If you are considering adopting a Turtle it’s important to understand that Turtles and Tortoises are not the same. Turtles mostly swim in water and have webbed feet. Their diets consist of both plants and animals making them omnivores. Tortoises have defined toes and live on land. Their diets consist of primarily plants making them vegetarians.
Like any other pet adoption, it’s important to understand what your Turtle will need and ensure you can commit to taking care of them. Here are some quick Turtle facts you may or may not already know that can help you decide if a pet Turtle is right for you:
There Are 270 Types of Turtles- Before bringing a Turtle home it’s best to do research on the type of Turtle you’re considering adopting. They may require a particular diet as well as a certain temperature in their environment. Not all Turtles are the same, so this can vary greatly.
All Turtles Carry Salmonella- Salmonella is a type of bacteria that many reptiles carry in their intestinal tracts. While Turtles are not harmed by this, they shed Salmonella in their waste and if other pets or humans are exposed to it, it can make cause terrible gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and vomiting. Anyone who handles a Turtle or cleans it’s tank must wash their hands thoroughly afterwards to avoid Salmonella.
Turtles Need Their Space- While a Turtle may look like a small creature to you, they require ample amount of space. Their tank needs to be five times the length of an adult Turtle as well as contain two and a half times as deep of water that the Turtle is long. In addition, it’s important to have a filter in the Turtle’s tank to keep the water clean.
Turtles Need Dry Land- Turtles spend most of their time swimming but still need to dry off sometimes. Therefore, your Turtle’s tank should have a large rock they can bask in when they need to be dry.
Turtles Have Long Life Spans- When Turtles are taken care of properly they can live for decades. This is a critical factor to remember if you’re considering adopting a Turtle as a pet. You will need to ensure you can commit to caring for a pet for many years.
Turtles Require Veterinary Care- It’s important to be on the look out for any physical changes in your Turtle. If you notice your Turtle is avoiding eating, has swollen eyes, or their shell is discolored, they will need to be evaluated by their veterinarian who specializes in Reptile care.