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Introduction to Pet Turtles


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Turtles have long fascinated many people in many ways. Their distinct physical features, behavior and potential life expectancy attract many to see these amazing creatures.

Taking turtles as pets is said to that have been practiced by many cultures long past. In some countries, young ones and hatchlings are captured and sold as home pets. Children and grown ups are seen mostly engaged in taking care of them.

What exactly are turtles?

A turtle is the only reptile with a shell. Turtles are found nearly in all warm regions of the world. Most of them thrive on land and freshwater while few frequent in seas and oceans. The terrestrial kinds are commonly known as tortoise while aquatic ones may be called terrapins.

The turtles body, both organs and backbones, are enclosed in the shell, affording protection to its head, neck, and limbs. As a turtle grows, the materials overlap the shell edges making it even harder. The shell is often strong enough to support 200 times a turtle's weight.

It is believed that turtles have a very long life-span, with some even reaching 100 years or more. In some species, shell appearance may indicate a turtle's age. Reproduction cycle involves courting and mating of sexes, fertilization, egg-laying and hatchling by females (which normally happens once a year).

Turtles primary food source comes from both plants and animals. Natural diet may consist of fish, earthworms, snails, tadpoles, leafy greens and other numerous aquatic plants.

Studies have proved that turtles are smart creatures and possess sensitive senses. They can perceive vibrations and recognize patterns and colors. The sense of smell appears good at close range especially when accepting and rejecting food, though sense of sight is not well in some species.

Are turtles good pets?

Since 1971, the United States have banned selling turtles which measures less than four inches long. Turtles are commonly known to carry Salmonella bacteria which when infects human may cause death. An example is a case in 2007 where a 4-year old baby in Florida died and linked to Salmonella from a small turtle.

Turtles can be good pets but caution must be done when selecting and caring them. Ensure to hands before and after holding them. Refrain from dangling to any of our body parts especially the mouth. And avoid roaming around to various places of the house to prevent spread of infection.

Finally, taking care of turtles is not easy, but the efforts can be very rewarding. Turtles, just like dogs and cats, can recognize their caretakers. When trained, they can follow simple instructions and develop habits. They're observed to be playful and loyal. No wonder, with turtles in many people's hearts, they truly can last a lifetime.

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