Baby red-eared and other sliders, painted turtles, map turtles, pond turtles, etc.
Should I buy a baby turtle?
No, probably not.
Baby turtles are about as cute as they get, but before taking one home as a pet it is important to carefully consider their care. They are long-lived animals, often live 40+ years. They also grow quickly and within a year will need a large aquarium. Unfortunately, most often people find themselves with a baby turtle that was irresponsibly sold or given to them without thought for the animal’s long-term well-being or what it needs and will need to live a healthy life in captivity.
Note that it is illegal to buy or sell aquatic turtles in the United States that have a shell length of under 4 inches (10 cm) because it is thought there is a greater risk of children getting salmonella from turtles that can fit inside their mouth. It is not illegal to keep a baby turtle; they just can’t be bought or sold.
A standard 15-gallon aquarium that measures 24 inches long by 12 inches wide by 12 inches high (61 cm by 30 cm by 30 cm) is enough space until a turtle reaches a shell length of around 3 inches (8 cm). Larger aquariums are better and with a larger volume of water, the aquarium will need less maintenance. Plastic “turtle islands” are not suitable housing.
The water depth in the aquarium should be deeper than the length of the turtle’s shell. The water area can be filtered with a small submersible power filter. The filter media should be changed regularly, as often as every three weeks and if it contains a sponge the sponge should be rinsed every week.
A layer of medium to large gravel can be used on the bottom of the aquarium, but it is easier to change the water if you don’t use gravel. Instead of gravel, a few large, stable river rocks or heavy pieces of driftwood can be placed in the water to create different water depths. Artificial plants can be provided as hiding spots and décor provided that they do not contain any sharp points and cannot easily be broken or pulled apart.
Over a small land area that gradually slopes out of the water, suspend a heat lamp to provide a basking site. This can be accomplished by positioning a large rock or piece of wood in the cage so that it gradually rises out of the water. Pieces of slate or other flat rocks can be glued together with aquarium-safe silicone sealant to create stable a basking platform as well.
Change between half and two thirds of the water every one to three weeks. Smaller water changes can be carried out more often, during which excess food and waste are siphoned out of the aquarium with an aquarium vacuum. You can also spot clean with a turkey baster after feeding to help keep the water clean.
How often the water is changed depends on how large the aquarium is, how much water is in it, and how many turtles are being kept. If there is a large volume of water, a good filter is being used, and only one turtle is being kept, the water won’t have to be changed as often as it will in a small aquarium with no filtration and multiple turtles, which might need daily water changes.
Most of the waste that is produced by aquatic turtles is excess food. To combat this, some people choose to feed aquatic turtles messy foods (earthworms, turtle pellets, crickets, etc.) in a separate container outside of the cage to reduce the amount of excess food in the tank.
Aquatic turtles require two different types of lighting. A fluorescent light bulb or other lighting that produces “5%” or more UVB radiation is required when turtles are kept indoors. The UVB-producing light bulb should be placed over and within 12 inches (30 cm) of the basking area. It should also be positioned over a screen cover or open area rather than a glass or plastic aquarium cover. The amount of UVB radiation that a bulb produces slowly dies off over time so they need to be replaced once or twice per year.
One of the most common reasons that baby turtles die is because their shell gets “soft”. Aquatic turtles and many other diurnal species of reptiles need UVB rays in order to process calcium in their diet. Without the correct amount and type of ultraviolet (UV) radiation and the correct diet, the calcium level in the blood will fall too low. When this happens, turtles start to take calcium from other parts of the body (the shell for example) in order to keep the calcium level in the blood high enough to keep going, but eventually this leads to death.
The second type of lighting that aquatic turtles need is an incandescent spot light to create heat for a basking area in the cage. Standard light bulbs can be used for this purpose, otherwise special tight-beam reptile light bulbs can be purchased at most pet stores and work well. The wattage that is needed to create a basking spot at the correct temperature will depend on how high the light bulb is from the basking platform, what the ambient temperature is in the room the turtle is kept in, and what species of turtle is being kept.
