Caring for you Turtle

Turtles are a popular pet and are great for those looking for something a little unusual. They do require some specialised care and it is recommended you do your research before obtaining your pet turtle. 

One of the common mistakes we see is people looking for 'Penny' Turtles. There is no such thing as a Penny Turtle. Most Australia Turtle species grow to around the size of a dinner plate (20-30cm shell diameter), therefor they do require an appropriately sized tank to live in. Their life span should also be taken into consideration as they can live over 25 years. 

When it comes to choosing a tank size for your turtle bigger is better. A minimum of 180 x 60 x 60cm is recommended for an adult turtle. The water depth should be at least twice the depth of the length of your turtles shell. It is important for your turtle to have access to a basking area, which should be a large enough space for your turtle to bask completely out of the water and needs to accessible via a ramp. If you are using substrate in your tank the substrate should be a larger river stone or sand that can not be swallowed by your turtle causing a choking hazard. 

A heater is needed as turtles do require a water temperature of approx 25°C for Short Necked species and 22°C for Long Necked species. The outside basking area should be heated at a higher temperature (30-34°C) and all these temperatures should be closely monitored. 

UVB lighting is necessary for you turtle to ensure they get enough Vitamin D3 to help them properly process and utilise calcium, important for bone and shell development and health. This lighting cannot penetrate glass so placement is important and it should be replaced every 6 months.    

Your turtle should be offered a variety of food. Most turtles will benefit from a diet of live food such as crickets, mealworms, earthworms, feeder fish and yabbies. They can also be offered pellets, frozen turtle food and a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables (depending on turtle species). Short-neck turtles can also benefit from live aquatic plants and leafy greens. Turtles can be very messy eaters, you can remove your turtle from its tank and feed them in a separate container to avoid mess. 

All turtles require a licence in Queensland. You can obtain a licence online. For more information visit: 

https://www.qld.gov.au/environment/plants-animals/wildlife-permits/permit-types/wildlife-licence/native-animal/how-to-apply

 

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