If you found a baby turtle on the road or in your yard, I’m sure that your first instinct is to rescue it! However, caring for a baby turtle may be different compared to getting stray cats and dogs. But what exactly should you do to ensure that the baby turtle is in good health?
Read on as I show you what t do if you find a baby turtle!
What to Do If You Find a Baby Turtle
When you find a baby turtle, you need to make sure you prepare for it if you plan to care for it in the long run. You may also visit your nearest animal center to see if there are any tips they can give you, or they can care for the baby turtle if you’re unable to keep him.
For those who do plan on keeping the baby turtle, be sure to follow these tips to care for them well:
1. Preparing Their Shelter
The first thing to do is to prepare their habitat, which is where they will stay for life. Get a rectangular or square glass aquarium that’s sizable enough for the room to move around. You’ll want to get something at least 30 gallons big, accommodating your baby turtle once fully grown.
Add water to the tank, which shouldn’t be too deep nor too shallow, since they need an area where they can swim and rest on land.
Measure their shell width size, and the water should be around an inch taller than their width. This allows baby turtles to swim in the water freely, just be sure to change the water every day, or every three days if they have a filter. Consider having an air pump to aerate the water, keeping water oxygenated and preventing anaerobic bacteria growth, which affects the turtle’s health.
Next up is to add plants to the habitat, using plants and rocks. While you may want to use real plants for their benefits, it’s best to place artificial plants to lessen the hassle of replacing them when they die or worrying about your turtle eating them.
However, you can still use real plants as long as they are safe for turtle consumption and that you care for them properly. Include substrate, or sand, soil, and gravel to cover the tank’s bottom. Go for fluorite, which is optimum for rooted plants and will have your turtle enjoy the environment more.
You can add plants such as anacharis, java fern, java moss, hornwort, red ludwigia, Anubis, aponogeton Ulvaeus, or cryptocoryne species. All of these are easy to maintain plants that turtles usually won’t try consuming. But again, they will still need proper care and nutrition, making it quite a hassle.
2. Keep Them Warm
Turtles have special needs in regards to temperature and humid in where they live, especially baby turtles! The water and area should be up to 86 degrees Fahrenheit to maintain proper temperature to meet the baby turtle’s body needs.
You can maintain that temperature by investing in a water heater for the tank since they can’t regulate their body temperature. Be sure that the heater covering is made of plastic or metal and not glass, as turtles might break it. The heater should be powerful enough, having the right wattage for the aquarium size.
150 watts is the average power for aquarium water heaters, though you may need up to 300 watts for a 75-gallon enclosure. Be sure to monitor the water temperature and consider using two heaters for uniform heating and as a backup in case of malfunctions.
Besides the heater, invest in a UVB and basking light, so your turtle synthesizes vitamin D to develop its shell well. Without a UVB light, they are at risk of metabolic bone disease, and without basking lights, they don’t get enough warmth to regulate their body temperature.
Select the 2.5-5% UVB lamp, which are known as the tropical or swamp UVB lamps, NOT desert lamps. Place these lamps 12-18 inches above the water. For basking lights, you can choose any type as long as it’s placed to heat the area well. Time the lamps to switch off every 12 hours daily, mimicking the natural daylight cycle.
After installing the heater and lights, cover the aquarium with a metal screen. This protects the turtle from anything that may fall into the tank, especially since UVB bulbs have a chance of exploding when splashed with water.
3. What to Feed Them
You will need to feed the baby turtle a combination of both commercially produced turtle food and leafy vegetables. They are omnivores that also require meat for protein, so you can throw in some feeder fish and crickets every few days or so. When feeding them, be sure that the food is chopped to tinier pieces for them to consume healthily.
Feed the baby turtle two to three times a day, leaving their food for them to eat for about half an hour. If there are any leftovers, remove what’s left to feed it for later, if it’s still fresh.
I suggest that you have a smaller feeding tank for your baby turtle to eat in. This is because they can be quite sloppy eaters and will relieve themselves during their meals, which can make the aquarium dirty. It will be easier to clean both tanks when you have a separate feeding tank.
Be sure to monitor their health as well, watching out for any shell discolorations, swollen eyes, and change of attitude, such as loss of appetite.
If you want to learn more about baby turtle care, this informative video also has great tips you can try out:
Wrapping It Up
Baby turtles are cute and adorable, making nice pets as long as they are cared for well. Caring for them can be quite tedious, but with the right tips, you won’t have any problem in the long run.
I hope that my article on what to do if you find a baby turtle helped you out. So if you plan to keep one as a pet, do follow these tips now.