Yellow Belly Turtle

In the wild they are frequently found where great densities of algae occur. They occupy ponds, swamps and marshes. Most active in the morning, they can often be seen basking in the sun.

The shell of the adult yellow belly turtle averages between 8 and 10 inches (20.3 and 25.4cm) long. Females are slightly bigger and can sometimes reach 11 inches (27.9cm). Usually a mixture of brown and black at the top, the plastron underneath is distinctively yellow with some green spots. Its skin is predominantly olive-green, but features odd patches of yellow on the legs and neck.

The yellow belly turtle can be kept indoors, but bear in mind that it will need a tank capacity of at least 60 gallons when adult. If you are planning to own more than one, add 20 gallons per turtle to the equation. Young hatchlings can be kept in a tank of 15 gallons.

A basking area with a temperature of at least 80 Fahrenheit (26.6 degrees Celsius) should be provided. Since they sleep at night, the basking light could be turned off when it is dark.

Males eat more meat than females and, as with several other species of turtles, hatchlings also eat more meat, in the form of insects, tadpoles, spiders and worms, than adult turtles do. This species eats carrion when it is available.

In nature, young turtles may spend an entire winter still confined to their nests after they hatched. The vivid colorings of the hatchlings fade as they mature. They eat pond plants such as elodea and cabomba, but can also be fed Romaine lettuce, escarole and collard greens. They eat in the water. While aquatic plants can be left, uneaten non-aquatic plant matter should be removed after a while.

One reason why they make great pets is their friendly demeanour. Even a shier turtle, is quickly won over once it trusts you.

Another word of caution applies to their handling. The shell is actually part of the skin, making it easy to hurt them without meaning to. To be on the safe side, do not let your hand stray too near to the turtle’s beak.

Quality Turtle Breeders

Additionally, it is important for turtle breeders to maintain a healthy environment for their turtles. This environment should cater specifically to the type of turtle. Water turtles prefer to live in large, deep aquariums with clean water and copious room for swimming. Since they defecate in the water frequently, it should be changed out on a daily basis and have heavy filtration to prevent the water quality from becoming bad. Land turtles prefer habitats with dry substrate and larger amounts of horizontal space to utilize, which will give them room to move freely. They also appreciate a shelter space where they can hide, sleep or get away from stressors they can perceive outside of the cage.

Most breeders who have a good handle on their work will also be familiar with the behavior patterns of healthy turtles, as well as the patterns that sickly turtles may display. These patterns are important to recognize, since they are very good indicators of whether a turtle is thriving and can indicate whether something different needs to be done in their care. A good breeder should be able to show any new owner what a thriving turtle looks like, and will be able to explain articulately what warning signs can indicate that a turtle is sick or failing to thrive. For instance, healthy turtles will be active and exhibit a healthy diet and curiosity about their surroundings, while turtles that are not thriving may be inactive or reluctant to move.

In addition to being a good source for a first turtle and beginning information for care, an ideal breeder will also provide an ongoing source of information for owners who become more serious about their turtles later. These breeders may also have connections into local turtle breeding chapters or organizations, providing even more connections and opportunities for informational exchange. They may provide timely information about nutritional or scientific developments regarding the care of turtles. While choosing to obtain a turtle from a breeder obviously has the benefit of obtaining a guaranteed healthy young turtle, connections to respectable turtle breeders are also a valuable connection in the years following the purchase.

Leatherback Turtle

Young leatherback turtles have white marks on their flippers. Generally, you will find this variety of turtles in warmer seas, in which they spend most part of their existence. It is well-known, that they can dive as deep as 4,200 feet. Really impressive diving capability.

Female turtle will crawl to sand shores in order to dig a hole for eggs. It is the only occasion, that these types of turtles come on dry land. Females lay down up to 80 eggs, and then protect them with fine sand and return to the water. After two months hatchlings make their way to the sea.

There are over 30,000 nesting females around the world, nevertheless, just one in a 1000 turtles mature to the adult years. A combination of the loss of suitable nesting habitat and egg poaching has resulted in a decrease in numbers. Many turtles die every year, when eating plastic trash floating in the oceans.

Leatherback sea turtles look in coastal areas for food. They can move very long distances if endangered, or when searching for new feeding areas. Often, you will discover these turtles from Norway to New Zealand. It is easy to find them in Pacific ocean as well as Atlantic ocean. In truth, there are few oceans in which the leatherback sea turtle can’t be encountered.

Turtle eggs are considered as a delicacy in a lot of countries around the world. In Malaysia and many parts of the Caribbeans, eggs are considered to be an aphrodisiac. Even though the act of hurting and injuring leatherback sea turtles is against the law, this doesn’t stop everyone. Turtle, that’s living for longer than 100 million years, is now in danger of extinction.

Leatherback sea turtles are hunted for meat, trapped in fisherman’s nets and pushed away from their own nesting grounds. This has contributed to an incredible decrease in numbers, and in the early 70’s the leatherback turtle ended on the endangered list of turtles. Quite a few turtles have their own life cut short way before these turtles reach the avarage age.

About Box Turtle Pet Care

HOUSING

Box turtles need a big size enclosure in order to provide for the proper range of heating and humidity.

The smallest size indoor housing for one box turtle to be kept in is 3 x 3 x 2 feet. For two turtles, the minimum size should be at least 4 x 4 x 2 feet. Aquariums are not appropriate housing for an adult box turtle. Babies may be kept in aquariums, but as they grow larger enclosures are needed.

