are reptiles - cold-blooded creatures, i.e., their
bodies depend on outside sources if heat to maintain
a favorable temperature. It is critical therefore
that the habitat provides them an optimal temperature.
Be generous with warmth. Many turtles get sick and
die because they were too cold for too long.
However, as large parts
of India don't experience low temperatures except
in winters, you need to be more careful of not letting
the temperature go to high in summers! You will also
be surprised at the impact a simple room air-conditioner
can have on the habitat temperature, so monitor the
temperature carefully especially in changing seasons.
In their natural habitats
a wide range of temperature zones are available, in
a gradient between dry, warm, sunny places and moist,
cooler, shady nooks. While it is difficult to provide
the wide range of temperature and humidity zones in
a captive habitat we can definitely try and provide
a temperature gradient so that the turtles can manage
their body temperature requirements themselves.
on creating a temperature gradient, remember that
it is essential that the temperature of the tank doesn't
fall below 21.1 oC (70 oF).
The ideal range for:
Water area: 21.1 oC - 26.6 oC (70 oF-80 oF)
Land area: 26.6 oC - 32.2 oC (80 oF-90 oF)
To Convert [ oF to
oC : (oF-32)/1.8 ] and [ oC to oF : 32+ 1.8(oC)]
We recommend investing
in tape thermometers which can be stuck to the outside
of the glass for routine monitoring. It is useful
to additionally buy a glass thermometer to occasionally
monitor the temperature on the land area, or any other
specific part of the tank.
Temperature in the
water area can be maintained with a basic submersible
heater with an in-built thermostat. Make sure it is
hidden behind some tank decorations, as turtles have
a habit of bumping in and breaking the glass covering…And
that could cause electrocution! The temperature on
the land area can be achieved by keeping a basking
light focussed on the land area.
A moderate temperature
gradient can be created from the land area side end
the tank to the other quite easily. Normally, due
to the basking light both the land and the water temperature
near the land area side would be a little higher.
If you position your submersible heater below the
land area the water in that end of the tank would
be at a higher temperature than the other end!
All this was the information
for daytime temperatures. At night make sure you have
switched off the basking light, and let the tank temperature
drop by approximately 3 oC (5 oF) but do not let the
temperature fall below 17 oC - 20 oC (62.6 oF-68 oF).
In the typical dry
Indian summers it would be beneficial to spray a mist
of water in the tank, and on the land area using the
easily available plant sprayer, 4-5 times a day. If
you stay in extremely dry climate - it is worthwhile
to make a humidity booster.
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