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Pet turtles habitats: Everything You Need To Know About Raising Pet Turtles


The 12 Coolest Pet Turtle Habitats (with photos)

There’s something very special about turtles that makes so many people all over the world fall in love them!

Turtles are kept in extravagant aquarium, but they’re much more exciting and unique than fish. Also, they can live for up to 50 years! Excellent and cute partners that can live with you for most of your life.

Turtles are fun to watch, beautifully colored, and are easy to handle, making an excellent match for those who want enclosed animals they can watch all day or play with from time to time without running around the house and making a mess.

However, keep in mind that turtles are are actually high maintenance pets, they require plenty of care and attention to their habitats so they can stay healthy and happy.

Today we’re going to show you some of the best pet turtle habitats some owners have created to keep their pet turtles healthy.

Turtles and Tortoises

First, let’s clear this up! Turtles and tortoises are different animals, they might share similar looks and behaviour, but there is one massive difference…. Turtles are aquatic animals while tortoises dwell on land.

Make sure you know what animal you’re buying or you could end up creating an entirely incorrect habitat that might not be ideal (and could be deadly) for your pet.

In this article, you’ll find only turtle habitats, that means aquatic or semi-aquatic tanks that can house healthy turtles.

A Healthy Habitat for Your Pet Turtle

Keeping a turtle happy requires a specific set up so they can grow to their fullest and live a healthy life.

You need a large tank to house a turtle! For young turtles you can get away with a 40-gallon aquarium per turtle, but for adults you’ll need a container that can hold up to 90 gallons, depending on the specific breed you have.

Like all aquariums, you’ll have to install a water filter to keep the tank clean. Experts recommend canister filters since they’re powerful and durable enough to deal with turtles ‘mess’.

If you don’t get a filter, you’re going to have to change the water frequently as turtle habitats can get filthy and your turtles will probably catch a disease.

Although turtles are aquatic creatures, it doesn’t mean they don’t need a dry place on land to catch a break. Either leave one side of the aquarium with some sand or create a wooden dock where the turtles can stand and bask in the sun.

Speaking of which, if you’re keeping your pet turtle indoors you’re going to need UV light bulbs to provide the sunlight your pet needs. If you’re building an outdoor habitat make sure you build in a place where the sun doesn’t hit directly all day, and build some sun shaded areas for them to hide in.

Turtle Habitat Examples

Here you’ll find some of the coolest custom turtle habitats some lucky little turtles get to call home.

If you’re just starting off with your pet turtle you won’t have to immediately create these little paradises for your turtle as long you’re fulfilling the basic needs we covered above. Most turtle habitats get more elaborate over time

1- Indoor Spa for Your Turtles

This is possibly the perfect example of covering all the bases for a turtle, with a huge water tank for them to swim around, a large spot for them to bask and good directed UV lighting.

2 – For Small Turtles

Not all aquariums have to be huge to keep your pet healthy, this one is a fish tank that happily houses a small turtle! It covers all the needs of the turtle without taking too much space.

3 – An Alternative to Clear Fish Tanks

If you don’t like the fish tank look for a turtle habitat you can also use other materials. Large plastic containers like the one pictured above show an example of an amazing way to make a good looking habitat that keeps your pet happy, plus you can keep it indoors.

4 – A Variant for Larger Turtles

Like the previous tank, this is a larger environment for turtles that doesn’t require clear fish tanks and still looks fantastic.

5 – Indoors Turtle Habitat

If you have plenty of space (and budget), you can dream up a beautiful pond like this one, mixing clear fish tanks with external habitats.

6 – Outdoors Pond for Turtles

With a large yard you can also try making a garden pond for your turtle, this will not require UV lights but it still needs a dock for the turtle to land and plenty of filtration to keep everything clean.

7 – Indoor Pond

If you like the outdoor style but don’t have enough space outside, you might want to replicate this indoor pond.

8 – Another Indoor Pond

In this one you can see clearly that the pond is a plastic tub, repurposed to create a fascinating turtle habitat.

9 – Turtle Tank Toppers

The problem with fish tanks is trying to correctly balance the water and dry land ratio. If you add a tank topper, which is a separate smaller tank that goes above the aquatic tank, you can have a complete habitat with plenty of space.

10 – An Outdoor Paradise

This massive outdoor pond will let your pet explore and play to its heart’s content.

11 – A Double Tank for Your Turtle

Instead of using tank toppers, you can fit two tanks, one above the other, to make separate land and aquatic environments.

12 – A Smaller Tank Topper Habitat

Although the tank and the topper may be smaller in size this habitat provides everything the turtle needs to stay healthy and happy, a small dock with plenty of UV light and a considerable space to swim around.

Keeping Your Pet Turtle Healthy

Turtles require plenty of care and attention to stay healthy, and the first way to successfully raise a pet turtle is to create a habitat where they’ll feel safe and happy.

You don’t have to break your budget and build an aquarium like the ones we’ve shown in this article, all you have to do is make sure you fulfill all the basic needs of your pet turtle, and you’re all set.

Once you have more experience and have spent years with your companion, you might want to start investing and making some creative environments like these.

As always, make sure you learn as much as you can about the pet you want before you make a purchase, that way you’ll know if you can keep the animal safe, happy, and healthy. you can find a lot of the info you’ll need here on GeoZoo.

What do you think about these environments? Do you have a cool habitat you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments.

Thinking of getting a pet turtle?

You don’t have to touch the turtle to get sick

You don’t have to touch the turtle to get sick, because salmonella can live on surfaces. A 2006 study published in the journal Pediatrics found that exposure to reptiles was one of the biggest risk factors in determining whether infants get salmonella. Infants aren’t likely to handle reptiles. They probably get infected indirectly, such as a parent touching a turtle or cleaning a turtle’s tank and then holding a child.

Turtles need a lifetime of specialized care

Turtles are often marketed as low-maintenance pets, but the truth is that they need special care and a lot of room to grow. Turtles will not survive in a small dish with a plastic palm tree. They need the right lighting, temperature and water filtration system. Countless pet turtles die from being kept in inadequate conditions. Turtles shipped by mail and other delivery services often die on the way.

If maintained properly, however, turtles can live for decades and grow to be a foot long. That’s a lifetime responsibility that many people are not prepared to meet. If you’ve done extensive research and are prepared for the commitment and responsibility of a turtle, we suggest you adopt one from a local animal shelter or rescue group, instead of creating more demand for turtles by purchasing one from a pet store. Visit the Shelter Pet Project to find your local shelter.

Turtles should never be let loose outdoors

If you get a turtle and then decide you can’t care for the animal, there are not many options. Rescue groups are inundated with calls to take them. People sometimes turn turtles loose, thinking they are “freeing” them, but it’s typically illegal to release turtles outdoors. Turtles let loose might die, and they might carry disease that kills other turtles. If they live, they can out-compete native species for food and habitat, threatening native biodiversity. The red-eared slider turtles common in the pet trade are native to only part of the United States, but are turning up where they are not native across the country and around the globe. They are now considered among the world’s 100 most invasive species.

To protect your health, the earth and the animals, please don’t get a turtle for a pet! 

Cool, Cheap Turtle Tank Ideas

You might associate aquariums with fish or aquatic invertebrates, but that’s not all you can keep in your tank. Turtles are another fun aquarium pet, and in many respects, it’s easier to set up turtle aquariums and maintain them than it is to keep a fish tank. Consider these exciting turtle tank designs for your next DIY project!

Basic Features of Turtle Tank Set-Ups

Folks often get turtles and tortoises confused or think they have similar care requirements, but in truth, they are very different creatures. Tortoises are land animals, while turtles live in the water. Keeping a pet turtle requires maintaining an aquarium or pond where they can swim and feed.

There are many popular breeds of pet turtle, but they all fall into one of two categories:

  • Semi-aquatic turtles like the red-eared slider, painted, mud, musk and map turtles divide their time between swimming in the water and basking on their dock under the heating lamp.
  • Aquatic turtles like the soft shells and matamata spend most of their time in the water and may only poke their heads out underneath their basking light.

Depending on the breed you choose, you may need a terrarium or pond with both water and land areas, or you may be able to go entirely aquatic and design your own turtle aquarium.

Equipment Needed for Turtle Tanks

What kind of equipment do you need to set up your turtle tank? Obviously, the ideal size of your habitat will depend on the age and species of turtle you choose and how many you plan on keeping together. To set up your turtle terrarium or aquarium, you’ll need the following equipment:

Water Filter and Heater

Turtles need very clean water to stay healthy and also need their water kept at a warm, consistent temperature, although the precise temp will depend on the species you go with.

  • Get a good aquarium filter with replaceable filter pads and media.
  • A rugged underwater aquarium heater can inexpensively maintain your desired temperature.
Heat Lamps and Lighting

Unless you’re keeping your turtle in an outdoor pond where they get exposed to natural sunlight, you’ll need to add a heat lamp and UVB light to your turtle set-up.

  • UVB lights can be integrated into a heat lamp or come as a separate fixture for large or custom DIY set-ups.
Basking Dock

Semi-aquatic species of turtle need basking docks or platforms where they can rest above the waterline. For fully aquatic turtles, a submerged pile of rocks under the heat lamp usually works as a resting and basking platform.

  • You can build a floating dock, or buy a tank topper with ramp.
Tank Substrate

You don’t have to use substrate on the bottom of your turtle tank, and many experienced turtle keepers go with bare-bottomed tanks to improve filter performance and make maintenance easy. You can also opt for an aquarium substrate or a product designed for live plants for a planted turtle aquarium.

  • An attractive option are large river rocks or pebbles, or even smooth glass chips if you prefer that appearance

How to Set Up a Turtle Terrarium or Aquarium

Once you’ve picked up your equipment, you’re ready to start putting your turtle tank together! This can be as simple or extensive a process as you’d like. Many folks start with a simple baby turtle kit and then design a turtle tank customized with the features they want later.

Here’s the basic instructions for setting up a turtle habitat:

Fill the Tank with Substrate

Rinse your tank and substrate, and remove any labels from your tank. Fill the bottom of your tank with your chosen substrate (unless you’re opting for a bare tank bottom).

Create Basking Area and Fill with Water

Create the basking area by setting up your floating platform, tank topper or a pile of rocks in your turtle tank. Arrange the ramps so your turtle can move to each level. Double-check that your heat lamp and UVB lights fit above your turtle’s basking area and that the arrangement you’ve just constructed works.

