Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pet Turtle Care: Are Pet Store Turtles a Ripoff

Are Pet Store Turtles a Ripoff

Serious turtle enthusiasts insist that you should never buy a pet store turtle. Then they will proceed to tell you horror stories of pet store turtles that died within months of purchase and looked sickly since day one. These people would recommend that you only consider a pet turtle from a breeder or a turtle farm.

Some of these claims of less than perfect pet stores are absolutely true, but that does not mean you have to go to a breeder to find a good pet. You can find a great pet turtle anywhere as long as you know what you are looking for.

Pet stores are no different than breeders, some are good and some are not so good. Theoretically a breeder would have the very best specimen of turtle with the best health and life expectancy.

Unfortunately, this is only true if it is a good breeder you are dealing with. If the breeder puts in the effort and does what is necessary this would be true. Unfortunately the title breeder alone does not ensure quality pets.

When looking at turtles in the pet store you should go over a small check list of things to look out for. You want a healthy turtle with a strong chance at a long life. Before you decide to purchase a turtle you should insist on looking at every part of its body.

Ask someone to get it for you! Do not reach in and grab it yourself. They hate it when you try to reach in tanks and cages. This is simply to protect the animals.

Inspect the Body

Check all over the turtles shell for cracks or week spots. Little dents can be fine, but cracks or soft spots indicate a calcium deficiency or possible mistreatment. The turtles shell is a huge part of its health. As it starts cracking away the turtle can get serious infections. To prevent the shell from weakening pet turtles are given calcium supplements.

Look at the skin and face of the turtle. The skin should have color and not be drab, or covered with a faint white film. The eyes should have no crust or dryness and there should not be any kind of discharge, or slimy stuff coming out of the nostrils or eyes. These can either be symptoms of a captured wild turtle that is over stressed or just illness in general.

Check for Stress

A common problem that gives pet store turtles a bad rap is that some purchase turtles that were captured from the wild. Its recommended that you never keep a wild turtle. Often times the stress of capture is so great that it causes illness and eventually an untimely death. It is also illegal for certain types of turtles to be taken from the wild as they are protected species.

Check the turtles general behavior. Turtles are not the fastest animals on the planet, but they should be alert and active. A listless turtle could be a sign of illness. A healthy turtle may not necessarily be active at the time that you are visiting the store. You could try moving your fingers near the tank to see if it moves at all or check the other symptoms mentioned above.

If you want a pet turtle you do not have to go to a turtle farm if you would prefer not to. Some pet store turtles are quite healthy while others have seen better days. Applying the tips mentioned above will give you a strong guide line for what a healthy turtle looks like and how it should act.

Most pet stores have a very capable staff of workers and have good procedures in place for giving their animals proper care. If you know what you are looking for you can spot a healthy turtle anywhere.