Aquatic Turtles: How to Take Care of Pet Aquatic Turtles?

 Aquatic turtles are a popular choice for new reptile pet parents. Aquatic turtles require special care with a semi-aquatic habitat and each species has its own unique set of husbandry requirements that should be considered before bringing your new turtle home.

Aquatic Turtles: How to Take Care of Pet Aquatic Turtles?
Aquatic Turtles: How to Take Care of Pet Aquatic Turtles?

 This article serves as a general guideline for keeping and caring for an aquatic turtle. However, determining the correct temperatures and environmental conditions for each species is critical to maximizing success with your new aquatic pet. Be sure to partner with a veterinarian who has expertise in reptiles.

Turtle housing

Aquatic Turtle Cage Size Requirements

 The size of the enclosure for aquatic turtles depends on the age, size and gender of your pet turtle. Hatchlings and small turtles can be kept in a 20-30 gallon enclosure, while larger, mature turtles often require larger spaces (60-120 gallon habitats).

 Tortoises are adept climbers, so they need a large enclosure to prevent escapes. Additionally, a screen top can be used to help contain turtles in their enclosure. It's a good rule to have at least one body length between the water surface and the top edge of the enclosure to prevent any leaks.

 A minimum of two thirds of the enclosure must be filled with water for aquatic turtles. About 1/3 of the space should provide dry ground for the turtles to pull themselves up on. The dry part of the enclosure is a good place for lounging. The water depth should be about twice the length of your turtle's carapace; This will allow them to dive easily and recover if they overturn in the water.

Water filtration for aquatic turtles

 There are several types of filtrations available for turtles. Good water filtration must be ensured at all stages of your aquatic turtle's life. The most effective water filters will combine mechanical and biological filtering. A fresh water quality test kit can ensure your filtration is working so that toxins such as ammonia don't build up in the water. Filtration should match or exceed the amount of water your habitat holds. Partial and full water changes can be used in conjunction with filtration to provide good quality water. Be sure to dechlorinate the water before adding it to a turtle enclosure.

Feeding aquatic turtles in the water

 Food can be offered in the water (some turtles eat floating objects) or on the land portion of the habitat. To minimize the frequency with which the water needs to be changed and to prevent the tank water from becoming dirty, pet owners can feed their turtle in a tank separate from the main habitat. Turtles frequently soil the water and will need water changes to keep their space clean and sanitized.

 Since the majority of their environment is made up of water, aquatic turtles do not require a separate water bowl because they may drink from their habitat in addition to absorbing water via their skin and pores.

Aquatic Turtle Cage Enrichment

 Aquatic environments provide many opportunities for enrichment, including the construction of islets for aquatic turtles to hide below and/or climb above. Aquatic plants can also be used in the environment; However, make sure these plants are safe to eat, as many aquatic turtles may try to eat them. Safe plants include:

  • Duckweed
  • Nenuphar
  • Water lettuce
  • Water fern
  • Water hyacinth

 For enrichment, tunnels and logs can also be offered. Make sure your turtle cannot get stuck or trapped by underwater enrichment before placing it in the environment.

Temperature and Rest for Aquatic Turtles

 Basking lights should be provided for aquatic turtles in dry areas of the enclosure. This area can provide ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) light and temperature support. The tan should be available for approximately 12-14 hours during the spring/summer months and 10-12 hours during the fall/winter months.

 Temperatures in resting areas should be between 89 and 95 degrees F. In addition, the water temperature should be between 75 and 86 degrees F. Temperature regulation in the water can be provided by a submersible aquarium heater. These heating elements must be protected so that the turtle cannot interact with the heating element.

Substrates for aquatic turtles

 In the dry zone of the enclosure, suitable substrates include reptile mulch, soil, coconut shell, and bark. They are all biodegradable and should be changed monthly. In the aquatic part of the habitat, river rocks can be used as substrate. Make sure the rocks are bigger than your turtle's head to prevent him from trying to ingest rocks.

