Are you thinking about getting a pet turtle? Well, the turtle experience can be a great one if you are looking for:
- A unique, fun addition to your home environment. Turtle tanks can be exceptionally aesthetically pleasing once you’ve added scenery, decorations, rocks and more. Turtles’ playful behavior can be fascinating to watch – they are surprisingly active and expressive despite their reputation for being slow, lumbering creatures.
- Relatively low-maintenance. While there will be ongoing maintenance and care required, once you get your turtle’s habitat up and running you won’t need to invest loads of time in their care.
- No fuss, no muss. Turtles make no noise (unless they bump their little noses against the glass), and no hair means eliminating allergy worries! As long the habitat is kept clean, there should be no noticeable smell like you sometimes get with small, tank-bound pets.
- Inexpensive. There is an initial investment to be made, but food, toys, habitat additions and medications are all very cheap and turtles don’t need much to stay happy.
- A hands-off pet. Let’s just say that turtles have personal space issues. They don’t like to be handled, carried it around or played with outside the tank. Time spent outside their comfortable habitat will cause undue stress and confusion – you’ll have to be content to simply enjoy observing your turtle as it goes about its daily business.
- A long-term commitment. Turtles have a reputation for surprising their owners with lifelong companionship. The typical small-sized turtle lifespan is around 6-12 years, but some species can live 50 years or more!
- An outdoor pet. Outdoor ponds are wonderful additions to backyard scenery and, if specifically constructed for the well-being of turtles, your new pets could thrive in them.
Picking a pet
Unlike their land-dwelling counterparts, tortoises, turtles enjoy to spend most of their time underwater. Not all turtles are alike. Different types of turtles have different habitat and dietary requirements – some more challenging than others. A good beginner’s turtle variety is the Red Eared Slider. This is the classic pet turtle. Their average size is around 10-15 inches in length but a hefty female can get up to 30 inches long. Painted Turtles are very similar but tend to stay in the smaller range, around 10-12 inches, without going to the extreme. African Side-Neck Turtles are distinctive pets which exhibit lots of fun-to-watch behaviors; unable to fully withdraw their heads into their shells, they’ll goofily squish their faces sideways against their front legs. Very spirited swimmers, they prefer double the water depth you would normally provide a small turtle. (Continued…)