Are pet turtles and pet terrapins the right pet for you?

Turtle Care GuideBuying a pet is always a tricky decision for a family. It’s hard to decide what kind of pet would be suitable with smaller kids around, whether the new pet on the block will get along with possible other pets or if visitors are going to feel threatened.

On top of which you’ve got genuine health concerns, possible allergies and, of course, the care and feeding of the animal itself to think about.

And finally, if the pet is for a child the likelihood that the child will be able, and willing, to take on the responsibility of handling the animal and all the duties that go along with it needs to be accounted for.


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Is a turtle the right pet for you?


Keeping the above in mind, many families tend to opt for a starter pet. They include such animals as rabbits, gerbils, guinea pigs, ferrets, mice and reptiles; animals considered low-cost and low-maintenance. Which is not necessarily true of course but it is usually less of a handful than, say, a dog. And if you would like to start with a ‘starter,’ a great choice for you could very well be a turtle (or terrapin, if you’re in the United Kingdom).


Pet turtles and terrapins make the perfect pet

In fact, picking up a book about the chelonian critters should give you a great idea of what is out there in terms of a pet and how best to take care of it. Once you’ve got the fundamentals of turtle pet-care down it’s a breeze. For instance, there are four major categories of ‘turtle’ you should have a basic understanding of: turtle, sea turtles, terrapins and tortoises.

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The turtle is your basic reptile-in-a-shell that you keep as a pet. It cannot live or breathe underwater but is amphibious and likes fresh water. This includes the red-eared slider and the painted turtle (both amphibious) as well as the box turtle (fully terrestrial). Turtle Book with GuaranteeIt is also known as a terrapin in the United Kingdom where the word ‘turtle’ normally refers to the sea turtle which is not kept as a pet. Sea turtles live in every ocean of the world except the Arctic and can easily grow to be, well, huge at two meters long! Finally, tortoises are essentially the above mentioned terrestrial turtles but are simply called tortoises in the United Kingdom and Australia and box turtles in the United States. There are terrapins (different to turtles) that live in brackish water but these are called ‘diamondback terrapins’ everywhere and are not in common usage when talking about pets.


Buy a turtle and make your life more complete

Going to the pet store to buy a turtle, and related paraphernalia, is the next step. Once you know what kind of turtle you want you will be able to buy the proper habitat for it as well. You wouldn’t want a tortoise in a turtle habitat because the poor thing would simply drown.


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Is a turtle the right pet for you?


Next, feeding a turtle is the same as buying it a habitat: identification. Some turtles like to eat minnows and others are perfectly content with little pellet snacks, insects and so forth. Most turtles will also eat a great deal of greens which you can easily arrange for.

Finally, like any other animal you have to handle turtles with care. Despite their appearances turtles are quite fragile and they need their shells to live. They are not like hermit crabs that can find any shell that fits to live in if theirs is removed. For a turtle, the shell is attached, stays attached and grows with it.


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