Adopt a Terrapin

 

Terrapins are a species of turtle that normally lives in fresh water streams or brackish ponds, in waterways or even in larger river systems. There are many different sub-species of terrapins from across the world, but all of the variations of terrapins are just related types of turtles. Some are known as “red-eared sliders” or “painted terrapins” or “diamondback terrapins” and are all related species. Terrapins can be found in many parts of the world, some native inhabitants, and some have been introduced, but are native to the east coast areas of the United States, some parts of Asia, as well as some populations in the United Kingdom. It can be rather difficult to find terrapins in the wild. We mostly see them in national aquariums or environment centres, pet stores, and of course they are popularly kept as pets at home. Terrapins are usually kept as pets because they are very cute, and also quite easy to look after. But you need to be aware of which type of terrapin you would like to look after, some sub-species are quite small and don’t grow much more than 100 mm, whereas some types of terrapins can grow to more than 50 cm!

 

Please consider before you buy a terrapin…img-terrapin-illness

They can even be adopted by an individual, when someone can no longer look after their pet terrapin. Buying is another way to acquire this creature for personal possession, but we recommend that there may be a better and even cheaper way that you can get your pet terrapin – for free!  They are easily available in England but that depends upon their sex and particular species or size as pet terrapins are generally bought as hatchlings.

 

You might be able to get a pet terrapin for free!

Sometimes due to inadequate experience, small aquariums and lack of interest, some people can be forced to re-home their pet terrapin after purchasing them.  Terrapins are likely to be available in the shops dealing with reptiles or aquatic creatures but we do not recommend that you purchase them from dealers, when there are many possibilities to adopt a pre-loved pet terrapin.  

Almost every day there are opportunities to adopt a terrapin!  Many pet stores and veterinary services are handed terrapins that are no longer wanted by their owners, or people who are unable to look after them any longer.  And then there are the poor creatures that are unwittingly released into the wild, only to be picked up by passers by when they are sick or unable to survive in the wild.  Before you set out to buy a terrapin, make sure to check in with your local pet store, or veterinary clinic, or even reptile keepers club, as it may be cheaper than you think to acquire your next terrapin for a pet.  Better still – click here to review our Notice Board for terrapins needing a new home!

 

Make sure you are properly set up to look after a pet TerrapinTerrapin Tank Setup

Before getting your own terrapin, make sure that you have made proper and adequate arrangements for them such as a nice large aquarium, or even a dedicated, spacious terrapinarium with UV lighting, water filtration system and temperature controlling device.  All of these elements may be required, depending on your location and prevailing temperature conditions.  All turtles need to be kept relatively warm through winter which is the primary requirements for looking after them and keeping them happy.  

Although illegal trading of terrapins is not allowed, they are sold in the markets around the world, and unfortunately, not all dealers are reputable in their dealings with terrapins, and likewise, not all buyers know how to look after these cute little pets properly.  The reasons that unscrupulous traders can operate is that in some countries, the trade of native and non-native reptiles is illegal, so as a buyer of pet terrapins, we need to make sure that we do not encourage the illegal trade of helpless little animals.

 

Beware of cruel terrapin traders

In the United States, breeding or exportation of these hapless creatures is legal and flourishing. Sometimes cool temperature terrapins are shipped in which hundreds of hatchlings are loaded in small containers. Many of them die during the transportation to their destination.  This same practice occurs around the world, and should not be allowed to continue!

 

Become a carer for a Terrapin in need!

As buyers, we should avoid these cruel and illegal traders, and instead of buying your pet terrapin, I encourage you to look for opportunities to re-home a pre loved pet, and give a good home to a creature who might otherwise be disposed of or killed due to being unwanted.  You can provide an excellent home to a pre loved pet, and look after them properly so that they can live a long and happy life – click here to review our Notice Board for terrapins needing a new home!

For more advice about where to get a pet terrapin, please refer to our links to the terrapin rescue and re-homing organisations in the united Kingdom – click here.

 

Veterinary Advice

If you need veterinary advice with regards your pet terrapin, please click here to learn how to find expert veterinary services.

 

Would you love to adopt a terrapin?

If you would love to give a good home to a poor unwanted pet terrapin, we have provided a complete handbook on everything you need to know about looking after your very own pet terrapin – please check out the complete terrapin guide.

Terrapins Bite

Common Terrapin IllnessesI just have come to know about the painful bite from your pet terrapin Tyson.

I hope you are fully recovered by now. I was quite concerned because it could have been worse.

It is said that once a terrapin bites you, it doesn't let go till it thunders!

I can visualize vividly about your mis-adventure which lead you to this painful bite from your newly adopted terrapin. Well, your heroic terrapin has justified its name.

But it is not your over-aggressive pet but the experienced (supposed to be) pet-shop owner who made me extremely annoyed! How could he sell it to a green-horn customer like you without explaining about their typical characteristics?

No, I will never hold the terrapin responsible for this disastrous episode. Who knows, maybe an extreme stress pushed it to nibble on your three beautifully manicured fingers!

 

Find out more about ongoing terrapin care

Is a turtle the right pet for you?The Turtle Guide Book covers everything you could ever wish to know about terrapin care.

