Turtles as Pets

Adopt-a-Turtle? You see the turtle crossing the road, should you merely help it to safety or give it a new home, giving yourself a turtle as a pet?

I feel that there will be that one moment in everyone’s lives when they are forced to slam on brakes for a little turtle crossing the street. And those moments are most likely to happen in spring, when turtles are on the move.

While some drivers may get aggravated and simply swerve to miss the turtle, there will be some who pull over and help the little guys to safety. However, there will be pet lovers among us who go to even greater lengths (probably due to the begging of a child) who will give the turtle a new home.

If you find yourself falling into the last category, here are some things you need to know about caring for turtles:

  • First, turtles can live for up to 25 years! So be sure that you are in it for the long haul!
  • Turtles require a 40-gallon tank, at least. That can weigh upwards of 400 lbs.! The tank must include land area and water area, and a basket lamp for heat.
  • Natural spring water (not tap water) should be used for your turtle’s tank. The fluoride and chlorine present in tap water can affect the water’s pH levels, which could affect your turtle.
  • Do not use tree bark or wood chips to fill your turtle’s tank. Should your turtle choose to eat it, it will not be a very happy turtle!
  • Be sure to interact with your turtle. Just because they have a hard shell doesn’t mean they don’t like attention too!
  • Turtles can have diets that include fruits, vegetables…and insects. The last bit doesn’t sound too appetizing.

As you can see, there are a lot of decisions to be weighed before having a turtle for a pet. So think twice before giving a turtle a ride to your home.

Do you or anyone you know have a pet turtle? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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