It may come as no surprise that turtles are one of our nations most popular pets!
Australian turtles can make great pets, but they require a lot of care and attention and are long lived!
Before you decide to bring one home, it's important to understand their needs and the responsibilities that come with owning a turtle.
This guide will cover everything you need to know about caring for an Aussie turtle as a pet.
Research the specific species of turtle you want to keep.
Before purchasing your turtle, it's important to research the specific species you want to keep. Different species have different care requirements, so it's important to choose one that fits your lifestyle and experience level. Some species, like the Eastern Long-necked Turtle, require a large enclosure with access to both land and water. Make sure you understand the specific needs of the species you choose before making a commitment to care for them.
What Type of Turtle can I Keep as a Pet?
Turtles that are most commonly kept as pets in Australia are the Eastern Long neck (chelodina longicollis) and the Murray short neck turtle (Emydura macquarii). It is a requirement for you to have a licence to keep either of these species of turtles as a pet here in NSW.
As a licenced reptile outlet, we can supply both species of turtle to licenced customers. We can help walk you through the licencing process and our knowledgeable staff can assist with care and setup of your pet turtles new home.
Set up a suitable habitat with the right equipment.
Once you have chosen the species of Australian turtle you want to keep, it's important to set up a suitable habitat for them. This includes providing the right equipment, such as a tank or enclosure, heating and lighting systems, a filtration system, and appropriate substrate for the bottom of the tank. You will also need to provide a basking area and a hiding spot for your turtle.
It's important to research the specific needs of your chosen species to ensure you are providing the best possible environment for them to thrive in.
Provide a balanced diet and proper nutrition.
In addition to providing a suitable habitat, it's important to ensure that your Australian turtle is receiving a balanced diet and proper nutrition. This can include a variety of foods such as commercial turtle pellets, fresh vegetables and fruits, and even live or frozen turtle dinner. It's important to understand the specific dietary needs of your chosen species and provide a varied diet to ensure they are receiving all the necessary nutrients.
Overfeeding can also be a problem, so it's important to monitor your turtle's weight and adjust their diet accordingly.
Understand the potential health issues and how to prevent them.
Like any pet, Australian turtles can experience health issues that require veterinary care. Common health problems include respiratory infections, shell rot, and parasites.
To prevent these issues, it's important to maintain a clean and appropriate habitat, provide a balanced diet, and monitor your turtle's behaviour and appearance for any signs of illness.
Add The Get Your Pet Right Calgrit increases the Carbonate Hardness in your pets water to assist in keeping the PH of your tank between the 7.5 and 8.0 range. This supplement will also prevent soft shells in your pet.
Regular check-ups with a reptile veterinarian can also help catch any potential health problems early on.
Consider the long-term commitment and legal requirements of owing a pet Turtle
Before getting a turtle as a pet, it's important to consider the long-term commitment and legal requirements. These turtles can live for decades and require specialised care, including a large and appropriate habitat, a varied and balanced diet, and regular veterinary check-ups. Australian turtles are protected by law and require permits for ownership. Make sure to research and comply with all legal requirements before bringing a pet turtle into your home.
Heating for your Pet Turtle
For long-necked species, the recommended range is between 18-22 degrees, while short-necked species do best in temperatures between 20-24 degrees. To maintain a constant temperature, a thermostat will be necessary. Keep in mind that owning a turtle is a big responsibility and requires proper care and attention.
This means investing in a thermometer to monitor both the water and air temperature, as well as a thermostat to regulate the heat source. By providing the right environment, you can ensure that your Australian turtle will be a happy and healthy companion.
Your pet turtle will need a basking heat lamp and basking area setup in their enclosure. The basking dock should be large enough for your turtle to lay beneath their basking lamp and the temperature should range from 28-34 degrees. When your title is warm enough, they can move to another section of their enclosure to feed or swim.
Keep in mind that owning a turtle is a big responsibility and requires proper care and attention.
Essential Lighting Tips for Turtles
Turtles require access to UV light in order to stay healthy. Additionally, providing a suitable enclosure with proper temperature and lighting control is essential for their health and well-being. To mimic their natural environment, the lights should be on for 12 hours a day or follow the natural cycle of the region where the species originates from.
Their UV lights are replaced every 6-12 months, depending on the brand and effectiveness.
Water Quality for Pet Turtles
The ideal water temperature for your turtle should be between 18-24C, depending on the species. It's worth noting that many turtles actually live in colder water, even in tropical regions. During the summer months, you can turn off any water heaters you have to encourage basking and prevent skin issues. Keeping the water temperature at a cooler level can also help prevent illnesses associated with poor water quality.
Ensure you have the correct pH levels (between 7.2-8.0), temperature, and filtration to ensure a healthy and balanced environment for your pet. Don't overfeed them as this can affect the water quality.
Ensure you add a calcium supplement such as Get Your Pet Right Calci to ensure your turtle can maintain a healthy carapace and to maintain a healthy pH in the water.
When it comes to their water source, it's recommended to age the water and remove any chlorine and chloramines from the water.
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