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World Turtle Day – 23rd of May

May 7, 2024

World Turtle Day

Are you thinking about getting a pet turtle? Or maybe you already have one but want to brush up on your husbandry skills? Consider this a turtle tutorial!

Housing

  1. Firstly, you will need an appropriate enclosure for your turtle, and it’s best not to skimp on the size as your pet will need both water and land with plenty of room to explore. Even the smallest turtles should have a tank no smaller than 130 litres, 4ft long, 18 inches wide and 18 inches tall.
  2. Clean water is essential as turtles eat and toilet in the same water. You will need a strong filtration system and at least weekly water changes to prevent the build-up of particles that can lead to infections.
  3. Temperature is vital as turtles cannot regulate their body temperature internally; research exactly what temperature your turtle species requires so you can control this with their surroundings. You will need a basking lamp, water heater and thermometers for both air and water to maintain those temperatures.
  4. Turtles need around 12 hours of sun each day as it helps their shells develop properly; without it, they can get metabolic bone disease. However, it’s important not to take them in and out of their tank regularly as this can affect their immune system. Ensure your turtle has a dry area it can bask under its heat lamp and a UVB/ UVA bulb – this should be kept on during the day and turned off at night and should be used alongside calcium supplements. The UV index in Scotland is unsuitable for turtles, so using lamps is essential.

Diet & Health

It depends on the type of turtle that you have, of course, but our team advises that turtles will generally eat insects, fish and dark leafy greens. You can also buy canned or pelleted turtle food and freeze-dried mealworms. Calcium supplements are also a good idea.

Finally, be sure to check your turtle regularly for any physical signs of illness. These may include:

  • swollen eyes
  • discolouring on the shell
  • avoiding food

Please call us on 01324 829989 if you notice any of these signs and we can make an appointment for your turtle to come in and see us.

How to take your turtle to the vet

  • Turtles should not be transported to the vet in water as they can get tired quickly and drown.
  • Line a plastic container with damp bedding or a soaked towel to keep them moist to ensure they stay hydrated and avoid damage to their delicate skin.
  • Ensure the container is secure – make sure they cannot climb out or pop the lid.
  • Ensure there is adequate ventilation.
  • Monitor your turtle during the trip to ensure they are healthy and safe.

We hope you found Calum’s turtle tutorial helpful! Remember, we’re always happy to help if you have any questions or want to book a check-up for your turtle, just call us on 01324 829989.

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