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Living with a turtle


Turtles live a long time. If you take care of your Red-Eared Slider properly, it can live anywhere from 20 to 40 years.


Children and turtles



They are not like goldfish who almost take of themselves. They are not the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles". They can bite and in some cases can cause salmonella poisoning. Turtles are meant as pets for responsible adults. Of course, children and turtles can co-exist, just use common sense. A young child should never handle a turtle under any circumstances, even when supervised. Young children have a tendency to put things in their mouth. This is bad news for both(the turtle and the child). Older children, perhaps 10 years old and older can handle and feed the turtle with supervision.


Any body of water has a potential to case drowning and littles fingers may appear a tempting snack for turtle. A good precaution is to put a grate or screen over the top of the tank. Or, you can put the tank in an area not easily accessible to children. Make sure that your tank is on a stable surface, because of a child. It can trie to look in the inside of the tank, so anyway BE CAREFUL.

Turtles and bacteria

Turtles can carry bacteria which is know as salmonella and several others icky bacteria. This is the bacteria you can get from eating raw meat.

Please, follow these hints

  • Wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap after handling the turtle or anything that may come in contact with the turtle or turtle water.
  • Do not let your turtle near the food preparation surface and anything near kitchen table
  • Be careful where you dump your tank water. The best way(and I am doing that) is flushing it down the toilet.,
  • Be careful where you wash your filter and anything from the tank. It is not the good idea to use the kitchen sink. The bathroom sink or bathub is good. Please, disinfect whatever sink or something else you use with a good anti-bacterial cleaner.

Handling your turtle

  • Be gentle with your turtle! Take your turtle out of his tank and play with him.
  • Do not put your turtle on it’s back! Never turn him on his back just for fun or poke at his head to watch it retract. It is cruel. Take care of him/her and you will enjoy your turtle for many years.
  • Remember that turtles can do bite. Also watch out for claws.
  • Do not lift your turtle by any limb or tail!
  • When picking your turtle up make sure you lift it by the side of its shell(avoiding the head) and place your palm flat under the bottom of the shell. Keep your other hand on top of the shell, holding securely, so that it will not fall and if it tries to escape, you have a firm grip.

Caring for your turtle

  • It is very important to keep your turtle clean. That is very easy. You can use your old toothbrush and gently clean their shells with it.
  • Commercial pellet food, fresh food(crickets, feeder fish, moths, spiders, bugs)
  • If not taken care properly, turtles stink!!! You have be careful to keep the tank clean or it will smell.
  • Turtles eat their own stool. This behavior seems disgusting, but is quite natural for turtles.
  • Skin shedding: Turtles shed skin. A little peeling occasionally is fine. They shed their skin like other reptiles, but more continuously. As long as the shed skin is thin and tranlucent, and you don’t see anything unusual on the skin, and the shedding is not excessive, do not worry.
  • Shell shedding: Turtles shed occasionally the outermost layer of their scutes. They are thin, translucent scutes.
  • Turtles are VERY messy eaters. Most books I have read recommend you fedd them outside of their tanks.
  • They can bite, and it hurts. Larger turtles can break skin. Remember to be careful when handling your turtles and be especially careful if someone unfamiliar with turtles is caring or handling them.
  • Take your turtle out of tank and play with him. Remember to be gently with him!





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Site Created: 1/8/2002, Last modified: 12/7/2003 by Petra Grujic