Fill your tank with water, either to the base of the basking platform or all the way up for an aquatic turtle tank. Use a good water conditioner to remove chlorine and other chemicals from your water.

Set Up Equipment and Decorations

Add your aquarium heater, filtration system and any other decorations except for live plants. Set your heater’s temperature and turn it on. Start your filter and allow it to cycle for a few days before adding any animals to the set-up (cycle longer if you plan to add fish as well).

Turn on Heating and Lights, and Add Live Plants

Once your tank’s conditions are stable, turn on your lights and add any live plants to your aquarium. Monitor your water and basking dock temperatures and make any final adjustments. Once everything is ready, you can add your turtle to your new tank!

Cool Turtle Tank Ideas: 11 Options for Your Turtle Habitat

Looking for some ideas to help inspire the design of your next turtle aquarium or terrarium? These turtle tanks cover a wide range of habitats, and there’s an affordable and attractive option no matter what size turtle tank you’d like to keep!

1. Basic Turtle Starter Tub

A simple way to start your turtle-keeping hobby is with a large plastic tub like this one. With 5 different areas, your turtle can swim, bask in the lamp, grab a quick bite to eat or even hibernate, all in the same preformed tub. This is also a good option for a turtle hospital or quarantine tank.

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2. Double Turtle Tank

Image Source: instagram.com

If you go with a large 40-gallon turtle tank set-up you could potentially divide it in half and maintain two turtles safely. This way, your sliders won’t accidentally hurt each other and each have room to swim and their own basking ramp and dock. An external canister filter is a great way to keep a tank like this clean. Notice the lack of substrate and how clean the water looks!

3. Planted Turtle Aquarium

Image Source: instagram.com

When keeping aquatic turtles, it’s fun to plant and even aquascape your aquarium to create a really beautiful and functional home. The pile of rocks makes for an attractive and natural basking dock and the floating plants bring some shade to the water. I really like how the plants grow out of the water, so the aquarium resembles an outdoor pond.

4. Aquatic Turtle Starter Kit

If you’re not ready to invest the time and money into a custom or DIY tank then you might consider buying a starter turtle kit. Get everything you need in one package, including a 20-gallon turtle tank set-up with a plastic basking dock, water filter, dome heat lamp and UVB light. You might not even need to add a water heater.

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5. DIY Turtle Tank

Image Source: flickr.com

You can get creative and use colorful aquatic substrate and other decorations to design a pond and basking dock area inside your aquarium. DIY set-ups like these are not hard to build and can be very attractive. A simple arrangement like this doesn’t even require attaching the hardscape to your tank, since the wooden wall holds the basking dock in place. Don’t be afraid to add some toys as well.

6. Creative Themed Turtle Aquarium

Image Source: instagram. com

You can have fun with your turtle tank and design it around a theme, like this Pirate Turtle Aquarium! You can see the floating basking dock and heat lamp off to the right side, and how the turtle is able to swim under the platform for extra room. Most likely, those beautiful goldfish swimming around the themed decorations are intended as a meal for the turtle rather than as pets.

7. Simple Turtle Terrarium

A simple option is to set-up a basic turtle terrarium using coco husk as substrate with a few pre-made bowls and hiding spots like the wooden cave. Not pictured but included would be a plastic pool of water off to the right side with a basic ramp so your turtle can take a swim. This is a good option for a starter or baby turtle habitat.

8. DIY Turtle Aquarium With Underwater Tunnel

Image Source: instructables.com

If you’re an especially crafty kind of DIY’er, you could use foam to sculpt an underwater tunnel or cave feature that also doubles as a ramp and basking dock. This is some high-level craftsmanship, and the upper part of the ramp has been airbrushed to look like real rock. Notice the underwater UVB light and the bare-bottomed tank. This is an easy design to keep clean!

9. Large Turtle Aquarium

Source: instagram.com

You can often keep multiple turtles in the same tank as long as they have plenty of room, and this large turtle aquarium is an excellent design for two or more. See how the basking dock stands in the middle of the tank so it’s easy to access? I also really like the dual filtration system with intakes on both ends of the tank.

10. Basic Turtle Aquarium

Image Source: flickr.com

You don’t have to get fancy with your turtle aquarium set-up. This large bare bottom tank uses a simple table as a basking dock and has a bubble wand in the water to increase oxygenation and water circulation. You can see how they used hardware cloth to make their own tank cover to suspend the heat lamp and UVB fixture.

11. Turtle Tank with Floating Basking Area

Source: instagram.com

This is a great view of a manufactured floating basking dock that’s angled to fit in the corner of a large aquarium. The adjustable ramp makes it easy for the turtle to climb out of the water, and the floating dock allows more space for swimming and decorations underneath. You can tell that’s one happy turtle enjoying some warmth and rays!


There’s a lot of options when you’re setting up a turtle habitat, and the ideal tank for your turtle will depend on whether it’s a semi-aquatic or fully aquatic breed. From there, you can opt for an easy turtle starter kit or design your own extensive DIY turtle tank with custom features like caves and tunnels.

We’d love to hear about your turtle tank in the comments, or join us online and share pictures of your turtle and their set-up!

Description, Habitat, Image, Diet, and Interesting Facts

These shelled reptilians can be found nearly worldwide. Turtles and tortoises are easily identified by their bony or cartilaginous shells. This shell helps protect turtles and tortoises from predators, and is actually developed from their rib bones! Read on to learn about the turtle.

Description of the Turtle

There are over 356 different species of turtles and tortoises. Turtles in particular (as opposed to tortoises) are aquatic reptiles with webbed feet and hard shells. Their jaws are equipped with hard beaks that help them capture and cut apart food. Some species of turtles have eyes and nostrils situated on the tops of their heads, so that they can hide easily in shallow water.

Interesting Facts About the Turtle

With such a huge variety of species, there are virtually endless fascinating facts about turtles. Some species have traits unique to them in particular, and some adaptations are held by all turtle species.

  • Stupendous Shells – Turtle shells are an amazing evolutionary adaption. The shell is fused to the ribs and backbone of the turtle, making it impossible for it to leave its shell. The top half of the shell is called a carapace, and the bottom half is called a plastron.
  • Personal Protection – Their unique shells provide these animals with a mobile protection system. When presented with danger, a turtle retracts its head and legs inside its shell. This keeps predators from being able to reach its vital body parts.
  • Shell-Less Turtles? – While all turtle species have shells, not all species have hard Some kinds of aquatic turtles have soft, leathery shells instead of hard shells! Leatherback sea turtles and softshelled turtles are two examples.
  • Turtle for Dinner – Turtles are considered a delicacy in China, and are also used in traditional Chinese medicine. In the United States, nearly 97% of those harvested per year are exported to Asia. Some of these are farm raised, and some are wild caught.
  • Turtle vs. Tortoise – There are a few differences between turtles and tortoises. Tortoises are exclusively land-dwelling animals, and if they are put in deep water they will drown. While tortoises are technically turtles, not all turtles are tortoises. The best way to tell the difference between the two is to look at their feet! Tortoises have elephant-like, unwebbed feet, and turtles have webbed feet for swimming.

Habitat of the Turtle

There are many different species of turtles and tortoises that inhabit a wide variety of habitats. You can find aquatic turtles in the ocean (sea turtles), lakes, rivers, ponds, streams, wetlands, estuaries, and more. Tortoises can be found in rainforests, deserts, coastal dunes, deciduous forests – virtually any non-polar habitat.

Distribution of the Turtle

These fascinating animals are found almost worldwide. Sea turtles can be found in all oceans, except for the north and south poles. Turtles and tortoises can be found in North, South, and Central America, Africa, Australia, and Eurasia. Because they are cold-blooded, colder temperatures restrict their northernmost range.

Diet of the Turtle

Different species eat different types of food. Some are carnivores, and some are herbivores. Carnivorous species eat fish, frogs, snakes, small mammals, and birds. Herbivores will eat a variety of vegetation including grasses, reeds, algae, and roots. Because each species is different, it is important to look them up individually to determine proper dietary needs.

Turtle and Human Interaction

These amphibians are widespread, and frequently interact with humans in a number of different ways. Humans threaten their populations via direct harvesting, as well as having indirect impacts. They are hunted for meat in a number of different countries, and this meat is frequently exported to Asia for consumption. They are also impacted by deforestation and land development, and struck by cars while attempting to cross roads.


Some species of turtles have been domesticated for farming and the pet industry. Some commonly kept species are red-eared sliders, Russian tortoises, spur-thighed tortoises, softshell turtles, and more.

Does the Turtle Make a Good Pet

Turtles can make very good pets. When choosing one, make sure you research the species you plan on purchasing so you fully understand its needs. Always make sure you are purchasing a captive-bred animal.

Turtle Care

Each species will have different specific needs. If you are purchasing an aquatic turtle, you will need to provide swimming opportunities, while also allowing plenty of space to haul out of the water and get some sun. Most species can be fed commercial pellets supplemented with veggies, fruits, crickets, and other types of treats. As a cold-blooded animal, you will need to provide a heat source for your turtle as well.

Behavior of the Turtle

All species of turtles, even the aquatic ones, must breathe air. Some species are nearly entirely aquatic, like sea turtles, while others spend all their time on land. With the vast number of turtle species, there is a wide variety of behaviors that may be displayed. Some are solitary, and only interact with others to mate. Others are more social, and can aggregate in large numbers while sunning or feeding.

Reproduction of the Turtle

Turtles lay soft, leathery eggs. After mating, the female will dig a nest in sand or mud, and bury the eggs. Some eggs are spherical in shape, while others are more elongated.

The temperature of the eggs while they are incubating determines the sex of the babies. Most eggs will hatch after 70 – 120 days of incubating. All species of turtles are fully independent when they hatch, and no maternal care has been seen in any turtle species.

Beliefs, Superstitions, and Phobias About the Turtle

These animals are commonly found in ancient folklore. For example, Native American folklore commonly includes turtles as a positive symbol or being. Some East Coast Native American tribes believe that the Great Spirit created the land by situating the earth on the back of a giant turtle. Some Native Americans even refer to North America as “Turtle Island” because of this tale.