Different species of turtles may have different temperature requirements. Most will do fine with a water temperature that ranges from 75-80°F (24-27°C), though this may need to be adjusted for some. A submersible aquarium heater can be used to heat the water. Care should be taken to position the heater in such a way that rocks aren’t likely to fall or be pushed onto it and possibly cause the glass to break. Using a submersible heater made from titanium or plastic even safer.
The basking area on land should stay between 90°F (32°C) and 100°F (38°C). I used a 50 watt light bulb positioned about 6 inches (15 cm) above the basking spot to accomplish this, but it may differ in other situations. If the water temperature or basking spot are not warm enough, juvenile turtles may refuse to feed or seem lethargic and inactive. Use an accurate thermometer to measure the temperature in both the water and on land.
Offering aquatic turtles a varied and nutritious diet is the key to long-term success. Contrary to what many recommend, it is best if turtle pellets do not make up the entire diet of aquatic turtles.
Juvenile turtles are generally more carnivorous than adults, although some species such as painted turtles will still consume a reasonable amount of vegetation while young. Small sized aquatic turtle pellets, live earth worms, crickets, chopped night crawlers, black worms, tubifex worms, small freeze dried krill, wax worms, and feeder guppies can all be offered to meet their carnivorous dietary requirements. Collard greens, turnip greens, dandelion greens, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, red lettuce, kale, aquatic plants like Elodea, and other greens should be offered daily. Occasionally shredded carrot or sweet potato can also be offered. Ice berg lettuce, spinach, and rhubarb leaves should not be fed to turtles.
It is not uncommon for young turtles to ignore plants and other vegetables, but they should still be offered regularly to ensure that they are available when the turtle starts to eat them.
If your turtle isn’t eating first check the temperatures in the aquarium with an accurate thermometer. If the temperatures are in a suitable range, try offering live blackworms or chopped earth worms, which few turtles can resist. Some turtles may not feed while they are being watched, especially if they are new, and it may take some time until they become used to their surroundings.
Proper calcium and vitamin supplementation is critical and is a part of aquatic turtle care that is often overlooked. A good way to provide supplements to turtles is to roll an earth worm or chopped night crawler in a powdered reptile supplement and then offer it to the turtle with tweezers to prevent the calcium or vitamins from washing off in the water. Use a supplement that contains calcium with vitamin D3 along with a high quality multivitamin supplement.
Young turtles can be fed three to eight turtle pellets once or twice a day, along with a large piece of a dark lettuce or other leafy green vegetable floated in the water. Other food items can be substituted for turtle pellets several times per week. Do not place the food on land, just throw it in the water and remove anything that isn’t eaten within a couple hours.
I just bought a baby yellow-bellied slider yesterday and she hasn’t been eating. I just checked her tank temperature and it was pretty cold. That would explain a lot. I was worried she might be getting sick. Thank you for the insight!
Glad it helped! Yes, get a heater and increase the water temp and hopefully it will start feeding. Good luck.
What a wonderful site with great information. I found a baby panted turtle and have been feeding it and was thinking of keeping it as a pet. Your information on care etc. has made me realize the best thing I could do is release it into a near by pond. Hope others read your information and do the right thing as well.
We just watched our turtle lay eggs, and removed the eggs to an incubator to hopefully increase the survival rate. we hatched a clutch about five years ago and they live happily in our 1/2 acre pond. Last time I found step by step instructions online, but I’m not finding it now. This site has been helpful but Do you have any other site recommendations? I’m expecting about 60 days to prepare for hatching.
Wow, sounds great. I don’t have experience incubating turtle eggs, but I found this: https://tortoise.org/general/eggcare.html It is a trustworthy site.
