Trachemys tortoise has a rather attractive appearance. The upper side of the shell has a rounded shape of greenish-olive color, which is decorated with black and yellow stripes. The underside of the shell is a smooth texture with a yellowish tint and small dark spots. In front of the red-eared turtle, a distinctive red or orange strip begins, which stretches to the neck. In young turtles, the shell color is bright green. Over the years, this color becomes faded, and the dark dots on the shell darken. In size, they can range from 6 to 20 centimeters. However, the size is not always a sign of the age of the turtle, because with good nutrition in captivity, red-eared turtles are able to reach large sizes in a very short time.
The sensory organs of this representative are noteworthy. They see their vision so well that they are able to distinguish color palettes in and under water, as well as to record the movements of other animals up to 40 meters from them. Smell helps to find food. Hearing is relatively poorly developed compared to other senses. Turtles can distinguish only subtle sounds and various vibrations. They are also endowed with touch, which allows them to choose the taste of food.
Before you get a red-eared turtle in the house, you should familiarize yourself with a number of requirements on how to properly handle this animal. When buying a turtle at pet stores or markets, take it to the vet. Many sellers do not care about the health of their animals, and the veterinarian will be able to identify wounds, diseases or infections. Before bringing the turtle home, create comfortable living conditions for it.
Care and maintenance
Whenever possible, grab the turtle with both hands, since due to the slippery shell, it can slip off your hands. Also, do not forget that these animals have powerful paws with sharp claws, and they can also bite you. Be sure to wash your hands after handling a turtle . For the comfort of your pet, get a home aquarium. And whenever possible, watch for its cleanliness and freshness. Many turtles are carriers of salmonellosis. Little red-eared turtles must be carefully monitored. They should eat well and be in a comfortable environment for them. Among the babies of the Red-eared Turtle, there is a high mortality rate, as they are vulnerable to many diseases.
You should not stand for a long time above the aquarium, as well as knock on it, as this can frighten its inhabitants. Maintain a stable temperature regime of land and water. Direct sunlight should not enter the aquarium.
All turtles must have access to land. Heat the land with a dedicated lamp.
Temperatures for small red-eared turtles should differ from the temperature for their adult individuals. For land it is 32 degrees Celsius, and for water - no more than 26 degrees Celsius . Choose a long aquarium that is not very wide and tall. The volume of water should be at least 120 liters. Adjust the water level in accordance with the proportions of the tortoise shell. She should be able to roll over. At the edge of the aquarium, equip the shore of the land in the form of an island. Such an island can be purchased at pet stores, or built yourself.
Water must be constantly cleaned. For this, special filters are sold. If your aquarium has only young turtles, then use an external filter, and if you are an adult, use an internal filter. An additional device you can use an ultraviolet lamp, which must be placed up to a height of 25 centimeters. Incandescent lamps are suitable for heating water and land. Turn off all lamps in the dark. Keep in mind that splashes of water may get on the lamps, therefore they should be protected from moisture and evaporation. When the weather is nice, it’s a good idea to put the aquarium on the balcony to warm up, but not more than 5 minutes for the first time. Extend your time in the open space gradually, as turtles need to get used to.
Animal nutrition should prevail in the diet of young red-eared turtles. It allows turtles to grow even more active. But you need to give it no more than once a day. Put various algae and other plants in the aquarium, as turtles can eat them too. In turn, adults should eat food at least three times a day, due to their size. And the diet should be made taking into account the needs for plant foods.
The amount of feed is determined depending on the size of the aquarium dweller. Two or three pieces of no more than a centimeter in circumference are enough for small representatives, and for adults three of these pieces, but three times the size, are enough.
Make sure that the food is at the right room temperature, and also has a moist consistency. Do not forget that red-eared turtles are predators by nature, therefore there must be fish in their diet that they eat when they are free. For a change, add small fish to the aquarium. Turtles are happy to hunt them. Dilute the diet with dry food and gammarus. Add calcium to turtles purchased. Vegetables can be given to maintain proper fiber levels.