Turtle and Tortoise | San Diego Zoo Animals & Plants

Turtle, tortoise, and terrapin: what’s the difference? All turtles, tortoises, and terrapins are reptiles. Scientists often refer to them as chelonians, because they are in the taxonomic order called Chelonia (from the Greek word for tortoise). They all have scales, lay eggs, and are ectothermic; they vary in size from fitting in your hand to about 1,800 pounds (817 kilograms). Chelonians live everywhere from deserts to oceans to backyard creeks. So, why are there different names? Those common names usually refer to differences in where the reptiles live and how they use their habitat. Here are some generally accepted differences between the types of chelonians:

Turtle: Spends most of its life in the water. Turtles tend to have webbed feet for swimming. Sea turtles (Cheloniidae family) are especially adapted for an acquatic life, with long feet that form flippers and a streamlined body shape. They rarely leave the ocean, except when the females come ashore to lay their eggs, although some, such as the green sea turtle, do come out on reefs and beaches to bask. Other turtles live in fresh water, like ponds and lakes. They swim, but they also climb out onto banks, logs, or rocks to bask in the sun. In cold weather, they may burrow into the mud, where they go into torpor until spring brings warm weather again.

Tortoise: A land-dweller that eats low-growing shrubs, grasses, and even cactus. Tortoises do not have webbed feet; their feet are round and stumpy for walking on land. Tortoises that live in hot, dry habitats use their strong forelimbs to dig burrows. Then, when it’s too hot in the sun, they slip underground.

Terrapin: Spends its time both on land and in water, but it always lives near water, along rivers, ponds, and lakes. Terrapins are often found in brackish, swampy areas. The word “terrapin” comes from an Algonquian word for turtle.

Turtles and tortoises are a very old group of reptiles, going back about 220 million years. Of all wildlife with backbones, turtles are the only ones that also have a shell, made up of 59 to 61 bones covered by plates called scutes, which are made of keratin like our fingernails. The turtle cannot crawl out of it because the shell is permanently attached to the spine and the rib cage. The shell’s top is called the carapace, and the bottom is the plastron. Turtles can feel pressure and pain through their shells, just as you can feel pressure through your fingernails. 

Some turtles can pull their heads, legs, and feet inside their shells; they are known as “hidden-necked turtles.” In order to make room inside the shell, they sometimes have to exhale air out of their lungs, which makes a hissing sound. Other turtles can’t pull their legs or heads into their shells. Some of these have long necks and protect their heads by tucking them sideways into the shell. They are known as “side-necked turtles.” Tortoise shells aren’t as heavy as you might think. The shell contains many tiny air chambers, which makes it a little lighter.

Leatherback sea turtles and softshell turtles have a rounded, flattened carapace, and the entire shell is covered with tough, leathery skin supported by tiny bones. The shell’s bone elements are reduced, making the shell flexible for swimming and diving. Leatherback turtles dive up to 3,000 feet (900 meters) below the ocean surface; at this depth, the incredible water pressure would crush a turtle with a heavy shell and less flexible body.

Turtles and tortoises do not have ears like ours, but they can feel vibrations and changes in water pressure that tell them where food, or a predator, might be. They do have a good sense of smell, which helps them find food. The skin of a turtle or tortoise, especially the land tortoises, may look leathery and tough, but it is actually very sensitive. In fact, wildlife care specialists at the San Diego Zoo have found that the Galápagos tortoises seem to enjoy having their necks rubbed. 

Some turtles seem to have senses or instincts that we do not fully understand. Tracking equipment shows that some sea turtles migrate thousands of miles (kilometers) through the sea on regular routes, returning every two or three years to the same beaches to lay their eggs.

Aquatic turtles have some unique abilities that allow them to stay underwater. Some can pump water in and out of their mouth and throat, where the rich lining of blood vessels takes oxygen directly from the water. Some turtles can stay submerged for days at a time by moving water in and out of their cloaca to gain oxygen; they are know in Australia as “bum breathers.” Large, webbed, paddle-like feet allow aquatic turtles to push through the water with ease. The Fly River turtle is the only freshwater turtle with true flippers like those of ocean-dwelling turtles.

Box Turtle Care

North American box turtles are hardy, long-lived reptiles that thrive in captivity when properly cared for. They often have distinctive personalities and learn to respond to their keepers. It is possible for you and your box turtle to have a long and happy relationship together if you provide a suitable environment and proper care. What follows are very general guidelines. Readers are strongly encouraged to seek more detailed information on the particular type of box turtle they own.

Biological Facts

  • Box turtles of the genus Terrapene; species commonly seen as pets include:
    • Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina)
    • Gulf Coast Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina major)
    • Three-toed Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis)
    • Western Ornate Box Turtle (Terrapene ornata ornata)
  • Long lived: 30 to 60 years is typical
  • Male box turtles generally have bright red eyes, a slightly concave plastron (lower-shell), sharply-hooked rear toenails, and their vent lies closer to the end of the tail, beyond the caudal margin of the carapace (upper-shell).
  • Female box turtles generally have brown eyes, a flat plastron, gently-curved rear toenails, and their vent lies near the base of the tail, within the caudal margin of the carapace.
  • Females lay 3-5 eggs, which incubate 70-90 days before hatching.


  • Box turtles are omnivores. Diet in the wild includes insects, grubs, worms, snails, slugs, crustaceans, eggs, carrion, mushrooms, flowers, fruit and other plant material.
  • Captive box turtles may be fed a diet that is 50% mixed fresh vegetables with some fruit, and 50% low fat protein like canned low-fat dog food. Ideally the protein should be whole live foods like earthworms, mealworms, beetles, grubs, crickets, slugs and snails.
  • Are attracted to brightly colored fruits and vegetables: tomato, squash, carrots, red bell peppers, strawberries, cantaloupe.
  • Dark, leafy greens such as romaine, kale, collards, dandelion, mustard greens, and broccoli are preferred over iceberg lettuce.
  • Variety is the key to a healthy appetite and good health.
  • Supplement the diet with a weekly dusting of a phosphorus-free calcium powder such as RepCal or ground cuttlebone.
  • To prevent ingestion of cage substrate/bedding, all food should be placed on a plate, flat rock or brick paver.
  • Fresh food and water should be provided daily.


  • North American box turtles are listed as a threatened species. Only those turtles that have been raised in captivity should be kept as pets.
  • Enclosures should mimic the natural environment of your box turtle. Adjust the type of enclosure to best fit the type of box turtle you have.
  • The best habitat for box turtles is a large outdoor enclosure, bounded by siding, wood, bricks or cement blocks at least 18 inches high with an over hanging ledge to prevent climbing out. The pen must provide a variety of environments including sunny and shaded areas and places to hide. Turtles regulate their core body temperature by behavior and need to have a choice between sun and shade.
  • If an outdoor enclosure cannot be provided, a large indoor enclosure can serve as housing. Box turtles generally do not thrive in a glass tank. Plastic children pools, sandboxes or concrete mixing tubs can make inexpensive habitats. Temperatures should range from 70-90°F (21-32°C) to enable the turtle to regulate its temperature. A 75–100 watt heat lamp or ceramic heat emitter is necessary to provide a basking area that is warmer than the rest of the container. Ideal basking area temperature is 85-90°F (29–32°C).
  • Absorbent flooring material such as clean top soil, leaves, moss or cypress mulch should be provided and changed regularly. Substrates that dry out or get powdery should be avoided. Cedar and pine chips are irritating and should not be utilized.
  • A shallow water dish large enough for the turtle to soak in is required, as is an area that the turtle can hide in for a sense of security.
  • Box turtles require natural, unfiltered sunlight for their health and wellbeing.
  • Indoor turtles need at least 5% UVA/UVB lighting. Light bulbs should be changed every 6-9 months, as the UV output will decrease long before the light bulb burns out.
  • Box turtles may hibernate in the winter depending on local conditions. Only healthy turtles should be hibernated. Information on this phenomenon should be sought in other literature.
  • Supervise any other pets when around your turtle.

Preventative Care

  • Routine physical examination every 6 to 12 months
  • Consult a veterinarian with experience treating exotic pets if you have any questions or concerns about your box turtle’s health.
  • Annual fecal examination for parasites
  • Blood tests as recommended by your veterinarian

Common Medical Conditions

  • Pneumonia
  • Swollen eyes
  • Ear abscesses
  • Parasites
  • Skin problems
  • Retained eggs
  • Trauma (vehicle, predator)

Box Turtle Care Guide (Feeding, Habitat, Handling & Hibernation)

Looking to bring a shelled-pet into your home? The Box Turtle is a friendly, inexpensive reptile that you and your family can form a bond with for many years to come.

There are several species found throughout both North America and Asia, and they are one of the most popular turtles in America.

Small, easy-to-handle, with a relatively easy diet to feed, they make a great first turtle for many owners. They are also very hardy animals and have relatively few health issues.

If this sounds like the ideal pet for you, read on to learn how to care for them.

What Is A Box Turtle?

The Box Turtle has several species and subspecies that are spread throughout Asia and North America.

Indochinese boxes can be found throughout Vietnam, Laos, and China (Hainan Island). In 2002, this species was classified as endangered due to deforestation, hunters, and being sold in markets.

There are two species and eight subspecies in North America:

  • Towards the eastern half of the United States, you will find the Terrapenes carolina species which includes the following subspecies: The Three-Toed, Gulf Coast, Florida and Eastern Box Turtle.
  • The Terrapene ornata species has the Ornate and Desert subspecies.

For some hobbyist herpetologists this species of turtle can be high-maintenance when compared with beginner reptiles. They do require some lighting and high temperatures (which we will discuss later on). However, with some simple guidance on diet and habitat, and a daily husbandry routine, caring for your turtle becomes more normal and easy.

This reptile likes soaking themselves in water and spending time outside on a sunny day. They are natural omnivores, eating a wide variety of invertebrates, fruits, and vegetables. Known for being a relatively hardy animal, they can live to 50 years old.

One of the many reasons beginners choose to adopt this species is because they are usually tame, which makes them easy to handle. They also tolerate each species within their vivarium, so you can keep more than one!

They are small pets, reaching just six inches long, however, they can come in a large variety of patterns, including black, brown, olive, or yellow spots and stripes.

