Friday, March 20, 2009

Pet Turtle Care : A Quick Guide to Turtle Care

Pet Turtle Care

Proper and adequate turtle care is an essential part of keeping a turtle as a pet. It will look up to you from now on for subsistence. If you don't take good care of your turtle, it will be unhappy and moody. One good thing about turtle care is that turtles are low maintenance, hassle-free creatures that don't demand attention constantly, nor do they require much exercise and are happiest when left to play on their own.

The 3 most important aspects of turtle care are proper feeding, having good quality water, and keeping an ideal temperature in the turtle tank.

Items required for proper turtle care

• Ultra violet lights

• Turtle food

• Terrapin and turtle aquariums

• Aquarium heaters

• Terrapin food

• Aquarium filters

Instructions on proper turtle care

# 1

Your turtle should have a special terrapin or turtle diet as recommended by experts and vets, and in the right proportions.

# 2

The turtle diet should be supplemented with suitable snacks such as fruits, leafy green plants and stems, algae, mouse pups, small fish, crustaceans, earthworms, etc. If you purchased your turtle from a pet store, make sure to ask them if your turtle is herbivorous, carnivorous or omnivorous. Younger turtles of some species are carnivorous, but when they grow up, they turn herbivorous.

# 3

Your turtle should be fed twice or three times a week. Feed it in a separate tiny holding tank that is not connected in any way to the main enclosure. You have to take this precaution because diseases tend to result from the uneaten food. The uneaten food will rot, decompose, and lead to the growth of microorganisms.

# 4

After your turtle has finished off his dinner, use luke warm water to rinse him off and then release him in to his tank.

# 5

Instead of a multi-purpose vet, go for a specialist vet who deals with exotic creatures, amphibians and reptiles exclusively. This will ensure proper treatment, medication, and quick healing for your pet.

# 6

Water temperature inside the turtle tank should be 77 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Maintaining the correct water temperature is very important.

More tips on turtle care

• Turtles suffer from common medical complications like excessive protein levels, deficiency of vitamin and imbalance in mineral content in the body.

• Turtles also suffer from skin and shell diseases and ear abscess because of poor water hygiene.

• The biggest threat for turtles is posed by MBD or metabolic bone disease. This is a result of lack of exercise, lighting and improper feeding.

• Remember not to introduce a turtle directly to new water in the turtle tank as it will receive a thermal shock. Give it some time to habituate and acclimatize.

Learn about turtle care and turtle pictures at the Turtle Facts site

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Pet Turtle Care : Why Turtles Make Good Pets

Pet Turtle Care

Turtles and tortoises can make for good pets and can be immense fun to just observe and interact with. The more time you devote researching about the needs of these very affectionate reptiles, the better your time with your turtle will be and better suited type of turtle you will get. Though turtles are not cuddly and can not be hugged for warmth, they are still cute and make great pets.

Prior to getting a turtle as a pet, it is quite important to do all the research pertaining to raising a turtle as a pet. You must, primarily decide what species of turtle you desire to bring home supplemented with information about their food pattern and habitat requirements. Aquatic turtles enjoy a long life span, very often as long as a human and with a properly cared for and regulated lifestyle can live for as much as 20- 50 years. Of course, all this can be only accomplished by a pet owner who is committed and diligent enough to care for them that long. The more common pet turtle kind is the small terrestrial and fresh water turtle and is very popular with children. Outside pens are an ideal habitat for turtles because nothing can surpass natural sunshine, fresh air and lush green grass to graze on. Turtles are also economic pets because of their low maintenance and lifestyle. Turtles love to eat from the hand, though hands should be washed immediately after feeding.

The best turtle type for children is the Mud or Musk turtle. Turtles serve as a great, exotic and affectionate pet only if the pet and master relationship is perused with commitment, integrity and sincerity. Pet owners should be attentive about their pet's comfort which includes a large tank, special lighting, good filtration and lots and lots of cleaning. For rookie pet parents, the best choice of species would be the red eared sliders who adapt more easily to different climates, are used to a captive environment and respond graciously in the presence of people. They are also less likely to harbor any diseases and parasites. If the tank is regularly cleaned and washed thoroughly, special lighting is also provided with an artificially heated source and if the turtle is regularly exposed to UV light for the manufacture of Vitamin D, then pet turtles will be a thrill to watch grow healthily and will be prove to be the right choice of pets. Feeding your turtle with only commercial turtle food isn't always enough and should be supplemented with raw meat, fish, worms, insects and aquatic animals as well. Most turtles are omnivores and will eat anything.

