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Care for the marsh turtle at home

Even in the most ancient times, humanity tried to tame wild animals, keeping them with them as the most faithful and devoted friends. Everything flows, everything changes, but not this habit.

The only difference is that earlier it was decided to acquire cats, dogs and parrots, and now more exotic pets – chinchillas, tritons and even a marsh turtle.

Marsh turtles love stagnant ponds

Despite its exotic appearance, it is quite difficult to call this freshwater reptile rare, since its range extends from the Pyrenees to the middle of the Eurasian continent, affecting forests and forest-steppe zones, mainly the southern part. The favorite habitat of the European tortoise is natural water bodies, whose waters are prone to stagnation, as turbulent streams and strong currents affect this animal frighteningly.

The river turtle always prefers water to land, which is why it rarely moves away from its permanent habitat to an impressive distance (usually it is about the range from 500 meters to 7 kilometers). Spending most of their time in the water, these reptiles try to float to the surface for a breath of fresh air every twenty minutes, but there have been cases when they spent at a depth of two days in a row, which is unique in itself.

And this moment must be taken into account by potential breeders who dream of keeping such a pet at home.

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The inconspicuous turtles with a dark rounded shell and a very long tail, which often takes up a third of the entire body of an animal, cannot boast of large size. Thus, the length of the carapace, by which is meant the dorsal shield of the turtle shell, in this animal rarely crosses the mark at 25 centimeters with a maximum mass of some one and a half kilograms.

That is, we are talking about a rather “compact” for keeping at home an animal.

But, despite such small dimensions, river turtle boasts quite strong legs with very tenacious claws, with which it literally tears through dense river and marsh vegetation in search of food. Turtles have to use their trained limbs even if they suddenly notice a potential threat.

So, barely noticing a person or a larger animal, these babies almost instantly flop into the water, deftly hiding in the algae or even burying in the river sludge.

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Contrary to popular belief, river turtles are not nocturnal, but a daytime lifestyle, despite the fact that the highest peak of their activity falls on the morning hours when nature is just beginning to wake up. As for the night, at this time of day the animals prefer to dive to the bottom of the reservoir and sleep there until the morning, only occasionally rising to the surface to replenish their oxygen stores.

However, it’s still impossible to call this turtle completely water, because it loves to bask in the sun and is more agile than its land companions, without being very fast. Surprisingly, despite the range in regions with a fairly temperate climate, these wonderful turtles can hibernate for quite a long time, lying on the bottom of reservoirs.

Sometimes the period of anabiosis continues from late autumn to the very middle of spring, and only by May animals begin to creep out to the surface.

Marsh turtles are diurnal. The peak of activity occurs in the morning

Thinking about how to maintain a marsh turtle at home, a novice breeder should familiarize himself with the list of necessary items that will help even in a regular apartment to recreate an atmosphere as close as possible to the natural one. As a rule, we are talking about the following equipment:

    Aquaterrarium, the volume of which will be at least 150−200 liters, because it is this area is necessary for the most comfortable placement of one or two pets.

    Ideally, to use a structure in which an equal ratio of water and land will be ensured (a ratio of 2 to 1 is allowed), and as the latter it is recommended to use river stones and small makeshift islets of them. Alternatively, you can equip the aquaterrarium convenient wooden shelf on which turtles can bask under the lamp.

Terrarium for a marsh turtle should have a volume of 150-200 liters

  • Despite the fact that for a European marsh turtle, keeping it at home presupposes a completely different temperature regime than in the case of tropical reptiles, a breeder still needs to equip the aquaterrarium with heating. For these purposes, suitable as an ordinary incandescent lamp, and the bulb with ultraviolet radiation in moderate doses. The recommended air temperature ranges from 28 to 32 degrees Celsius, while the water should not warm up above the mark of 18-25 degrees.
  • Housing for turtles should be equipped with reliable protection from their escape in the form of a ventilated lid. Good ventilation will not allow the fungus to develop in conditions of almost one hundred percent humidity, and with it, to the harmful bacteria.
  • Plants in a turtle glass house should be planted only if there is only one young in it, since adults have a habit of destroying them very quickly.
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    Before you get this funny animals, you need to figure out what a marsh turtle eats at home. Experts are in the first place in a hurry to dispel the myth that this pet is herbivorous, because the river turtles are not at all as harmless as it may seem initially. And carnivorous reptiles eat the following foods:

      Protein food, despite the fact that this group gets a huge amount of meat and fish ingredients.

