The turtles form an order in the chain of land reptiles. They are characterized mainly by their long life, being able to pass the 100 years of age, according to the habitat where they are. Land turtles are popularly known for feeding on a herbivorous diet, but the reality is that they are omnivorous. They also eat insects, worms and other proteins.
Of the 250 species of turtles that are known, 5 of them are the most commonly used as pets. Among them we highlight:
Haitian or Spanish turtle
These are found naturally in the Caribbean area and are used to high temperatures. Its carapace is brown and yellow belly, with dark lines around the neck and tail. They do not have large size.
False Turtle Map
It is characterized by having its shell closed at the edges; It is brown, green skin and yellow lines, with a very characteristic brown tone in its mouth. These turtles are found in the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, in the USA.
They are used as pets, although a special permit is needed so that they can be in the homes. They love sunbathing, scratching and bathing. They should be outdoors and with plenty of clean water so they can cool off.
These turtles come from Central America and can reach approximately 36 cm in captivity, although it varies according to their habitat. Its carapace is dark brown with the center of a yellow tone. They are red-footed or, in some cases, orange.
The correct feeding of land turtles
Land turtles feed between 2 and 3 times a week. They must have a healthy and balanced diet, without excessive fiber, depending on their habitat and size. Their diet is omnivorous, so they feed on leaves, flowers, fruits, vegetables, worms and crickets, among other insects. It is necessary that they have a space with plenty of water so that they can drink and refresh freely.
Taking into account their diet, it is important to name some of the foods that we should avoid giving to land turtles. Among them, we can find; potatoes, grains, dairy products, corn, bamboo, citrus fruits, asparagus, dates, spinach, bananas, grapes, or other food that generates a negative effect on the turtle when eating it.
Most common diseases that land turtles suffer
Like all living beings, land turtles also often suffer from certain diseases, these are some of the most common and frequent:
Inflammation in your eyes: Can be caused by contaminated water and / or poor hygiene, also due to lack of vitamins; in this case, your eyes are cleansed with physiological solution. If it does not improve, it is most likely that you have an infection so it is recommended to take it to the veterinarian of exotic species.
Piramidism: It is the deformation or bulge of its shell, this happens when the turtles do not receive frequent baths of water or direct sun. Also, it could be due to an inadequate diet. For this there is no treatment, if it is detected from the beginning will have to devote more care regarding the above.
Bite or scratch problems: Many times this usually happens if there are more than two turtles in space, or some other animal that may cause damage. In this case, we often have to supervise and check our pets. If you get any wound, you should wash the area with enough water and clean it with some antiseptic; If necessary, cover the wound with gauze or bandages.
Shell fractures: It is important to clarify that the fractures or wounds of the carapace are different, depending on their severity. The wound is disinfected carefully to observe in more detail the damage caused. The advisable thing in this case, is to take it of urgency to the veterinary clinic.
Sneezing and cough: These are infections of viral, bacterial or fungal origin that produce nasal discharge, state of sickly drowsiness, loss of appetite, excess oral mucus and even panting in turtles. It occurs due to lack of vitamins or as a result of poor hygiene in the space where the animal is.
Herpes-virus: It is the most terrible disease that land turtles suffer. It is spread by sexual contact only between turtles. It is diagnosed by observing whitish mucus, irritated eyes, pus plaques, buccal bleeding. These symptoms resemble acute stomatitis and have no cure.
Suggestions and recommendations for the care of the land turtle
If you have a land turtle as a pet, we suggest keeping it in a large place with enough vegetative terrain, abundant water and where you can sunbathe, simulating its natural habitat, taking into account the hygiene of the space.
For your turtle to have a healthy life, we recommend, among other things, vitamin supplements, calcium, phosphorus, minerals, and take it frequently to be reviewed by the veterinarian specializing in exotic animals.
If we observe that our land turtle is suffering symptoms such as diarrhea or constipation, it is best to change your diet. If you suffer from diarrhea, it can be a cause of poor digestion, so we should reduce fiber foods and excess fruit.
When you have constipation problems we must do the opposite, give a diet rich in fiber, fruits and plenty of water to achieve their improvement.
Calcium is the main element so that the shell of the land turtle grows healthy and strong, for this reason, it is very important that the turtles maintain a diet rich in this and other minerals. Nor can it be overlooked that turtles that live in captivity or as pets in enclosed spaces, should be exposed to the sun at least 15 minutes a day, as sunlight intervenes in the fixation of calcium.
It is important to note that, like all reptiles, the land turtle is a carrier of salmonella, easily transmitted to humans. Therefore, we must maintain a correct hygiene, and thus avoid contagion.
The general health of land turtles is related to the frequency of interaction with their natural environment, that is, if they sunbathe and bathe in water. Turtles are reptiles that have the shell as their best defense, protect it through a good diet and minimum exposure to the sun will guarantee a long and healthy life.
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