Turtle Care: Seven Things You Should Never Do to a Turtle

Turtles: silent companions, but they still need attention

So you're looking for a new pet and you've decided that a Testudine might be right for you. Whether it's a tortoise, tortoise, or tortoise, a four-legged, shelled pet can be a great companion. Turtles are fun to watch swimming in an aquarium, lazily walking on the ground (eg your carpet) or even just relaxing on a warm and cozy rock.

Turtle Care: Seven Things You Should Never Do to a Turtle
Turtle Care: Seven Things You Should Never Do to a Turtle

As with any other pet, caring for turtles does not require a small amount of research. While there are many sources that can provide information on what you should do for your turtle, here are some things you shouldn't.

1- Don't skimp on your turtle's enclosure

If you are purchasing a turtle as a baby or newborn, it is imperative that you consider the approximate size of your turtle when fully grown. Your turtle certainly won't reach adulthood overnight, but it's bound to happen faster than you think.

According to Dr. Jennifer Coates, a veterinarian in Fort Collins, Colorado, "a young red-eared slider, for example, may be sold when it is only four inches long, but it can be expected to eventually reach 10 to 12 inches long." It's also crucial to take into account that, depending on the species, female turtles will develop slightly larger than males.

A good guideline is ten gallons of tank space for every inch of turtle, minimum. Thus, even a very small turtle that does not exceed a few centimeters will need a fairly large aquarium. Throw another turtle into the mix and you're looking at an even bigger tank. As with any pet, it's better to opt for a larger enclosure than to be stuck with one that's too small.

2- Do not use a glass top on your turtle tank

Turtles need both ultraviolet A and B light to survive. Coates says UV-B light is particularly important for turtles because it "plays a major role in the production of vitamin D3, which is necessary for calcium absorption and metabolism." A lack of vitamin D can lead to stunted shell growth, bone disorders, and generally shorten your turtle's life.

Although sunlight provides all the ultraviolet light a turtle needs in the wild, it is not enough to simply have your enclosure near a sunlit window. You will need to supplement the ambient light with a quality UV light source placed above the tank. However, UVB rays cannot penetrate glass, so glass tank tops negate the benefits of any type of overhead lighting. The same is true for light shining through the walls of a glass tank. Even if you opt for a top screen for your tank, it is best that the cells of this screen are as wide as possible to allow enough UVB light to reach the turtle.

If you are planning to replace an old aquarium with your new turtle, it is best to invest in a new aquarium cover that is more suitable than the one that comes with aquariums. Turtles aren't likely to escape from a well-managed enclosure, so if you can set things up correctly, you may not need a cover at all.

Perhaps more importantly, just because a UV bulb is on doesn't mean it emits enough UV light. It is therefore best to replace your bulbs every 9 to 12 months, even if they are still operational. Coates continues, "You might also need to give your turtle a calcium and vitamin D supplement, depending on the species, nutrition, and physical characteristics of the turtle. Consult your veterinarian about the particular requirements of your turtle."

3- Don't fail filtration

In other words, turtles are dirty. A turtle's life is an endless circle of food going in and waste going out, often at the same time. It is therefore important that your turtle's environment is kept clean. Most turtles sold as pets require both aquatic and terrestrial environments in their aquarium, and special attention should be paid to water quality.

When it comes to filtration, it is recommended that you opt for a turtle tank filter system powerful enough to filter a tank twice the size of yours. Also, it's a good idea to invest in a vacuum cleaner, or even just a simple siphon designed for tanks, which provides an easy way to do a partial water change each time you use it. which needs to happen at least once per week. A bubbler can help aerate the water and improve water quality.

According to Coates, many species of turtles from warmer latitudes will also need their water to be heated. "For instance, red-eared sliders frequently flourish in water that is 80 degrees or warmer."

Of course, water changes and cleaning should be done regularly. How often you need will depend on the size of your tank and whether or not you use a separate tank at mealtimes, but you should change the water before it gets dirty or smelly. A good rule of thumb is to siphon off about half the water once a week, replacing it with clean water. The entire tank should be drained and completely cleaned, according to Coates, every month or two.

