Turtles

Turtles are living beings with needs, wants, and feelings, just like you and I. They require time, money, love, understanding, and dedication. Adopting a turtle is not something to take lightly. While they are amazing pets, they are also a serious commitment. Turtles have a long-life span (30-40+ years) and need lots of space. If this sounds like something you are prepared for, then you and your turtle can live happily together for a long time! Note: this section applies to terrapins. Terrapins are turtles that live on land and in water.  


Animal Care - Turtles

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Did you know that turtles don't have external ears? They can, however, still hear. They have thin flaps of skin over their internal ear bones.

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Turtle shells are made up of 60 different bones that are fused together.

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Most species of turtles that are kept in NZ will grow to a shell length of about 20 – 35cm.

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Certain companion animal turtles have been known to live for up to 50 years.

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Turtles cannot leave or outgrow their shells, in fact, their shell is a part of their skeleton and so it grows with them.

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Female turtles grow to be larger than male turtles, sometimes double the size!

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A turtle's upper shell is called the “carapace," while the lower shell is called the "plastron."

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Turtles are among the older reptiles and have been on the earth for around 215 million years. They have been around since the dinosaurs!

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Turtles do not have teeth but their bite is still sharp! Take care when handling turtles.

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Turtles like red-eared sliders have webbed feet which makes them strong swimmers.

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You can’t control how big your companion turtle will get, they will grow no matter the size of their enclosure.

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Turtles are messy eaters.

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Some turtles have what is called a keel. This is a raised ridge along the top of their shell that runs from the front to the back.

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Even though turtles breathe air and need land in their enclosure, they can stay underwater for long periods of time. This is because they can absorb small amounts of oxygen from the water. 

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A turtle’s body temperature depends on their environment. This is why they need a heating lamp.