Turtle behaviour facts

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.

Posted on August 13, 2013

Juvenile Turtle Diet

Juvenile Turtle Diet

Usually most turtles live off a diet that includes both animals and plants. However, there are many turtle breeds whose eating habits drastically change as they surpass adolescence. Most turtles are usually meat eating or carnivores up till adolescence, and then go on to being omnivores after attaining adulthood. Simply put, it’s not always the case that the eating habits of a juvenile turtle will be the same as an adult. Therefore, if you own, or are planning to own a young turtle, it is imperative that you learn what baby turtles mostly eat, and in what quantity.

One of the most common types of pet turtle that changes its diet with age is the red-eared slider. During the early years, the typical red-eared slider turtle prefers meat over plants. Crickets, earthworms, snails etc are important sources of protein and other healthy elements for the juvenile turtles.

Similarly, the green sea turtle is another breed that drastically changes its diet upon reaching adulthood. The average green sea turtle resorts to both meat and plants during its infancy and adolescence. The typical diet of the younger lots in this breed comprise of a combination of both animals (including crab and squid) and plants. Adult green sea turtles, on the other hand, depend heavily on plants.

Baby loggerhead turtles also eat both animals and plants. Since they have incredibly powerful jaws right from an early age, these turtles are quite capable of eating even hard shelled sea creatures such as crabs.

Apart from these breeds and a few others, most turtle breeds have the same eating habits in adulthood as they do in infancy.

It is worth mentioning that baby turtles that belong to the omnivore group come equipped with strong jaws that help them to crush through the hard-shells of other smaller creatures.

These turtles are primarily reliant on leafy plants, seaweed, minnows and other smaller living beings, including insects, fishes, worms and even other turtles. Interestingly, baby snapping turtles often mistake another turtle’s tail for a worm, and end up consuming it.

Always remember that before feeding a turtle, you must first gather knowledge about its breed and age. The natural habitat of the turtle will help you know what items to feed it, and what not to. Apart from that, you will also have to learn about the conditions under which it will thrive.

As they grow older, turtles tend to require more amounts of protein than can be obtained from insects, cooked meat and eggs, leafy vegetables. Certain breeds also prefer flowers and fruits. However, never ever feed a baby (or adult) turtle dairy products. This is primarily because their stomach does not have the capacity to digest lactose. In addition, also make it a point not to feed your pet turtle processed food.

Posted on July 26, 2013