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Turtles 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.

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