Pet Health: How To Take Care Of A Baby Turtle

Baby turtles require special care in order to survive. Also, you should evaluate whether or not a baby turtle is the right type of pet for your lifestyle and for your family.

A baby turtle might sound like an adorable pet for you and your family, but you should know the facts about baby turtles and the care that they require before you get one. Red eared sliders are the most common variety of turtle that are kept as pets, although there of course are many others that you could come across. If you have children, you have to understand that turtles are not the ideal pet for kids because they can't be cuddled and snuggled with like a cat or a dog could. In fact, they really can't even be petted like a hamster, gerbil, or guinea pig. It's not that the turtles will bite - in fact it's nothing violent at all. The problem is that turtles can pass Salmonella bacteria on to people, especially children. A child will want to touch the baby turtle - and maybe even taste it! Hey, kids do some wacky things, and licking a turtle is not out of the question for a tot at all. As an adult, you have the sense and the good hygiene to thoroughly wash your hands after handling a baby turtle in order to ward off a bacterial infection. A child is far less diligent, and therefore there is a much greater likelihood that your child could get sick as a result of handling the baby turtle. Make sure that your family is mature enough for this type of responsibility.

HOUSING

You can't just put a turtle in a fish tank and call it a day. Turtles require specific housing amenities to thrive. If you properly care for your little guy, he could survive for decades, so make sure that you provide your turtle with a comfortable and healthy home. If your pet doesn't receive the proper care, it could become ill, experience shell deformations, or die. In fact, the death rate for turtles is extremely high - partly due to the fact that people buy turtles without researching their proper care. Your turtle should not be allowed out of its cage or enclosure because of the bacteria that it could threaten your home with if it was allowed to roam free (plus, your turtle will only be a few inches long as a baby - although it could grow to be about a foot - so you want to make sure that it doesn't get lost or stepped on)! An aquarium will work fine. You should fill the cage with water so that the water level is taller than your turtle is wide. Use smooth rocks to create a "land" area in the aquarium as well. Your turtle should have equal land and water area in its home, or at least one-third basking area to two-thirds swimming space. Also, it is important that the air and the water are heated at about eighty-five degrees so that your turtle is not too cold to swim, and it can bask in warmth. Basking lights are available at most pet stores. As your turtle grows, so should your turtle's home. You want to provide your pet with the best possible quality of life, and since it will spend its whole life in its home, it should be your goal to make that home a very happy place!

FEEDING

Turtle foods are available at pet stores; however, this food should not be your turtle's only source of nutrition. You should complete the baby turtle's diet by providing him with some greens, earthworms, small fish, and fruit. You might notice that your pet has a preference for certain foods, so pay attention to uneaten foods left over after feedings. Feed your pet two or three times daily.



CLEANING

Your turtle's home should be kept clean at all times. You cannot leave uneaten food to spoil or you will wind up with a sick baby turtle. Clean, fresh water is also essential to your turtle's wellbeing. Rinse your turtle with warm water after you feed him so that he does not have remnants of food on him that could spoil. If you don't have a filtration system, then you should make daily cleaning of your turtle's aquarium a priority, and even with a filtration, you should at least clean out any droppings on a daily basis.

HEALTH CARE

Find a local veterinarian who has solid experience with turtles so that your baby can get the best care possible.

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