What is a good starter turtle???

Discussion in 'Turtles' started by Mhswidder, Jun 14, 2004.

  1. Mhswidder

    Mhswidder Embryo

    My 8 year old Daughter is trying to talk me into getting her a turtle, I am thinking about it even though I know ll be the one caring for it. My Question is what is a good starter turtle??? I have many reptiles but have never had turtles. Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. A good starter is a red-eared slider :mrgreen:
  3. Kiryu

    Kiryu Embryo

    I wouldn't go with a Red Eared Slider, they grow 9-12 inches long. And you'll end up having them live in an aquarium that is awfully expensive. Go with a Texas Map Turtle, these turtles grow 3.75inches for a maximum of males and 5inhces as a maximum for females. Check Kingsnake classifieds for baby-adult turtles. Check www.austinsturtlepage.com for info on all turtles.
  4. Hummingbird

    Hummingbird Embryo

    i'm with kiryu - red eared sliders are *not* good starter turtles simply because the females get to be at least 9" long (and that's just the shell length). and when you purchase a turtle (especially a young one), it's hard to determine the sex and you might end up with a huge female that needs at *least* a 90 gallon tank.

    you don't have to go with a texas map - all map turtles are great. they stay small (most females - the larger of the sexes in most aquatic turtles - rarely reach 8"). they tend to be shy, but most will let you handle them with ease. hatchlings eat crickets, earthworms, snails, and feeder fish. they can also be given a few commercial turtle sticks (like 'reptomin' or 'mazuri' brand) each week. as they get older they should eat more fruits and veggies. by the time they're a year and a half old, maps should be eating about 75% meat (crickets, worms, feeder fish, etc) and about 25% fruits and veggies (carrot skins, any berries, banana, dandelion greens, kale, romaine lettuce, and duck weed are great). a varied diet is always best - as with most herps. all turtles can go with a surprisingly small amount of food. young ones should only be fed the amount of food that will fit into their heads, once a day. that's it! adults should be fed the amount of food that will fit into their heads, about 5 times per week. an adult male map needs at *least* a 60 gallon tank while an adult female should have at *least* a 75 gallon.

    painted turtles are great, too. many of them (especially southern painteds) stay small and they are friendly and pretty animals. same basic care as maps.

    if you're not interested in a lot of water, you could go with a spotted turtle. they are rare and expensive, but are beautiful and aren't wonderful swimmers so they only need a few inches of water; even as adults. you could also go with a box turtle. box turtles are *great* for beginners. they are land turtles and only need a dish of water they can get into and drink from. they eat basically the same thing as i mentioned above for the map turtles. an adult box turtle should have at *least* a 20 gallon long tank. i'd highly recommend a 40 gallon breeder unless space is a problem.

    *all* turtles (a few exceptions do exist) need uv light, so no matter what kind of turt you get you must provide a full spectrum uva and uvb fluorescent tube-type light less than a foot above a completely dry basking area. taking them out during the summer and/or building them an outdoor pen or pond is ideal, but often impossible. any outdoor enclosure must be escape proof and predator proof.

    i know i just gave a lot of info, but read it all (and what others have to say) to help you pick the right pal for your daughter. good luck!!!

    p.s. if you live in the us (or canada, i believe) try J&S Herpetoculture and Turtle Town. i'd stay away from local petstores. their animals are often not well cared for, plus you're more likely to find only red eared sliders at local petstores. also, please check to see if there is a local reptile show in your town/state. there more than likely are a few each month. that's the best place to purchase herps. the people who go to reptile shows are breeders who know their animals well and care about them. plus you can actually pick the specific animal you want. lastly - consider adopting an abandoned turtle or tortoise. there are plenty that need homes and most of the ones up for adoption or fostering are physically healthy and just need love. check out Massachusettes Turtle Rescue, Turtle Homes, or NCTRR. there are many more rescues and breeders, just do a google search for them. the ones i have listed here i know and trust, though.

    also, please check out Turtle Times for more specific information on different species and their requirements. a great online turtle community. i'm there as 'hummingbird', as well. :wink:
  5. BeardieGuy

    BeardieGuy Embryo

    I like Painted Turtles, I find them all over up here, or you should get an Alligator Snappin Turtle! haha 5 ft long, uhhh no nevermind lol
  6. Hummingbird