4- Don't forget that reptiles can transmit salmonella

Many pets, including reptiles, can carry Salmonella, a bacterial infection that can spread to humans. Salmonellosis signs and symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and cramping in the abdomen. With proper treatment, healthy adults tend to recover relatively quickly from an infection with Salmonella bacteria. Young and old people are more at risk of complications.

It is incorrect, says Dr. Adam Denish of Rhawnhurst Animal Hospital in Pennsylvania, to believe that a turtle must "appear sick" in order to be threatening.

Some reptiles may act as carriers of the bacterium without showing symptoms of an illness. Equally important, any veterinarian can test an animal for Salmonella. However, these tests only show an infection if they shed the bacteria in their stool at this time.

It is always best to wash your hands well after handling your turtle or cleaning its enclosure. Young children handling turtles should be supervised to ensure they do not place them near their eyes or mouths and wash their hands afterwards. But all of this shouldn't stop you from catching a turtle, after all, any pet has the potential to transmit disease. These simple precautions are simply your best protection against illness.

5- Do not mix turtles and other pets without close supervision

It goes without saying that pets of different types may need to be separated or closely supervised when in close proximity. Although owning a pet has turned many unlikely combinations of animals into lifelong friends (and cute internet memes), it only takes a moment for instinct to take over and transform a food friend. A dog or cat may view your new turtle with curiosity at first, but a simple scratch or exploratory bite can easily cause serious damage or even death. And there is the same threat of Salmonella infection from turtles to other pets as there is to humans (see previous slide).

Although a cat is probably more likely to have the ability to get up and enter your turtle's enclosure, never underestimate the raw strength of an impatient, bounding dog, regardless of size. . There is also the risk of one or both animals being injured or even killed by a falling aquarium.

Keep any speakers away from the edges of shelves, tables, or desks, and secure cords running to and from lights, heaters, and filters to avoid both tripping and curious mouths.

6- Do not overfeed your turtle

Turtles are opportunistic eaters and will frequently keep eating as long as food is available, like many other animals. When you approach that desired shelf or pass by a turtle's enclosure, they will also "beg" for food. Overfeeding a turtle can have detrimental effects despite being challenging to avoid. Coates cautions that overfeeding in pet turtles is associated with two diseases: obesity and hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease).

While growing, juvenile tortoises need to be fed quite often, adult tortoises can be fed several times a week, depending on the species. Feed your turtle a healthy combination of store-bought turtle pellets, fresh leafy greens, and finely chopped fruits and vegetables. The majority of turtles are omnivores, therefore many of them will occasionally like small fish, shrimp, and insects. To add an extra dose of this important vitamin, calcium powder can be sprinkled on any of these dishes.

On the other hand, many species observe a period of hibernation and may refuse to feed for long periods of time. If your turtle stops eating and you are concerned that she is sick, be sure to schedule an exam with your veterinarian.

It's always best to remove any uneaten food from a turtle's enclosure to avoid damage from trash and rotting matter, which can make tank water very unpleasant. In an attempt to avoid this, some owners feed their turtles in a separate space.

7- Do not release your turtle into the wild

Any animal lover would recoil at the thought of leaving a cat or dog to their own devices in the wild. However, someone who owns a turtle and can no longer care for it might think that there is a perfect spot in a nearby pond or forest that would be the ideal place for a turtle. After all, some say, there are probably other turtles out there, and plenty of food, water and sunshine. However, it's never a smart idea to do that.

While a turtle's natural instincts would likely kick in, a turtle that has been in captivity most of its life will not have the hunting skills of a wild turtle. Also, any manageable disease a turtle might contract in captivity can run rampant and not be controlled if released into the wild. So between the natural competition for food, the uncertainty of the weather, and disease, your pet will have little chance of survival, let alone the damage it could cause to native animals.

If you need to rehome a turtle, there are a number of internet groups and organizations that may be able to help you find a suitable new family for it (see Related Links below). Although your local pet store is unlikely to accept your turtle, they may be able to point you in the right direction or allow you to post on their community forums.

In all circumstances, the decision to have a pet, turtle or otherwise, is not to be taken lightly. Do your research to be sure you are prepared to care for any animal companion you choose to call your own.

No comments
Post a Comment

Post a Comment