- Turtle – On Wikipedia.
- San Diego Zoo on Turtles – A wonderful write up about Turtles & Tortoises.
- First reconize Tortoises (land based), Turtles (fresh water) and Sea Turtles (Salt water/Marine) are different.
- Turtles have been around for 220 million years!
- Turtles are amniotes – they breathe air, lay their eggs on land and live in or around water.
- There are 356 known turtle species with around 120+ species are endangered.
- The study of turtles is called cheloniology (greek origin), or testudinology (latin origin).
- They are omnivores.
- They are cold blooded creatures which means they need a temperature controlled environment.
Before you get into Pet turtles
- They need daily attention.
- Frequent water changes as they are very sensitive.
- Beware: Indian turtles are banned from use as pets.
- Beware: Only captivity bred turles from overseas like the Red eared slider are allowed.
- Beware: Turtles are known to spread Salmonellosis especially in kids (and adults) if hygenie procedures are not followed.
Must see videos
Skills to learn to manage Turtles
- Understanding Turtles as reptiles in general.
- Knowing the local law and which turtles are allowed as pets.
- Understanding the environment impact of invasive turtle species (country/region specific).
- Learn how large the turtles can grow and how much space is needed for them to be comfortable.
- Knowing the needs of turtles (Space, temperature, comfort, UV, water, basking).
- Being aware of diseases that humans can contract from turtles and their symptoms. Staying safe from disease through hygiene precautions.
- Learning what makes for a good turtle habitat. Also the skill of maintaining the habitat periodically.
- Knowing what food they can eat and the food options available in the market.
- Understanding Turtle accessories, the vendors and the options available.
- Working out one-time and recurring expenditure towards turtle maintenance.
- Engaging, Feeding and Observing the turtle.
- Knowing the anatomy of a turtle.
- Understand symptoms of common turtle diseases (in Hindi), their causes, impact, first aid and treatment.
- Locating the nearest veterinarian who has expertise with turtles.
- Knowing the local and online forums for peer support.
Things you will need
- A Terrarium, Aquarium or or a large plastic container suitable for turtles.
- A basking area, either part of terrarium or made seperately.
- An underwater filter.
- A submersible heater to maintain temperature.
- Two flexible lamps for lighting and heating with UVA and UVB bulbs. Choose the right wattage for the bulbs.
- A good thermometer to measure temperature of water and the basking area.
- Turtle food.
- A couple of glass or plastic bowls for use as feeding area.
- A temporary plastic bowl (relatively much smaller than habitat) for housing the turtles during cleaning.
- Turtle medicines for quick first aid.
- Gloves to ensure you are safe while handling turtles.
- A small turtle enclosure that is mobile and covered to trasnport to the Vet.
A sample shopping list for you to get started quickly.
Setting up a Habitat
- Habitats tips – Setting uop Habitats from WikiHow.
You need to develop a daily routine for your turtle. Here are a few routines…
Websites & Portals
- AllTurtles – A great resource for understanding turtles.
- WikiHow – Great How-to articles on Turtle care.
- Turtleholic – A very useful site with guides and experience. Run by a turtle lover.
- Turtle conservancy – They focus on turtle awareness, habitat protection, conservancy worldwide.
Expert advise (Youtube)
- The Turtle Girl – 90+ videos from a US based Turtle enthusiast.
- Steffi J – 40+ Turtle videos from Mexican reptile enthusiast.
- Syed Shah – Very useful videos (30+) and practical tips for turtle care. In Hindi (with English sub titles).
- Earthing1984 – 40 plus videos on Turtle care.
- The Turtle Hub – Numerous how-to articles on Turtle care.
- Howcast – Numerous articles on pet turtle care.
- Shelled reptiles – Hundreds of videos on Turtle care.
- Expertvillage – Advise from various experts including those by Tim Cole from Austin Reptile service.
- Dr. Nagendar Yadav – Tips on healing diseases from the Indian Vet. (very helpful!).
- Kong Yuen Sing – A Singaporean Vet with amazing videos that detail turtle treatment.
- The Turtle room – From experts focussed Turtle conservation. Covers numerous species.
Vendors for Accessories
- Easypets.in – Chennai based vendor with reasonable prices.
- Amazon – India | US
- Exo Terra – Canadian reptile end to end service provider, research and expeditions! (Amazon, Youtube)
- Zoo Med – Specialised California based for Terrarium products and food. (Amazon, Youtube)
- Zilla – Wisconsin based end to end service provider. (Amazon, Youtube)
- Nomoypet – China based reptile equipment manufacturer. (Amazon)
- Fluker Labs – LA based accesories provider (Amazon, Youtube)
- Aqua by Nature – Provder of Aquarium and Turtle accessories. (Amazon)
- Komodo – UK based provider for terrariu, accessories and turtle food. (Amazon)
- RS Electrical – Zongshan, China based Vendor for reasonably priced Heaters, Filters, pumps, etc (Amazon)
Avoiding health issues
- Ensuring turtles are Active and feed regularly.
- Clean water with good filtration. Turtles are messy by nature.
- Right water temperature, as turtles are cold blooded.
- Dry Basking area to keep them dry to dry their shells.
- Access to sun for 15 mins or many hours of UVA lights.
- UVB light is a must. Source of Vitamin D3.
- Ensure Balanced nutrition and Vitamins – protein pellets, greens (Vitamin K), allowable veggies like carrots, cucumber (Vitamin A).
- Turtles are omnivores, cater to it.
- Calcium is key to growing their shell. (Kale or Spring greens).
- Be clear about veggies to avoid.
- Turtle health and hygience – A set of articles from WikiHow.
- First aid for Turtles – Good resources from AllTurtles.
- Turtles struggle due to lack of caretaker awareness of Turtle issues – The importance of taking them to a vet.
- Videos addressing issues: Swollen Eye | Under weight | Shell rot | Rotten shell sides | Soft Shell | Rapid breathing | Lopsided swim | Ear abscess
Turtle Vets in India
Turtle Species in India
- 29 species of and Turtles and Tortoises in India as per the environemnt group FTTI.
- A WWF Field guide to Indian Turtles and Tortoises.
- Turtles of Karnataka (per JLR explore).
- Policies and rules from Animal Welfare Board of India