Quick Facts
Scientific Name Terrapene carolina, Terrapene ornata, Cuora galbinifrons
Price Less than $50
Lifespan 30-50 years
Diet Variety of worms, insects, fruits, and vegetables
Tank Size 20-gallon aquarium
Humidity & Temperature 70℉-80℉ with a high humidity
Popular Alternatives Red-Eared Slider, Razor-Backed Musk Turtle, Painted Turtle

How To Care For A Box Turtle

Most are found in relatively warm environments (e.g. Vietnam, Laos, and China). They like forested areas with lots of shade and some patches of light. In forests they are commonly found amongst wet leaves, logs and stumps around the edge of ponds.

Their ideal day is a warm, sunny one, where they will spend it sunning themselves and cooling off in the shade. If you choose to take your pet outside, make sure to supervise them!

Box Turtle In An Indoor Enclosure

Indoor Box Turtle Habitat

For such a small animal, they require a large amount of space in your home. A 20-gallon glass aquarium works well for them, but bigger sizes of 30 or 40 gallons are better.

Because Juveniles are not substantially smaller than their adult size (depending on their age), they may be able to live in the same size enclosure.

In their tank, your turtle will need lots of leaves and logs to hide in. This will help to replicate their natural environment. They will also need a shallow pool of water to soak themselves in. The water should be no deeper than the turtle’s chin because, unlike most turtles, Box Turtles cannot swim. They will drown if they cannot make an easy escape.

Lastly, a wire barrier (rather than a cage hood) can be placed at the top of their tank. This will prevent easy escapes whilst giving you easy access to the inside.

Lighting and Heating

This species loves to have mostly shade, but they also enjoy the occasional bask.

Logs and plants will provide plenty of shady areas in your tank, while a 75-100 watt bulb can illuminate the rest of it. This light can serve as a heat source too (as long as the temperature of the rest of the room is relatively warm).

A UV light is the best choice as it will stimulate Vitamin D production.

Turtles should stay on a normal routine of 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. This is especially true in the winter if you do not want them to hibernate.

Tank temperatures should be kept between 70℉-75℉ at night and 80℉-85℉ during the day. Keeping the room between 70℉ and 80℉ will help maintain these temperatures.

The humidity in the tank should be kept high too. Use a humidity gauge to measure and ensure it stays around 80%. If you provide a suitable pool of water for your turtle, this will naturally help to keep the humidity high. The tank can also be misted if humidity levels get too low.


Many owners choose to use newspaper, carpeting, straw, or hay for a substrate (and they will all work just fine).

Newspaper makes an especially good choice for novice or first-time owners because it’s easy to clean up. Substrate should be spot cleaned daily and changed out every week or two. Cleaning your tank should take place one every one or two weeks. When cleaning your tank, all substrate and any dead leaves or uneaten food should be removed.

The best choice of substrate is wood chips (ideally alfalfa pellets). Wood chips allow for your turtle to burrow.

Soil, sand, and gravel should not be used as they can cause intestinal blockage if ingested.

Tank Tips
Tank Type 20-gallon glass vivarium
Lighting 75-100 watt light bulb, UV bulb
Best Substrate Alfalfa pellets

What To Feed A Box Turtle

Box Turtles are omnivorous reptiles. They eat a wide variety of things in the wild:

  • Apples
  • Beetles and other insects
  • Blackberries
  • Earthworms
  • Mushrooms
  • Slugs
  • Snails
  • Strawberries
  • Spiders

This diet varies with the season and their habitat. The Box Turtle will use their strong jaw to capture and crush their prey before swallowing.

They are known to eat several times a week and are not usually picky, but in captivity they may favor some foods over others.

In captivity, you should feed your turtle a mostly carnivorous diet. Only 30% of their diet should be fruits and vegetables. Of this 30%, more vegetables should be fed than fruit.

Adults should be fed three times a week, while juveniles should eat everyday. Juveniles should also have a higher proportion of meat when compared with adults. A meat diet can consist of some slugs, caterpillars, hornworms, earthworms, snails, spiders, insects, and even an occasional pinky mouse.

They should eat small portions of leafy greens, shredded squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, apples, tomatoes, blackberries, strawberries, sour cherries, plums, pears, grapes, mulberries, or cantaloupe.

You should continually feed your pet a variety of greens as Box Turtles need a variety. If they don’t like a particular food, feed it several times and they may start to like it (making sure to remove old, uneaten food daily).

All foods should be washed and cut into pieces before being fed to your turtle. Food should also be dusted with a calcium supplement. Vitamin A is commonly deficient, so you can feed vitamin A-rich food or use supplements.

Finally, they should always have access to clean water, both for drinking and for soaking. This water should be easily accessible and always clean.

How To Keep Them Healthy

This species can live for 30-50 years.

Common illnesses in the wild with this species are far are less common in captivity. Trauma, maggot infestations, and shell fractures (as they are often run over by cars) shouldn’t happen to turtles in captivity. Swelling may be a sign of trauma, and the best thing to do if this happens is to take your turtle to the vet. Maggot infestations will only occur if currently open wounds are not kept clean (i.e. poor husbandry).

In captivity your turtle is more likely to get:

  • Internal parasites
  • Metabolic bone disease
  • Ear infections
  • Egg retention

Internal parasites are easily treated with basic medication from the vets.

Metabolic bone disease is an illness that many reptiles are susceptible to. It is hard to diagnose in turtles, but can be easily avoided by using calcium supplements during feeding.

Other illnesses to be aware of as first time owners are middle ear infections and egg retention. Egg retention may occur if an improper laying bed is presented. If this happens your turtle may need oxytocin injections from the vet.

Most if not all of these illnesses are the result of poor husbandry and can be easily avoided.

Signs They Are Healthy Sickness Symptoms
Active and alert Discharge in the eyes or nostrils
Quick to retract limbs if startled Dragging their shell
They should feel heavy (like a glass of water) Feels light in weight (like the shell is empty)
Clear mouth, nostrils, and eyes, and a strong, hard shell Excessive mouth mucus

This species is an extremely hardy reptile and can live for a very long time.

Box Turtles generally live for between to 30-50 years, but some turtles have lived as long as 100!

They are generally very healthy, and most if any problems come from poor diet or incorrect husbandry. The most common disease they suffer from is a vitamin A deficiency (i. e. hypovitaminosis). Signs of this disease include anorexia and secondary respiratory infections, and these often arise from a poorly balanced diet.

Make sure you feed vitamin A-rich foods like orange vegetables to prevent hypovitaminosis.

A poor diet is also the cause of other illnesses, such as starvation.

Box Turtles should not be over or underfed, and their weight should be checked regularly. Signs of starvation include dehydration, anorexia, and weakness. You can rehydrate a turtle by allowing them to soak for several hours, but they may also need to be tube-fed in a veterinary hospital if they are very starved.

Handling Advice

Keeping good hygiene is important for both you and your turtle. So before any handling takes place, start by washing your hands.

How To Handle Your Turtle

  1. Before deciding to handle, make sure they are not in the middle of sleeping or eating, and you should consider if they are in the mating season.
  2. Use both of your hands and pick up your turtle from both sides of their shell.
  3. Don’t squeeze your turtle, but make sure they do not wiggle out of your hands while they are high in the air.
  4. Don’t pick up your turtle by the limbs or turn them quickly.
  5. Box Turtles, although docile, do best when handling is limited to checkups and cleaning.

Sometimes Box Turtles urinate if they are startled when they are picked up. This normally occurs because they weren’t expecting to be picked up.

They have a good memory. It isn’t unheard of for them to come running to you if you present them with food during handling. They may even tame down to the point where you can feed them out of your hand.

Usually very docile, you shouldn’t expect them to bite or snap, though you shouldn’t handle them when they are sleeping.

Typical Behavior

In their natural habitats, Box Turtles are rather active little creatures. They are active during the day and will have periods of activity alternated with periods of rest.

This turtle is not territorial and is very tolerant of other species of all ages. This species is usually very tolerable of others and can be housed together with little problems.

Fighting is very rare among them, if any problems occur, it may happen if they are sharing the same food dish, or between two males during mating season, so be wary of these moments. They have little in the way of communication:

In an enclosure, your box turtle will also have periods of activity and rest. They may spend their rest periods basking, soaking, or hiding in a log.

Hibernation Behavior

Box Turtles do hibernate. This aspect of their care can be more difficult to manage for new owners.

You will notice they become sluggish in October and then hibernate for anywhere between three to five months. They like to hibernate in loose ground debris, and they do not eat very much immediately following this hibernation period.

If you choose to let them hibernate, make sure they are in a good, healthy condition before you change their habitat. In mid-fall, when your turtle begins to seem sluggish, withhold food for two weeks to allow them to finish digesting.

After two weeks, you should decrease the tank temperature to 60℉-70℉, and then to 45℉-60℉. Temperatures above 60℉ are too warm to hibernate in, but do not let the temperature get too cold, or they can get sick.

Give your turtle about a foot of potting soil with several inches of shredded newspaper on top to hibernate in.

Appearance Of A Box Turtle

Box Turtles can fully retract all of their appendages into their shells.

This species of turtle does not have any true sexual dimorphism, but most males tend to have red eyes, while females tend to have brown eyes. In males, claws may be stout and curved, while females have slender, slightly curved claws.

Their color is variable depending on the species or subspecies.

Some may have a lemon-yellow or olive-yellow head, while their shell may be brown to olive-brown or black in color. Some have black triangular markings with a brown or olive triangle behind the eye, and some may also have a big dark spot on their underside. They may have red or light brown on their spines or three longitudinal stripes.


Box Turtles should be finished growing by the time they turn 15. Adults are only about five inches in size and will weigh 400 grams on average.

They are small animals and grow very slowly. Females usually reach sexual maturity at eight years old, while males tend to reach sexual maturity around seven.

Age (years) Size (inches)
3 2
5 3
8 4

Baby Box Turtles

Baby Box Turtle Retracting Limbs

At birth they are only about one inch long and will weigh 7 to 10 grams (talk about a tiny turtle!)

After hatching, sometimes they will try to hibernate without eating (if it is late enough in the season). If you do not want them to hibernate, make sure they get plenty of heat and light. Babies can be shy about eating, so be patient if at first they do not touch the food you give them. They should eat daily.

The mating season takes place right after hibernation in April, and the egg laying season takes place in early June to the middle of July. The eggs have an incubation period of 50-90 days, depending on the temperature of the soil they are laid in.

Eggs should be incubated at 80℉ in vermiculite and water after the female lays them.

