How to Take Care of Your Turtle [10 Tips]

Reviewed, fact-checked & edited by Marcella Raskin.
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As a family, you probably decided to get a turtle together. They are such fascinating creatures and can provide hours of enjoyment for everyone. But what do you need to do to make sure your new pet is healthy and happy? Below, I will outline some tips on how to take care of your turtle. 

The basics of turtle care.

The basics of turtle care

As with all pets, the most important thing about taking care of your turtle is providing it with everything it needs to be happy and healthy. This includes food, shelter, warmth, water for swimming in, space to move around, etc. 

Depending on the type of turtle you have, each one will require different care. For example, aquatic turtles need access to water that they can swim in; tortoises need a specific kind of shelter so they can dig around and hide if they want. So before you go out and buy anything for your new pet, it’s important first to know what type of turtle you have.

You see, when turtles are born, they have very soft shells that harden after a few weeks. This process is complete once the turtle is about two years old, but for it to be complete, the turtles need to be in an environment that mimics their natural habitat.

For example, aquatic turtles need strong shells because they swim often; tortoises, on the other hand, do not have strong shells since they live on land and don’t move much.

Type of turtles.

There are three main types of turtles: tortoises, aquatic turtles, and softshell turtles. Depending on the species of turtle you have, its care will vary.

So if your pet turtle has a strong shell, it’s probably an aquatic turtle. If it has a tiny softshell, it might be a baby turtle that needs to grow up in the right environment before you put it in its permanent home.

How do you know which type of turtle you have? This is where it gets a bit tricky. There are numerous ways to acquire a pet turtle, all of which carry an element of risk. The first way is by buying one from the store; this is a pretty safe method, but the turtle might not be the one you wanted.

For example, if you purchased an aquatic turtle from a pet store, then put it in a terrarium that only has room for it to sit on top of the water’s surface, your new pet will die of suffocation! To see what kind of turtle you have, it’s best to look at its shell. The underside of the shell is called the plastron; it should be flat for aquatic turtles and bulbous in shape for terrestrial ones.

If your turtle is not an aquatic or tortoise type, there are still many ways you can take care of it; basically, you need to mimic its natural habitat. For example, if your turtle is an amphibious type that spends time in both water and on land, then it will need access to both environments to swim around in the aquarium or pond when it needs to get away from the heat.

Do not doubt yourself! If you are unsure what kind of turtle you have, then some DIY tests can help you figure it out. For example, if your new pet is outside its tank and appears to be sleeping with its legs tucked under its shell, it’s most likely an aquatic turtle. On the other hand, if it has tiny legs sticking out of its shell and has a hard time dragging itself around when it’s on the ground, then it might be a tortoise type.

Keep your turtle happy and healthy.

Now that you know what kind of turtle you have, it’s time to make sure it’s happy and healthy.

Since aquatic turtles are used to living in water, they need an environment where they can swim around without their shells getting injured. This means using a tank with a tight-fitting lid so the turtle cannot escape.

There are other things that you need to do to keep your turtle happy and healthy, for example, you need to make sure that the temperature in its tank is at a comfortable level. If you get an aquatic turtle, remember to check the water temperature every day to avoid getting too hot or cold. And if your pet turtle has a terrarium instead of an aquarium, remember to keep the substrate damp because aquatic turtles love to burrow.

You should also ensure that your pet turtle has enough food, but don’t overfeed it! These creatures are used to eating small meals throughout the day rather than gorging themselves on one big meal once a day.

Finally, you need to ensure that your turtle has everything it needs to stay healthy. Getting a water filter for an aquarium is a good idea, as well as getting some hypoallergenic plants so your turtle can have a natural environment. Turtles are more likely to get sick if they’re living in an artificial environment, so it’s your responsibility as a turtle owner to keep your pet as happy and healthy as possible.

How to clean your turtle’s tank and change the water.

turtles tank

The best to do is a monthly water change for your turtle. This way, you can ensure that the water is clean and free of harmful contaminants. Remember to use conditioned water when doing a water change! You can’t just take water out of the tap and dump it into your turtle’s tank because that would be dangerous. If you have an indoor turtle, then it’s best to get some large rain barrels so you can collect rainwater for your pet.

If you’re unsure how to clean the tank, use some dishwashing soap and warm water on all surfaces. Then rinse everything off with fresh water! When it comes to changing the turtle’s water, you usually have to drain your pet’s tank before putting in new water, which isn’t always easy.

If you do not know how to do this safely, ask for help from an adult the first time you do it! Turtles are more likely to get sick if their water isn’t clean, so it’s essential to make sure that you’re changing their tank regularly.

