Turtle in a Tank
Turtles, like any other reptiles are creatures which are exotic and live the best when exposed in the wild. Turtles and Tortoises are known to be one of the oldest living reptiles this earth has ever seen, existing since the time of dinosaurs. Being terrestrial animals, turtles are known to migrate large distances during their season. Turtles are thus present almost everywhere and are perceived to be one of the easier animals that may be domesticated- which is a false misconception and require the same amount of care and need which would be provided otherwise to a dog or a cat.
There are so many misconceptions that have been formed around Turtles which if one needs to address can take a lot of time, but this is an issue that must be addressed, IMMEDIATELY!
Remedies for the same are required and imperative if one is deciding to foster/adopt/own a reptile like a Turtle.
Slow like a Turtle:
The most prominent characteristic that one might notice when one looks at a turtle is the speed with which it walks and moves around in. Being able to cover large distances that might take them 10-15 days which can be covered by any other animal in a day or two makes turtle one of the slowest reptiles but definitely not THE slowest reptile. Reptiles like Tortoise are known to be much slower than Turtles on land and water. Turtles are faster when exposed in water and are known to be able to cover up more distance when allowed to swim in water. Being very agile, giant sea turtles are able to utilize their flippers to cover distances amounting up to 10 kms in a very short span of time.
Turtles are known to be slow for many reasons, there are many theories behind this. Some state that it is due to the hard shell which they have to carry around that makes them this slow, others refer to their feet which are flat and are naturally spread apart making them slow. Their slow metabolisms seem to be another theory for their slowness.
As a baby, turtles are pretty vulnerable of getting hurt by their predators due to their immature shells that are not hard enough to be able to sustain any attack if levied. Female Turtles are known to be relatively swifter than the male turtles in order to protect their off-springs.
A huge misconception regarding Turtles is that they are unable to live for more than 5-6 years, but what we all may not be aware of is that Turtles are the reptiles that are known to be able to live for a healthy age of 200 years!
Turtles are docile creatures that are known to live within a scope and territory which if healthy enough allows for them to sustain harsh conditions, especially during the winter season during which they are known to live generally under their shells, which protects them from the dire weather or they might even prefer living under water at times.
The Galapagos giant turtles, eats a strict vegetarian diet that’s full of greens and free of fat and cholesterol. These slow-moving gentle giants are extremely docile and peace-loving creatures that generally live stress-free lives. This combination of calm and healthy living is likely another explanation for their extreme longevity.
A healthy Box Turtle can live up to 30 to 40 years whereas a Sea Turtle can live up to 80 years under the water which is their habitat.
Needs and Requirements of a Domesticated Turtle:
- Turtles NEED a Veterinarian: There is a misconception that turtles are “easy” creatures who don’t really require any effort but just like any pet dog or pet cat, Turtles require regular check-ups and vaccinations before brought back to home. Their life span might decrease if the same is not done.
- Turtles REQUIRE Nutrition: People believe that Turtles are capable of eating everything and anything which is completely untrue, true, that they can only eat under water, but being carnivores, they require live food like snails, worms and fishes and it is not advisable to provide them which they otherwise would never find in the wild.
- Turtles NEED a big Tank: Prior to popular beliefs, it is imperative that your pet turtle has at least the capacity of holding up 40 gallons of water and has enough room for the turtle to move around in. Keeping a turtle in a tank for all of his years can be like living in a bathtub your whole life, which is why it is important and essential that one must change the tank after every 2-3 months and put in fresh water, avoiding tap water as far as possible. They must be allowed to stay out in the land as well so that they get familiar to the place around as well.
- Turtles REQUIRE Sunlight: It is vital for a turtle to stay under the sun and not be exposed to too much of artificial light as it might cause metabolic bone diseases and even cause blindness to few.
Therefore, it is important that we treat Turtles like any other pet like your dogs, cats and birds and not like an exotic showpiece in your living room or your bedroom. Turtles require love and affection from their owners and thus it is imperative that for your children and grandchildren to be able to meet your pet turtle, that the right nutrition and living environment is provided to them as well.
Go ahead, pet a Turtle- with care!