International Turtle and Tortoise Week starts April 17th! These guys can make great pets, and have at times been quite popular children’s pets. However, there are a few things to think about before getting your little one a shelled buddy. As your Marion, IA area veterinarian, I list some things you need to know before hitting the pet store in this article.
They Can Carry Salmonella
This is one of the main reasons for restrictions against selling baby turtles, and is something to keep in mind if you’re considering getting a turtle for a child. You’ll need to be super diligent about hygiene, and making sure that your little one always washes their hands before and after touching the turtle.
When it comes to picking a child’s pet, many people want something that won’t live more than a few years. That’s definitely not the case with many of these guys. Some turtles can live over a century. In fact, there are turtles out there that have been passed down as family pets from generation to generation. Your grandchildren may well end up inheriting and taking care of your shelled pal!
They Can Be Invasive
Like most other animals, turtles tend to be very specifically suited to certain conditions. When pet turtles are released into the wild, they can upset delicate ecosystems, which can hurt local turtles. In fact, one of the most popular pet turtles, the red-eared slider, is now considered one of the world’s most invasive species!
They Get Big
Turtles and tortoises are very small and cute as babies. They always stay cute, but they don’t always stay small. A red-eared slider will someday need as much as 100 gallons of space in their habitat. That’s a lot more room than the small container you take them home in!
They Are Delicate5
Do you have other pets? You’ll need to be careful here, especially with dogs. Your canine buddy could get sick or injured if he tries to play with the turtle. (That probably wouldn’t be much fun for the turtle, either.) That doesn’t mean you can’t have both a dog and turtle: you’ll just need to keep them separated and/or under very close supervision.
Do you have questions or concerns about your pet turtle’s health or care? Contact me, your Marion, IA area veterinarian, today!