Caring for an outdoor turtle
Caring for an outdoor turtle
Creating a home for your turtle in an outdoor enclosure
Even if you keep your pet indoors most of the time, he will appreciate some time spent outdoors (depending on the climate). If you live in a climate similar to your turtle’s natural habitat, you will be able to keep it outside year-round, provided you have a secure enclosure.
As with the indoor home, the size you need to provide will depend on the species of turtle and how large it is or will be. A 12-inch specimen will require an enclosure of 3 square yards, approximately 9 feet by 9 feet.
Construction of an external fence
If you choose a wooden structure, first dig a trench at least 6 inches deep and 6 inches wide. The height of the walls should be at least twice the length of the turtle. There should be a base of chicken wire fixed to the bottom of the structure and then buried. If you don’t fix some form of foundation, your pet will eventually burrow in and can dig under the wooden walls and escape! Some guards use concrete for the walls, but you will still need to fix a bottom that is resistant to escape.
Do not build your enclosure using only chicken wire or your turtle will constantly try to escape. Always provide a cover for the enclosure as protection from predators such as your dog or cat.
Your turtle will need a house to live in inside the enclosure. This may be a wooden box slightly raised from the ground. A good choice is to use a plastic kennel as they do not leak or rot and retain heat relatively well. Make sure the door doesn’t have too much of a “lip” or it could prevent him from getting in and out. It may take some time for your turtle to get used to being placed in this new house. Continue to put it back inside and at night put it inside and block the exit as there is a greater chance of predators at night. Your pet will soon learn to enter its new house voluntarily. Be sure to unlock the door in the morning or he may overheat.
Again, you have a choice of materials to choose from for this job, but remember you’ll need to clean it regularly, so choose one you feel happy buying or replacing regularly. Bark is a very good substrate for outdoor enclosures as it is a natural product and is easy to clean and replace.
Supplemental heat for the outdoor enclosure is important if you live in a climate that is not similar to the turtle’s natural habitat. Place an incandescent lamp with a red bulb (for heat, not light) above the turtle’s house.
Other items to include
Water: All turtles need water, but make sure it’s in a shallow dish that won’t cause them to capsize.
Hiding Places: You’ll need to provide places for the turtle to hide so it doesn’t get too stressed. Plant pots on the sides (cleaned of any manure residue) Safe non-toxic plants and flowers will also provide some food as well as shade.
Rocks/Logs: Your turtle will love to climb, so place some rocks and logs inside the enclosure, but make sure they are not too close to the walls of the enclosure, as the turtle may be able to escape if they are! Do not put plastic objects, such as dog chew toys or children’s toys, as the turtle will bite them and may become sick.
Burrowing: Provide something for your turtle to dig and burrow into. It will be less likely to try to dig its way under the walls if it has some material to dig into. You will need to provide soft sandy soil for your females to lay their eggs if you want to breed your turtle?
Enclosure Cleaning: You must keep the outer enclosure clean to prevent disease and parasites. Clean up food waste and droppings daily. Scrape off any bark that may have been carried into the turtle’s house. Provide clean water daily.
Above all, if you plan to care for a turtle outdoors, you need to be sure that the home you provide will be the best and safest environment possible for your pet. If you live in an area of the world conducive to your particular species living outside, then this is all to the good. You still have to think very carefully about what kind of enclosure to build, but if you get it right, you’ll have a very happy turtle!
#Caring #outdoor #turtle