Water turtles, care and needs

Surely among your clients you have to love this type of pets and it is important that they have everything ready to provide the best care. 

In this post we will see what are the basics to convey to your customers and that they have everything they need.


Scientific name: Graptemys sp or Pseudemys sp 
Life expectancy: between 10 and 20 years 
Size: between 10 - 40 cm (shell)


The aquatic turtle is a cold-blooded animal and to regulate its body temperature, it needs its habitat to be as close as its area of origin (southeastern United States and northeastern Mexico).

They are curious but shy animals, so you should avoid sudden actions that scare them. 

It is very important to review the catalog of invasive species of the country so as not to contribute to the trade of unauthorized species and comply with the legislation to protect the biodiversity of the planet. 

That said, let's see how we can make you feel at home.


The location of the turtle or aquaterrarium with all the necessary accessories where it has a dry surface to rest and water so that they can swim, should be in a quiet place and away from doors or windows. Avoid areas near radiators and / or that directly receive cold air currents.

A large enclosure is recommended, between 8 and 15 liters per minimum juvenile individual (shell 3 to 6 cm) and as the turtle develops more space will be needed. 

Since it is in the water where the new tenant will spend the most time, the depth of this should be at least twice the size of the turtle vertically, that is, it covers its body several times so that it can swim comfortably.

In the dry areas of the aquaterrarium, your aquatic turtle will be able to regulate its body temperature, so it is essential that it has ramps so that the turtle can access a firm surface. 

Never skip this step, as it is very important that the turtle can get out of the water and dry, otherwise it could generate excessive energy wear, stress and possible diseases in the shell. 

If you have a garden you can live in an outdoor pond.


Turtles are omnivorous animals and are also glottons, always have a lot of appetite. 

Offer them as a main option sticks or pellets that have a specific formula for aquatic turtles being important that the formula is adjusted to the age of the animal.

Feed the turtles twice a day and what you consume in less than 3 minutes, everything that is not eaten is important to remove from the habitat. It is preferable to feed them when they have light in the habitat, since they do not usually eat when they are in the dark. 

Vary feeding throughout the week with Gammarus, mosquito larva and Krill. 

It is also important to have a calcium stone in the turtle water.


In addition to worrying about water and the dry area, another factor to take into account in the turtle is the control of temperature, humidity and light. 
Below, we describe the three main devices that are necessary to keep the pet happy and healthy:

Specific thermoheater for aquatic turtles. This device maintains the water at a temperature between 23 and 25 Cº. It has a shock-resistant structure and care! because it would burn the turtle if it touches it. 

Filtration equipment. It is a device that keeps the water clean of dirt and biologically balanced. It reduces maintenance and improves the quality of life of turtles.

Specific lighting system for aquatic turtles. If the turtle does not have the possibility of sunbathing inside the house, the ideal is to provide a lighting system consisting of a lamp holder and a specific bulb for aquatic turtles. The light emitted by this lamp has a balance between UVB and UVA light necessary for the optimal metabolism of calcium and vitamins. These systems are designed to be resistant to water splashes.

Turtles do not play with toys, but their habitat can be enriched by providing them with moderate climbing opportunities. 

If you want the aquatic turtle to have a great time and be super comfortable, a great option is to include an area of pebbles, branches and shrubs so they can climb or look for shade. In addition, turtles also enjoy digging, so if you are provided with a deep layer of a mixture of sand and aquarium gravel it will be great.


Keeping the aquaterrarium clean is very important, so you have to be disciplined with the cleaning of your habitat, if it is a small turtle of less than 15 liters, you have to change the whole water 2 times a week. 

If it is higher you can change the water once a week. This also depends on the number of turtles and whether they have a filtration system.
Always use a water conditioner before putting the turtles in, so you will reduce stress and toxic agents to the animals. It is also recommended to clean the decoration, filter and urn with running water.

After handling the turtle or “Tortuguero” you have to wash your hands well. In case you have children, you should be very careful to avoid the introduction of objects to the mouth that have been in contact with the turtle or “Tortuguero” to minimize health problems.


It is not good for these animals to hibernate if they are cared for at home, as it can affect the hibernation cycle and get sick. They usually do not hibernate if they are in the water, but for this it is important to have a dry area.

If you want the turtles to hibernate you have to start in April or May to acclimatize outside, throughout the months you have to eat as varied as possible and in autumn you must prepare a shelter so that you can rest all winter.

Remember that all that we point out in this article are generic notes to transmit to your clients in the event that some of you do not know them, always being and as in all our articles, the recommendations and guidelines set by the veterinarian.
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