Turtles may be slow, but they can surely make great pets. Tortoises and turtles are both reptiles that have been on this earth for millions of years. Like their friends the crocodiles, they are one of the oldest prehistoric creatures around today. They were around even before the dinosaurs! With proper care they can live anywhere from 25 to 80 years or more – which is why you need to be prepared for a long term commitment if you’re thinking of getting one.
The first thing you want to consider when getting a turtle is to decide if you want a land or water turtle. Each type of turtle requires its own special care. An important thing to remember is that reptiles can carry and transmit salmonella. You must be very careful (especially with kids) when handling any reptile. A turtle’s habitat will depend on its size. A land turtle, which is also known as a tortoise, needs a habitat with some kind of sand or wooden bedding. Their space also needs an area that is heated as well as an area that is cool. Water turtles need a tank with water and a separate area that is dry to resemble a beach. Other turtles may simply require some rocks or wood where they can climb and rest. Some turtles require a heat lamp to keep them warm. The heat from the lamp will also help their shell grow. Of course, every turtle’s habitat will depend on the breed. A turtle’s diet is actually very simple. Tortoises eat fruit and vegetables – be sure to research which are best. Vitamins and sunshine also help keep them happy and healthy. Water turtles can eat either a pellet diet or they can eat live fish.
One of my favorite pet stores is BTJ’s Jungle in West Islip. (Check out their website at www.btjjungle.com). They have a wide variety of land and water turtles to choose from and there is always someone available to help answer your questions. BTJ’s Jungle also has a large selection of turtle habitats and accessories to get you started. When visiting, make sure to look for their HUGE tortoise named Franklin and his slightly smaller buddy Frankie. You can usually find them wandering the store or hanging out in their habitat.
Even though turtles don’t need as much care as a dog or a cat, they do require a “care commitment”
and the same amount of love and attention that you would give to our fury friends.
Victoria’s Fun Facts and Tips:
• The oldest tortoise may have lived to be 250 yrs old.
• In the movie Rocky, Rocky had two pet water turtles named Cuff and Link.
• Leonardo DiCaprio is also a fan of tortoises. In 2010 he purchased a big one for $400.00.
• Never release your pet turtle into the wild!
• World Turtle Day is May 23.
• The world’s oldest living animal is a tortoise named Jonathan. He is believed to be 185 years old. He lives on the island of Saint Helena, a British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic Ocean.
• Some turtles can grow to massive lengths. However, some like the critically endangered Bog turtle may only grow to about four inches.
• Turtles and tortoises have outlived the dinosaurs, but now some have become endangered and need our help to make sure they continue to be healthy and safe.
Have Fun with your turtle and Happy 4th of July!
Written by Victoria Bonavita
For more information on me,
please visit www.VictoriasAmazingWorld.com.
And if you’d like me to visit your school or library for one of my animal
education programs, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org