I love the ocean and all its creatures. That includes fish, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. I like to spend time exploring all the ocean’s inhabitants, either through books, the internet, or up close and personal. One animal that I haven’t known much about is turtles. I do think they are pretty amazing, though! I decided that this was something I correct, and set out to do just that.
I thought about it, finally coming to the conclusion to simply get a turtle as a pet. I thought it would be fun to have around. It would also be a great way to learn more about these cool creatures. I chose a Red Eared Slider after talking to the reptile expert at the pet store and checking out the species available. I also talked to the store employees about what to purchase to create a good reptile habitat, and I wanted to pass the information along if anyone else is interested.
The first thing to get is an appropriate sized tank. Don’t believe the myth that turtles will only grow in proportion to the tank he or she is in. Some species of turtle can actually grow quite big, and sometimes the male or female can grow differently, so do some research or ask questions before you make your choice. Unless you want to continue to buy new terrariums, you will want to take this into account.
Something else to think about is whether your turtle will mostly be a swimmer or if they like to get out and warm themselves, or what’s called basking. If yours is a basking turtle like mine, they’re going to need somewhere to hang out and do what they do. Again, if they are baskers, you are going to need a heat lamp. It keeps them healthy and is vital to their care.
I did some research before I went to the store and had decided to get both a full spectrum lamp and the best infrared heater that I could find. I bought a timer so that the infrared bulb can come on at night to keep the turtle warm but not create too much light. The full spectrum light replaces the infrared light during the day to simulate daylight for the turtle so that it feels more like a natural daylight/nighttime experience.
I got home and set it all up. I wanted it to sit for a day before I brought the turtle home. I take this very seriously and I really wanted to be sure that everything was working correctly. I was nervous that the timer might not work correctly and it could get too hot for the turtle, which would be incredibly dangerous. However, everything worked perfectly. The tank was warm but not too warm. The broad spectrum light did its job well, and the timer switched it over to the infrared bulb perfectly. The infrared bulb wasn’t bright but gave off enough heat to keep the tank at the proper temperature. I was very happily relieved after my test run.
I go back to pick up the turtle tomorrow. I can’t wait!