    Hummingbird Embryo

    NOT funny, mike!!! :D :wink: :)
  7. i agree with hummingbird. box turtles are all i have and there are a variety of them and some very pretty ones, of course i think all my turtles are pretty. box turtles need a water pan they can move around in and get in and out of, and the water needs to be about to the part where their top shell edge is, they liuke to soak and need to as well. give them baths since they can carry salminella, and more often if they live outside. mine live outside and i bath them at least once a month.i use anti bacterial handsoap,a mild soap that wont dry them out or hurt their eyes. they dont really mind it eighther, on occasion i let them swim since they are in a cage and could use excersize, but do not leave them unattended and dont let them swim for more than 5 minutes max. they arent really slow creatures as people say they can move and will stalk and chase their food. mine i have had 1 for 3 years, one for 2 years, and i for one year, they will eat a wider variety as you have them longer, my oldest will eat almost anything worms, hotdogs, lettuce, broccolli, cauliflower, strawberries, tomatoes,grubs,crawdads,grapes,olives,bologne,almost anything. but when i started i fed them strawberries , worms, and lettuce, those are good starter foods. you can try different things over time and they will become easier to feed, not so picky. they can at first go without eating and its best to not handlke them alot at first just feed them, when they start eating you can start handling them, if you handle them alot right off the bat they can get so stressed they wont eat or drink and they will die. also talking to them when you feed them is a good idea, mine have got to where when they hear my vioce they get up and out ready to eat, i have let mine roam my bedroom before, but be careful they are good hiders. they also like places to hide, stripped newspapers or grass or even hay, in the winter i use plants and a box with a door cut in it for them. they like to be hidden. now alot of people say that they are loners, mine are not loners and never have been my male was so much happi9er when i got him a girlfriend and my newest ones adjust better if they can follow my turtles lead.i rewccomend getting a pair, most of the time they wont mate in captivity so you dont really have to worry about that, but they do like someone to be with them. i wouldnt get two right on the same day i would start with a male, and when he starts eating and rummaging get him a female. males may fight but i havent ever seen them fight, but i would rather have babies than wounded or dead turtles.they dont get real big but they sometimes are binge eaters, during egg season they can lose their appetite and through winter they can also lose it alot, and if they dont eat at all after a week and you have tried a variety of foods, i suggest you get some advice from the place you got it or a vet. do not let them stay on their back for very long, and if they are not happy they have been known to commit suicide by laying upside down on their backs or not eating, if your turtle is doing that hes not happy so see if you can get him happier.

    i hope this helps you if you get a box turtle,and they are very gentle creatures.
  8. Hummingbird

    Hummingbird Embryo

    please don't feed your box turtle hot dogs, bologna, etc! do you feed him mcdonald's, too!?!?!? those things aren't good for *humans*, much less turtles!! please stick to the food list i gave above and/or the food list on a professional box turtle care sheet or website . . . please! here's 2 great care sheets from people i know and trust: Box Turtle Care Sheet Pages and CTTC

    as for commiting suicide, i seriously doubt it. suicide is intentional and if a box turtle (or any animal) is in poor conditions, it is highly likely to stop eating, etc and will likely die. this is not suicide, this is a mistreated animal.
  9. biochic

    biochic Embryo

    Okay, I'd just like to back hummingbird up on that suicide thing. Animals don't commit suicide. Especially turtles. If they are sick, mistreated, unfed, or otherwise dying, they will in some cases just give up because of lack of energy or access to food, water, or shelter. Most animals when ill will stop eating due to loss of apetite, just like any human does. It's not their choice, it's what happens when they are sick. Animals need stimulation as well and sometimes higher organisms will 'waste' due to lack of stimulation, which is why small, empty cages are so wrong for most animals. They need to explore and manipulate their environments in one way or another. Also, most animals carry salmonella. You can get it from barnyard sheep. The biggest reasons to soak boxies and tortoises is for them to get water and you can also use a baby hairbrush to clean their shells (with soap and water; i'd use baby shampoo and don't get it in the eye and mouth, just the shell) just to keep them tidy, not to wash off bacteria. Don't let them free roam, that's too dangerous; they could get into all kinds of trouble. Don't mean to be bustin' your chops coldblooded, but a lot of what you said is incorrect and possibly harmful to boxies.
  10. I agree with the others, Don't go with a RES...

    I saw a RES female who at least has a carapace legnth about 15"...I'm not kidding, she was a monster! beautiful though...really dark.

