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Turtle Tips

By: Mollielover

So you think you want a turtle? Well this will be a great place to start. I'll talk about the care and housing of your new pet. There are 2 types of turtles water turtles and land turtles my main focus on this article will be with the water turtles because these are the most common turtles that we see questions about.

When acquiring a water turtle such as Red Eared Slider, Cooter, or Painted Turtle there are many things to take into consideration.  Such as where am I going to house my turtle?  What do they eat?  What supplies will I need to get started?  I'll try to cover these topics to the best of my ability.

Housing:
Well depending on where you live, you have a couple of choices on where to house your turtle. You  can choose to keep them indoors in an aquarium or outside in a pond or pool. If you choose to keep them indoors you will need to keep them in the biggest tank that you can get but no smaller than a 20gallon long per turtle while they are young and small. These turtles can get very big and will eventually need a lot more space.  Your turtle will need a basking area and a water area. Make sure that the turtle can get completely out of the water to bask. If the turtle can't get out of the water to bask he most likely will end up with fungal infections and other shell issues.  The depth of the water in the tank should be about as deep as the turtle is wide, depending on what type of swimmer you have you can go deeper. 
Your turtle also has some lighting requirements. You will need to get an over head light and a ultraviolet light. The ultraviolet light is very important as this simulates the sun with ultraviolet rays to help the turtles body properly use  calcium and vitamin D and keep a healthy skin and shell.  The temperature of the tank can be controlled with an aquarium heater and the light source, you will want to maintain a temperature from the mid 70's to mid to low 80's.

You will also need a good filter for your turtle tank ,make sure that it is one big enough to filter way more water then you would need to for the tank that you choose to use.  Turtles are very I repeat very messy little creatures, they produce tons of waste, it will be up to you to change the water as it gets fouled.

If you choose to keep your turtle outside you first need to make sure that the climate is appropriate for your pet ,most southern states in the US will work out for this. 
The requirements above also apply to outdoor turtles with the exception of the lighting, you will not need to use artificial light outside.  You can use an outdoor pond or even a kiddy pool to house the turtle. Even though turtles like to bask in the sun you will want to make sure that there is a spot in your pond where they can get into the shade if they need to.  You will also need have some type of screen cover to keep your turtles from escaping and to keep other predators like raccoons from getting to your pet.

There is a variety of pellet foods on the market made for water turtles, be careful if you want to house fish with your turtle because they can quickly become dinner.

I hope these turtle tips help out and I will add more information as I think of it.

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