While it may all seem like a demanding job, turtles still make for rewarding and wonderfully exotic pets if taken care of by right hands. They are especially good for reptile lovers and people who want an easy to care for pet.

Pet Turtle Care : Taking Care of a Turtle

Pet Turtle Care

If you have decided on a turtle for a pet, then you are going to love it!

A Pet Turtle has, in my opinion, a personality, and are fun, compared to a fish tank. They see you when you come to feed them or to talk to them.

For a tiny commitment of time each day, you can really enjoy your turtle as a pet, with a few simple rules.

First of all, you need to identify your pet turtle and what type it is, and where it is from, and purchase it from a reputable dealer or pet shop.

But here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Turtles are social, and if you can afford it, it is best to buy at least two, but make sure you know what their maturity size will be.

2. Do NOT use those little plastic containers the pet shop sells, you need to invest in a good 10 gallon tank, if not bigger.

3. You need to have a heater that can work in shallow water, and preferably a filtration system that is installed under the gravel. If you have a filtration system, you still should change the water every month. If you do not have a filtration system, then you need to clean the tank twice a week, and make sure to wash your hands well after handling your turtle.

4. Make sure they have an island that they can easily climb onto to bask and dry their shell. You can purchase islands for turtles in a pet store. You can use a large stone, but be careful not to damage the aquarium, a lightweight one is better.

5. Lighting is very important. You can use a UV light, which is beneficial to a turtles health, Keep them on a light and dark schedule, just like yourself, and they will be happy and perky when you are awake.

It is not too hard to take care of a pet turtle, and they can give you hours of fun. Pet Turtle care is important, but if taken care of properly, then can live to 25 years or more. They are great for apartments, and smaller spaces. Have fun with your new friend!

Did you know, that by making certain little changes each day in your turtle care, will save you time and money? Want to know more?

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Pet Turtle Care : Tips on Turtle Care

Pet Turtle Care

Turtles are very delicate creatures and once you decide to have them as pets there should be a form of commitment on your part. Since turtles are animals they are prone to disease and stress among other things. It is therefore very important that you care for your turtles. The following are tips on turtle care that will help your turtles to stay healthy and enjoy a pleasant environment.
  • Turtles are not very comfortable with being touched so it would be ideal that you do not always touch them as this may stress them.
  • It is always ideal that you keep your turtles outdoors or at least they should be allowed to go outdoors at one point in time.
  • Do not allow you turtles to roam around freely as they may leave your home and go on the road and can be harmed.
  • Always make sure that you turtle is not going to areas such as flower beds as it may end up eating plants that are poisonous there.
  • Do not allow your turtle to eat plant from the garden that have been sprayed by chemical pesticides.
  • If you are keeping your turtle indoors always make sure that you provide some heat source in the cold months.
  • If your turtles are kept indoors always make sure the area they are staying in is free from rats as rats can bite turtles and also help spread diseases.
  • Provide a good diet that constitutes different kinds of food such as insects, plants and fruits this allows the turtles to get a good supply of some of the essential nutrients they need for growth.
  • Feed your turtles with some of the turtle canned foods that are available on the market. These foods are good for they have some added vitamins and some antibiotics that ensure your pets get a balanced diet and stay healthy.
  • Turtles can become fat, so if you see that your turtles might be getting too fat make sure you reduce the amount of food you give them.
  • Always allow your turtles to bask in the sun as this is essential in the formation of vitamin D3.
  • Turtles can hibernate in winter, but if you do so wish you can take them inside during winter and provide them a source of warmth then there is no need for them to hibernate.
  • When turtles are living indoors and not in the wild their toe nails and beaks tend to grow very long, so you can trim the beaks and nails of your turtles. This can be a difficult procedure so always get assistance from someone that is experienced.
  • Always look at your turtles eyes, skin and shell. This will help you detect when your turtles are sick.
  • If you determine that your turtle is sick make sure that you consult a veterinarian who deals with reptiles.

Once you follow some of these tips on turtle care you will find that looking after your turtles will be so much easier.