    Mud turtles stay small...maps like they mentioned.
    My first turtle is my ornate wood...he's a doll! but PRICEY.
  11. okay i have to disagree in one matter, i agree about the hotdog thing and i have only fed it once. however when wild turtles are taken in sometimes they will be unhappy and stop eating or drinking and often when they are weakened like that if they get on their back they will not even try to turn over, and die, i guess it wouldnt be considered suicide but like humans they will give up hope and quit trying, luckily i havent had a turtle do that.

    i feed them bioled eggs is tha5t unhealthy for them? i wouldnt think so but it could be i guess. i just thought that if hotdogs were meat it would be a good food, guess not though. i still think box turtles are the best starters though they are very good and sweet little guys.
    one more question, do you guys think thqat turtles are happier alone? i donbt and its been my expierience that they like company, but just wanted to see what others thought.

    you said alot of what i said was wrong, what else was wrong 5t6hat i need to know about? i know you guys arent trying to be mean or anything, i would do the same thing if someone wass wrong about the care of their animals thank you i am glad i know that now, i want my turtles to be healthy, im glad they dont like it too much though, they really are spiuoled rotton though that is for sure, i keep them healthy too. i am going to post their pictures when i can.

    mhswidder dont feed them hotdogs or bologne. i think the rest is okay though.
  12. Hummingbird

    Hummingbird Embryo

    if they are weakened they physically can't turn themselves over - they're not killing themselves on purpose. they're just not well-cared-for and cannot physically survive any longer. they're not mentally giving up and purposely not eating or purposely laying on their backs so they will die. being unable to help yourself and purposely not helping yourself are two completely opposite things.

    i wouldn't feed them a lot of boiled egg. they're pretty high in fat. it's a great treat, though. maybe half a boiled egg per adult boxie every couple months or so.
  13. okay thanks i understand, they really like them exscpecially the yolk:}. i havent ever had one suicidal, i have caught ones that get very depressed though. i catch them through the summer and they room with my turtles for a week or so. also i put them across the road when i see them so that they dont get hit, the people here sometimes pick them up to eat them and the eggs they are traveling to lay, and others just like to run them over. peopple sicken me sometimes. i make my dad stop so i can move them even if we are late:}} and now he even does it!! my turtles are pretty happy though and they like eachother. i have one male and two females so the male is real happy;}. how are snapping turtles as pets?
    also i read that box turtles eat some mushrooms that are piosonus to man is it safe for me to feed them mushrooms i find? or will they eat the wrong kind if i give it to them? i have had them for three years and still have questions onb occasions and theres always more to learn.
  14. Hummingbird

    Hummingbird Embryo

    you've probably never caught one that's suicidal because ANIMALS DO NOT COMMIT SUICIDE. have you read our previous posts about this issue?

    they are NOT depressed - hungry or cold maybe - but NOT depressed!

    oh my god that is SO dangerous! do you have any idea how many wild parasites, diseases, viruses, bacteria, etc that you are bringing your captive turtles into contact with when you do that!? not only will the wild turtles make your captive turtles sick, but the captive turtles could make the wild turtles sick and then when you release them they take the captive diseases back to other turtles in the wild! PLUS the wild turtles could very well bite or injure your captive turtles. IF you take turtles out of the wild and keep them for awhile (which i beg you not to do) please at least put them in their own cage that can be disinfected after you release them!

    please please PLEASE do *not* get a snapping turtle! i beg of you - for SO many reasons!!

    don't feed them ANYTHING you find in the wild. remember that list of 'approved foods' i gave you in another thread? please only go by that list and ONLY get food at the petstore and/or grocery store!!

    i'm so sorry that it seems like i'm picking on you or that i'm ranting at you, coldbloodedkeeper, but the things that you say you do are often very dangerous. not only is it dangerous for YOU to do these things, but when you post about doing these things online OTHER people can read it and may think that what you are doing is okay. not only do i fee like i need to stop you from doing things that are wrong, but i feel like i need to warn others who read this about how dangerous what you are doing is. pleas don't take it personally, but PLEASE read everything people post before you post or ask questions. please.
  15. my turtles were wild so therefore i do not fear for that also i clean my turtles and the ones i bring home so therefore to help stop the spreading of anything, i also do not take in turtles that have oblivious signs of sickness. i have had my turtle for three years the longest one. and have not had any problems, however i do want other peoiples views that is why i came here, i know turtles suffer sil;ently but on occasion they have oblivious signs. also my turtles are outside through the summer in big cages . i try to make their home as natural as possible for them to be happy. and since these turtles were orighinally wild they have biult up immunities captive bred turtles havent.
    also the ones i catch are not hungry or cold its over a hundred degrees here in the summer, and they are always fed plenty.

