|Additional Turtle Information
Types of Turtles
Not too long ago, the idea of owning a pet turtle meant little more than going to a local store and purchasing a small Red-eared Slider, along with a small plastic container as its living space.
Those days ended in the 1970s when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prohibited the distribution and sale of baby turtles with shells four inches in length or less after a quarter million infants and small children were diagnosed with having turtle-associated salmonellosis.
Since that time, change has remained a constant in the pet turtle industry. For one, it is now a global industry, with collectors demanding many of the world's turtle species for private enjoyment.
Coupled with the global turtle food industry, the global turtle pet industry has contributed to declines in world wide turtle populations.
As difficult as it might be to separate the destructive turtle pet industry from the constructive turtle pet industry, there remains a niche for responsible turtle ownership and breeding programs.
Identifying the responsible turtle owner starts with some turtle psychology. Generally speaking, turtles are loners that do not enjoy human company and do not enjoy being held. Beware of getting a pet turtle for a child if the child is looking for a playmate. Dogs would be a better choice.
Once the decision to raise turtles is made, the task turns to identifying the types of turtles best suited to the owners. As with other pets, turtles need a proper habitat and diet in order to thrive. In most cases, turtle hobbyists can easily meet these needs by caring for local species.
Box turtle species, for example, are native to many areas of the United States. Caring for them can be as easy as improving the landscape on your property or building a state of the art backyard enclosure to suit their needs.
Building a state of the art indoor turtle home is also possible. However, most turtle experts suggest that indoor life is less healthy for turtles than outdoor life.
In more general terms, turtle habitat needs reflect their basic physiology. As with all reptiles, they are cold-blooded animals that bask in the sun as a way to regulate their body temperature.
Whether placed in an indoor or outdoor enclosure, pet turtles need a place to bask as well as a place to hide and rest.
Potential turtle owners also need to take into account turtle dietary habits. Some turtles are carnivores (meat eating only), while other turtles are herbivores (plant eating only). Still other turtles are omnivores (they eat what's available in their environment).
Choosing to care for local turtle species means that many of the local plants and/or animal life can serve as suitable food sources.
Finally, responsible turtle owners need to be aware of local pet laws. State law varies with respect to which species of turtles are allowed to be sold or kept as pets.
© 2010. Patricia A. Michaels.