      Meat and fish, offal, seafood, worms and slugs, small frogs, mice, snakes and so on. Some breeders specially launch small fish guppies into aquaterrarium water, thus allowing the turtles to hunt them as if they were still in their natural environment.

    Marsh turtles feed on protein and plant foods.

  • Plant food. This group usually includes all kinds of swamps, algae and mud, which is not so easy to get in the living conditions in the city.
  • Artificial food, the main advantage of which is balance, as well as the presence of all the necessary vitamins, minerals and beneficial elements.
  • It should be noted that at first it is not easy to feed domestic turtles, because in the process of eating they often show uncontrollable aggression, and while striving to bite the nursing. Over time, this behavior of pets can be corrected, and often from the age of three months they can even eat from the hand, but if this does not happen, then it is better to use ordinary tweezers, giving the turtles food from it.

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    Inexperienced breeders should not acquire several pets at once, since marsh turtles have a habit of attacking each other. And it is often possible to observe the picture, as one pet nibbles the tail of another and vice versa, as a result of which one has to forget about a quiet peaceful life in the aquaterrarium for a very long time.

    Nevertheless, the reproduction of these reptiles in captivity is quite possible if you know and be able to practice a few simple rules.

    In order for turtles not only to make friends, but also to agree to enter into a marriage with each other, it is necessary to treat their preparation with the maximum degree of responsibility. Usually the procedure of mating of marsh turtles in conditions of captivity involves the following procedure:

    1. The animals are gradually introduced into the state of anabiosis, for which it is necessary within a month to gradually lower the temperature in the aquaterrarium (to 10 degrees) and reduce the total number of hours of artificial lighting.
    2. In order for pets to be able to completely clean their digestive tract, they are no longer fed, after which they have nothing left but to hibernate for a total duration of two months.

    Reproduction of marsh turtles at home has quite a few nuances

  • It is recommended to remove turtles from anabiosis as smoothly as preparing them for it. To do this, the amount of food, the temperature in the aquaterrarium and the length of daylight hours gradually increase.
  • Before getting the second turtle, both pets are transferred to an enhanced diet with a high content of vitamins and minerals.
  • Replanting and stimulation of animals is carried out by raising the water temperature to a maximum mark of 25 degrees.
  • If the mating did occur, the laying should be expected not earlier than 2 months (usually the female begins to lay eggs for 50–65 days, having prepared in advance for this a special dimple of algae and river sand with a high humidity level).
  • In order for the offspring to be born, the eggs must be removed from the turquoise-shaped cell of the aquaterrarium and placed in an incubator, where they must be at a temperature of 27 to 29 degrees Celsius.
  • Naturally, only mature individuals are suitable for mating and obtaining healthy offspring, who do not have any problems and deviations. It is somewhat more difficult to care for young turtles, and this is especially pronounced in the preparation of their daily diet.

    So, young animals taken to feed daily, while adult pets are given food no more than once every three days. It is noteworthy that turtles are not only picky, but also greedy for food, so they are very easy to overfeed.

    This moment also needs to be considered by novice breeders to avoid serious consequences.

    For breeding turtles you need to select only individuals without deviations.

    River turtles in captivity are sick more often than in their natural environment, and the main reason for this unpleasant feature is improper care. As for the main reasons for the poor state of armored clients, they most often lie in the following host errors:

    • Poor filtration of water and its rare change. Even high-quality ventilation will not help purify the water, which inevitably begins to bloom with time. The situation is exacerbated by the presence of guppies and other small fish in the water, which lead to turtle hunting. And in order to prevent this from happening, it is recommended to change the water as it gets dirty.
    • Lack of vitamin D3 and, as a result, problems of calcium absorption. Enhanced power does not help here, but installing a lamp with ultraviolet radiation will have a very positive effect on the situation.

    Marsh turtles in captivity are sick more often than in their natural environment.

  • Drowsiness, drop in activity. As a rule, such changes are due to incorrect temperature conditions. In addition, a vitamin deficiency can play a role, which can be completed by balanced dry foods and special vitamin complexes.
  • Despite the fact that river turtles are the ultimate carriers of many dangerous parasites, they can live for 20-30 years in captivity, and this is far from the limit. Thus, the inhabitant of one of the botanical gardens of France, who died at the age of 120 years, became the absolute record holder in life expectancy.

    Surprisingly, the attitude of mankind to this interesting animal at different times was extremely ambiguous, and if during the Middle Ages the marsh turtle was willingly put into soup, now it is erected monuments, and the Latvian city of Daugavpils can be a good example.

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