Do turtles make good pets?

Many Australians keep turtles as pets, but you will need to invest in a suitable terrarium and make sure you feed them the correct nutrition.

Have you ever wondered to the end of a jetty and seen a turtle swimming around, then wondered if they make good pets?

Admittedly they’re not the cheapest pet to keep, but with a suitable terrarium they can make wonderful pets.

What turtles make good pets in Australia?

The most common turtles to have as a pet are the long-necked and eastern snake necked turtles.

Even though these are found in the wild, you are only allowed to keep them as pets if they are sold from pet shops or licensed breeders who specialise in them.

Wherever you live in Australia you’ll likely find a local (and reputable) breeder, and it’s worth joining a community of owners on social media where you can find help and advice.

How to house a turtle at home

Space is essential for keeping a turtle as a pet, and you will need both an indoor and outdoor area for them to be comfortable.

Indoor Housing

Pet turtles must be kept in a specialised terrarium, and you must ensure it is large enough to suit their needs.

Shell grit and sand must cover the flooring, with water deep enough for your turtle to immerse his whole body. The terrarium will also need a log big enough for the turtle to use to climb out of the water and back onto land. 

Outside Housing

The outdoor area must be big enough for the turtle to roam around in, and you will want to ensure he cannot dig his way out. Yes, turtles dig.

A pond is a necessity for your turtle to immerse his body into, and it is essential you keep the pond clean. Investing in a pond which is easy to clean is a good idea.

The outside housing should have shelter for protection. Options are logs, bushes, or rocks, but you must insure your turtle can escape full sun. 

Feeding a Pet Turtle 

Turtles eat meat and plants, and it is recommended these are fed in the water.

When you bring home your pet turtle it is recommended you buy turtle food from the pet shop rather than supermarket or butchers. It’s common for new owners to feed a homemade diet which is too fattening for them, so keep that in mind until you feel confident.

It is essential for calcium and other nutrients to be present in their diet on a regular basis, which is why a specialised turtle food may be a safer option.

Do you have a pet turtle in Australia, or elsewhere, and what advice would you give a new turtle owner?

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