Keeping Reptiles Newsletter
  Issue 9 October 2008
Aquatic and Semi-Aquatic Turtles as Pets In this Issue

Turtles are generally classed as exotic pets, and while they are easy to care for, it is important to be informed. Informed pet owners are good pet owners. Even children should be encouraged to learn as much as they can about their turtles. One important fact about turtles that few people know is that they are actually classified as reptiles and not amphibians. There are different types of turtles, such as aquatic, semi-aquatic, terrestrial and semi-terrestrial. Aquatic turtles make popular pets, with the red eared slider being the most popular of all.

The more room they have, the better, as they are quite active. They are best housed in aquariums. A filtration system is necessary, but the choice will depend on the size of your turtle. Smaller turtles may not be able to avoid the suction created by the filter. They will also need a heat source for their basking area. The water should not be more than a few inches so the turtle can put its head up to breathe. Aquatic plants can be added for looks, and also as a food source. Deciding on a turtle will depend on the ability to get the right enclosure, and whether it will be a child’s pet, among other factors. Following established guidelines will ensure you have healthy pet for a long time.

You should never handle aquatic turtles. They may find this very stressful, and eventually it may take a toll on their health. Some aquatic turtles tend to be quite aggressive, and regard anything moving as food. As such children should not be allowed to stick their hands inside turtle cages.

Turtles require a varied diet. Instructions given by your pet store or vet should be followed. There are many forums online for turtle owners to get feeding tips. Remember, diversity is the key. Most are omnivores, that is, they eat both plants and animals. Interestingly it has been found that some turtles food preferences change as they grow. When feeding turtles, as much as is possible, feed them in a separate area than the one they normally live in – they are messy eaters.

Children and Turtles

Some sources advise against allowing children to keep turtles as pets because they carry the Salmonella bacteria. However, once children understand the basics of hygiene and practice this there are few risks to them. For very young children parental guidance should be available until children learn how to feed and care for their aquatic friend themselves.

So why do turtles make such great pets? Simply because once they are placed in the right environment and given the proper food, they are really simple to care for.


  1. Aquatic and Semi-Aquatic Turtles as Pets
  2. Can Reptiles Be Trained?
  3. In the News
  4. Get Paid to write an article
  5. Tell Us What You Think
  6. Feedback and Updating

Other Issues

Other Articles & Resources

Can Reptiles Be Trained?

One of the favorite activities of pet owners is training their animals. Whether it is to perform tricks, or just for obedience, training can enhance the bond that pet and owner share. It may seem surprising that some reptiles can be trained. Training for reptiles, however usually centers on the process of socialization. In this way, reptiles learn to be less aggressive around humans, and can master basic tasks such as potty training.

Many people agree that training reptiles can be a good experience for the pet and the owner. Monitors, Bearded Dragons and Iguanas to name a few, have all been trained successfully. A process of positive reinforcement, similar to that used with dogs and other animals, is utilized when training these cold-blooded friends. This is especially important if the lizard being trained will be given to a child as a pet.

Some persons don’t realize that reptiles can be tamed, much less trained. There are cases however, where taming will not be successful no matter how skilled the trainer is. Corn snakes for example when bred in captivity are easier to tame because they are much more docile than their counterparts caught in the wild.

Of course, when buying a reptile, it is best to buy one that has already has a calm temperament. If not, you will find yourself spending a lot of time trying to tame it, and there is the chance it won’t work. This is especially true if it is a mature reptile.

Reptile breeders should be able to offer useful tips on training your reptile, or at least point you to someone who can. As always, there are basic rules that must be followed, and it is important to respect the animal you are working with. It is important to exercise good judgment when handling reptiles, whether you are training/taming them or not.


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In the News




Should feed him to the crocs...



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