Friday, March 20, 2009

Pet Turtle Care : Creating the Perfect Turtle Environment

Pet Turtle Care

A growing number of people are looking to turtles as unique and interesting pets that are still safe and easy to care for. Pet turtles are great pets and can provide years of companionship, with some of them living for up to 50 years. While there are a number of species of turtles that are suited to living in captivity as pets, the four most popular types of pet turtles are the mud turtles, the box turtles, sliders and painted turtles. While each type will have slightly different feeding and care requirements, there are some general guidelines for creating the perfect turtle environment that will hold true for all.

In their natural habitats, turtles are used to water, mud, swamps, grass, sand, and humidity.
They like to sun themselves on rocks and on warm sand and they are used to hunting for food in the water. With this in mind, you will need to recreate all of this, most likely in a large aquarium. Regardless of how small your turtle is, and especially if you are getting more than one turtle, you will need to have an aquarium with at least a 20 gallon capacity. In the aquarium you will need to create all the elements that the turtle is used to in his or her natural environment. The turtle will need to be able to swim, lie in the sun, hide, and walk around as much as possible.

The aquarium should be filled up with sand to a depth of about 4 inches. There should be an insert that will hold and contain the water for the turtle to swim in. The water should be at least deep enough so the turtle can completely submerge and move about. There should be an open sandy area and there should also be rocks or sticks out in the open for the turtle to crawl out on and sun. Turtles like to hide and lurk, so there should be secluded spots in the aquarium made from an arrangement of rocks, sticks or plants. Make sure that the plants you place in the aquarium are not poisonous to your specific type of turtle.

The aquarium will need to be placed in a room where the temperature can be controlled. The ideal temperature for the turtle is between 70F and 85F, with a relative humidity of around 80%. Most turtle owners will place a sunlamp above the aquarium to regulate warmth or will place a heating pad under the aquarium. Also, having a humidifier in the same room as the aquarium is usually a good idea, depending on what climate you are in.

In all, creating the perfect turtle environment is fairly easy to do, once you have the right aquarium, sand, rocks and water insert. The rest is just understanding the specific requirements of your species of turtle. Once you are done setting up your turtle's aquarium, your pet may hide for awhile at first, but will quickly become comfortable and accustomed to the new home.