Providing a Terrapin a Home
Unlike other aquatic animals, terrapins live much longer and need special care.
Before keeping them, buying the right stuff is necessary and the first thing to buy is ‘Terrapinarium’, a transparent water container made of glass.
It should be roomy and the size should be bigger than a normal fish aquarium as terrapins grow at a high speed.
Initially the normal size of a terrapinarium for a pair of baby terrapins, can be 18” x 12” x 4” which should be made bigger as they grow in size.
In cold water, terrapins become sluggish for which they need heat and an aquarium heater with thermostat can maintain the temperature in between 75 to 80°F that is 23.8 to 26.6°C. This can keep them happy and playful. In fact it is better to keep two heaters to use alternately. A water filter should be fitted essentially in the water.
They often come out of water to get themselves dried or to take sunbath; hence an easy to climb and elevated dry place (island) of flat stone or rock should be made inside it. They can remain without water for sometime in the moderate sunlight or in the shade but not directly in too hot sun.
In absence of sunlight or ultraviolet light (which provides Vitamin D) blindness or deformity of the shell can occur. UV-B and UV-A combined in a very small amount can be provided by a reptile fluorescent lamp and this is specially recommended in the colder region getting less sunlight. These lamps may be costly but will keep the terrapins healthy and save doctor’s expense to some extent.
Find out more about homing a terrapin
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The water in the terrapinarium should be replaced regularly as the droppings and left over foods can make it foul and too much smelly. This problem becomes more with bigger terrapins.
It can cause severe infection and sore inside their mouth, eye and other parts of the body. They may become very sick, stop eating and keep the stinking mouth half open because of the sore.
In such cases the terrapin should be taken to the veterinary surgeon immediately before the condition deteriorates beyond cure. It is advised to keep an infected terrapin isolated to avoid contamination in others.
The water filters alone cannot clean the terrapinarium fully. Regular replacement of the water and manual removal of the solid wastes with siphon or a net is essential.
If the terrapins hibernate in captivity, it should be carefully monitored else they may die also. For more terrapin homing tips please see my terrapin guide review.