Planning for Baby Turtle's Future
1Transition to new food types and portions.Turtles can have a lengthy lifespan, meaning they are long-term pets. You need to be prepared to care for your turtle well past babyhood. Remember, food types and amounts change with age.
- Turtles are not considered adults until they are at least 7 years old. However, after three years their appetite should taper off naturally. When you notice your turtle eating less, it may be a sign that it is ready to transition to a new diet. Talk to your vet first, however, when you begin changing feeding frequency. You want to rule out any health problems and also get professional advice about food types and portions.
- Adult turtles only need to be fed every other day, and some breeds only need food every third day. Adult turtles may have different dietary needs depending on breed. Determine whether you need to transition to a meat or plant based diet as your turtle ages.
2Monitor your turtle's health.Changes in eating habits can signify health problems. If your turtle stops eating, keep an eye out for other common turtle problems.
- Watch for shell problems. A turtle's shell is an indicator of health and wellness. Changes to the shell can indicate poor nutrition, especially, though not exclusively, too little calcium in its diet. If you notice deformities, such as cone-shaped lumps or a flaky, rotting shell your turtle might not be getting the appropriate nutrition. Talk to your vet immediately.
- Be on the watch for parasites. While rare, turtle food and pellets can be contaminated with certain parasites. Change in a turtle's appetite, energy, and weight might indicate a parasite.
- Respiratory infections can be caused by a vitamin A deficiency. A runny nose or drooping eyelids can indicate a deficiency. Serious infections are marked by mouth-breathing, mucus in the mouth, or wheezing.
3Make food decisions for long-term health.Your turtle could live for a very long time if cared for properly. Begin considering long-term health at an early age. Many health issues can be caused by an improper diet, so you should make decisions about feeding your turtle with an eye on its long-term well-being.
- Buy pellets from reputable companies and avoid off-brand, cheap pellets. Look into pellet reviews online and discuss with your vet to keep up-to-date on any recalls on turtle food.
- Make sure any produce you feed your turtle is fresh. Also, wash it before feeding your turtle. Remember, any pesticides or bacteria harmful to humans can also be harmful to your turtle. Prepare any produce that you feed your turtle as you would prepare it for yourself.
4Look into supplements. Because vitamin deficiencies are responsible for many turtle health problems, talk to your veterinarian about health supplements to ensure that your turtle is getting the nutrients it needs. Calcium is a particularly important nutrient for turtles. Calcium supplements for turtles can be purchased at a pet store. Dust calcium over the food up two or three times per week.