Keeping Terrapins as Pets: Some Basic Information

Keeping terrapins as pets can be a very fulfilling experience. These little reptiles are very interesting to watch and can live for up to forty years. Many children that have been keeping terrapins as pets will often have the same terrapin into adulthood.

What’s in a Name?

In the United States, the name terrapin normally refers to fresh or brackish water diamondback terrapins. However, in the United Kingdom, terrapin is generally the name given to all turtles that are kept as pets.

General Terrapin Information

A terrapin is usually smaller than a turtle and has a much lighter shell. However, many terrapins can grow up to twelve inches in diameter. Terrapins also have webbed feet, as they spend a great deal of time in the water. If you are considering keeping a terrapin as a pet, you need to know some basic care information as well.

Terrapin Habitat

Terrapins can be kept inside or outside. If you choose to keep your terrapin outside, you must provide a safe habitat, away from predators. Terrapins that are kept indoors will need quite a bit of room. Most experts recommend at least a 60-gallon tank. There must be a wet and dry area in the tank. Terrapins spend a great deal of time in the water, so it needs to be deep enough for them to swim.

You will also need a heat lamp if you are keeping terrapins as pets indoors. Terrapins have a difficult time regulating their body temperature. Usually, terrapins draw warmth from their surrounding. You also need to expose your terrapin to UV light, as this will aid in the synthesis of vitamins and minerals.

Terrapin Diet

Terrapins require a diet much like a regular turtle. The main difference is in their feeding habits. When keeping terrapins as pets, you will soon notice they are very messy eaters. Terrapins eat a wide variety of foods, including mealworms, crickets, vegetables such as kale and lettuce, and fruits such as pieces of bananas and strawberries. Cuttlefish bone is a good source of calcium.

During feedings, many people find it easier to move their terrapin to a separate container; however, it will depend upon how comfortable your terrapin is when picked up and moved. Terrapins generally do not like to be picked up.

Water is especially important to terrapins and must be kept clean and filtered. This will keep the bacteria from building up and making your terrapin sick. You’ll need to consider spring water instead of tap water when keeping terrapins as pets, to minimize the amount of chlorine in the water.

A Final Thought

When keeping terrapins as pets, you must realize the dedication needed to properly care for your reptile. Terrapins can be a great pet but will need the tank cleaned regularly and fresh water daily. You must also be sure the correct temperature is maintained in the tank. Terrapins must also be kept safe from small children and pets. Dropping a terrapin can prove fatal. While keeping terrapins as pets can be a lot of fun, it is also a great deal of responsibility.

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