Pet Life Magazine, New Zealand Pet Life Magazine Issue 4 Spring 2017 - Page 9
free in the wild.
- Big tanks with loads of swimming space make for happy
turtles. Hatchlings can start out in a tank with a length of 1m
but by 6-12 months that should be 120cm long x 50cm wide x
- The water needs to be at least 30-35cm deep, and basking
areas are required.
- Hatchlings require a water temperature of 24C-26C. After 1
year of age, reduce the temperature to 20C in summer. By 2
years of age, a heater is no longer required in summer but a
temperature of 22C-24C is recommended in winter. Don’t make
it too hot, though, because being too hot for too long can lead to
rapid growth causing organ damage.
- Turtles are messy and go to the toilet in the water – keep
water clean by partially changing it every week, and
an external filter helps.
- Turtles need UVA and UVB light
for healthy functioning and
strong shells – make
sure nothing blocks the
light fr om dir ectly
reaching the turtle, such as glass
as glass or Perspex covers.
- A heat source is needed to get
turtles out of the water to dry out.
- Don’t put a lid on the tank
because condensation will
build up, causing shell rot
- Make an attractive living
area: stones on the bottom
of the tank should be big enough that they can’t be swallowed;
don’t give large rocks that could tumble and cause injury; give
driftwood for scratching against.
- Turtles over 15cm can live outdoors in a fenced-off pond
enclosure in a sunny spot. Don’t use concrete – pond liners
are fine, or a natural bottom. Kit out enclosure with logs and
artificial grass for basking areas, and provide a nesting area for
females. You can use a 50/50 sand-organic compost mix, about
- Don’t attempt hibernation if you don’t know what you are
- Feed live worms, snails, woodlice and other insects, and
commercially made foods such as pellets.
- Feed a quantity the size of the turtle’s head – feed hatchlings
daily and adults every second day.
- Give greens such as water weeds, mesclun salad, carrot
sticks, and kumara pieces as often as you like.
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