Turtle food

 The diet of aquatic turtles should be based on the amount of protein they typically consume. Some species of aquatic turtles are omnivores (plant and meat eaters) while other species are more carnivorous (meat eaters). Some aquatic turtles will change their feeding strategy as they grow, they may even become more herbivorous (eating only plants).

 A high protein diet should be offered to juvenile turtles. Commercial aquatic pellets can provide a complete diet high in protein (70%). You can provide chopped leafy greens and a variety of vegetables to make up 30% of a turtle's diet. Adult turtles should have a lower amount of protein in the diet (30-50%) while the remaining part of the diet can be vegetables.

 Vegetables and fruits can be offered to adult turtles as part of a complete diet. Plant elements that may be offered include:

  • Romaine lettuce, green and red
  • Parsley
  • Dandelion
  • To crush
  • Zucchini
  • Yam
  • Carrot

 All foods should all be cut into bite-size pieces for easy consumption. Live aquatic plants may be offered, including duckweed, water lilies and water hyacinths. Fruit should only be served as a treat or on rare occasions. Strawberries are always a turtle favorite!

Feeding Schedule

 Hatchlings and small turtles should be fed daily. Clean up any uneaten food after 15 minutes to limit water contamination. Adult animals can be fed every 2-3 days in the same way. Adult turtles are simple to overfeed, and obesity can become an issue.

 To provide your turtle with a balanced, nutrient-rich diet, vitamin supplements should be added to the diet. The amount of added vitamins should be discussed with your veterinarian as some vitamins can be toxic when used in excessive amounts. With the assistance of your veterinarian, a complete diet should be created.

Medical Needs of Turtles

 Turtles can contract many diseases, and many of these can be caused by poor husbandry. Diseases include:

  • Metabolic bone diseases
  • Vitamin A deficiencies
  • Pyramidal shell or abnormal growth
  • Septicaemic skin ulcer disease (SCUD) or shell rot
  • ear abscess
  • Buoyancy disorders
  • Cloacal prolapse
  • Respiratory infections
  • Egg binding or dystocia
  • Diarrhea
  • Retained scutes
  • Ingestion of foreign bodies
  • Signs of illness 
  • Bad muscles
  • Red skin
  • Hull Discolorations
  • soft shell
  • Buoyancy changes

 Turtles do not usually contract human diseases, but there are some diseases that turtles can transmit to humans, such as salmonellosis.

 Always wash your hands before and after handling your pet turtle to prevent transmission of bacteria such as salmonella or other infectious diseases from your turtle. All aquatic turtles should be assumed positive for Salmonella. Salmonella naturally exists in the intestines of turtles and is excreted in their feces. They do not inherit this bacterium from their parents, but environmental factors frequently lead to their acquisition. 

 It is therefore important to always practice good hygiene with aquatic turtles. Poor husbandry is thought to be one of the factors that allows Salmonella to persist in aquatic turtles. Very young children and adults with compromised immune systems should not handle or have aquatic turtles as pets for their own safety.

Turtle Cleaning Needs

 Water filtration and quality should be the basis for water modifications. Water that hasn't been filtered should be changed every day. If water filtration is in place, partial to full water changes can be done weekly to bimonthly. The substrate at the dry end of the enclosure should be spot cleaned weekly and thoroughly cleaned monthly.

Handling turtles

 Small turtles require strict husbandry requirements, including heating, lighting, and filtration, as they can be more sensitive than larger animals. For small turtles, handling should be kept to a minimum and only be done when absolutely essential.

In conclusion: How to pick up your aquatic turtle?

 Newborns can be picked up with one hand using the thumb and forefinger. Once picked up, their whole body should be supported. Larger turtles should be picked up with both hands, holding them by their shells. Some turtle species may try to bite, so be sure to keep your hands away from your head to avoid being bitten. 

The sale of small turtles is prohibited by law, except for educational purposes when they are less than 4 inches. Many considerations should be considered before acquiring a pet turtle. Make sure you have all the necessary supplies before bringing home a turtle, and always partner with an experienced exotics vet.

No comments
Post a Comment

Post a Comment