We found a painted turtle hatchling two days ago. It was on a sidewalk well away from water, very dry and warm to the touch, and has one bulging eye. At first, we thought it was dead but when my daughter nudged it with a stick it moved. We got it into some water ( we were actually jumping spider hunting and had containers he fit in) and it perked up quite a bit from what it was but still not great. I believed there was no way this little gut would have survived if left in the wild so we brought him home. Upon further inspection, it looks like his bulging eye may be a deformity rather than an injury like we originally thought, but we can’t know for sure. We contacted two local wildlife rescues but haven’t heard anything back so I decided to put him under some heat in a temporary habitat with about an inch of water. This baby is only the size of the tip of my thumb, probably just under an inch, so I don’t think he is more than a couple of DAYS old. I have no idea what to expect behavior wise to gauge if he is doing better, worse, or the same. I know he likely won’t eat yet but will he be really active? He basks for awhile then inches his into the water. We usually have to help him back out but he does move around to indicate he wants to change. He has trouble stabilizing in the water because of the size of that eye, which also hinders his swimming (but his other eye seems more open and alert today). Ultimately, I just want to know that I’m doing the right thing or making it worse. At least until we can find a better situation for the little fighter.
Oh, and he’s under a UVA heat lamp that was extra from our snake set up. I will be ordering a UVB if I don’t find a better place from him in the next day.
It sounds like you are doing everything right. Turtles are pretty hardy animals. Painted turtles (at least ones in the northern part of their range) actually overwinter underground in nests, so the eggs are usually laid in the late summer or fall and then the baby turtles will hatch in the fall but some or all will remain underground in the nest where they overwinter. Then, in the spring, they finally emerge from the ground as it starts to warm up.
The most important thing for it right now is probably temperature. If you keep it on the warm side of things its metabolism will stay high and it will have a better chance of recovery, so try to keep the water in the mid-high 70s with a warm basking spot out of the water that gets into at least the high 80s (which it sounds like you already have). Use a thermometer to check the temperature, don’t guess. You can use a fully submersible aquarium heater in the water if needed. Make sure the water depth is a few inches, but also that there are shallower areas, and that the land is easily accessible so it can climb out. If you are going to keep the turtle for more than a week or so, it will need a bulb that emits UVB radiation. Too long without it will definitely cause problems (though you might want to see if it survives in the first place before spending a bunch of money on an expensive light, or see if the wildlife rehab center will take it instead if you don’t want to keep it long-term).
On the other hand, if you don’t think you can provide care for it long-term, you might as well just release it in the water near the area you found it. Perhaps the sidewalk was near a pond or drainage area. Most baby turtles die, almost none survive to adults, it is just the lucky/fit few. So, don’t feel too bad about letting it go either.
I have hatchling turtles we purchased in October we got 2 one is going great growing very active eating like a hog. Second one is not growing or eating now has a super soft shell what can I do to save it I didnt know about the UVB light till 2 or 3 days ago I have been putting it in direct light trying everything to get it to eat and it wont. I dont want it to die please help
If the turtle’s shell is already very soft and it is lethargic and not eating, it is probably too late to save it. You could take it to a vet and see what they think. If there is any chance, you need to get vitamin D3 and calcium into it asap. That means getting a UVB light (which you should get regardless for the other turtle that is still active) and trying some kind of emergency D3/calcium supplement. I’m not a vet, you should consult one before doing anything, but if it were me I would try using something like this: http://www.exo-terra.com/en/products/electrolyte.php Really, though, if the turtle has a soft shell and is not eating it is probably too late to bring it back. The key is to prevent metabolic bone diseases in the first place, so research the animals you keep before you get them and find out what kind of lighting, food, temperature, etc. they need. That way, you can prevent health problems like this from developing. Good luck.
I found a baby painted turtle and I decided to keep him. I have an open tank for him and I offer a few different food choices for him. I take him for walks like, every two days but his shell is soft. Do you recommend anything I can do to help him?
