Friday, May 28, 2010

Pet Turtle Care: Caring For Your Red Eared Slider Turtle

Top 3 Things Your Slider Needs to Be Healthy

Red eared sliders are a popular exotic pet. They may look small in the pet store, but they can grow up to 12 inches and live up to 30 years. These animals require a long-term care commitment, and there are three things that every slider needs to live a long life and to be healthy.

Enough Space - Sliders like lots of room to swim, and need more of it as they grow larger. Whether you home your turtle in a pond or an aquarium, a good, general rule is 6 gallons minimum per inch of turtle. Sliders also spend time on dry land, so an accessible, fairly large, flat area out of the water is needed - this place is called a "basking" area.

Proper Heat - Warmth helps stimulate a turtle's immune system, so a warm environment helps keep your slider healthy. Warm water around 75 - 85 F is good for your pet, while a warmer temperature in the basking area of around 90 - 95 F is required. Natural sunlight is also beneficial to your slider, so consider exposing your turtle to the sun a few hours daily if possible.

Clean Water - Red eared sliders spend most of their lives in water, so clean, warm water is a must. Regular water changes need to be done, because even though the water may look clear and clean, waste products such as ammonia and nitrite can build up to dangerous levels and need to be removed by taking out the old water and replacing it with new water. Additionally, although turtles may not be as sensitive as fish to chlorine, it's still a good idea to dechlorinate any new water you put in the tank. Any introduced chlorine may negatively affect the nitrogen cycle in the aquarium which then affects the breakdown of waste products, causing the water to "dirty" faster.

Caring for red eared sliders properly will help your turtle live a long and full life in your care. It will also give you the satisfaction that you're taking care of your pet the best way possible. Don't you owe it to your red eared slider to learn about caring for it in a way that meets all its needs?