No, turtles do not make good pets. They are popular, but they are not a good idea.
There are many reasons why turtles do not make for good pets and here are some detailed reasons why gathered by the experts with the Department of Natural Resources for the State of Indiana:
- Turtles require time and money for proper care, and some species can live up to 50 years.
- Pet turtles do not like to be held and are loners; therefore, they can become boring pets for children.
- Turtles are cold-blooded and need a source of heat. They also require an ultraviolet light for proper growth and health.
- Without this special light, many health issues arise such as metabolic bone disease.
- It is very important to know what kind of species you want and the care it needs before you acquire a pet turtle. Many need special food and tanks.
- Each species has different feeding requirements, with some being strictly carnivores or herbivores. Map turtles, for example, have restricted diets that must include snails, aquatic insects and crayfish. Some species of aquatic turtles, such as the red-eared slider, map turtle and soft-shell, grow up to 12 inches long, requiring a large tank for swimming and basking.
- Land turtles need a large pen, with sufficient substrate, properly sized water bowl, a hide area, as well as heat. Some require more humidity than others.
- If you no longer want your pet turtle, you cannot release into the wild because it is not likely to survive.
- It will have to find its own food, deal with the elements and deal with predators.
- These once-captive turtles are also likely to transmit diseases to wild turtle populations.
- Turtles can carry salmonella bacteria.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that children, pregnant women, and persons with compromised immune systems avoid contact with reptiles to avoid getting Salmonella.
- The DNR does not encourage the keeping of turtles as pets, but does allow it if the turtle species is obtained legally with a hunting or fishing license.
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