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The Worm Lady - Pet Turtles

Most Popular Pet Turtles 

 Some of the most popular pet turtles are the Painted Turtle, Three-Toed Box Turtle, Eastern Box Turtle, and Red Eared Slider.

Aquatic and semi-aquatic turtles are very popular as pets.  The most well known is most likely the Red Eared Slider, however, there are several other species that are also kept as pets.

Turtles have been very popular for a very long time.  The baby red eared slider was readily available and inexpensive in the 1950`s which resulted in many turtles being badly neglected.  They were quite often sent home with the new pet owner in a small plastic bowl and (often with a plastic tree!):  with no water filtration and no room to grow, these babies didn`t have a chance of survival, much less a normal lifespan.  In the 1970`s, the sale of turtles under 4 inches was banned by the US Government after the connection had been established between salmonella infections and turtles.  The epidemic of salmonella in children was traced to these small pet turtles.  It was not that larger turtles carried less salmonella risk, but that children were more likely to handle and play with their small turtle pets.  The children would then put their hands to their faces and mouths, without having washed their hands, and the number of salmonella cases -- some even causing death -- crept higher and higher.   

Turtles, and other exotic aquatic pets, are still being sold to people who know little or nothing about the amount of care and upkeep, the large tanks with special lighting, water filtration, and lots of cleaning, that is required to properly house and rear them.  Many turtles die from stress and neglect.  And even worse, baby turtles are often given out as prizes at events or fairs, having been purchased inexpensively from disreputable suppliers.  These little turtles are already so stressed from neglect and overcrowding during transport that, even if the new owner  provided ideal care, many are so ill that they seldom live more than a few weeks or months at the most.

Children and Turtles

Turtles are not the ideal pet for children since they are not easy to care for nor great for handling.  Turtles also often harbor salmonella bacteria which is often passed on to the children who do not understand the absolute need for careful hygiene.  Most children do not poses the ability or interest in providing the required amounts of care and upkeep these amphibians rightfully need, so parents must realize the responsibility for care will fall on them when the children lose interest.

Turtles Life Span and Size

Aquatic turtles grow to be quite large, 10-12 inches, can live 25-50 years, and some can reach even 100 years of age, or more.

Customer Testimonial 

' Thanks a lot for everything Peter and Annie - my babies are growing so nice thx to all these good worms! '

Take a look at my turtles ...                Joy Ali, Cambridge, Ontario

2 pet turtles
4 turtles in tub
colorful turtle

Jason Wooten, author of

Red Eared Slider Secrets

World renowned Red Eared Slider experts say ... "although Red-Eared Sliders can live 45-60 years, most will not survive two years ..."

Are you taking the best possible care of your Red Eared Slider turtle?

Become well informed in order to properly care for your beloved Red Eyed Slider ...

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Turtle Housing:  

Aquatic turtles need exposure to ultraviolet light (UVA and UVB) to prevent metabolic bone disease (soft-shell syndrome). Turtles are very messy so a good water filtration system is necessary to help maintain the water quality, as is regular proper cleaning of the terrarium, which should have deep enough water for diving, along with a basking spot, out of the water, heated from above with a basking light, and heaters to maintain, both ambient and water, appropriate temperatures.

Turtle Feeding:  
Most aquatic turtles are omnivores (eating proteins and some vegetation) and preferences for different foods will change at different points in the life cycle, so providing a good variety of foods is the very best way to feed most turtles.  Manufactured turtle foods have improved significantly but they are NOT recommended as a sole staple and should not be the only foods fed to your aquatic turtles. Their diet should be maintained as closely as possible to that of their natural habitat.

Your omnivorous turtle will greatly benefit from being given a good variety of worms, such as, Phoenix Worms (BSFL), silkworms, horned worms, butter worms, super worms, wax worms and mealworms, placed in the separate feeder dish two or three times a week, comet goldfish in their water pond, and crickets on the dry ground, for them to chase once a week. For greens they'll enjoy 1-2 teaspoons of chopped dark leafy greens - like kale, collard greens or mustard greens  3-4 times a week, in their feeding tub.

Feeding your turtles in a separate plastic feeding tub, within the terrarium,  will allow as a rule, the mess associated with their feeding to be better contained and potentially reduce the smell, disease bacteria and tank cleaning chores, and also allow the monitoring of food consumption of each turtle when multiple turtles are kept.

All that being said, given the right person and the proper commitment, turtles make wonderful, enjoyable and fascinating pets.  While care basics of most aquatic turtles are similar for all species, your first step should be to research the species available in order to learn beforehand, as a potential turtle owner, the specific details on feeding, environment and housing of the species which most interest you.

For beginners, the hardier shelled turtles such as Red Eared Sliders, Cooters, Mud and Musk turtles, are recommended.  Cooters and Sliders will grow to 12 inches or more while Mud and Musk turtles will reach about have that size.  Map and Painted turtles are less hardy, and lastly, Snapping and Softshell turtles have a reputation as aggressive, large and they are usually more difficult to care for; as such, these do not make a good pet for a beginner. 

Beyond proper environment and diet, aquatic turtles don't need a lot of attention; however, regular socialization and interaction with their owner(s) may result in a tame and sociable turtle that can provide many years of enjoyment.  They are unique and lovely creatures that can truly be enjoyed if properly cared for.
Popular Turtles
Three-Toed Box Turtle 
The Three-Toed Box turtle is a subspecies within the genus of hinge-shelled turtles referred to as box turtles.  This subspecies is native to the South-Central part of the United States and is the official reptile of the state of Missouri.  Wikipedia  
This water turtle is one of the most popular pets in the world! They are ideal for beginners, are omnivores and grow up to 11 inches as adults.  Ideal turtles for beginners 12 years and older, with adult supervision.  These aquatic turtles enjoy basking so they require heated land areas with some live plants for a semi-natural habitat.
Three-Toed Box Turtle
 Painted Turtle 
The Painted turtle is the most widespread turtle of North America.  It lives in slow-moving waters from Southern Canada to Louisiana and Northern Mexico, from the Atlantic to the Pacific.   Wikipedia  
This colourful aquatic turtle is an omnivore that can grow to 7 inches as an adult and enjoys basking so it requires land areas.   Ideal turtles for beginners 12 years and older, with adult supervision. 
Painted Turtle
 Eastern Box Turtle 
The Eastern Box turtle is a subspecies within a group of hinge-shelled turtles normally called box turtles. Terrapine.carolina is native to the eastern  United States. Wikipedia  When injured or damaged, the shell has the ability to regenerate and reform.  
In the wild box turtles live over 100 years but in captivity live much shorter lives.  Most range in size from 4.5 to 5 inches, but some occasionally reach up to 7 inches in length.
Eastern Box Turtle
 Red Eared Slider
The red-eared  slider (Trachemys scripta elegans), also known as the red-eared terrapin, is a semi-aquatic turtle belonging to the Enydidae family.  It is a subspecies of pond slider and is the most popular turtle in the United States and the world over.  It is native to Southern USA and Northern Mexico but has become established in other places because of people releasing their no longer wanted pets into the wild.  This is an environmentally dangerous practice which can wreak havoc in a region's natural balance within a short period of time.  As a result of this type of 'pet release',  the red eared slider has become an invasive species in California (and many other areas) where it now out-competes the native western pond turtle for food and space.
Red-Eared Slider Turtle

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