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.

Pet Turtle Care : Six Turtle Care Tips

Pet Turtle Care

When you decide to get a turtle for a pet, you have made a wise choice. Turtles can provide years of enjoyment. Some of them can even live up to forty years, if cared for properly. If you have children, this is a great pet for them to learn responsible pet care. While knowing how to care for turtles is not rocket science, it will take some instruction to do it correctly. You must ensure you have enough time to care for your turtle properly, as neglect will cause a stinky habitat and a very unhealthy, unhappy turtle.

1.Choose a good habitat: Turtles will require quite a bit of space in order to move around freely. You'll need a good size tank or aquarium, such as a forty gallon fish tank. You will need to provide a swimming area for your turtle and an area for them to sunbathe in. Foliage and stones on the bottom will make the turtle feel as though it's right at home.

2.Find a good source of heat: You will need to find a good source of heat for your turtle. In order to know how to care for turtles, you need to learn that a turtle maintains its body temperature through its surroundings. A heat lamp or other heating source will provide a place for your turtle to sun themselves.

3.Fresh water is a must: When you learn how to care for turtles, you will realize how important fresh water is to the reptile. Not only do turtles require fresh drinking water daily, they also need frequent water changes in their swimming area.

4.Know how to feed your turtle: Turtles require specific vitamins and minerals in order to stay healthy. If you want to know how to care for turtles, you might consider purchasing a diet book for your turtle. These reptiles can eat many different things, such as cooked meats like turkey or chicken, worms, fruits, and vegetables. There are also many nutritional supplements available at your local pet stores. You may also wish to purchase bone meal to add calcium to your turtle's diet.

5.Keep your turtle safe from harm: Other pets may be very interested in your turtle; however, they can really cause it problems. Small children may not understand that dropping a turtle can have deadly consequences. Turtles must be protected from these kinds of hazards. This is another specific area that needs to be addressed when you are learning how to care for turtles the proper way.

6.Caring for multiple turtles: If you decide you want to have more than one turtle, you need to learn how to care for turtles that live together. You will need a much larger habitat and swimming area. You may have to feed each turtle separately and at different areas of the tank. Sometimes turtles will fight when put together. You may also end up with babies if a male and female are housed together.

Pet Turtle Care : Top Five Turtle Care Tips

Pet Turtle Care

When you bring home a turtle to have as a pet, you need to have some knowledge of turtles and how to care for them properly. There are many different breeds of pet turtle and each one has its own specific needs and special care. Here are five tips that can, regardless of its type, help you provide your pet with the best care and help make sure that it lives a long and healthy life:

Providing the right environment - it is extremely important that you provide a suitable environment for your turtle. Turtles have different environmental needs depending on their type; some will need a wet environment, some a dry environment and others may need both. You need to provide your pet with a proper aquarium or habitat and make sure you always regulate its temperature carefully; the wet and the dry regions of the habitat must be kept at an appropriate temperature. This is key to your pet staying healthy.

Proper diet - make sure that you are feeding your pet turtle with what it needs to sustain its life and be healthy. Most kinds of turtles need fresh vegetables such as lettuce to stay healthy. However, you should do a bit of research to find out the specific dietary requirements of your pet

Types of groupings - knowing what your turtle prefers in its living conditions is important. Some kinds of pet turtles prefer to live in groups while others like it solitary. For those breeds that do groups, you should be careful to make sure that they are all the same size and similar proportion.

Proper care and maintenance - like any other kind of pet, turtles need to be cared for daily and you need to be aware of any changes in behavior and health your turtle might be presenting. A change that your turtle is experiencing in order to know if something could be wrong or not. Spend enough time around your turtle to be able to notice any changes.

Be committed - pet turtles have a long life expectancy. In many cases it can be between thirty to fifty years, occasionally up to a hundred years, so you need to make sure that you are going to be committed to the care and nurturing of your pet turtle for many years to come.

Turtles can make wonderful pets as long as you are aware of the needs and care that they require.

Pet Turtle Care : Turtle Care Guide For Kids

Pet Turtle Care

Turtles Care Guide will be helpful especially if the parents themselves are not familiar with turtles.

Learning how to take care of turtles could serve as a nice special time of bonding between the children and their parents.

