starting the turtle rearing by getting a baby turtle it may be a good idea to plan on a shallow swimming area for the early days even if the feeding happens in deeper water. It is a bad idea to put a glass aquarium in direct sun light or outside as glass can heat up quickly and cause damage to the water turtles.
Since the water turtles like warm weather, in places where the climatic conditions are warm, they can be kept in outdoor ponds or even a plastic swimming pool. It is a good idea to have some kind of cover for outside housing of turtles to reduce the chance of random invasion by a cat or a dog.
Whether you provide a home indoor or outdoor for your water turtle, maintain a two week cleaning schedule. It is best to clean the turtle’s house from top to bottom thoroughly to prevent the growth of mold and other organisms. It is said that a calcium block can be placed in the aquarium or pool to prevent the growth of too many microorganisms.
Food – Water turtles need to be fed in the water. They eat a wide variety of things from green vegetables and raw meat to bananas and fish. They are known to enjoy earthworms, brine shrimp and shellfish. It is a good idea to give your water turtles calcium, vitamin and bone meal as supplements to ensure they get enough of these essential nutrients. Cleaning the tank becomes easier if the uneaten food is removed promptly and this also helps reduce the chances of illness and disease in your pets.
Temperature – Warmth is very important for turtles and so it is essential to plan on a heat source for these creatures. There are lights that function as heaters and these are one of the options for indoor aquariums. There are also submersible heaters that can be left in the water. Ideally the water temperature should be in the range of 75 to 85°F. If there is a heater, it is a good idea to turn it off or lower the temperature during the night to simulate real warmth and coolness cycles of a given day.
Light – Water turtles need natural sunlight to process their food and to assimilate the necessary nutrients. It is preferable for turtles to get direct sunlight rather than have it filtered through glass. So, a basking area with provision for shade is a good idea for a healthy turtle. If you live in a place where it is hard to provide your water turtle with adequate sunlight exposure, you can consider a UVA/UVB bulb as they offer the benefits of the sun’s rays even though they do not offer the warmth of the sun.
While turtles are by-and-large healthy creatures, they do get problems such as fungus and flesh injuries. Most of the health issues of turtles stem from diet issues and a balance and nutritious diet can take care of many such problems.
Water turtles can make for engaging pets and with some planning and organization you will be able to provide a great home for these creatures.