Central Asian turtle: maintenance and care at home
The Central Asian turtle, which is often called a steppe, is a popular pet today. In English-speaking countries it is more often called - Russian tortoise. The small size of the turtle allows you to keep it even in the apartment.
The Central Asian land tortoise is named in honor of the famous US biologist Thomas Horsfield. Its habitat covers Central Asia, steppes from China to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. These turtles prefer sandy soil, although they are often found on loams. Most often they settle on a rocky or hilly terrain where there is access to water, and the grass grows in abundance.
These small creatures live in burrows that are dig themselves, but there are cases when people live in other people's homes. They live in arid areas, but choose places with the highest possible humidity, so that they can dig burrows. If the soil is very firm and dry, the Central Asian land tortoise can not dig and remains without shelter. It is listed as an endangered species in the Red Book due to uncontrolled catch.
The size of Central Asian turtles is not large. They do not grow more than 25 cm. Males are noticeably smaller than females (13-20 cm). At home, do not grow more than 18 cm. The female, reaching 16 cm, is able to bear eggs. Strong, well-developed shell, which covers the whole body, not only is an excellent protection against predators, but also reliably protects from overheating under hot sunlight, and in cold weather protects from hypothermia.
The shell is convex. Its extreme size reaches very old turtles. Horny shields adorn a complex pattern, which consists of darker on the outer edge of irregularly shaped rings. Usually the upper part of the shell (carapace) is colored olive brown with dark spots of color or greenish. Paws and head are brownish-yellow. The only turtles related to the genus Testudo, which have four, not three fingers on their legs.
The life span of this animal under natural conditions is more than forty years. By creating comfortable conditions for the turtle in captivity (quality food, no stresses), you can extend this period.
Determine the age
The dorsal shield of the Central Asian turtle is divided into thirteen horn shields, and the abdominal plastron is divided into sixteen. On the side of the carpaca there are twenty-five small scutes, and grooves are visible on the central plates. By their number, you can determine the approximate age of the turtle.
Central Asian turtle: maintenance and care in the summer cage
Despite their small size, these turtles exhibit an activity unusual for sedentary animals. Your pet will be happy if you give him space and the opportunity to dig. They are well tolerated significant temperature changes, so they can spend most of the summer on the street. If there is such a possibility, then in the warm season, move your pet into the cage to the dacha or to the garden.
Such a house should be spacious, not less than 2х2 meters. Fences are deepened to the ground by 30 cm, as the turtles can podkapat it and escape. The height of the fence is not less than 30 cm. Central Asian turtles are often digging in the corners at home, so it is advisable to place large stones there - this will frustrate your pet escape plan.
Owners of these turtles note that the activity of this species to digging increases when the difference in night and daytime temperatures increases. In this way they are saved from hypothermia. For this reason, many owners in advance prepare them a hole in which you can hide at night. In the enclosure, there must necessarily be a container with water.
Maintenance and care in the cold season
With the onset of autumn, you must transfer your pet to the room. Central Asian turtle, the maintenance and care for which does not give you special problems, feels great in an aquarium, terrarium and even a spacious plastic box. It is important that this house is durable, and your pet from it could not escape.
For one animal, a capacity of not less than 60x130 cm is required. When the dwelling is close, the turtles begin to actively dig at the corners of the terrarium. This animal needs to be given more space, only in this case the turtle will be healthy, active, besides, and watching it in a large terrarium is much more interesting.
Some owners keep the Central Asian turtle as a normal pet, allowing them to crawl wherever they want. Do not do this. First, you can just step on it and accidentally injure it. Secondly, in every house there are drafts, which are very afraid of the Central Asian turtle. The maintenance and care of this animal assumes creation in a terrarium of necessary conditions for digging. We have already said that this process is vitally important for it.
Which one to choose a primer?
To slightly ease the turtle's life, you can make a layer of earth in the terrarium, mixed with coconut shavings, which will loosen it. In occasion of sand (for this purpose) opinions diverge. Some believe that it can be used, and other experts consider this unacceptable - the Central Asian tortoise at home accidentally swallows it, it clogs her internal organs and can lead to the death of the animal.
The primer should be slightly moist and its layer deep enough to allow the turtle to burrow into it. If the animal does not have the opportunity to dig a mink, then you will have to take care of the shelter for it. For this purpose, a box, half a pot, etc. are suitable. The main thing is that the shelter does not have sharp edges and has a sufficient area.
In the terrarium must be present flat large stones. This is not an ornamental decoration. They help turtles to grip claws and at the same time are a kind of surface for eating, a "table". This species of turtles is very fond of going somewhere, do not deny them this pleasure.
Is it necessary to bathe a turtle?
There is an erroneous opinion that the turtle is capable of obtaining all the moisture necessary for life from eaten plants. Yes, in natural conditions they live in a dry climate, therefore, water is excreted from the body very economically. But this does not mean that they do not drink. Moreover, they happily bathe.
Yes, in bathing in a bath with warm water (once a week), the Central Asian turtle needs. The maintenance and care of your pet provides for such a procedure to maintain the water balance.
During this process, which should last about thirty minutes, the turtles drink water and absorb it with the skin. Babies are bathed even more often - up to three times a week.
Hibernation in the home
In a natural environment, these reptiles hibernate early, early in the summer, but before that, females have time to lay eggs. This is due to the fact that the dry period begins and the vegetation that this species of turtles feed on is simply burned out. But this is not the only period of turmoil in turtles. In a longer hibernation, Central Asian turtles fall in winter.
Some owners say that their domestic pet also asks for hibernation: it starts to refuse food, becomes sluggish and apathetic. This is due to the mismatch of temperature regimes natural. Turtles that live in captivity, hibernation is not required and may even be harmful to their health.
Lighting and heating
Optimal for the content of this species of turtles is the temperature in the terrarium - + 25-27 ° C. In addition, a place to be heated by the lamp must be equipped. The temperature should be + 30-33 ° C. The tortoise itself will move to where it is more comfortable.
As is known, in nature they live in a hot climate, but when the temperature rises too high or drops sharply, they go to burrows where it is stable. For heating, the incandescent bulb fits perfectly, but it needs to be adjusted in height so that your pet does not get burned. Usually this distance varies from 20 to 30 cm.
Heating is very important for this kind of turtles. A light day with account of lightening should be no less than twelve hours. In addition, you will need a UV lamp for the turtle. Today in pet stores you can buy such special devices for reptiles. They have an enhanced spectrum of UV rays. In nature, they get them naturally. But in captivity, the owner must compensate for this shortcoming.
A UV lamp for a turtle is vital. The thing is that without these rays, animals do not produce vitamin D3. the formation of calcium, which is necessary for growth of the shell, deteriorates.
In conclusion, we will discuss a question that worries all owners, especially beginners - how to feed the Central Asian turtle at home? Herbivorous bugs and in captivity need vegetable food, various herbs: dandelions, mother-and-stepmother, plantain, clover, lettuce. Vegetables and fruits should constitute 10% of the diet. You can give bananas, berries, apples.
The basis of proper nutrition - plants that contain coarse fiber and are quite dry. Today, quite a few ready-made feeds have been developed for land tortoises, which are recommended for a variety of food. This will help you to maintain the health of your pet. In addition, in the finished feed added the necessary vitamins and calcium.
At the same time, there are products that are categorically contraindicated to these animals. This applies to everything that people eat. The owners sometimes give turtle cottage cheese, bread, meat, fish. You can not do this. In this way, you slowly kill your silent inhabitant of the terrarium. Young turtles are fed once a day, and adults less often - once every three days.