How to care for a turtle
Having exotic pets in recent years has become almost a sign of high social status, and sometimes "advanced" youth. Often people choose turtles, mistakenly believing that they are unpretentious, do not require special care, they can be kept like a fish. But remember: the tortoise is a living creature for which you take responsibility, so be prepared first to study in detail the information on how to care for a turtle.
Popular misconceptions about turtles:
- Do you think that a turtle does not need a house, that it can live with you, freely moving around the apartment? You are deeply mistaken!
- Do you think that this is a small compact animal that can be kept in one original aquarium or aquatorarium for life? The turtle grows, albeit slowly, but significantly! Some of them reach 30 cm in diameter, and the size of the aquarium should allow it to move freely. Keep this in mind before buying a turtle.
- Turtles unpretentious? I guess, yes. But they are very sensitive to temperature, it should not fall below 25 ° C, for some species - not lower than 30 ° C.
How to care for the turtle you just bought: first steps
Change of place of residence is a stress for any living organism. In order to facilitate your pet transition to new conditions, do the following. Type a little (3-5 cm) of warm (at least 28 ° C) necessarily clean (filtered) water in an aquarium or a bowl of sufficient size and leave it for several hours. Do not bother the animal. It is possible that in the first 1-3 days the turtle will refuse food, this should not frighten you, but it is still necessary to offer food to it.
Care for the land tortoise
From the title it is clear that this kind of turtles does not need an aquarium for content. The house for it can be a wooden box or a plastic box. If you do not plan to change it, just calculate the dimensions. To do this, specify to what size the turtle grows and, on this basis, make a box: its length should exceed the diameter of the shell of an adult animal by 4-5 times. It is not advisable to use glass containers - it would be prettier, but the turtle, not understanding why it can not pass through the glass, will spend hours trying to do this, scratching it and hurting itself. This will be stress for the animal. The height of the box should be sufficient to ensure that the turtle does not get out of it. It is not difficult to calculate this: the height should be slightly (by 5 cm) greater than the body length of the adult turtle.
The substrate also depends on the kind of your animal. If the turtle requires high humidity, select coconut fibers, sphagnum moss or peat. If its natural habitat is a desert, dry grass (hay), crushed paper, will do. Do not cover the bottom of the box with a sheet of paper, turtles like to dig a substrate - do not deprive the animal of this pleasure. It is not advisable to fill the bottom with sand, as they eat it together with slices of food. A small amount of sand will not hurt animals, but still ... A separate plate for eating will not change the situation.
How to take care of a turtle so that it does not hurt. Light and heat are strictly necessary for these animals. In the absence of light, the animal will suffer from rickets, in the cold - colds. Therefore, in the box, install an ultraviolet lamp for lighting, with the UV-B spectrum. Ideally, the lamp should illuminate one corner more than others, so that the turtle could choose the conditions of existence. For heating, use another lamp with a power of 40-60 W, depending on the conditions (watch the temperature). A day-night cycle is conveniently maintained using a timer that will turn the lamps on and off. The light day should be 13-14 hours in summer and 11-12 hours in winter. At night, preferably a slight decrease in temperature (3-5 ° C).
"Furniture". If you put a turtle in a box with a large stone or other decorative element, it will gladly climb onto it and descend. But this is not a prerequisite. If you do, however, follow the fastening: the animal will try to move them and turn them around. It is important that the paws and armor are not affected. Do not install artificial plants - the turtle will gnaw them.
The shelter for turtles is necessary in order for them to feel comfortable.
Capacity with water. It should be shallow (otherwise a turtle can fall into it, roll over and die), optimally - a saucer.
In addition, 1-2 times a week, bathe the turtles, cleaning with a soft brush (can be dental) their shell. Use clean, warm water for bathing.
Feed them should be fresh vegetables (cucumber, cabbage) and grass (mother-and-stepmother, shepherd's bag, plantain), sometimes (infrequently) give pieces of sweet fruits and berries.
Care for the red-bellied turtle
The content of the red-bellied turtle is fundamentally different, since this species is semi-aquatic. With proper care, these animals live up to 75 years. The size of the shell of an adult specimen reaches 30 cm in diameter. Males, as a rule, are smaller than females, but they have a longer tail and claws.
Red-bellied turtles spend most of their time in the water, but they also require sushi. Therefore, these animals need a water aquarium. As a land, a rock of gravel or a platform of wood can be used.
Note that the red-eared turtles are dirty, and therefore the aquaterrarium will have to be washed frequently. The use of gravel is not a necessity, but if you want to use it, make sure that it is large enough so that the animal does not swallow it.
The amount of water varies depending on the size of the animal. The turtle must float freely (the depth must be no less than the length of the turtle multiplied by 2). The length of the pool should be 4-5 times the length of the animal's body, and the width - in 2-3.
Given the incredible ability of this animal to litter, you will need a filter. But even this will not save you from changing water: once in 2 weeks 25% of water must be replaced with fresh water, and once a month it is necessary to wash the entire aquarium. To avoid rapid water pollution, you can feed the turtle in a separate container.
To maintain the appropriate temperature, it is recommended to use a thermometer and a heater. The recommended temperature is from 24 to 30 ° C. When choosing a heater, consider that the turtle will want to play with it, hitting the walls of the aquarium, so the use of glass heaters is undesirable (or put it inside a PVC tube). The air temperature should be 24 ° C. You can use an incandescent lamp to heat the air in the aquaterarium. For calves or sick individuals, the temperature should be slightly higher. The content of turtles at low temperatures (18-22 ° C) will lead to a decrease in activity and catarrhal diseases.
On warm and sunny days, organize walks for your pet, however, take care that it does not overheat. In the rest of the time it is necessary to refresh the ultraviolet lamp of the UV-B type. This is strictly necessary for normal calcium metabolism. Otherwise, the probability of developing rickets is high.
Ensure the animal safety
The use of light and heating equipment creates a risk of electric shock. Therefore, carefully monitor the insulation and grounding of all devices. In addition, protect or do not use glass instruments, because turtles are curious and can damage them, which will lead to the death of the animal.
These turtles feed on both plant and animal food. They need animal protein (except for old turtles). They are recommended to feed slices of low-fat meat, fish, seafood (fish, shrimp, etc.), vegetables (cabbage, cucumber), use a ground egg shell or special vitamins with minerals for reptiles as a source of calcium. Cubs should be fed daily, adults - 2-3 times a week.
The following products should be excluded from the diet of turtles: legumes, sorrel, rapeseed, rhubarb, radish, mushrooms, fatty meat, offal, canned and salted foods.
In limited quantities, you should use products: celery, shellfish, beef, lettuce, cabbage.
Recommended products: algae, grape leaves, plantain, dandelion (leaves), grass, zucchini, peas, potatoes, grated carrots, tomato slices, figs, grapes, melon, blackberries, banana, strawberries, apples, citrus, geranium, lily, onions , earthworms, snails, crickets, shrimp, boiled eggs, live fish (it is not recommended to use frozen fish). In addition, if the turtle refuses to eat vegetables, they can be pre-soaked in fish broth (without salt!).
Once in 2-3 weeks in the diet, you need to make vitamin supplements and minerals for reptiles.
Turtles do not require much attention, but you need to know how to care for a turtle. Adherence to the rules of care will ensure them a long and happy life.