Turtle behaviour facts
Usually when people plan to have a pet turtle, they just don’t grab a net, drive to the nearest pond or lake and wait to catch one. Instead, what they do is to drive to the nearest pet store and then choose one. However, do remember though, that the behavioural patterns of turtles in captivity and turtles in their natural habitat tend to be vastly different.
Turtles are in general solitary creatures that mostly remain submerged in their natural habitat, making it extremely challenging to study them. They are inherently shy creatures – so much so that they seldom contact amongst themselves outside of courtship and mating. There are certain turtles though, for example the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles that gather together in large numbers during nesting. But, even then there’s hardly any noticeable interaction amongst them.
Turtles usually require plenty of space to roam around. While it should not be an issue for those living in their natural habitat, not all owners can afford to bestow their pet turtles with the same level of luxury. This is because, due to climate factors, turtles are usually kept in enclosures. However, you should always make sure that your pet turtle is provided with a certain minimum amount of space – at least three times the width and five times the length of the turtle. Most turtles require swimming in warm, shallow water for 15-25 minutes at least once a week. While there are certain breeds in North America that hibernate during the winters, most of the breeds that you will generally come across in the pet shop do not display this trait. Most turtles, including the ones kept in captivity, are primarily diurnal – meaning they remain active during the daytime.
Usually, almost all female turtles can be easily kept in solitary without any notable problems. However, even if you own a group of female turtles, you will seldom
see them fighting or showing aggression to one-another. Instead, they tend to be really congregate. Even if there is a hint of aggression once in a blue moon due to food and/or nesting territory, these feuds are usually pretty short-lived.
Males, however, are not happy when left alone without a female companion – more so, when the mating season is approaching. Males in a group tend to be aggressive with one-another at times. They mostly fight over females. It is also worth mentioning that
keeping turtles from different breeds together is not recommended.
Turtles like to develop a daily routine for themselves and accordingly schedule their eating, sunning, sleeping, bathing and other tasks. They just love to cover themselves in leaves, and dig deep in soil. Remember though, since turtles are not cuddly and do not like being handled excessively, they don’t make the ideal pets for small children. In addition, they also pose a threat of infection.
Even though turtles hold the mental capacity to recognize their caretaker, it is yet to be
clear whether or not they are capable of forming any sort of emotional bond.