You may have heard of terrapins, but you may not be exactly sure of what they are and how they differ from your basic pet turtles. Terrapins are a kind of aquatic turtle that live in brackish or fresh water.
They typically have smaller and lighter shells than most land based turtles do and, similar to sea turtles, have webbed feet. The similarities between terrapins and sea turtles is merely superficial, however, and they belong to different turtle families.
Of course, sometimes there is no difference between terrapins and turtles as it is merely a matter of semantics depending on where you are in the world. In the United Kingdom, terrapin refers to all kinds of turtles commonly kept as pets, while turtle normally means the sea or oceanic turtle that is not kept as a pet. There are a lot of different turtle breeds kept as pets but most typically have a life expectancy of about fifty years.
Some kinds of land based turtles (such as the box turtle, or tortoise) do not require very complicated habitats as merely a safe, outdoor enclosure can be enough.
Other turtles or terrapins however require both a dry environment and a wet environment. Most turtles, land based and water based, require a similar diet which consists of fresh leafy greens and vegetables. They both also need a constant supply of fresh water that should be supplied in a shallow bowl to make it easier for them to access and drink.
Keeping a turtle or terrapin as a pet means a lifelong commitment from the owner. Their average life expectancy should be a major consideration when you're thinking about getting a turtle pet. It is also a good idea to make sure that there is a local vet in town that is skilled to work on turtles, as not all vets are comfortable with working on turtles.
You need to watch for certain illnesses and diseases that turtles and terrapins are prone to develop and this requires you to carefully observe any changes in their behavior and inspect them, especially their shells for any abnormalities or differences that occur.
Caring for turtles can be extremely rewarding and fun. If you are looking for a peaceful and serene animal to have as a pet, you should definitely consider a turtle or terrapin.
Most owners are ultimately very glad to have made that decision and, as long as you are willing to commit to them and care for them, you can enjoy a long and happy life with your pet turtle or terrapin.
Liked this article? Read more at: Difference Between Turtles and Terrapins