Buy small Turtles
With the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in theaters now, children will be asking for pet turtles to relive the motion picture or enjoy having their own “ninja turtle” team at home.
But are turtles really good pets for children? Review this list to see if your home is really ready for a pet turtle.
Can you differentiate between turtle species when they are little? How do you know what you are really buying? Is the turtle a slider, snapper or ?
Different species of turtles have different dietary needs. Some turtles eat a plant-based diet, while other species need meat and protein. Additionally, it is possible to overfeed a turtle. This can cause obesity and additional growth.
Pet turtles, like any pet, should see a vet annually to monitor their health. If you end up with a 100-pound turtle, you will have to figure out how to transport it or find a veterinarian who does house calls.
Vet visits can range from $50 to $100 or more depending on your particular turtle and the care or treatment required. You will need to be aware of the warning signs of illness to know when your turtle needs care, such as cloudy eyes or refusing to eat.
Care and Illness
Whose turtle is it anyway? Will your child care for the turtle, or will you?
A routine needs to be in place for the turtle’s feeding, cleaning, overall care and care for the habitat (pond maintenance, tank cleaning, etc.). A set diet and routine feeding schedule is important to establish based on your turtle’s species to prevent overfeeding.
Turtles can carry, and this puts young children, people with suppressed immune systems and the elderly at risk. Salmonella can live on surfaces, so it is not necessary to touch the turtle to become sick. When handling turtles, hand-washing afterward is a must.
“We’re now seeing emerging diseases of reptiles and amphibians spread by these pets. It’s a great concern because our reptiles and amphibians have a hard enough time with the loss of wetlands and the loss of habitat without introducing these new diseases, ” said Jonathan McKnight, with the . “If they’re out there people are going to touch them, they’re going to contact their mouth and salmonella is a nasty disease to have.”
Laws regarding turtles vary by state, county, parish and town.
Particular species are also banned in certain areas, and laws can change regularly. A was submitted in West Virginia recently that would allow the state to declare an animal dangerous and/or require permits costing $100 per year, and turtles were grouped in with the animals listed.