Most parents do not want to expose their children to complicated animals at an early age, so they turn to turtles as pets. The perfect time to get a pet turtle is when your child is between 6 to 10 years of age. They are past the toddler stage and have a longer attention span.

There are many types of turtles that you can choose from. Obviously the kind you should adopt is the small one. You could choose between a terrestrial or aquatic type of turtle. This depends on how committed your children will be in taking care of their pet turtle.

You want to make the first pet experience of your child a special one, so you should help them in any way possible. A pet dying instantly could leave a horrible emotional scar on your children.

So here are turtle tips you could use to help your kids take care of their very first pet.

1. Turtle tanks should obviously be kept clean at all times. Allow your children to clean small tanks or bowls. It should be emphasized that they only do this under your supervision. Getting a terrestrial turtle might make the job easier because their tanks will not be as complicated taking care of an aquatic tank.

2. Leave reminders and notes about turtle care for your children to see. Make sure your children can understand your little notes. Even simple notes like "wash your hands after touching the turtle" is important because children often forget to clean up.

3. Bring your children along when you visit the veterinarian to check up on the turtle health of your pet. When they see that there is a doctor actually taking care of their pet turtle, they will not think that the turtle is just a toy for them to play with and not take seriously.

4. You can leave the feeding responsibility to your kids, but you still have to double check that your kids are feeding the right amount of turtle food to their beloved pets.

5. Instruct children about the care of turtles properly and make sure they understand.

There are a lot of pet stores that have a variety of turtle for sale. It is best to do your research about turtle info before you purchase a turtle. You should always buy from a legitimate pet store because at least you are assured that the turtle you are buying is safe for your children.

Pet Turtle Care : Breeding Your Turtles

Pet Turtle Care

Pet turtles have become the basis of a booming pet business in the United States and a few other countries. A growing number of people are interested in having a unique and interesting pet that they do not have to devote a lot of time to caring for.

Turtles are relatively easy to care for and feed, as long as you have one of the four smaller species that are commonly seen for sale in the pet stores. The four most common types of pet turtles are the box turtle, the painted turtle, the sliders and the mud turtles. These turtles are small, are easy to contain, do not eat a lot and seem to adapt well to captivity.

Some people have taken up breeding turtles as a hobby or on a commercial basis. Breeding your turtles is certainly possible and can be a great hobby or a potentially profitable business, but there are some things that you will need to know to be successful.

For the turtle to breed, the turtle must feel safe and comfortable. To achieve this, the environment should be as close the natural wild habitat as possible. One way to accomplish this is to set up your turtle's aquarium outdoors, to expose the turtle to the natural progression of the seasons. This will cause the turtle to need to hibernate in the cold months, depending on your location, and you should take steps to prepare your tank to allow the turtle ample opportunity to burrow and hibernate when necessary.

Turtles generally come out of hibernation in late spring, around the month of May, and this is when they are likely to breed. During the breeding process, it is a good idea to watch the turtles closely as they can become overly aggressive. It is also a good idea to remove smaller turtles from contact with larger ones during this time for their own safety, especially smaller males.

After mating, the female turtle will go through a period during which the eggs are being produces. This time is analogous to a human woman's pregnancy, during which she is very tired, moody and stressed. The female turtle's body is putting a lot of resources into forming her eggs and needs to be watched very closely during this time. Once the eggs are formed and ready, the female turtle will want a secluded quiet place to burrow and lay her eggs. She will usually lay about 5 eggs, but this can vary.

You will need to arrange rocks, plants, sticks to create a number of secluded places for the turtle to feel comfortable choosing from. The turtle will need to have access to moist soil, 7 to 10 inches deep in which to burrow and lay her eggs. Once the eggs are laid and buried, you will need to make sure that the soil around them stays moist. The eggs will hatch in about 90 days. The young turtles will need to be kept indoors, in an aquarium and will need to be watched closely to make sure that all are getting plenty of food and are not being bitten by stronger siblings.

Pet Turtle Care : How to Care For Your Pet Turtle

Pet Turtle Care

Tips on how to care for your pet turtle

Some people are fond to watch the turtles especially when they swim. However, without proper pet turtle care your turtle may have lesser lifespan because of health-related problems. But by these turtle care guide, you may know some of the basic ways on how care for your turtle.