Soft shells usually develop when turtles don’t have a UVB light over their tank. If the turtle doesn’t have a light source that produces UVB radiation, it isn’t able to process calcium from its diet, so even if you are feeding it high-quality turtle food that has a lot of calcium in it, the turtle won’t be able to process any of the calcium and it will die. What has happened now is your turtle has started pulling calcium from reserves in its body to stay alive, like its shell, and now the shell is so weak that it is starting to feel soft.
If the turtle is still active and feeding, you might be able to correct the problem by adding a UVB light like this http://www.exo-terra.com/en/products/turtle_uvb_bulb.php Glass and plastic filters out UVB radiation so if you put the light over a glass cover on the tank it won’t work.
The other thing to do is to feed the turtle foods that are high in calcium and vitamin D3 (D3 is the vitamin the turtle needs to process calcium from its diet; turtles make D3 when exposed to UVB radiation). So, you might try getting a powdered supplement like this: https://www.store.repashy.com/supercal-hyd-4-oz-bag-wholesale-clone-en-2.html and coating pieces of earthworm in it and dropping the earthworms into the water in front of the turtle to see if it eats them before the calcium powder washes off. Or, you could see if your turtle will eat a gel diet you mix together with water like this: https://www.store.repashy.com/savory-stew-4-oz-bag.html and then add a little extra calcium to it.
On the other hand, if the turtle is not very active anymore and it is no longer eating then it is probably too late and there is not much you can do to save it. But, if the turtle is still active and feeding then get a UVB bulb and start trying to feed with high calcium and D3 supplemented foods to see if you can correct the condition. Good luck!
I want to thank you for having this resource. Also, you were spot on in questioning the location for the injured baby turtle I found. He is not a slider after all. He is a red-bellied cooter. Apparently they are endangered so I am glad if anything to be able to hopefully get this guy in the right place am referring him to the Wildlife Resource Center . tomorrow morning. Thanks again Devon
This article has been by far, the best comprehensive and informative piece on the internet covering the care of turtles both specific and broad range of types and ages of turtles. Thank you.
Hi Devon. In searching for some resourses in an effort to help rehab a wild baby slider in Mass. today with a small tear to the front, back of the shell and possible blindness. One eye has significant swelling. I found this little guy looking terrible. weather is quite chilly here now in the northeast. Each and every post I am reading here you indicate tropical temps and consistant heat and lighting source(s)..
Should this forum still be attended, what thoughts would you have if any on wildcare rehab for a baby turtle who likely was to be bird food ? I can say the temp increase on introducing it into a temp indoor habs aquarium is what I was initially concerned about. Again, wild turtle, attacked by something. Attempting an effort to help it. Limited wildcare resourses at the moment. Please, any positive thoughts or specialized care directives. Your input would be wonderful. Thanks!
I think probably the best thing to do is find a local wildlife rehabilitation center and bring the turtle there. I found this website that might be useful: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/find-a-wildlife-rehabilitator Red-eared sliders aren’t native to Massachusetts so maybe it is a different species, or somebody’s escaped pet, or perhaps there are established non-native populations somewhere near you. Either way, it sounds like the turtle needs veterinary care and a wildlife rehab center should be able to help with this. Good luck.
I forgot to mention if it will be a couple of days before you can bring it to a wildlife rehab center or vet clinic that deals with wildlife, keep the turtle on the warm side with access to a basking site and heated water (if you can and have an aquarium heater) to the high 70’s. Keeping the injured turtle warm should help boost its metabolism and might help with recovery, or at least it would be better than keeping it cold for a day or two while waiting to take it in if you can’t go right away.
I have two 1 year RES and 1 baby about a week old. The baby stays very close to one of the older turtles but when the two get up to bask the baby won’t. I have tried placing the baby on the basking rock and it immediately retreats into the water. Every time I go to check on them the two older turtles are basking (they love it) and the baby turtle is in the water and resting it’s head on the basking rock. What should I do??