The hatching time is dependent on the temperature of the soil:

  • Higher temperatures result in an earlier hatch, and they also lead to a higher number of females.
  • Lower temperatures make it more likely for the hatchlings to be male.

How Much Does A Box Turtle Cost?

Purchasing this pet is relatively inexpensive as far as reptiles go. They are readily available in pet stores and will cost between $25-$50 (they can be more expensive from a private breeder or distributor).

If you can, try to purchase captive-bred, as wild-caught can come with illnesses or trauma.

Care Guide Summary

Pros Cons
Docile and tame Require a wide diet range
Inexpensive to adopt Can have many health issues from poor husbandry
Hardy and live for a long time Hibernation may be difficult to manage

Box Turtles have very specific care requirements that require a robust husbandry routine. However this management is relatively simple for first time owners after a few weeks.

They should be fed a variety of foods a couple times a week and require a regular tank cleaning routine. Although it may take some getting used to, this routine is absolutely manageable by a herpetologist of any level, including beginners.

Adopting this species is a long commitment. Any owner must be prepared to care for their turtle for several decades.

Other beginner turtles that may not live quite as long and are equally beginner friendly include the Red-Eared Slider, Razor-Backed Musk Turtle, and the Painted Turtle.

Box Turtles are tame and inexpensive, and many turtle owners form a lifelong bond with their pet. If this is the one for you, feel free to let us know below.

90,000 Land turtle – where it lives, what it eats, maintenance and care

The land turtle has lived on the earth for over 210 million years. Translated from Latin, the name of the animal means an earthen vessel or brick. In Russian, the name has ancient Slavic roots and its meaning is “shard”.

Land turtle – description and structure

The main characteristic of turtles is their shell. Its main purpose is protection from enemies. It is so strong that it can withstand a load 190 times the weight of the animal itself.The carapace consists of parts:

  • Carapace. It is subdivided into the inner armor, which is based on the bone plates, and the outer layer, represented by the horny shields. In some animals, a dense layer of skin covers the armor.
  • Plastron is formed by ossification and fusion of the abdominal ribs, clavicle and sternum.

The head of animals of medium size, streamlined. These features make it possible to quickly remove it when threatened. But there are species, the head of which is very voluminous, which practically does not fit into the carapace.In a number of reptiles, the end of the muzzle resembles a trunk with nostrils at the end.

The eyes of animals living on land are always directed downward. Most often, the neck of reptiles is short, but there are species in which it is the same length as the shell.

The beak replaces the teeth of the turtles. It is to them that animals grind and bite off food. The surface of the beak is covered with bulges, rough to the touch. They are the ones who replace the teeth. In herbivorous reptiles, the protrusions are jagged along the edges.

Ancient turtles have been discovered by archaeologists.They had real teeth that were reduced over time.

Tongue in animals is short, never protrudes. It is needed exclusively for swallowing food.

The tail is present in almost all members of the species. In times of danger, the animal hides it under the shell. Sometimes the tail ends in a thorn.

Color vision in reptiles. It helps them find food. Hearing is well developed. Thanks to him, the animal hears the appearance of the enemy.

Moulting is characteristic of turtles.In terrestrial species, it slightly affects the skin. A small amount of transparent scutes exfoliates from the shell.

Under unfavorable conditions: drought or frost, the turtles hibernate. Its duration sometimes reaches six months.


Weight and dimensions of the animal vary depending on the species. The weight of the largest representatives sometimes reaches 890 kg, and their size is often over 2.6 meters. The smallest turtles have a mass of no more than 126 g, and a length of up to 11 cm.

How long does a land turtle live?

In freedom, a reptile can live up to 200 years. But on average, they live about 20-30 years.


Sexual dimorphism is poorly developed in animals. Therefore, it can be extremely difficult to determine their belonging. However, if you look closely at the behavioral features and structure of reptiles, you can find out:

  • the shell is elongated from the female;
  • The plaston is concave in males, flat in females – this makes the mating process easier;
  • males have thicker tail, often bent downward;
  • cloaca in females is located closer to the end of the tail, looks like an asterisk, and in males it looks like a slit;
  • Boys have a V-shaped notch near the tail;
  • males are not only aggressive towards supposed rivals, but also towards females.They chase their partner, nodding their heads and biting her.

Species of animals

Based on the way reptiles climb into the shell in case of danger, two suborders are distinguished:

  • Bokosheynye. The head is hidden in the direction of one of the paws.
  • Hidden neck. The neck is folded in an S-shape.

Experts identify several species of turtles living on land:

  • Elephant (Galapagos). The weight of the animal sometimes reaches 390 kg, length 1.8 meters. The size of the reptiles depends on the climatic conditions of their habitat. In arid areas, the shell has a saddle shape, the limbs are long. In areas with high humidity, the carapace is domed.
  • Egyptian. The smallest turtle. The size of males is no more than 12 cm. Females are larger. The carapace has a brownish tint. Habitat – Middle East.
  • Central Asian land tortoise.The body is about 19 cm. The carapace is yellow with spots, rounded. The forelimbs have four toes. This is the most popular type for home maintenance. The land turtle lives up to 49 years. Habitat: India, Syria, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan. Due to trapping for sale, the population has practically disappeared.
  • Panther. The length of the animal’s shell is more than 0.8 m, weight is about 49 kg. The carapace is domed, high. Its color is yellow-sandy. In young turtles, a dark brown spotted pattern is clearly visible.With the growth of the animal, it disappears. Habitat – Africa.
  • Cape speckled. The smallest turtle on Earth. The size of the shell is no more than 9 cm, weight is from 96 to 164 grams. Lives in Namibia and South Africa.

Turtles are ubiquitous. Exceptions are: Greenland, Antarctica, Arctic, New Zealand.

What does a land turtle eat?

What does a turtle eat in the wild? The basis of nutrition is plant food.To maintain the protein balance at the right level, animals eat small insects and snails. Reptiles receive the necessary moisture with succulent plants, but if there is a source of water, they never miss the opportunity to drink it.

Representatives of box turtles eat poisonous mushrooms. This makes their meat inedible.

Mating season

Reptiles reproduce at different times. It depends on the location and type of animals. But all members of the class have similarities.For the right to impregnate a female, males enter into battle with each other. Land turtles try to flip or force their opponent to retreat by striking them with their shells. After the competitor leaves the battlefield, the victorious male begins courtship. At the same time, he tries to ensure that the female takes the best position for mating.

To attract a mate, the male strokes her face with his limbs or sings.

Females dig holes in the sand to lay eggs. They also often use crocodile nests or their own burrows.The masonry is reliably covered with soil from above, and then compacted with light blows of the shell.

The surface of the eggs is covered with a leathery membrane or shell. There are up to 190 of them in the clutch. The incubation period is 91 days. The female makes several clutches during the mating season.

Turtles are solitary reptiles. They are looking for a pair for themselves only during the mating season.

Keeping at home

Today the turtle is one of the most popular pets.Their maintenance and care takes little time. These animals are unpretentious, so even children can follow them. When choosing a pet, it should be borne in mind that some species are capable of reaching very large sizes.

To create optimal conditions for the life of an animal, you need to purchase terrariums or aquariums equipped in a certain way. In them, you can create a microclimate that will best suit the animal. Where the reptile will live, two thermometers are installed.They are needed for temperature control. For safety reasons, alcohol devices are used.

A land turtle at home needs daily water treatments. They bathe the animal in warm water. A small amount of baking soda is added to it. The procedure is needed to remove soil and food debris from the body.

A land tortoise at home cannot grind off its claws on its own. Therefore, they must be periodically shortened with a nail file.

In winter, animals do not have enough sun.To replenish vitamin D in the body, turtles need to be irradiated with a quartz lamp. It is important to ensure that the rays from it do not fall into the eyes of the animals.

The land turtle is very fond of digging holes. To make the animal feel comfortable in the terrarium, soil should be poured on its bottom. It is better not to use sand for this purpose, as the reptile often swallows it, which can cause intestinal blockage. The ground must be moist. Only in this case will the domestic turtle be able to dig a hole for itself.Smooth, medium-sized stones should also be placed at the bottom of the cage. The house serves as a shelter for the animal. You can buy it at the pet store or make it yourself. There should be a container of water in the aquarium.

The terrestrial turtle is a territorial animal. This should be taken into account when placing two individuals in one terrarium.

What does it eat in captivity? Experts consider the following as the best products:

  • dandelions;
  • vegetables;
  • greens;
  • snails;
  • earthworms;
  • grass;
  • strawberries.

Cut all food into small pieces. The turtle eats from a shallow large saucer.

If the maintenance and care is correct, the turtle can live in captivity for a long time.

Interesting facts about the land turtle

Turtles are one of the oldest inhabitants of the Earth. Their unique nature allowed them to survive in difficult conditions, to preserve their identity. There are interesting facts about these animals:

  • The sex of the future offspring depends on the ambient temperature.If the incubation period takes place in the cool, then males hatch, in the warm – females.
  • An amazing event happened in the Dnepropetrovsk Museum, which amazed all its employees. For a long period of time, the eggs-exhibits lay on the shelves, and in 2013 turtles hatched from them.
  • In some states, the image of these reptiles is found in heraldry.
  • Turtles almost never harm humans. But when mating, caimans sometimes mistake people for rivals and attack.Leatherback turtles sometimes confuse swimmers with females, swim up to them, clasp them with flippers and carry them under the water.
  • Animal meat is considered a delicacy. It is cooked and eaten raw.
  • Expensive beautiful accessories are cut out of the shell to decorate women’s hairstyles.

Land turtles are amazing animals, among which there are both giants, reaching a length of about a meter, and pygmies, no more than 9 cm in size.The behavioral features of these reptiles have won the hearts of people. The domestic turtle is a kind of silent pet that does not cause almost any trouble to its owner.

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Red-eared turtle. Home care and feeding


Red-eared turtles are the most demanded and widespread species of reptiles for keeping in pets.Therefore, residents of all regions of Russia, especially the city of Moscow and the Moscow region, choose this particular species.

Perhaps the red-eared turtle is one of the few and unpretentious species for keeping at home. The natural habitat of these species of reptiles is America and Central Asia, that is, the warm regions of the world, therefore it is recommended to maintain the air temperature in the aquarium at about 32 degrees, and the water temperature at 28 degrees.

