Turtles require housing in the form of a tank or outdoor pen, and within their receptacle, they require some sort of additional shelter, made out of a non-edible, non-toxic material. This can be purchased at a pet shop or from a reptile dealer. Turtles also require water for swimming, and a shady spot if they are in an outdoor tank. If kept within an indoor tank, they will need a heat lamp. Turtles do well with sand for burrowing, logs for sheltering inside, and other natural debris like leaves. Wood chips should never be used inside a turtle tank, as they are toxic. Turtles eat turtle pellets, green vegetables, and small pieces of meat (they are omnivores)–depending on the turtle species, they may eat other similar foods as well. Turtle filters are helpful to turtle owners–turtle tanks need cleaning twice a week, so a filter helps minimize the amount of cleaning that has to be done by hand.
Number one: research! Find out which turtle you want to have as a pet (make sure you know the difference between tortoise and turtle, as they need very different care!). And keep in mind that turtles are a high maintenance pet; they require extensive and constant cleaning of their artificial habitat. And don’t skimp on the quality of food, feeding a turtle the wrong kind of food can cause deformities, particularly in the shell which can curl inward, eventually killing the animal.
Make sure you are committed to having a turtle, some species can live for decades. Maintaining their temperature needs is important too, and some even have seasonal needs like hibernation. I suggest looking at the website below, or stopping into a pet store and asking for an idea of what you’ll need and the costs and time involved. Check out some books at the library too, they can be great resources.
Also, make sure your turtle is legal, there are many invasive turtles that have been banned as pets by law, depending on the area.
Great answers form Tristin and Chelsea, the only thing I would add is that once you do have a turtle is that you need to learn its own tolerances and personality just like anyother pet they have their own set of needs..
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