Often when you have turtles of different sizes/ages together, the larger ones will outcompete the smaller ones for both space and food. The best thing to do is to separate the baby from the older ones and move it to its own enclosure. Before doing so, you could try adding a second basking site in the tank if the enclosure is large enough and see if the baby will use the other basking site. Just as important is making sure the smaller turtle is still getting enough food too. If either the basking site or food is being controlled by the larger turtles then I think the only thing to do is to set up another tank. Because the turtles will need a larger tank down the line anyways, you might consider moving the two older ones to a more permanent adult-sized setup (75-125 gallon aquarium, plastic tub, pond, cattle trough, etc.) and reserving the current tank for the baby, this way you don’t have to get two new enclosures over the next couple years and instead just one. I hope this helps, good luck.
One other thought is that if there is not a huge size difference between the turtles and there is room on the basking rock for all three to fit then maybe the new one just needs some time. It can take a few weeks for turtles to adjust to new enclosures. In fact, the baby might even be basking and just diving off into the water when it sees movement and so you think it isn’t basking when it actually is. Maybe give it some time as long as you aren’t seeing any aggression or anything between them?
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what do I do it my baby turtle has a soft she’ll??
Take the turtle to a veterinarian. A soft shell is a sign of advanced metabolic bone diseases that result from poor nutrition or inadequate lighting. A couple things you can do before the vet:
1) Does the turtle have access to UV-B lighting? There should be a light that produces UVB radiation over an area where the turtle basks. This light should be positioned over screen rather than glass (glass filters out ultraviolet light). UVB is needed so that the turtle can process calcium from its diet, and without this type of lighting the shell may get soft.
2) Check the diet and if the turtle is still feeding try offering foods that are high in calcium. Coating live worms in a calcium powder for reptiles that contains vitamin D3 works well.
I have a baby girl red eared slider about 1 inch and a half in diameter, I have her in a 10 gallon tank 1/4 filled with water, a UVB light and heat lamp 15 inches from the basking spot, I had it closer but she wouldn’t get out f the water just stick her head out (water temp and basking area about 80*) she is eating fine and very active should I still put the lamp closer to reach the 90*? Also about how long should the heat and UVB lamps be on?
Sounds like you are providing excellent care. If the turtle isn’t basking under the light when the light is close but basks under it when the light is further away, that is a good sign that it might have been too hot. The hottest point under light should reach 90-95F or more, but there will be a range of temperatures under the bulb. Several inches from the hottest point it will be cooler while directly under it the temperature will be hotter. You can trust the turtle to regulate its own body temperature so long as the warmest area reaches 90F. If the hottest point is only 80F for several months, that won’t be warm enough for the turtle to grow and develop well.
The UVB light should be on for 10-12 hours a day, same with the basking light. At night both lights should be turned off. Plugging both lights into an automated timer set for 10-12 hours a day will ensure that the lights go on and off for the proper amount of time.
I also noticed about two weeks ago when I cleaned out her tank she had kind of a soft shell, thought it was because she was little but read some of the things you said about that subject and in the coarse of this time I added a UVB and heat light, also the dried shrimp and occasional earthworm and her shell has gotten harder, I would like your opinion on this
i purchased a baby Reeves turtle (less than a few weeks old) and its not eating much,the yolk sack has gone.
Ive offered veggies and dried shrimp and pellets and i dont know what else to try.
do you have any sugestions?
First check the temperature and make sure the water is between 70F and 80F, towards the warm end is better. Also check the temperature of the basking spot and make sure it is getting up to 85-95F, and ensure there is UVB lighting.
If the temperature is okay, the turtle might just need some time to adjust to the new setting. One food most baby turtles find hard to resist is live worms. Try live earthworms cut into small pieces, about the size of the turtle’s head. You can also try live black worms, sold at pet stores to feed fish. These foods should be put in the water (not on land), and make sure to remove uneaten food after a few hours so that the water doesn’t spoil.