In good conditions and with proper maintenance, this species of turtles can live up to 30 years.If you want the red-eared turtle to live as long as possible, then you should not think that any ordinary basin with water and a stone is enough for it. Keeping in optimal conditions requires an aquarium, terrarium and equipment.

At birth, turtles are on average only 3 cm in size. Every year they grow 7 cm per year. The maximum size is up to 30 cm, and males can be larger. During developmental stages, turtles require different care, especially for young turtles.

Keep in mind that at an early age this type of reptile is susceptible to various infections and diseases. Natural selection also occurs. Therefore, when buying a small turtle that has just been born, it often happens that it can die and there is practically nothing to be done about it.

But if you bought a turtle already in size from 5 to 7 cm, then it has a better chance of surviving.

Each type of creature when placed in a new aquarium or terrarium.It will adapt to the given environment, it will take up to 5 days. The animal is assimilated and may not be active due to the new environment. Just take your time to take him in your arms, because the turtle can already be stressed.

Of course, we sometimes take the turtles in our arms and each time everything is necessary after having held to wash our hands with soap and water.

Red-eared turtles, like other species, must be kept clean. They are often a carrier of salmonellosis. It is also necessary to monitor the cleanliness of the aquarium, the terrarium and the quality of the food to avoid the spread of infection and bacteria.

If you see that the turtles have too much food and it is lying for a long time, it is better to remove it because the food can quickly deteriorate due to the high temperatures of the turtle. Which, accordingly, causes the multiplication of various infections, including water pollution.

Turtles regularly need to clean their shells with a toothbrush, feed them, maintain a favorable temperature, keep the aquarium clean, then it will live a long time and will delight you and your children!

90,000 Turtles home care and maintenance

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It often happens that Central Asian, American, and also red-eared turtles, on a childish whim, become residents of city apartments.

Do not be fooled by the unpretentiousness of the turtles, in fact, tortillas need to create special conditions for them. But if you take care of the proper arrangement of the terrarium, as well as a balanced diet, the turtle will surely surprise you with its activity. So, today we are discussing the nuances of keeping domestic turtles.

Weighing the pros and cons

Before you buy a turtle, think about the fact that we are talking about one of the oldest genera of reptiles.Over 220 million! turtles have been living on Earth for years. They peacefully coexist with humans, but at the same time they have not truly become pets.

Even having lived side by side with you for a long time, the turtles do not rush to you, meeting you from work, rejoicing in the fact that you stroke them or scratch behind their ears. You can evaluate the pet’s gratitude only by observing its gradual increase in size. Not too much of a reward, agree?

Think, are you ready to take care of such a little emotional pet for years (turtles, as we remember, live quite a long time)?

If you are still determined and ready to take a turtle into your family, you must first resolve the issue of where the tortilla will live.

Setting up a turtle site

Many breeders make a serious mistake and keep turtles on the floor. This is fraught with serious problems.

Drafts, the risk of injury, the difficulty of moving on parquet or linoleum lead to the fact that in such “comfortable” conditions the turtle does not live long.

In Europe, where the practice of animal welfare is widespread, keeping turtles at home is only allowed if there is a terrarium in which the natural habitat of the tortilla has been recreated.

For aquatic turtles you will need an aquaterrarium arrangement. For this purpose, use an aquarium with a capacity of 100 liters. 1/3 of the total volume should be occupied by an impromptu island. The rest of the area is filled with warm water, the temperature of which is maintained using a special heater.

Above the “island” an incandescent lamp (40-60 W) must be fixed, and a special UVB lamp for reptiles must be installed in the upper part of the turtle’s dwelling.

Terrestrial turtles are placed in the aquarium in a similar way, only without the island and water.In this case, the floor of the terrarium is covered with soil and small pebbles.

Despite the fact that land turtles do not need a constant source of water, they should be bathed regularly (at least once a week) in warm water.

Remember among the turtles (both terrestrial and aquatic) there are no decorative and dwarf species. Even when purchasing a tiny turtle, rest assured that it will grow, and it will need a place for this. Therefore, you should not purchase a small aquarium, it is at least not reasonable.

Turtle feeding

In order for your turtle to grow up healthy, you need to take care of a balanced animal diet. Nutritional basics are largely determined by the subspecies. You can read more about the principles of feeding turtles in this article. But the main thing to remember is that regardless of the turtle breed, you need to feed it twice a day, preferably at the same time.

If your pet has reached a length of 10 cm, then once a week a kind of “fasting day” is arranged for him, during which only settled water is offered to the turtle.

How to tame a turtle?

In order to establish contact with your pet, you have to be patient. Turtle treats such as dandelion flowers, slices of tomato or banana will help. Offer hand-held treats and avoid sudden movements.

Such regular feeding will soon teach the reptile to respond to the appearance of the owner by turning the body or head. Quite discreet attention, but still.

Once you gain trust, you can handle your turtle without the fear of being scratched or bitten.Over time, your pet will surely feel sympathy for you and will be happy to make contact.

90,000 her habits, lifestyle, habitats, photo

Turtle: description, structure, characteristics. What does a turtle look like?

  • How many turtles live
  • Where turtles live
  • What do turtles eat in nature
  • Turtle Enemies
  • When the turtle hibernates
  • How to determine the gender of a turtle
  • Turtle species, photos and names
  • Species of freshwater turtles
  • Species of sea turtles
  • Turtle breeding
  • How to care for your turtle at home
  • How to feed your turtle at home
  • Fun Facts About Turtles
  • Turtle, video
  • Everyone associates turtles with the eternal slowness inherent in these reptiles, but not everyone knows that turtles are one of the oldest representatives of the animal world of our planet.These creatures have lived on Earth for over 220 million years, yes, they are the same age as the extinct dinosaurs. The very name of the word “turtle” comes from the ancient Slavic “crock”, “tile”, similarly the Latin name of the turtle – “testa” is translated as “tile”, obviously, so they called the turtles due to the similarity of their shells with the tile itself.

    Turtle: description, structure, characteristics. What does a turtle look like?

    Turtle Shell

    Perhaps it is the tortoise’s shell that is its most characteristic feature, a kind of turtle’s calling card.For the turtle, he, in fact, is a kind of mobile home + a means of protection from enemies. The tortoise shell consists of the dorsal (carapace) and abdominal (plastron) parts. Carapax, in turn, consists of two parts, one of which is an inner armor formed from bone plates, and the second is an outer part consisting of horny shields. In some species of turtles, the bony plates are covered with skin.

    The shell of the turtle is very durable, so it can easily withstand a load exceeding the weight of the turtle itself by 200 times.

    How big is the turtle?

    The size of the turtle and their weight are very different from the species, so in the turtle family there are both giant turtles weighing more than 900 kg and shell sizes of 2.5 meters or more, and small turtles weighing up to 125 grams and a size carapace no more than 10 cm.

    Turtle head and eyes

    The head of a tortoise is streamlined and medium in size. Such dimensions allow turtles, in case of danger, to quickly hide their head inside an impregnable shell.Although among them there are also species with large heads, which either fit poorly in the shell, or do not fit at all.

    In land turtles, the eyes are usually directed towards the ground, while in aquatic turtles they are located closer to the crown and directed forward and upward. The neck of many turtles is usually short.

    Sight in turtles is well developed, even moreover, turtles, like humans, have color vision, can distinguish colors, very few animals have this gift. Also, nature gave them a wonderful hearing, allowing them to hear potential enemies at a distance.

    Does a turtle have teeth? How many teeth does a turtle have?

    A tooth in modern turtles, unfortunately, does not exist, but they were in ancient turtles, those that lived in the era of dinosaurs, but over time they disappeared. Then how does the turtle eat? To bite off and grind food, turtles use a strong beak, the surface of this beak is covered with rough bulges, which practically replace the teeth of the turtles. The tongue of the turtles is short, it serves exclusively for swallowing food, but not for grabbing it, and as a result, does not protrude outward.

    Turtle limbs and tails

    Without exception, all turtles have four legs. But the very structure of these paws depends on the species and habitat of the turtle. The paws of land turtles have a flattened shape, they are adapted for digging the ground and are quite powerful. In the course of millions of years of evolution, sea turtles have turned their paws into real flippers for the convenience of swimming in the depths of the sea.

    Almost all turtles also have a tail. The turtle’s tail is also capable of hiding in a shell, like a head.Moreover, what is interesting is that some turtles have a real pointed thorn at the tip of their tail, which serves as another means of protection from enemies.

    An interesting fact: some land turtles may shed with age, and their old skin peels off and falls off, both from the paws and sometimes from the shell.

    How many turtles live

    Turtles are truly long-livers, even by our human standards, because they live many times longer than we humans. So the average life span of turtles in natural conditions can be 180-250 years.

    The oldest turtle in the world, named Jonathan, lives on the island of St. Helena and remembers (probably) the times of Napoleon, because the former emperor of France lived here for some time in exile.

    Where turtles live

    Turtles live in all tropical regions, as well as in some places with a temperate climate. Sea turtles swim in the warm ocean expanses of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. They are absent only near the Arctic and Antarctica, which is natural, because all turtles love warmth.

    Land turtles live in the steppes and semi-deserts of Africa, South and North America, Australia, Asia. In Europe, they can be found in the south, in a number of southern countries: Greece, Italy, Albania.

    What do turtles eat in nature

    The diet of turtles directly depends on their species, habitat and lifestyle. Land turtles are practically vegetarians, their main food is tree branches, fruits and grass, mushrooms and vegetables. However, it was not in vain that we wrote in practice, since in order to maintain the protein balance in our body, turtles can sometimes eat various small animals such as snails, slugs and worms.Also, land turtles drink water with pleasure.

    But sea and freshwater turtles are already real predators, since their diet includes various small fish, frogs, snails, crustaceans (some sea turtles are happy to eat squid, cuttlefish and other shrimp). But also the gastronomic addictions of aquatic turtles are not limited to living creatures, together with them they eat plant food: algae.

    An interesting fact, there are species of sea turtles that eat poisonous jellyfish.From such food, the meat of the turtles themselves, in turn, becomes poisonous, which scares off potential predators from them. Such is the gastronomic remedy.

    Turtle Enemies

    Speaking of enemies, in natural conditions, the main enemies of the turtle are some birds of prey (eagles, hawks), which grab small turtles, raise them to great heights, throw them on stones and peck out their insides from the split shell.

