This post is sponsored by petMD® Reptile Center, and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Reptile Ownership, but Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. petMD and PetSmart are not responsible for the content of this article.
Are you thinking about getting a turtle? When I was a kid I had two water turtles that I was crazy about and they are still one of my favorite kinds of pets. It was fun to watch them crawl over the stones and plants in their terrarium and then plop into the water for a swim. I used to be mesmerized by these little guys, but like other reptile owners at the time I learned about the care they needed through trial and error.
If you’re ready to adopt a turtle of your own, the new petMD® ReptileCare Center has the information you’ll want to know in order to keep your pet safe and give it the proper care it needs to thrive in your home. The Reptile Center will even help you research the best type of turtle for your lifestyle. That way there won’t be any surprises about the type of food, housing or equipment they need.
Turtles make good pets because they are relatively low maintenance, but adding one to your family is still a big decision because you’re likely to have them for a long time. Water turtles can live 30-40 years and box turtles and tortoises will be around for 50 – 100 years. Turtles are a big commitment.
Once you’ve decided on the type of turtle you want it’s important to educate yourself about setting up the best possible habitat for your new pet. Here are the basics you should know:
- Proper Housing Size and Shape – Turtles like to live in glass terrariums. Invest in one that is large enough to accommodate your pet when it has grown to its full size. Land turtles like longer terrarium shapes so they can crawl and move around while water turtles feel more comfortable in an enclosure that is deep enough for them to take an occasional swim.
- Lighting – Most reptiles require two different types of lighting in their habitat. One with an ultraviolet light (UVA is best for turtles) and a heat lamp to keep them warm at night. A thermometer should also be kept inside the terrarium to ensure you’re not over heating your turtle’s habitat.
- Bedding – Turtles need a combination of plants in their terrarium for hiding and chewing plus smooth rocks for climbing and sunbathing.
- Cleaning – Turtles drink, swim and poop in the same water so it’s important to get the proper filters and pumps to keep their home clean. If the water it too dirty your turtle won’t drink enough water as needed to stay healthy.
- Diet – Most turtles are omnivores. That means they eat a mixture of protein and vegetables. Some of their favorite meat sources are crickets, mealworms and Goldfish. For veggies they prefer dark leafy greens like kale, collard greens and mustard greens.
Getting a turtle is a big decision. The new PetSmart® Reptile Center is there to help with all of the supplies you’ll need to set up a safe home for your new pet. You can purchase items at a PetSmart store near you or visit PetSmart online.
If you’re still considering a turtle after learning about their longevity and the supplies and food they need, here are some fun facts I learned at the Reptile Center.
- Turtles don’t have ears, but they are NOT deaf. Thin flaps of skin cover internal ear bones, which receive vibrations and low-frequency sounds.
- Most turtle shells are made up of 60 different bones that are fused together.
- To make room inside their shells, turtles sometimes exhale air out of their lungs, making a hissing sound.