Trachemys hunting for fish
In the wild, various insects , small fish, snails and even crickets often become victims of red-eared turtles.
In a comfortable home environment, red-eared turtles can survive to the age of more than 40 years. While in nature, their life expectancy barely reaches 20 years.
Trachemys tortoise makes a sound
Red-eared turtles become sexually mature at different times. If they live in a home environment, then from the age of four males become ready for fertilization, while females at the age of only 5 or 6 years can carry offspring. Red-eared turtles become mature in the wild only by 8 years of age. The breeding season begins in March in turtles in nature. As pets, they can reproduce offspring all year. The mating season marks the male, which begins to attract the female. He shows himself in front of a female, constantly swimming nearby and showing off his fast paws. The female lays no more than 10 eggs, which in size do not exceed 4 centimeters. Masonry should take place in a specially equipped place. If she is in captivity, she needs to organize a special space.
In the wild, the female lays eggs in a small hole on land, which is wetted with water. Incubation can last up to 150 days. In order for females to be born, the temperature of the nest must be above 30 degrees Celsius, and if the temperature is below 27, males appear. Being pregnant, the female begins to change her behavior. As a rule, she begins to worry, trying to dig using her hind limbs and tends to swim out of the aquarium. Very often during pregnancy, females swim to land.
Health and Disease
Virtually all problems with red-eared turtles occur due to illiterate care and non-compliance with the rules of detention. For the health of the turtle, it is vital to maintain a stable water temperature, as well as adhere to a number of rules for feeding and keeping the aquarium clean.
In order to keep the turtle in its health, monitor it properly. When the tortoise is sick, it is necessary to increase the temperature of the content to 30 degrees Celsius. Turtle immunity is activated at this temperature. Make sure that the turtle maintains the required amount of fluid in the body. You can also see if your turtle is sick by the way it swims. If she swims only on one side, then she is susceptible to some kind of disease. When you understand that something is wrong with your pet, do not pull it and be sure to take it to the veterinarian!
Common diseases affecting the Red-eared Turtle:
- Bacterial eye infection. The turtles have swollen eyes and turn red. Sometimes she cannot open them. Clean the water, check the temperature and tidy up the aquarium. As a treatment, the veterinarian prescribes antibiotics in drops.
- Bacterial oral infection. The turtle does not eat, and small tumors have formed in the mouth. This disease requires serious treatment. Veterinarian prescribes antibiotics.
- Pneumonia. Carapace hemorrhages are visible. The tortoise is weak, the shell is very soft. Contact your veterinarian immediately.
All diseases of the tortoise can be fatal, if you do not take all the necessary treatment measures in time and do not seek the help of veterinarians.
The winter period is characterized by hibernation for red-eared turtles. However, this is a characteristic phenomenon for individuals that live in captivity. In a home atmosphere, this should not be allowed. There are a number of reasons why hibernation is contraindicated for turtles. A number of them:
- Lack of information on how to monitor and maintain a stable state of the turtle;
- Lack of suitable conditions for hibernation;
- Many small and diseased turtles cannot tolerate hibernation.
In captivity, red-eared turtles bury themselves under bushes and silt near ponds with shallow depth. Absorption of oxygen occurs through the openings of the mouth, pharynx and cloaca. The temperature regime of the reservoir is important, as well as the presence of an acceptable amount of oxygen in the water for safe hibernation. In order to invigorate the turtle, you need to maintain the water temperature at least 26 degrees Celsius, since low temperatures contribute to hibernation.
Aggression to relatives
The aquarium for red-eared turtles is comparable to a small pond, where they are able to demonstrate an aggressive and dominant attitude towards other inhabitants. They can injure other animals with their claws and teeth. Some males engage in fights with females, which often leads to bitten tails, and subsequently to death. A new individual in the aquarium provokes aggression from older sexually mature turtles.
If you encounter this relationship between relatives, it is best to try to increase the space of the aquarium or add barriers between animals. This behavior is acceptable in the wild. However, it is best to start a red-eared turtle in a separate aquarium.
Educational video about the red-eared turtle