Care and feeding
Just as you wouldn't like to live in a garage, a turtle would feel very out-of-place in a shoebox. Red-eared sliders should be kept in an aquarium that is two-thirds filled with water, with one third left over for basking. Turtles do not have gills, and need to come up for air every once in a while. Basking space is a must, in the form of a piece of driftwood or stony elevation, so that the turtle can take regular breathers, and to keep shell diseases at bay. It is never a good idea to keep your pet fully submerged at all times.
Use a 'full spectrum UV light source' in your aquarium, and an aquarium heater to keep the water temperature at between 77 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Turtles become sluggish and stop eating in low temperatures. An aquarium filter is required to prevent health problems, but you might have to net out droppings to keep the turtles healthy. Clean the aquarium at least once a month.
The book you buy will tell you what to feed you pet, and you can, from time to time, treat him or her to small fish, leafy green vegetation, and fruit. If possible, move your pet to a small feeding tank to prevent the food from polluting the main aquarium. A gentle rinse in warm water before returning it to its aquarium is a good habit.
If your turtle gets sick, and stays ill even after you have tried all of the book's suggestions, take it to a veterinarian who specialises in reptiles and amphibians.
What you must never forget!
Cute as they are, turtles carry Salmonella bacteria. These nasty germs can make you quite ill, so be sure to wash your hands properly every time you handle your turtle.
Next: A name for your turtle
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