When choosing a pet, many people seriously think about the turtle: harmless, trouble-free, original, non-addictive. At first glance, care does not require much effort, and nutrition is not extravagant.
Is it really? Does the European Marsh Turtle really require attention and care?
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The description of this ancient species is to begin with the fact that Russia is the birthplace, or rather, parts of its wetland area, of which there are so many around. Tropical and temperate climate, high humidity, warmth and peace – this is what is needed for her life in nature.
Today we are talking about the domestication of individuals and even the possibility of taming them and the development of conditioned reflexes:
- recognition of who feeds,
- developing habits
- reaction to the host’s voice, and possibly its smell,
- manifestation of friendliness to people and other animals.
And all this is not a myth.
Paws, tail, head – as in the famous cartoon. Plus – reliable, strong protection for all this in the form of a shell. The European marsh turtle differs primarily in the brownish-olive shell (often with yellow spots) with a number of rings, symbolizing its age, a relatively long tail (up to 10 cm in adults), well-developed hind legs with strong claws.
Paws and tail – the main organs that provide movement, including swimming. Between the fingers there are small membranes, allowing you to rake in water and swim faster than move on land.
The eyes of the male have a red tint, the female – yellowish. The eyes are located on the sides of the head and directed downwards.
The skin of the calf is durable, but vulnerable.
Character can be expressed in one word: predator. The need to independently feed themselves in nature has led to the presence in individuals of corresponding formations: teeth and claws, from which the caregiver can sometimes suffer.
And this girlfriend bites it hurts, and after scratches skin problems will remain for a long time.
The shell consists of a carapax (upper dark part) and a plastron (light bottom, popularly called the belly). The bottom of the shell is yellowish, on which there may be one dark speck or several.
This is a reliable shelter from enemies, a place of protection from drought, a way to relax “away from everyone.”
The turtle eats a little and infrequently. Adults are generally recommended to be fed every other day or every three days.
Young people, in whose body the processes of growth and development take place, need to be eaten every day. Predatory nature determines its need for meat, fish, mineral salts, vitamins.
However, vegetable food is no less valuable, including fresh vegetables and greens. It is the source of many irreplaceable biological substances.
Calcium is needed to strengthen the shell, which can be replenished by eating small fish with whole bones, and maybe as part of special synthetic food.
Looking for minced meat, milled fish components, bloodworm, insects, worms, squids, snails and similar biological structures. Required animal protein.
Estimate finely chopped young leaves of dandelion or clover, although not disdain and aquarium vegetation. However, it is believed that to feed on plant food is better than grown up individuals.
She often eats, practically managing to swallow a lump of feed lowered into the water before it pollutes the water. While riding, she tries to swallow everything quickly, which is why the possibility of stones getting into her intestines is not excluded.
High water levels in the aquarium are not needed. 10-15 cm is enough (depending on the size of individuals).
Soil at the bottom can be any, but not consist of stones, which can be swallowed.
It is necessary to equip the exit from the water to a special platform located under the lamp of artificial lighting. It is here that the European marsh turtle will take air baths and bask in warm rays.
The UV irradiator has a beneficial effect. Thanks to it, the absorption of calcium is improved (for the strength of the shell) and the air is effectively warmed.
In general, the temperature of the water in the aquarium should not rise above 27 and fall below 23 °. But aeration is not so important, because the lungs of such residents are filled with oxygen from atmospheric air.
Pay attention to the company. Part of aquarists stop at the decision not to colonize the turtle house with other inhabitants.
The specificity of their living conditions is rarely favorable for large fish. However, lovers of experiment will love the ensemble in which the tortoise with yellow spots against the background of bright green vegetation flirts with red swordtails.
Starting from the month of May, these interesting inhabitants of the aquarium begin to reproduce offspring. Until July, the female produces up to three clutches of eggs of 5–12 pieces each. For this, it uses small cavities in wet sand.
Eggs are smooth, up to 3 cm in size and weighing within 8g. After a gap of 2-3 months, small turtles hatch, which feed on the contents of the yolk sac and stay in the ground during their first winter.
But with the first rays of the sure spring sun, as soon as the air warms up to 22-23 o, the young go free and begin an independent life.
At home, you can try to recreate similar conditions by equipping a tank with a warm moist soil on an artificial bank or placing a turtle while laying eggs in another aquarium. As the process is completed, an independent and careful care of the laid eggs, their uniform heating, prevention of drying and damage are needed.
Aquaterrarium – an original and fascinating decoration of the house. But do not think that it exists independently. The beauty and well-being in it will provide proper care, accuracy and following the recommendations of experienced aquarists.
Who does not like constantly pulled out with the roots of plants, floating on the surface, often muddy water and inverted artificial jewelry, you should not torture yourself.
Those for whom the marsh turtle has become a friend are sure: it will always respond to love, care and affection. And those moments when, when approaching the host or turning on the light, she pulls out her head and turns to the side of the hand, will delight and amuse everyone around.