Turtles as pets? Here's everything you need to know
Yes, turtles are super cute, but can they make good pets? While turtles (as a choice of pet) are becoming more and more popular - the question attracts largely varied opinions and responses. So, if you are planning to bring home a turtle as your new pet, or already have one but crave more parenting insights, here's all you need to know.
Aquarium: How to set up your turtle's home
Turtles live mainly in water, which means- you will need an aquarium. It is advisable to arrange one with a screened top and a capacity of at least 29 gallons. Also, they require 12 hours of light, but since they can't be placed under direct sunlight, you can use a UVA/UVB bulb to provide the rays they need for strong bones and shells.
Take a note: Heating and lighting requirements of the aquarium
You will have to be careful of the heating and lighting settings of the aquarium to really make it turtle-friendly. Keep the warm side of the aquarium at a temperature ranging between 90 and 95 degrees (Fahrenheit). The cool side should ideally range between 75 and 85 degrees. During night time, set the temperature of the entire tank between 70 to 75 degrees.
How to take care of your turtle's health
For the first couple of days, or a week, let your turtle take time to adapt to its new surroundings. However, if you notice strange symptoms such as hiding, abnormal eating/drinking habits, weight loss, swollen joints, discharge from eyes/mouth/nose, skin discoloration, etc. - take it to your vet as soon as possible for the underlying cause and potential treatment.
Safety: A word of advice for yourself
We are not being partial to turtles - all animals, including them, could carry viral, bacterial, or fungal diseases contagious to their human parents. So, always wash your hands with warm, soapy water, before and after making any contact with your pet.