How to Take Care of a Pet Turtle

Turtles are a very popular choice when it comes to pets, as not only are they beautiful and fascinating to look at, but they’re also fairly low-maintenance. You often find that aquatic turtles are the most popular species to have as pets, but there are also painted turtles, sulcatta tortoises, box turtles and re-eared sliders that are being welcomed into the family home. When you agree to take on a turtle as a pet, it’s important to know that this is a long-term commitment, as turtles can live for a very long time and often outlive their owners. Just like all pets, turtles require specific care to ensure they can live a healthy, happy life and these tips have been gathered to help you care for your turtle in the best way.

The Essential Equipment

Before you welcome your new pet turtle into your home, it’s really important to have set everything up ready for their arrival. Start with the tank, as you need to ensure you have a space that’s large enough for them to live in. If your turtle is a hatchling (baby turtle) when you first get it, then you want to have a small enough tank for it to have space but feel comfortable and safe. Once the hatchling starts growing into a full-size turtle, you’re going to need to consider purchasing a larger tank for them to roam around in, ensuring there is plenty of space for them to live comfortably. You then need to think about having some artificial lighting for your turtle, which will preferably have UVB radiation. Finally, fill your turtles tank with gravel, logs, a water filter and some tank features (ornaments or figures) to make your turtle feel more at home.

Eating Habits

More often than not, adult turtles are known to be omnivores (eat both meat and veg), whereas the younger turtles are carnivores (only eat meat). There are lots of very common foods to have on hand for your turtle, including strawberries, vegetables, fish, crickets and shrimp, which you add to turtle pellets to complete the meal. This will ensure your turtle is receiving the right balance of nutrients and vitamins to live a healthy life, whilst keeping their energy levels high too.  

Keeping Fit

Whilst you may think of turtles as being slow animals with a huge shell that will prevent them from moving fast, this couldn’t be further from the case. Turtles have an amazing character, with qualities that make them stand out way above the rest. Not only do turtles love to move, they actually need to. Turtles (mainly freshwater) are extremely active animals, so it’s really important to have them roaming around with free reign of their tank to ensure they get the exercise required.

It’s also really common for people to put their turtles in a dedicated room within the house to roam around and explore. This is a fantastic way for your turtle to take some time from their normal habitat and experience new smells, textures and so on. When allowing your turtle to roam your home, however, please make sure everyone in the house is aware so that there are no accidents or squashed shells at any point!

Feeling Fresh

One of the biggest things to remember when caring for your pet turtle is that they need to stay fresh and clean in order to be healthy. Just like fish, turtles require a clean, fresh water tank to keep them strong and healthy, and the moment you let that water become dirty it can cause all kinds of diseases to spread. Once your turtle catches a bug or disease it can be very difficult to treat, so it’s essential that you clean your turtles water frequently. 

Do you have a pet turtle? We'd love to see them! Share photos of your turtle with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the tag #FossFriends