Also, check with the breeder or store where you purchased the turtle and ask what brand turtle pellets they feed their turtles. Sometimes baby turtles already used to eating one particular type of turtle pellet have a hard time being switched to another.
My turtle is beginning to turn from a vibrant green shell to a yellowish brown color. What causes this and is it normal?
It’s possible algae is growing on the shell. You can try using a soft toothbrush or aquarium algae pad and rubbing it off. If it is algae then consider changing the water more often or upgrading the filter to improve water quality.
Many turtles also naturally change color as they mature, but it depends on the species. For example red-eared sliders start off with a bright green shell but as adults their shell is more brown/yellow in color.
I bought 2 red ear slider babies one was active from very first day and the other one was always hiding in the shell from very first day. The active one started eating actively both pellets and dry worm, but the other turtles doesnot eat at all an never come out of his shell he/she sleeps all day long. I tried to keep him in the container with food and leave the room
for half an hour but my turtle never ate even a single stick or worm and it is 3rd week since my turtle is not eating, and secondly my other turtle used to bask alot but after installing a canister filter in my tank he doesnot bask at all
all he does stick with basking area with his neck outside. Can you please help me.
First, check the water temperature with a thermometer. If the water temperature is below 75F this is probably the problem. Keep the water between 75F and 80F with a submersible aquarium heater.
Second, check the temperature of the basking area with a thermometer. If the basking spot is not getting above 85-90F the turtle may not use it. It’s best if the basking area gets to 90-95F during the day.
Third, try feeding some other foods. Try live earthworms cut into 1 inch long pieces. Very few healthy turtles will refuse live worms. You can also try different brands of turtle pellets, and make sure you are putting food in the water. Red eared sliders won’t eat food on land.
Lastly, if you think the turtle that is not eating might be sick remove it from the other healthy turtle and set it up in another enclosure. I suspect that the turtle might not be eating because conditions like temperature in the enclosure are not appropriate (this is most common) but it is also possible that the turtle was sick when purchased and in this case should be separated from the other healthy one and brought to a veterinarian.
Hope this helps,
I just got a new eastern painter turtle for Christmas. It isn’t very active and i think it is because of the water temperature. I just got a heater for the water and the water is warm now but it is still not moving from it’s spot on the basking play form. It is alive and healthy.
Our baby red ear slider turtle rarely basks on her rock. A basking area has light and a platform for her to emerge out of the water, but concerned that something is wrong because I rarely see her bask. How many hours does a baby turtle need to bask to get the proper vitamins? And what can I do to encourage it? Thank you.
I would suggest two things. First, double check the temperature on the land area under the basking light. Ensure it is at least 85-90F but not over 100F by placing the thermometer on the land directly under the light where the turtle would bask. If the basking area is outside of this temperature range (especially if not hot enough) it might not be appropriate for the turtle to bask. You can increase or decrease the temperature by changing the light bulb or moving the basking area closer or further away from the light source.
Second, turtles are often shy about basking and you may not notice they are doing so because as soon as you enter the room where the aquarium is they quickly scoot back into the water. At the same time, if the aquarium is in a room where there are always people moving around the turtle may not feel secure enough to leave the water, at least not until accustomed to the new space. Try placing a background (newspaper or black poster board work) on the outside of three sides of the enclosure and when you enter the room move very slowly in case the turtle is actually basking normally but is just going into the water too quickly to notice.
Best of luck,
Thank you so much! Our turtle is thriving and you were correct in that she was too shy to bask in front of the family. We covered the side of the tank and this did the trick. Later, we noticed that she is willing to bask without the coverage and is very happy now. Appreciate your help!
I have some baby red eareds and they arent eating. Ive only had them since Saturday and put them (2) in a 10 gallon tank on Sunday. All i have so far is the heating lamp and I leave it on all day. The water gauge reads 77.9 degrees. I thought i may have needed a heater but wonder if the 30 gallon filter is also slightly warming the water.