Try to create an almost-natural habitat for your pet turtles. Make sure that you maintain a temperature between seventy up to 80 degrees. This of course, depends on the breed of the turtle pet. Aside from that, place your turtle in a tank where he can move comfortably. It should not be less than 30 gallons.

Don't fill the whole turtle tank with water. Divide it in two sections so there will be a dry part for the land. The water that you would put in the tank should not also come from your faucet. This would upset the Ph level of your turtle and may cause it to be ill. What you need to do is to ask the person at the pet store so they can tell what type of water should you use.

Try to clean the tank every week. If not, the tank would be filthy and may lead to health problems on your turtle. And since you need to maintain the temperature in the tank, you might also want to get a submersible heater as well. The UV lights are also essential to create an artificial sunlight that is beneficial to your turtle.

Make sure that you feed them the turtle diet that they need. In order to have strong shells they must consume foods rich in Vitamin D, protein, as well as calcium. Have them munch on live crickets, vegetables, earthworms, and turtle sticks.

Don't treat them like puppies. They are not the type of pets that can be cuddled and can be passed from one person to another. Turtles are considered as amphibians. And unlike mammals, they are usually having a hard time adjusting to the changes in the temperature. Furthermore, you must wash your hands after you hold a turtle or the tank where it lives to avoid spreading of germs.

Turtle Care Guides are usually available online or in pet stores. Allocate enough time to read any turtle care guides so you would know how the proper pet turtle care is.

Pet Turtle Care : Caring For Your Turtles

Pet Turtle Care

Having a pet turtle can be a rewarding and interesting experience. Turtles can make great and unique pets and some are quite long lived, living up to 50 years in some cases. A key to being able to enjoy your pet turtle is knowing how to care for your turtle properly.

There are a lot of different turtle species in the world today, but there are only four species that are popular as pets. Those include the mud turtle, the sliders, the box turtles, and the painted turtles. These types of turtles seem to do a bit better living in captivity than other turtles, and are easier to contain, care for and feed due to their size.

Caring for a pet turtle is mostly about making the turtle's environment in its aquarium as close to the turtle's natural environment as possible. Aquariums are really the best way to house a turtle. The aquarium should be at least 20 gallons in size. The aquarium will need to be filled with sand and will need to have an area with water in it that the turtle can swim and hunt in.

Turtles like to be able to hide, so there should be some rocks, plants and sticks in the aquarium to provide some shelter. When putting plants in the aquarium, be sure to find out what sort of plants can be harmful to the particular type of turtle you are getting.

Turtles are omnivores, but they should not be fed random scraps or spicy human foods. Many pet turtle owners will feed their turtles a combination of vegetables and live fish. In fact, it is possible to feed a turtle mostly raw vegetables and have the turtle thrive. However, the best care for your turtle is a well balanced diet, and that includes more than just vegetables. Many pet stores now carry special turtle food sticks. While the food stick provides all the balanced nutrition that the turtle needs, feeding the turtle live fish periodically will give the turtle some exercise.

Turtles need to be kept between 70F and 85F, so make sure the room you are placing the turtle in has the adequate temperature control. Turtles are used to natural light with a combination of shade and sun. If your are placing your turtle's aquarium in direct sunlight, make sure the turtle has adequate water to drink and plenty of water to swim and submerge in as well as secluded shaded hiding places.

The effect of bright summer sunlight coming through the aquarium's glass can make the entire aquarium too hot for the turtle without shade and water. Many pet turtle owners place a sunlamp above the aquarium to regulate the temperature and light if the aquarium is in a room that does not receive much sunlight or in the winter months when it is difficult to keep the aquarium in the appropriate temperature range. Some owners will place a heating pad underneath the turtle's aquarium in the cold months to provide extra heat.

Pet Turtle Care : Getting Pet Turtle Care Right

Pet Turtle Care

When it comes to keeping a turtle in your home, you really need to take a lot of things into consideration before purchasing one. Just because turtles as pets seems to be a popular trend right now, does not mean that a turtle is the right pet for you. Make sure that you are researching the different types of turtles out there as they all require different set ups and diets. You want to make sure that you will be able to afford what is required to make the turtle happy and that you will be able to maintain everything. Pet turtle care is a lot harder then most people think and it would be a shame to find that out after you have already brought the little pet home.