    Interesting fact: the great ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus died an extremely absurd death, he was killed by a turtle that fell on his head.The eagle, which raised the turtle to a height, mistakenly considered the playwright’s bald head to be a large stone, suitable for breaking a turtle’s shell.

    Death of Aeschylus by an eagle and a turtle.

    As for the giant turtles, with their weight and size, they have no enemies in nature. Even people are increasingly treating these majestic long-lived creatures with due respect.

    When the turtle hibernates

    Yes, turtles, like bears and some other animals, have a habit of hibernating, during which all life processes in their body are temporarily slowed down.This usually occurs in winter, and hibernation for thermophilic turtles living in temperate latitudes allows them to survive the winter cold without any problems.

    How to determine the sex of a turtle

    The sex difference in turtles is so poorly expressed outwardly that it is sometimes difficult to determine who this turtle is: “boy” or “girl”. Nevertheless, if you approach this issue with due attention, you can distinguish a number of signs that help determine the sex of the turtle.

    1.Carapace, in females the carapace has a more elongated shape than in males.

    2. Plastron, it is the lower part of the shell. If you turn the turtle over, you can see that in females the lower part of the shell (the one closer to the anus) is flat, and in males it is slightly concave.

    3. Tail, in males the tail is longer and wider at the base, while in “ladies-turtles” the tail is straight and short.

    4. Claws, in males they are usually longer on the forelegs than in females.

    Species of turtles, photos and names

    The family of turtles is divided into two suborders, divided by the way the turtles put their heads into their shells:

    • Hidden-necked turtles, fold their heads into shells in the shape of the letter S.
    • Side-collared turtles hide their heads in one of their front paws.

    Also, according to their habitat, all turtles are divided into land and sea turtles, which in turn are subdivided into freshwater turtles living in rivers and lakes, and actually sea turtles living in the seas and oceans.

    Below we take a closer look at some of the most interesting species of turtles.

    Galapagos Turtle

    She is an elephant turtle. These are real giant turtles, the weight of the Galapagos tortoise can exceed 400 kg, the shell length reaches 1.9 m. These turtles live on the Galapagos Islands, which gave them their name.

    Egyptian turtle

    This is already a small representative of land turtles, the length of the shell of the Egyptian tortoise is no more than 10 cm.They have a yellow-brown color of the shell. This turtle lives in northern Africa and the Middle East.

    Central Asian turtle

    This small turtle, living in Asia, respectively, has a rounded shell and is painted in yellow-brown tones with dark spots. The average shell size of this turtle is 10 cm. It is also one of the most popular types of turtles for home keeping.

    Leopard Turtle

    She is a panther turtle. It is of medium size, the length of the shell is 0.7 m, with a weight of up to 50 kg.The shell of this turtle is tall and domed. In the pattern of the carapace, a spotted pattern is visible, similar to the color of a leopard. The leopard turtle lives in Africa.

    Cape speckled turtle

    Notable for being the smallest turtle in the world. The length of its shell is no more than 10 cm, with a weight of up to 165 grams. Lives in South Africa.

    Species of freshwater turtles

    Painted turtle

    This small turtle lives in the waters of the USA and Canada.It has an interesting olive green or black carapace and leathery membranes between the toes.

    European Swamp Turtle

    This small turtle lives in water bodies of Europe and a number of Asian countries, its shell is 35 cm long and weighs 1.5 kg. It has a brown-brown or olive color of the shell, and also a very long tail like for turtles.

    Red-eared turtle

    Named so due to the presence of a bright red spot on the head. The shell length of this turtle is 30 cm.Red-eared turtles live in both Americas, in the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and several other countries.

    Snapping Turtle

    Its characteristic feature is the presence of a cruciform plastron and a long tail covered with small spines. It is of medium size, weighing up to 30 kg. Lives in the United States and southern Canada, hibernating during the winter cold.

    Species of sea turtles

    Turtle Bissa

    She’s a real caretta.The shell of this turtle is painted in brown tones with a pattern in the form of multi-colored spots. The front flippers of this turtle are equipped with two claws. This turtle lives in almost all oceans, with the exception of cold waters near the poles.

    Leatherback Turtle

    Notable for being the largest turtle in the world. Only the span of her front flipper-like legs reaches 2.5 meters. Its weight is more than 900 kg, and the length of the shell exceeds 2.6 meters. The surface of this turtle’s shell is covered with a dense layer of skin (hence the name).Inhabits the tropical regions of the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

    Green Turtle

    It is also a rather large turtle, its weight reaches 450 kg with a shell length of 1.5 m. It has an olive or green color of the shell, which, however, may have white stripes and dark spots. Its shell is low in height and oval in shape, and its surface is covered with large horny scutes. The head of this turtle is much larger than that of other relatives, and therefore does not hide inside the shell.Inhabits the tropical regions of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

    Breeding turtles

    The mating season for turtles begins at different times, depending on the species. However, in all turtles it goes in a similar way: males arrange real massacres for the right to mate with a female. How do turtles fight? Very simply, the overland ones try to turn the enemy over with a blow of their shell, and the water ones beat and bite each other with their beaks. Only after driving off a potential rival, the male turtle begins courting his “lady”, forcing her to take a position convenient for mating itself.

    Some time after mating, the female turtle lays eggs of a spherical or elliptical shape, from which little turtles will be born. For their eggs, turtles dig special holes, and sometimes they can even use crocodile nests.

    1 to 200 eggs can be laid at a time (depending on the species). Also, the duration of the incubation period can last from 2 months to six months or more.

    After hatching, little turtles begin to fight for survival, not all of them will survive to adulthood, fry of turtles are an excellent target for various predators, especially birds of prey.

    How to care for a turtle at home

    Keeping turtles at home has recently been very popular, and both land turtles and aquatic turtles are kept. And why not, because caring for them is extremely simple, and the turtles themselves are unpretentious creatures. True, all of the above is true for small turtles, since keeping large turtles in the house will not be entirely appropriate.

    So, what are the rules for caring for turtles. Firstly, in the turtles’ habitat it is necessary to keep a thermometer to control the air temperature and a thermometer to control the water temperature (if it is a water turtle in the aquarium).

    The water in the turtle aquarium must either be cleaned with filters, and if not, changed every day. Maintaining the hygiene of aquatic turtles is to remove algae from their shells. But land turtles need to be bathed daily in warm water, washing away dirt and food debris from them. Also, in winter, it is advisable to irradiate turtles a little with the rays of a quartz lamp, thus creating a kind of sunbathing.

    How to feed your turtle at home

    Turtles need a balanced diet.Land turtles can be fed with cabbage, dandelion leaves, apple, cucumber, tomato pulp. They can be given boiled chicken eggs and vitamin supplements to meet their protein needs.

    Feeding aquatic turtles will be a little more difficult, because they need small animals, you can feed them with dried daphnia, bloodworms, earthworms, boiled chicken or beef meat. They will not mind eating various insects, cockroaches, and small aquarium fish.

    It is necessary to feed adult turtles once a day, young animals twice a day and once a week to arrange a so-called fasting day.

    Interesting facts about turtles

    • It was the turtles who were the first to fly around our satellite, the Moon, aboard an experimental research probe launched by the Soviet Union back in 1968.
    • Turtle meat is an expensive and delicious product in some cuisines of the world.
    • Turtles are also present in heraldry, on the image of the coats of arms of some cities.
    • Despite the fact that turtles do not pose a danger to humans, there are exceptions, so male leatherback turtles can confuse a swimmer with a female, grab them with their paws and carry them to the bottom.
    • The sex of turtles in an egg is determined by the ambient temperature. At lower temperatures, males are born, at higher temperatures, females.

    Turtle, video

    And finally, an interesting documentary about turtles.

    Author: Pavel Chaika, editor-in-chief of Poznavayka

    While writing the article, I tried to make it as interesting, useful and high-quality as possible.I would be grateful for any feedback and constructive criticism in the form of comments to the article. Also, you can write your wish / question / suggestion to my mail [email protected] or Facebook, sincerely the author.

    90,000 Home turtle care

    Contents of article

    Many are mistaken, considering the land turtle an unpretentious animal. At the same time, caring for a turtle will not become a burdensome burden for its owner, if he takes a responsible approach to it.In general, caring for a land turtle is “based” on three key points: hygiene, habitat arrangement and feeding. Before buying an animal, you need to study these points in order to avoid problems in the future.

    Home improvement

    Contrary to popular belief, it is impossible to let the turtle “free swimming” around the apartment. A pet can climb into a secluded place from which it cannot get out, fall under the feet of someone from the household, or catch a cold.In this regard, it is advisable to keep the animal in the terrarium.

    The optimal solution is a terrarium with transparent walls from 50 cm in length and from 30 cm in width. A worthy alternative can be a house in which all walls (except for the front one) are made of an opaque material – plastic or painted wood. The main thing is that the material is well washed: this will make it easier to care for it. You can create such a terrarium with your own hands.

    Hang two lights above the terrarium.The first is with a conventional lamp with a power of up to 60 W, the second is with an ultraviolet one. The UV lamp should be replaced from time to time (once a year and a half) with a new one. Ultraviolet light is vital for the turtle: it promotes the absorption of calcium, which means it provides the strength of the inner and outer skeleton.

    The terrarium should be covered with a practical artificial turf. Some owners use natural materials for this: hay, coarse gravel and sawdust. As for the layer itself, ideally its thickness should be about 3 cm.

    The terrarium should contain a “shelter” – a house in which the turtle can hide from prying eyes. You can make such a house yourself, with your own hands. It is advisable that the shelter is made of washable materials – this will facilitate its maintenance.

    Before you move your pet into the terrarium, make sure you buy a feeder and drinker. The best option is a wide round-shaped feeder made of heavy material.

    As for the drinking bowl, it can be a ceramic container or a special drinking bowl. It must be installed directly under the lamp so that the liquid in the container is always warm. Both the trough and drinker should have low edges or be nearly flat.

    A well-equipped terrarium is the key to a long and happy life for your pet.


    Caring for a turtle at home is impossible without hygiene. Bathing these exotic animals is necessary: ​​they do not like the soul in “bath” procedures.

