Pawesome is no stranger to the discussion of awesome pet homes but we haven’t tackled turtle turf yet, so I thought it only fair to ask, what is the right kind of home for a pet turtle?
First, indoor turtles live in an aquarium and although it’s similar to a fish tank, it’s not quite the same. Unlike fish, our turtle friends are reptiles which means that they need both land and water in their habitat.
When purchasing a turtle aquarium, make sure that you consider the size your turtle will grow into as an adult. Here is a bit of math for you: Generally, as turtles mature, they grow three to even four times their infant length. Therefore, the most ideal aquarium size for your terrapin is three to four times the length or size of the biggest turtle. The tank width must be twice as large, and the height should ideally be 1.5 to two times its length. Choose a tank which is eight to 12 inches above the highest point the turtle can reach in order to prevent it from climbing out and escaping.
A proper filtration system, ideally one you can submerge in water, is highly recommended. You can also fill the tank with unchlorinated water or natural spring water. Just do not use standard water out of your sink, as the chlorine and fluoride found in tap water can destroy the pH balance inside the turtle tank and may lead to health problems.
When buying turtle tank accessories, make sure that the welfare and safety of your turtle is always priority number one! Never place any rough stones in the aquarium as they may potentially injure your pets. I mean, you wouldn’t purchase a recliner outfitted in jagged rocks, now would you? Same idea. Go for the smooth stones/rocks! And stones which are found outside need to be sterilized before placing them inside the tank. All other store-bought accessories (like that sunken skeleton or bubbling googly eyed oyster you’ve been eyeing at the pet store) should be cleaned every seven to ten days. One handy tip for sticking to your cleaning schedule is to take out and disinfect the accessories when you change your tank water.
In the wild, turtles love to bask in the sun. In your home, you will need to set up a dry area in the turtle tank for this purpose. Most people use a rock or a piece of wood that the turtle can climb onto. Whatever platform you choose, it should be one that protrudes out of the water, so your turtle can remain high and dry while on it. One of the easiest ways to create an elevated basking place is by piling smooth rocks on one side of the turtle tank. Another material often used to enhance a basking area is floating cork, which slow pokes love to use as a raft.
The last thing to take into consideration when creating a turtle habitat is lighting. Keep your turtle tank in a room with lighting that doesn’t change drastically. You will also need to provide a sun lamp just for the turtle to bask in. The sun lamp not only provides light for your little guy, but heat for his shell. If you want to make your turtle really happy, place the spotlight above the dry rock (see above) to mimic the sun.
Images: delta407, justin