In order to make sure that you have all of the knowledge you need you will first to first decide if you want a land turtle or a water turtle. Water turtles are a lot harder to maintain because of the filters and such. You will want to decide what kind of turtle is the best for you and then you should have no problems finding out a lot of information on that particular kind of turtle. Make sure that you are making a list of everything that will be needed in order to provide proper pet turtle care. Once you add everything up you will probably see that it is going to be rather expensive but it is important that you not skip out on anything that the turtle needs to be happy and healthy.

Shopping For The Turtles

Once you have purchased everything you need for your turtle then it is time to go purchase one. There are various ways you can go about buying your new pet and you should consider all of them before you decide which route to go. Turtles in the pet stores are generally over priced and they are sometimes not that tame as they were not held all that much which means they could bite. You can always purchase your turtle online and have it shipped to you but then you are trusting someone you never met to send you the turtle you actually wanted.

Then there are the popular reptile shows that circulate the country from time to time. This is a great way to purchase your turtle as you usually have the chance to speak directly to the breeder and ask any questions you may have on pet turtle care. Even though you should have done plenty of research by this point, it never hurts to seek out additional information. This will also allow you to pick the turtle that you want and you will have plenty to pick from.

Pet Turtle Care : How To Care Pet Turtle

Pet Turtle Care

Keeping a turtle as a pet has come a long way from the plastic palm tree set-ups of old. From the common box turtle to the less-common Ornate Wood Turtle to the extremely rare albino soft shell, there's a turtle for every lifestyle, budget, and personality. Turtles make fascinating, peaceful pets, but their penchant for longevity means you must be prepared to devote as many as thirty or forty years of care and attention to your new reptilian friend. If you're ready to share your heart and home with one of nature's most ancient and mysterious creatures, then read on for some great pet turtle care advice.

The type of care your turtle will require depends, for the most part, on the type of turtle you plan on getting. While you will certainly want to learn as much as you can about the specific breed of turtle you select, there are some basic rules that apply to pet turtle care, and these rules are different for the two main categories of turtles-water turtles and land turtles. To ensure your turtle's long life and happiness, you should strive to give him a comfortable, home-like environment. For water turtles (such as sliders, coots, and map turtles) this means providing at least 20 gallons of tank space complete with a small "island" for basking, a heat lamp for simulating sunlight, and a UVB light to help the turtle absorb maximum nutrients from his food. Water turtles are graceful, speedy swimmers, so the more swimming room they have, the better! Land turtles (such as box turtles) require plenty of room to roam with hollowed logs or flowerpots to hide in, natural vegetation, a basking area with a heat lamp, and a shallow dish of water for soaking. Many people choose to keep their land turtles outside in specially designed pens. This enables the turtles to not only enjoy the great outdoors, but to hibernate in the winter just as they would in the wild.

While the housing needs of water and land turtles differ dramatically, their diets are actually quite similar. As you learn to take care of a pet turtle, you'll discover that turtles, like most people, are omnivores. This means you'll probably be adding some groceries to your list! There are several varieties of pre-made "turtle chow" available at pet stores, but it's best to use those products sparingly and offer your turtle a wide range of foods. Most land and water turtles alike will happily devour crickets, earthworms, and snails. Water turtles love chasing feeder fish such as minnows and goldfish around their tank and many will also eat cooked chicken, shrimp, and tuna Never feed your turtle hamburger meat, as it's far too high in fat for your turtle to digest properly. Turtles also enjoy a nice salad or fruit plate from time to time. They're particularly fond of Romaine lettuces (never feed iceberg or spinach), dandelion greens, carrots, cantaloupe, strawberries, blackberries, tomatoes, and apples. Who knows! Having a turtle might just help you on your way to healthier eating habits (though we probably can't say the same for exercise).

While you may not feel like a pet turtle care expert right now, you'll hopefully have many happy years to become one! Caring for a pet turtle can be an experience that is both unique and rewarding in a pet-keeping culture dominated by dog and cat owners. While a turtle may not greet you at the door or curl up purring on your feet, it provides a lower maintenance option for busy people who don't have time for a dog or cat. At the end of a long, hard day, a turtle's gentle, peaceful, low-stress personality will surely be a calming influence and inspiring refuge in a speed-driven society. Take some time to relax, munch on a piece of fruit, and enjoy time well spent in the company of your new turtle!