Create a land area using 2 to 3 inches of good quality plain sterile potting soil slightly moistened. Do not use backyard dirt of soil from a garden.. Do not used coarse substrates such are gravel or sand, as these tend to scratch the shell and open the way for bacterial infections.

Box turtles require a hide box in which to get away from it all and feel secure. A good size box in one corner of the enclosure, filled with hay in which to burrow. is essential. The hide box can be anything from a cardboard box to a plastic container with a door cut into it.

A water area must be provided with its deep enough that the water comes to just about the nose of the turtle. It doesn’t need to be able to swim, just to soak. If using a kitty litter pan, it is best to sink this into the substrate and provide a ramp to get in and get out for the turtle.

The water area must be kept clean at all times. Box turtles not only use the water to soak in but also relieve themselves in.

LIGHTING

Full spectrum lighting is required for indoor enclosures. Full spectrum light mimics the beneficial effects of natural sunlight, enabling the turtle to metabolize vitamin D3. The full spectrum lighting is an essential part of the calcium metallization process. Without the specific wavelengths and proper diet, calcium deficiencies will result which may ultimately prove fatal. Box Turtles need 12 to 14 hours of light each day. NOTE: UV waves cannot pass through glass, and 40% of the available waves are lost when the light passes through an aluminum screen, try to have the light shining directly on them.

HUMIDITY/TEMPERATURE

Day Time temps: 85 to 88 degrees

Night Time temps: 70 to 75 degrees.

Most box turtles require a relative humidity of 60 to 80% in at least one area of their enclosure. Turtle that are not provided with the correct humidity often suffer from infected and swollen eyes and ear infections. Providing humidity is simple, in one corner of the enclosure provide some peat moss and wet it down with water until it is fairly moist. A hiding area, such as a cardboard box or large plastic container with ventilation holes should be placed over the wet peat moss. Be sure to check the moss constantly to ensure it is moist and has not dried out.

HIBERNATION

It is a good idea to allow your box turtle to hibernate, especially if you keep it in an outdoor enclosure during the summer months.This is to allow the box turtles internal clock to remain normal. If you choose not to hibernate the turtle, you must keep it warm and provide plenty of UV lighting along with their normal dietary needs.

To prepare a box turtle for hibernation, do not feed the animal for two weeks, but keep the heat on to allow the animal to fully digest any food remaining in its stomach and intestinal tract. Soak the box turtle in a shallow container of lukewarm water a few times during this period for about 10 minutes, this will help to hydrate the animal and to remove any food left in their system. Box turtle that hibernate with food still present in their intestinal tract can die from massive infections as the food rots inside them.

Hibernating box turtles indoor requires a hibernation box. A cardboard box half filled with moist sterile potting soil or peat moss with holes punched in the sides for aeration is an appropriate hibernation box. After all the food has been cleared from the turtle’s system, introduce the turtle to the hibernation box. If the box turtle buries down into the substrate and remains still, it is ready for hibernation. If the animal is moving restlessly around after 20 minutes in the box, return if to its enclosure, wait a few days and try again. If the box turtle is ready, move it to an unheated room, such as a garage, where the temperature will remain between 40 to 55 degrees. Check the box turtle weekly to make sure is has not surfaced prematurely. Box turtles usually come out of hibernation after experiencing temperature above 65 degrees for a few days. After the turtle comes out of hibernation, return it to its regular enclosure, provide water, warm it up for a couple of days, and then offer some food. Pay close attention to the turtle during the time after hibernation to observe for any health problems that may occur.

DIET

It is best to offer food after the turtle has had a few hours to warm up in the morning. Young turtle require feeding on a daily basis, while adult can be fed every other day. Make sure you combine their diet with both plant and animal matter. Vitamin supplements should be added twice a week.

Plants: A variety of vegetables, greens and fruits are a must. Such as a “salad” of carrots, squash green beans, strawberries, cranberries, blackberries, cherries, and plums. Some cantaloupe (with the rind), mustard greens, dandelions, and collard greens can also be mixed in. For treats you can add flowers like hibiscus, rose petals, and geraniums.

Meat: High quality low-fat canned dog food, finely chopped cooked chicken or raw beef heart. Live food can also be offered, like meal worms and crickets.

Creating a Turtle Habitat

The habitat you provide for the turtle should have adequate lighting. It should have a shaded area so the turtle does not have to stay in the sun for extended amounts of time. It should have clean water. If it is an indoor aquarium you will want to consider the addition of a baking lamp. You need to give turtle’s places to swim and places to get out of the water to rest if they are aquatic. If they are not aquatic the area to swim in will not be necessary.

Some of the turtle species do not do well in indoor habitats. A box turtle really needs an outdoor pen established for them. When you set a pen outside the turtle will naturally start to hibernate in the fall of the year. Do not disturb them when they are in hibernation. If they do not hibernate properly their natural body cycles that allow them to breed will be disrupted. They can also develop kidney diseases from insufficient hibernation time. They will naturally emerge from their hibernation in the spring of the year.

An indoor tank can be set up for most turtle pets. These tanks need to be at least forty gallon tanks to provide the adequate amount of room the creature needs for swimming and for dry land. This will also provide them with enough room to grow and develop into a mature turtle.

The turtle will require the equivalent of twelve hours of sunlight each day. You can use a UV lamp to provide this light for them. The UV lamp will make certain that they get enough vitamin D3 to live healthy.