My 9 yr old son brought home a very small turtle (little larger than a silver dollar) from his grandpa's. They caught it by the river/pond. It is aquatic, but not sure exactly how to care for it? Bought a tank, added the essentials. I also just purchased a filter for it today. Any other advice would be much appreciated. Thanks,
personally I would explain to my son why it is wrong to remove an animal from its natural environment, if your son would like a pet take him to a pet shop and let him pick something out
most aquatic turtles have a 30+ year life span, besides the fact that that almost all reptiles, 99%, carry salmonella than can make you child seriuosly ill, and depending on the age of your child kill them
that is my views of the pet turtle, go find a nice guinea pig or bunny, they take way less care, smell way less, and your child can actually play with and pet
I have a turtle (red eared slider) and they are more to look at then to play with. We have it set up in a HUGE tank (the tank is at least 3 ft+ long). The turtle will need a rock cropping to climb up onto to "sun" itself- therefore you need a special bulb that you can get at the pet store. Set up the rocks at a gradual incline since they aren't great at rock climbing (and will damage the belly shell). Do NOT use gravel- it is very difficult to keep the aquarium clean (tried it myself so I know!).
You will probably have to invest in a decent filter cause boy are turtles messy! YUCK! Once it does get dirty it is very smelly and not fun to clean! ALWAYS wash your hands with antibacterial soap after touching the turtle or its water!!!
You may want to take it back to its natural setting. They are not "fun" pets and require a bit of upkeep. If you really want to keep it go and buy a book on how to properly feed and take care of them.
OH! Please don't get a bunny as a subsitute! They are just as difficult to keep clean (should be done almost every day in the summer). A lot of rabbits don't like being handled much and a bite from one is painful!!!
Rabbits really should be kept indoors since extreme heat will kill them if caged outside without proper shelter. There is also a chance of an outdoor rabbit getting attacked by a dog, cat, or other outside animal. Some rabbits get quite large too and the bigger they are the messier they are.
My parents have litter trained rabbits (quite easy to do) so I know they can be "cat like" BUT I have also been nipped by them and know it HURTS like heck! I usually don't suggest rabbits because they seem to be a bit on the high maintance side litter trained or not. Kids also loose interest very quickly once bitten by one since it is painful.
The first thing you need to do is check your state laws about the legality of keeping a turtle that was caught in the wild. Then, if you can legally keep it find out what kind it is. Turtles are very, very messy. If you don't keep their water clean the smell is ghastly. Most need some way to sun themselves for part of the day. Most like live food. Most bite hard enough to remove fingers when they get close to their adult size. The best thing you can do is learn about it, watch it for a couple of days (if legal) and then let it go back where it was found. Please, please, please do not mark or paint its shell in any way to identify it in the future. Where the shell is marked it does not grow with the rest of the shell and ends up deformed.
The only type turtles that my kids brought home from the ponds and rivers from there grandparents farms were snapping turtles. They were alligator snappers when we lived in missouri.THen they would take them and set them free in the pond behind our house. They wanted to start a turtle farm.
***Edited By: glasskitty on 7/5/2006 10:57:37 PM*** Reason: forgot to add rest
I know it's illegal for stores to sell turtles that are smaller than 4 inches in diameter because they are far far more likely to carry salmonella. No clue on owning turtlse that small in general. It probably varies from state to state.