    im sorry if i seem snappy but it does seem like you are picking on me. i know i dont know alot about them, however i do take the best care of them i can possibly do, i spend an hour with them sometimes just to let them roam the yard and i just follow them around, so they get excercise too. i am also not stupid to them i knew alot about them before i even tried to keep one as a pet, i read as much as i could get my hands on and still do. please if something i say isnt right be gentle with me about it, i am trying to learn more thats why i am here.

    oh and i asked about the snapping turtle not because i want one but because i notice more and more people keeping them and always were told that they were horrid pets so wanted to know if that was true. and if i had 5 or so hours oin the computer i would read everything but its hard enough for me to get an hour, so i try to skim through everything ands find what im looking for if i cant i post my questions sometimes i have enough time to read alot but i am trying to make my way through everything with so little time. i just dont have time my gramma is sick and so i pick up the slack for her and my aunt because my aunts just lazy, also i go to a group every week{mandatory} the only free time i have i try to spend with all my animals and then theres still chickens to put up and dogs to let loose, chicks to count, and catch. then there is the taking care of my brother {2}and sister{8}.

    im not trying to get pity i am just trying to explain why i dont have alot of time to read everything. and right now its an emergency thing...my turtles bred for the first time and i am trying to find out what i need to do. also i have tadpoles that are turning past their4 stage, and just blew all my money to get everything they need, and borrowed fromn my dad so now i have to work to pay him off. i am sure you know how busy life gets and right now is just one of those times for me. i am sorry if i seem to ask stupid questions but please understand i am tryng to learn my way through this board, so soon i will be able to got to the right places for the right things. im sorry to trouble everyone however this is the best place i have found to learn these things.
  16. Hummingbird

    Hummingbird Embryo

    just because your turtles were originally wild does NOT mean that they are "immune" and cannot give diseases to other turtles or that other turtles cannot give diseases to them! *please* keep any animals you catch (or purchase) in SEPERATE containers from your other animals for at *least* a month before housing them together. i wouldn't house them together at ALL, though.
  17. well considering i have done it for 3 years and have had NO problems i think i will continue. and yes since they were wild they do have immunities captive bred turtles dont not saying they are invincible but that i do know. however all of my turtles house together and are healthy and happy. i am not an idiot and maybe you dont know quite as much as you think about my turtles i come here to ask questions and learn not to get told how to do things, i know mostly what i am doing and have tried very hard to be nice to you however you seem to just have a problem with everything about me so im going to let it go. i do not think you are dumb or intentionally mean but you do seem to be rather cold and rude. you have succeeded in making me feel like a complete fuc**** idiot and now i feel like a jerk for reacting this way. if you really have that much of an issue with me try explaining why instead of just saying im wrtong, i dont learn from negative critisicm and it makes me in a hateful mood, i get it all the time and this is one place i dont have to have it, so i am asking you to please stop criticizing me so rudely. you are probably even well educated but not everything is absolute, in fact most isnt, different animals have different personalities and different needs they cant all be treated the same nor can humans.
  18. Hummingbird

    Hummingbird Embryo

    i'm sorry you feel that way, coldbloodedkeeper, i really am. i also have tried really hard to be nice to you, but it *does* seem that a lot of the things you do are incorrect. i also don't appreciate you using profanity with me (even though you covered it with *'s). i've told you several times that i really don't mean to sound 'nit-picky' and other people have often agreed with me on many of things i have mentioned. i have tried to be as polite as possible with you, but you often don't listen to what i say or continue to contradict me (and others). i find THAT rude.
    the fact is, housing animals in the same cage when you don't know the background of one of the animals is *dangerous* and i would not recommend it to anyone and i doubt anyone here would.

    p.s. i did not say your turtles didn't have immunities - i said "just because your turtles were originally wild does NOT mean that they are "immune" and cannot give diseases to other turtles or that other turtles cannot give diseases to them!" i also didn't say that you shouldn't house your turtles together - i said that you shouldn't house WILD CAUGHT turtles with other turtles until you *quarantine them*.

