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Caring for Turtles

By Cathy Doggins

In natural settings, turtles are found in water, which is precisely how they'll be cared for in your home. They also need dry land to bask and dry out on, but mostly the key to turtles as pets is the water. Pet turtles don’t require more than a 40 gallon tank with a lid. The typical turtle will grow to between 5 and 11 inches. They can live as long as 20 to 40 years, so the decision to get a turtle is a long-term obligation.

What They Eat

Turtles eat a mixture of insects and plants like bloodworms and crickets. Usually this consists of specially formulated pellets, worms, and green vegetables. As a treat turtles benefit from fruit like a piece of organge. Nutritional supplements are also needed such as calcium and vitamin D. Most breeds won’t eat unless they are in the water. The difficulty is that they’re messy eaters, causing an owner to either often change the water or feed the turtles in another enclosure.

Dry Land and Turtles

Eveyr turtle enclosure wishes an area for turtles to bask. They allows the turtle to heat the body, which keeps down the levels of bacteria and fungus on the shell. Each lazing area should have a UVB light. The lights helps to make it easier for the turtle to synthesize vitamin D, a factor that's vital for calcium absorption.


As discussed, a healthy turtle means that there always needs to be healthy water. The water will have to be changed at least 1x per week or more if polluted with food, feces or urine. A turtle drinks the same water that they swim, eat and urinate in. In terms of basking or land areas, there are several materials available such as smooth slate or a plastic platform. Turtle cages can be made out of glass, plastic or habitats contained in outdoor ponds.

Turtles and Salmonella

You might have heard about the chance of salmonella poisoning from turtles. The risk is considered important enough that parents are advised not to permit kids un-supervised contact with turtles. Salmonella can also be spread by permitting a turtle to come in contact with a carpet or table. When children touch the area contaminated by turtles they can contract the disease. When getting a turtle it’s critical that an owner learn how to maintain a hygienic family environment.

Cathy Doggins is the publisher of several articles on cool small pets. When not writing about turtles as pets, Cathy can be found caring for her two Jack Russells, 3 birds, hamsters and obviously pet turtles. Cathy is an advocate on pet related issues, and a volunteer at her local pet shelter.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Doggins, Cathy "Caring for Turtles." Caring for Turtles. 17 Oct. 2012. 28 Sep 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Doggins, C (2012, October 17). Caring for Turtles. Retrieved September 28, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Doggins, Cathy "Caring for Turtles"

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