    It is necessary to bathe the turtle as follows:

    1. Fill a container with warm water (about 36.6 degrees Celsius). Calculate the water level based on the height of the turtle (1/3 should be above the water, and 2/3 under the water).
    2. Place the animal in the container. Gently wipe the pet’s paws, shell and face. To do this, use your own hand or a soft sponge. In the presence of serious contamination, you can bathe your turtle with soap. The main thing is to thoroughly wash off the remnants of the product with warm water.
    3. Wipe the animal dry and place the pet in the terrarium.

    Bathing land turtles, preferably once every 7 days; young individuals under two years old – every three days.

    You need to take care of the pet’s claws – life at home does not allow them to grind naturally. Claws can be shortened as they grow back at home. To do this, you need to use nail scissors or nippers. Cut off the light fragment of the claw: in the dark area there are vessels that cannot be touched.

    Remember to look after your turtle’s home. The terrarium should be washed periodically with soap, baking soda or other easily washable detergent.

    As it gets dirty, you need to change the filler. Wash artificial turf or gravel as it gets dirty and place back in the terrarium. Keep the trough, drinker and turtle house clean at all times. Remove leftover food leftovers and change drinking water in a timely manner.

    Keeping a turtle at home is great.But sometimes you need to let your pet go for a walk in the fresh air. It is possible to make forays into nature only when the air temperature rises above 25 degrees, and the sun warms the earth well. Make sure there is no inedible grass on the field before releasing the animal. Keep an eye on your pet: the turtle can hide in the tall grass, and you will lose it forever.


    Many people have no idea what to feed a land turtle.Some people prefer to feed their pets with purchased food, but you can really cook food for a turtle with your own hands at home.

    Typical feed is a mixture of finely chopped vegetables, fruits, herbs with added vitamins and minerals. Keeping an animal in the summer is simple: just feed it with greens (clover, plantain, coltsfoot, dandelion leaves), berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries) and fruits.

    In the winter season, food should consist of vegetables and herbs (70%), fruits (25%), minerals and vitamins (5%).It’s realistic to make a mineral supplement with your own hands using bone meal or thoroughly washed eggshells. Foods best suited for feeding turtles are: carrots, cabbage / lettuce, apples.

    In order to properly care for a pet, it is not enough to know what land turtles eat. It is important to understand what kind of food they absolutely must not eat. Such food includes bread, food for other pets, milk, food from the human table, citrus peel, poisonous plants, seeds of berries and fruits, meat, insects, fish.

    Keeping land turtles at home is not an easy task for an unprepared person. However, as you read the guidelines in this article, you will find that caring for your turtle is easy and fun.

    Interesting Topics

    90,000 Where do turtles live in nature, environment and habitat

    These amazing animals are among the oldest animals on Earth. Turtles for the entire time of their existence have become widespread almost throughout the entire globe.In total, there are about 328 species of turtles in nature, which live both on land and in water.


    All turtles can be divided into marine and terrestrial. Terrestrial includes terrestrial and freshwater species. The habitat mainly depends on the type of turtle. Sea turtles live in the seas and oceans, land turtles on land, freshwater ones live in reservoirs located next to land.

    All turtles are united by the fact that they live only in temperate and tropical climates.In those regions where the air temperature drops below 18 degrees, turtles hibernate. They are in a state of suspended animation until the air warms up to 15 degrees and above.

    Sea turtle

    Sea turtles have a flat, streamlined, elongated shell. Compared to land turtles, sea turtles do not have the ability to retract their heads and limbs into their shells. Marine reptiles lead an underwater lifestyle, they go to land only to create clutches.

    Sea turtles live only in the seas and oceans. Most of them live in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Sea turtles do not live in the cold Atlantic waters.

    In some regions, with the onset of cold weather, adult turtles sink to the very bottom and live there anaerobically for a long time.

    Only females crawl out onto land. During the nesting period, they go out in order to lay eggs. Mating takes place in the water, close to the coast. Then the female crawls out to the shore and with her hind legs digs a hole in the sand about 50 cm deep.Having laid eggs there, she covers the clutch with sand and goes into the water. Since the maternal instincts of these reptiles are absent, she never appears there again.

    Interesting! Turtles have amazing navigation abilities. After many years, they can unmistakably find and return to the exact place where they were born.

    After birth, instincts lead the little turtles to the water. The first 3-5 years they live in dense thickets of algae, hiding in them from predators.

    Sea turtles have acquired a wide range of habitats also due to the ability to distant migrations. During the breeding season, they are able to swim huge distances.

    Land turtle

    Reptiles of this species are widespread in Africa, Asia, southern Europe and many other countries. The most common species is the Central Asian tortoise. This species is often kept at home.

    As it is already clear from the name of the species, land turtles live on land.They mostly prefer open areas – deserts, savannas, steppes. Some species of land reptiles prefer tropical rainforests.

    There are 13 genera in total, which include 40 species. The appearance may vary significantly. Some species are very large and reach carapace sizes of one meter or more.

    Life expectancy depends on many factors. On average, land turtles live for about 50 years.

    Despite the fact that they are land reptiles, they like to submerge in water for a while.Thus, they replenish the water balance in the body, thereby improving the well-being and condition of the skin.

    On land, land turtles like to bury themselves in the ground or grass, sheltering from the sun’s rays.

    Freshwater turtle

    Has a wide distribution area. Lives in the USA, Mexico, South and Central America. It was introduced to Europe, Israel, South Africa, Japan, Vietnam, China, Thailand, Malaysia and many other countries.

    Freshwater turtles live in shallow ponds, lakes, swamps, as well as in slow-flowing rivers and streams.A prerequisite for a settlement is the presence of land or an island.

    It comes out on land quite often. It is located on stones, snags or on land and spends a large amount of time there, basking in the rays of the sun.

    Like the sea turtle, it makes its clutch on land. Pre-moistens the soil with water from the anal bladders, and then digs a hole about 25 cm deep. Then it lays an average of about 10 eggs and buries the hole.

    After laying, the freshwater turtle leaves the nest and does not appear there again.After a while, babies hatch. Driven by instincts, they go to the water and at first live in algae.

    Interesting! The sex of the turtles depends on the ambient temperature. At temperatures below 27 degrees, males are born. If the temperature is above 27 degrees, then there will be females.

    Fun Facts About Turtles in Video:

    Regardless of the type of turtle, range and habitat, these reptiles are considered the oldest animals.Their existence can be traced back over 220 million years.

    Guests from the Jurassic period: where did turtles come from in our latitudes? | SOCIETY

    Recently, residents of the regional capital began to find empty turtle shells on the banks of city ponds and reservoirs. Messages about this regularly appear on social networks. Is climate change to blame for the appearance of reptiles?

    Did you help with the move?

    “We were walking with a child on the Voronezh Lakes and found a dead turtle.Are people really so callous: they brought in an animal, but how tired, they threw it into the nearest lake? ” – residents of Samara lament on the pages of the city public.

    This is not the only find; visitors to one of the city squares witnessed the mass death of reptiles.

    “There is a small reservoir in the“ Spring of Hope ”park on Aerodromnaya street. All living creatures have died out there: fish have surfaced, dead turtles lie … Children are looking at all this and crying. Parents each time try to bypass the shore so as not to injure the child’s psyche.Why do people throw turtles away? Can you take them to a pet store? ” – say the locals.

    But, as it turned out, it was not a matter of human cruelty. Our region is the original habitat of the marsh turtle, and it is their remains that people find most often.

    The European marsh turtle must be kept in aquaterrariums where there is both land and water Photo: AiF / Alexander Gubarev

    “The Samara region has its only species – the marsh turtle. Very rare and protected.A viable population has survived in the Samara river basin, from Buzuluk pine forest to Kinel. There are known finds in different parts of the city, but nevertheless, most of these reptiles are released by people, ”says Andrey Bakiev, Ph.D.

    According to experts, marsh and red-eared turtles are found in the city ponds of our region. The latter are an imported species, originally from the USA, and in artificial Samara reservoirs they are practically doomed.

    “The red-eared Amazon tortoise can be recognized by the red spots around the ears. I know that such a reptile appeared in the Astrakhan reserve, someone released it. And it is strictly forbidden to do this. In the Samara region, this species does not breed and often dies in the coming winters. If the reptiles survive, they become competitors for local aquatic organisms. In other words, for those who live in water, ”explained the ecologist, candidate of biological sciences Anatoly Vinogradov.


    The marsh turtle is listed in the Samara Red Book, and every year the number of reptiles is decreasing.Their number is decreasing, and according to rough estimates, there are only a couple of hundred of them left in the region. According to experts, the population was influenced by changes in climate and habitat boundaries. All other reasons stem from human activities that negatively affect the state of the environment.

    “In winter, the reptile’s breathing pattern changes, and they breathe oxygen dissolved in water. Therefore, pollution of wintering reservoirs leads to the death of turtles. I remember that about 10 years ago, our colleagues in the Orenburg region found about 60-80 tortoise bodies in a reservoir in Buzuluk pine forest.They died because harmful substances got into the water, ”Andrei Bakiyev recalls.

    People also do their damage to the fauna. The inhabitants of the region catch turtles and keep them in apartments as pets. According to biologists, reptiles acquire many diseases in captivity.

    The inhabitants of the region catch turtles and keep them in apartments as pets. Reptiles acquire many diseases in captivity. Photo: AiF / Alexander Gubarev

    “People often catch a turtle and try to feed it.For several days, or even six months, they give her carrots, cabbage, and then the reptile dies of hunger. In fact, marsh turtles are predators that feed on worms, mollusks and fry, ”explained Anatoly Vinogradov.

    According to biologists, young marsh turtles feed exclusively on animal food; part of the diet of adult representatives is the so-called higher aquatic vegetation. For example, reeds. Also, the mouth apparatus of reptiles is designed in such a way that they can swallow food only with a stream of water.And if an individual finds prey on the shore, then it drags it to the reservoir to swallow it along with the water.

    Samara biologists noted that marsh turtles no less often die at the hands of fishermen. In summer, reptiles often rise to the surface of the reservoir for oxygen, and getting into the net, they are deprived of this opportunity.

    “The last turtle from the outskirts of the city of Togliatti lives in our institute. We named her Masha. This is the largest living representative of the species known to science: the length of the shell is 213 mm.And she is at least 100 years old! About 20 years ago, on Vasilievsky Lakes, it was confiscated from a fisherman who caught a reptile and wanted to cook soup out of it, ”recalls a senior researcher at the Laboratory of Herpetology and Toxinology at the Institute of Ecology of the Volga Basin of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

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