I would recommend using a fully submersible aquarium heater in the water to maintain the right temperature. Set the aquarium heater to somewhere between 75 and 80F. Avoid aquarium heaters that do not have a thermostat built in, and go for plastic or metal heaters as opposed to glass. Make sure the heater is the right size for the aquarium, so if they are in a 10 gallon aquarium and it is half full of water get a heater than is for aquariums in the 5-10 gallon range.
Measure the water temperature with a quality thermometer, something like this will work placed under the water. The kind that stick on the glass are not accurate, and if the thermometer is not in the water where the turtles are then it is not useful and should be moved into the water. After you are certain the water is warm enough, move the thermometer to land under the heat lamp where the turtles will bask. Make sure the basking spot reaches at least the high 80’s and ideally 90-100F directly under the lamp. You will also want to provide lighting that produces appropriate amounts of UV-B radiation so that the turtles can process calcium from their diet. Turn the lights off at night (12 hours on/12 hours off is fine). The aquarium heater will keep the water warm at night.
The filter is a great addition to help keep the water clean, but it will not heat the water.
The good news is that since the turtles are new they are likely not eating because they are still adjusting to the new environment. Make sure you are putting the turtle pellets in the water and not on land (they will not feed on land) and that you count how many you put in the water so that you can monitor how many turtle pellets are left after an hour or two. This way you will know for certain whether they are eating if they are too shy to eat while you are watching right now.
If the turtles are not eating in another week then there may be something else going on. Sometimes baby turtles are not sold in the greatest condition and if they are in poor health when acquired it may be difficult to get them going. Getting the right temperature is key, so nice job considering temperature and it is good you are making an effort to get it right.
Best of luck,
Juvenile turtles are mostly carnivores. Our baby red-eared slider would only eat live small mealworms, purchased at any local petshop. You leave the mealworms in their plastic container in the fridge, which keeps them dormant. Then drop 3 or 4 in the tank once a day. You can do more online research about quantities to feed as they get older.
Phew, thanks for putting my mind at ease. We have a new one ouside and the temperature today is almost 90. He wasn’t moving, even when putting food near. Turns out he was probably blissfully sun bathing and sleeping as he woke when I dropped a little water on him.
My wife put lots of guppies in this little pond. Do you think that is why he rarely seems to go for a swim, or he just loves being on his perch sunbathing? I shall keep an eye on him at night in case he swims more then.
What is chronological age range when aquatic turtle is considered a baby, juvenile, and adult and any other category of growth that applies to aquatic turtles.? Hatchling? Or does it go by diameter?
Specifically I am asking about my painted turtle.
Good question. I am not sure there is a correct answer. Hatchling, baby and juvenile are just words people who keep turtles use to describe ones that aren’t yet adult.
It takes aquatic turtles like painted turtles and red-eared sliders years to reach maturity when they are able to reproduce. The first year after hatching aquatic turtles can grow quickly. A turtle kept at the right temperature, with appropriate lighting, and a healthy diet should be 3-4 inches in shell length at a year or so of age.
At 3-4 inches, the turtle is not yet adult and is still a juvenile. I would not call a 3 or 4 inch long turtle a baby. Technically, though, a baby animal is juvenile, so if the turtle is not yet adult (which may take 4+ years) then you can call it a juvenile. Or call it a young turtle. Or call it a not yet adult turtle.
Good article. How many hours a day is the light required? I have a small tank heater and currently have the lights on a timer (7a-7p).
That sounds perfect Alyssa. A photoperiod of 10-12 hours a day is normally what’s recommended.
How small does the food have to be for the little painted turtle to eat it ?
It depends on the size of the turtle, but a turtle pellet that is about the size of a grain of rice or a little smaller should be fine. They can bite apart larger food items too.
Thanks for info it helped