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How to Take Better Care of Your Pet Turtle

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/27/2007 | Pets and Animals

Turtles can be a lot of fun to own as pets. It's amusing to watch them as they go about their daily activities in the home you provide for them.

However, you'll no doubt find it a lot more interesting living with your pet turtle if you know something about the particular species of turtle you purchased. For example, different kinds of turtles differ in size, preferred environment, coloration and living habits. The type of turtle that likes to live around water enjoys taking an invigorating swim and basking on a rock. When not swimming, your turtle might enjoy resting or walking slowly along searching for more food to eat. Of course, large desert turtles have entirely different lifestyles.

Turtles have some special strengths. For example, they see and smell surprisingly well. It's a good thing they do, because those senses help them to find their food. They don't have teeth but have sharp serrated ridges where teeth usually are located.

Strange as it may seem, turtles experience something similar to humans as far as their emotions go. For example, if a turtle is unhappy, it withdraws physically into its shell and acts lazy. When people are depressed, they may withdraw into their "shells" too, emotionally similar to how a turtle withdraws.

Naturally, you want your turtle to live as long as possible. Therefore, exercise care in feeding it. Turtles can live for many years if they are cared for properly. Since some turtle foods are actually harmful, be sure to spend time researching what foods to feed your specific kind of turtle because different types of turtles require different diets.

Many turtles should only eat vegetables. However, there are even some vegetables to avoid feeding your turtle, such as rhubarb leaves and spinach. Also, don't just feed your turtle lettuce because it won't get enough nutrients if it has a severely limited diet. Be sure not to give your turtle salty and fatty foods, including processed meats. Also avoid feeding uncooked chicken or turkey to your pet turtle since raw poultry can be infected with salmonella and that could make your turtle sick.

Turtles can be intriguing and amusing pets, but you need to do your research so that you can be a good pet owner for your little pal. Then you and your pet turtle can enjoy sharing one another's lives hopefully for a long time.