Turtle Sitting

Our neighbours have gone off somewhere on holiday (I think) and asked us to look after their two pets. No, said I. They’re turtles, said they. Bring them on in, said I. Who wouldn’t want to look after turtles?! And they were just babies too. So they brought them down, in their tiny little bowl – turtles are such a popular pet here, but no one really knows how to look after them properly.

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The most common mistakes are basic ones, and I must confess that when I first bought Bob and Homer home, I didn’t really have a clue as to how to care for them properly. So for those who might own or one day buy a turtle, here are the basics of Red Eared Terrapin/Slider care…

  • A big bowl, not a small plastic one! Turtles are aquatic and like to swim.
  • They are also tropical, so you’ll need to heat the water. If you don’t they’ll probably not feed, and will die.
  • No gravel in their tanks – it might be pretty, but as soon as they’re big enough, they’ll eat it and die.
  • They need artificial UV lights or plenty of sun, or their shells will go soft, and they’ll die. My turts are lucky…they have an outdoor pool in the sun during day time! Make sure they have somewhere to get out of the water to sunbathe.
  • Babies are carniverous – if they aren’t eating, try a little tuna.
  • They live in water. They eat, sleep, poop, pee and drink the water. Make sure it’s filtered and cleaned regularly. Or they’ll die.

If you’re thinking about getting one, there is one other thing to ponder over. Have you got room, and the time to clean them? It’s easy when they’re babies, but they grow and grow and grow. Angus, below, is only just two years old…

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