    also, i have explained WHY everything you have done wrong is wrong. you just refuse to listen! go back and read any post from me about anything that i thought you did was wrong - i always initially explained to you why you shouldn't do that thing . . . but you always IGNORE ME!!

    when you continue to ignore what i say and ignore my suggestions, THAT is rude. i am NOT being rude when i *finally* have to use bold type to get your attention because you refuse to listen to me.
  19. i am not trying to refuse to listen, to me i am just simply trying to tell you that you come across very mean to me, and after all this time i have tried to do my best and thought i was doing good now its all wrong! its very frustrating and i am sorry i used profanity and was rude in that last message , this is gonna sound stupid but you hurt my feeling and made me feel stupid. you just did come off harsh, i gues you are just upfront about everything?thats good but i took it wrong.

    i am done arguing though and i will not do those things anymore. and now i feel like a butthole, which matbe i am but i am going to ask you if we canstop and start over i will let it all go if you will forgive me for being{excuse me for this} an as*. i am sorry i reacted that way i really am and i am sorry to have been well umm...ignoring of what youy said i just did not think the way i done things was wrong. i have more to learn obliviously. but here it goes i9 appologized and am going to start fresh.

    hello my name is samantha i am 14, live in the country in the state of mo. i like a lot of things that would take up alot of time to type so im not going too.

    p.s. what does university mean???on your thing at the bottom, if you dont mind me asking.
  20. Hummingbird

    Hummingbird Embryo

    i am very sorry if i came across mean to you, i certainly did not mean to - HOWEVER - i have gotten very frustrated with you not listening to anyone. it's not just me, either - other people have told you things and you just keep repeating your same old wrong information and don't really consider what we've said. THAT seems mean to me, but i've never told you i think you're mean because you don't listen. it seems like when you ignore suggestions, everyone else around here just starts to ignore you, but i can't seem to do that. i guess i'm too stubborn and i feel the need to fight back with you to make you understand. that's why it seems like *I* am the "mean one". believe me - there are others that agree with me, but they just don't feel like arguing.

    samantha, you need to understand that you hurt peoples' feelings when you say we are wrong, don't pay attention to us, and contradict what we say! you're not the only one here with hurt feelings and i don't like you telling me that your feelings are hurt when MY FEELINGS (and probably the feelings of others you have ignored) are the ones that were hurt *first* AND i never did anything that should have hurt your feelings! the reason i can sound so harsh is because by the time i make a harsh statement you have refused to agree or listen numerous times and i get frustrated!

    and after all this time and all this argument, you finally admit that you HAVE been ignoring us because you thought you were always right. NOBODY is always right! that's why we're here! i learn new stuff everyday here and when i don't know how to do something i ASK. if someone here says i am doing something wrong i take an honest look at that and look at different sources and talk to different people and if i AM really doing something wrong i change it. if you come to a forum like this thinking that you are all-knowing, it just isn't going to work.

    when you start dealing with people who have cared for reptiles and amphibians as long as some of the people on these boards have, you have to realize that they take things VERY seriously and when their expertise is questioned, they get very defensive. i have held my tongue a LOT about some of things you (and others) have said and done and tried not to sound harsh, but apparently i've failed and for that i am sorry.

    like i said in my last post, i HAVE tried to explain to you what you did wrong and WHY it was wrong, but you won't listen (or maybe you don't understand - if so, ask me to clarify!).

    rule #1 about keeping reptiles and amphibians: do NOT house different species together (especially amphibians because they secrete mucus and toxins and that are often deadly to one another)

    rule #2 about keeping reptiles and amphibians: do NOT house wild animals with other animals (wild or not) without having a looooong quarantine time

    please understand that no one sees you as a "butthole", we just see you as someone who is stubborn (like me) but doesn't have a whole lot of experience with reptiles and amphibians. we want you here and we want to help you, but when you won't let us help you it becomes very upsetting (to me, at least). keep in mind that just because i don't put a smiley face at the end of all my sentences does NOT mean i am angry or i hate you or think you are stupid.

    p.s. you're confusing the words "oblivious" and "obvious". "oblivious" means that you are not aware of something. "obvious" means that something can not be missed and is well-known.

    p.p.s i am a 5th year college student getting dual degrees (one in psychology and one in biology). i have worked int he biology department at my college since i was a freshman. i take care of their 'living collection' of animals - mostly reptiles and amphibians. the "university" animal list is the animals i care for at my college and the "personal" animal list is the animals i currently personally own.


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