What to do if your turtle becomes sick or injured.

If your turtle is sick or injured, you need to do some quick first aid. Remember that turtles can carry Salmonella bacteria on their shells and skin, so if you have kids in the house, make sure they’re wearing gloves before handling your pet! If your turtle gets an injury from a dog bite or from hitting its shell on a rock, then it has a good chance of getting an infection if the turtle isn’t cleaned carefully.

If your turtle is breathing very quickly after cleaning the wound, it might have an infection. In this case, you can give your turtle some antibiotics like Baytril or Naxcel. Make sure to follow the instructions on how much to give your turtle and for how long!

What does my turtle need?

Turtles are more popular pets than people realize! If you purchase a baby turtle, it will need UVB light and heat lamps to stay healthy. You should also get some driftwood for your turtle’s tank so it can climb around and bask under the light.

Turtles also need a few big rocks, a bowl of freshwater for drinking, and some plants to help the turtle feel more natural. If you have an indoor turtle, it might need a bigger tank to stay healthy. Make sure that your turtle’s tank has a heavy, solid lid because it can get out of the tiniest cracks.

How to create a turtle habitat.

Turtles need lots of room for their water bowl and the area where they eat. If your indoor turtle doesn’t have access to sunlight or if it’s an ornate tortoise, then you should put some full-spectrum lights, like ReptiSun, in their tank so they can get their UVB light. Make sure your turtle isn’t getting too much or too little fresh air by putting a screen over the lid of its aquarium if you have an indoor turtle that is not a tortoise.

A basic turtle habitat also has rocks and plants for your pet to climb on and sit under the lamp. It’s fine to use real plants for your turtle habitat, but make sure they don’t have any pesticides on them or anything like that. Turtles can eat dead leaves if they want to, so it’s okay if the plant is drooping over the water area at all!

Smaller turtles like red-eared sliders might need a taller tank with fake plants, but turtles like Russian tortoises will want a smaller tank with less water. Turtles like the grassy area in their tank to be a little damp because this is where they like to eat. If water gets everywhere in your turtle’s tank, then you should try cleaning the water out with a cup every day!

What is a healthy turtle?

turtle

Healthy turtles should have clear eyes and smooth skin. The claws and beak of indoor turtles should also look sharp and be free of debris like twigs and flies. If your turtle’s shell looks dull or has fungi growing on it, then you need to take it to a vet because that could be a sign of your pet having a fungal infection. Turtles have shells on their backs, just like how people have skin covering their bodies!

When turtles are healthy, they should eat and drink a lot and be active. Turtles might even start mating if they’re healthy enough to do that! Make sure your turtle stays healthy by keeping the tank clean and giving it lots of food and love!

Food to stay healthy!

What do turtles eat?

If you want to keep your turtle healthy, you need to feed it turtle pellets every day. You can also give it aquatic plants from the pet store and some vegetables! Turtles love cucumbers, lettuce, zucchini, snails, frogs, and fish. Yes, that’s right, some types of turtles eat fish! Just make sure that whatever you’re giving your turtle isn’t too big. It’s best to stay away from living fish because you don’t know if the species will be safe for your turtle to eat.

When you feed your turtle, make sure to cut all of these things into pieces that are small enough for your turtle to eat! If you’re not sure what else to give your pet, then ask at the pet shop because they might help you!

Fun facts about turtles.

Can turtles talk?

Well, let’s say that if your turtle is healthy, it might make some chirps and squeaks when you come and see it. Turtles might also make noises when they’re mating! If you want to learn more about turtle chirp sounds, find a good book about turtles and read more. If you have another pet turtle, then it will probably chirp to tell you that it’s hungry, or it might lay an egg if you have a female turtle!

Conclusion.

Turtles are fun to have as pets, so make sure to take good care of them. If you want to learn more about turtles, do your research online or go to the pro shop at the pet store and ask some questions. Turtles like to swim in their water and bask under the light, so make sure you give them what they want!

Thanks for reading!

Author

  • Joanna Perez is a Certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Practitioner, a passionate blogger, writer, traveler, wife, and mother of one boy. Joanna loves to share her thoughts on parenting, health, wellness, and lifestyle. She is a Certified Women Empowerment Life Coach and has done courses on Life Mastery, Happiness, Health, and Success. She also has studied Neuroscience for Parents and took the Skilled Helper Training Course. She believes in helping people become the best version of themselves and strives to provide quality informative and inspiring content. She loves animals, especially her two cats, and can often be found taking photos of them as they pose for the camera.

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