Terrapin Turtles – A Step by Step Instructional Guide

Owning terrapin turtles as pets can be a very rewarding hobby, but the average owners know next to nothing about them or how to look after them.

They are an excellent choice for a pet because they are generally low maintenance, relaxing creatures, and are ideal for families with young children, because they can be kept in a set area of your home, but be aware they do have a long life span and will require a life long commitment by the potential owner.

If the terrapin turtle is for a child you must take into consideration that they require a consistent maintenance regime and any child must be willing and able to commit to this responsibility.

They take less care than the usual pets such as cats and dogs, but they do have very specific requirements that you must be aware of before you buy to ensure your pet stays healthy and happy.

What is the difference between Terrapins and Turtles?

In the United Kingdom and some of it’s territories they are known as terrapins which is given to any kind of small turtle like creature that can be kept as a pet, where a turtle is generally the larger species that lives in the sea and cannot be kept as a pet.

In all other countries they are known generally as Terrapin Turtles or Turtles.

Different Variations of Terrapin Turtles

There are four kinds of terrapin turtles: Terrapins, Turtles, Tortoises and Sea Turtles.

Because terrapin turtles can move and live on both land and water, many people are unsure whether they are reptiles or amphibians

They are actually from the reptile family and belong to a group of reptiles known as the ‘Chelonia.group’

The ones that only live in water are known as aquatic and consist of sea turtles and fresh water terrapins. Sea turtles live in the world’s oceans and can grow in excess of 6 feet and cannot be kept as pets.

Then you have the semi-aquatic terrapin turtles that live in both land and water.

The terrapin turtles that live only on land are called terrestrial and are known as box turtles in the US and tortoises everywhere else. It is important to remember that box turtles or tortoises cannot swim and will drown if put in deep water.

Other differences in terrapin turtles are in their shell structure, size and their limbs. Sea turtles are the largest of this species and have the hardest shells in the reptile world. Fresh water terrapins on the other hand are much smaller and have softer shells.

How Big will they get when fully grown?

Before you decide what terrapin turtle to get you must also find out how big it will get when fully grown. They can be as small as 6 inches or as large as two feet!

They need different types of habitat!

Creating the right environment for terrapin turtles really depends on a number of factors which needs to be researched well.

Find out how big the breed will get when fully grown, remember they all start out small. You really don’t want the expense of buying a new habitat when they grow.

How many will you keep together? The more you have the larger the habitat will have to be.

You then need to decide if you will keep them indoors or outdoors and obtain the correct container to suite. This can vary from pond liners for outdoors to glass or plastic containers when kept indoors.

Whether kept indoors or outdoors the habitat that terrapin turtles live in has to be both wet and dry.

A very important factor that you must be aware of is that the temperature must be conducive for that species to ensure its well-being.




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