Giving incredible detail on almost every subject, it is a great guide that is available as an instant download or physical paperback book delivered to your door.

 

Click here to read my full review

 

You must have experienced an excruciating pain but thankfully terrapins are not venomous like some other reptiles. Some painkillers and antibiotic ointments should heal your wound.

You should have learnt some dos and don’ts before planning on buying the terrapin. Now let me share a few things which I was told by a terrapin breeder during my research-project on conservation of endangered terrapins.

Terrapins are carnivorous reptiles and some of them are considered as powerful predators. They appeared on this earth about 180 million years ago and the fossils of those prehistoric terrapins prove their size to be bigger than the new-age ones.

They even possessed small knob-like teeth inside their jaws which disappeared during the evolution.

The present day terrapins do not possess any teeth but their horny, sharply serrated and powerful jaws can bite and tear up their food easily.

Normally the smaller terrapins feed on living fish, mollusks, worms etc while the huge alligator snapping turtles (the largest variety of terrapins found in North America) do not hesitate to savor on other terrapins or even snakes and baby crocodiles too using their beak-like strong jaws! Oops!

You should have gone for a hatchling rather than an adult terrapin which are difficult to tame and capable of giving strong terrapin bites.

The bite of some terrapins is the second strongest among all the animals of the world and we should thank God that Tyson didn’t sever your fingers off. Tell this to your children too.

Next time hold your terrapin from the side of the shell firmly but gently and carefully to avoid another bite.

 

Terrapin Museums

 

terrapin museumHey humans, thanks for visiting me in one of the best Terrapin Museums of the world! You know me don’t you? You call me the Terrapin!

You might have read a lot about me in your text books and watched movies about me on television. Now you have come to visit me and it makes me feel very important.

I feel, “I’m no less than a movie star when it comes to your attention. You humans simply stare at me because I’m so different.

You might have heard the story of the fast but hasty hare and the slow but steady tortoise. Yes, I’m the proud kin of that wise tortoise (a distant relative to be more specific).

Well, most humans who visit a Terrapins Museum say that I resemble the tortoise which is absolutely true. I look like a tortoise but there are a lot of differences between me and the tortoise.

 

Find out more about ongoing terrapin care

Is a turtle the right pet for you?The Turtle Guide Book covers everything you could ever wish to know about terrapin care.

Giving incredible detail on almost every subject, it is a great guide that is available as an instant download or physical paperback book delivered to your door.

 

Click here to read my full review

 

Many of you just stare at me through the glass walls of Terrapin Museum chambers, make comments on my looks and just move away to the next exhibit. But I think you should take time to go through my family history.

After all, I belong to the illustrious Malaclemys family of turtles. If any of your relatives will want to know, you can tell them that. A visit to the museum without educating yourself doesn’t take you anywhere.

Now coming back to my family history do you know what Malaclemys actually means? The term is of Greek origin and is based on our food preferences. We love those scrumptious mollusks a lot and we really freak out on them. That’s why we got the term Malaclemys meaning “eaters of mollusks.”

To my horror I came to know that you people love preying on me, the way I love preying on mollusks. It seems you make all kinds of tasty recipes by killing me, and cooking me. What a heinous crime that is!

But I understand that is quite fair because even we give mollusks the same treatment. Native Americans have named us edible turtles, because they literally feast on us. That’s the reason I have chosen to stay in brackish water far away from your reach.

Did you know that I’m known as the Diamondback Terrapin my British and Americans? That’s with good reason. My carapace (shell) has got beautiful diamond-shaped patterns on it and the color is too good.

Want to know more about me? I’ll surely come back with more information! Goodbye

 

Terrapins Shop

 

Terrapin FoodPlanning to have a terrapin?…No problem, just get your cute teeny-weeny terrapin.

Where to get your terrapin?…
Well, you have two options:

  1. A shop who keeps terrapins; or
  2. From the Breeders.

1. Pet shop: While buying terrapins from a pet shop/terrapin shop, look for the following few things:

  • The shop owners must have good knowledge about reptiles (specially terrapins)
  • Never hesitate to question the shop owner; always clear your doubts about the various points of terrapin care
  • It is expected that a pet shop owner with proper knowledge have taken proper care of all the terrapins kept in his shop.
  • Check that your terrapin looks healthy, active and without any oozing wound.
  • Buy the equipments needed for the terrapin before hand, so that you can give your pet terrapin a home away from home.

 

Find out more about ongoing terrapin care

Is a turtle the right pet for you?The Turtle Guide Book covers everything you could ever wish to know about terrapin care.

Giving incredible detail on almost every subject, it is a great guide that is available as an instant download or physical paperback book delivered to your door.

 

Click here to read my full review

 

2. Breeders:

  • Visit a trustworthy terrapin breeder for better quality
  • Terrapin breeders generally have good knowledge. But before buying one, always check their health.
  • Breeders prefer advertisements. Check various newspapers and magazines for advertisements of terrapin sale.
  • Terrapins can be purchased online too.
  • You may check the parents of the terrapin you want to buy. They should be free of any heritable or contagious diseases. Else your terrapin may also suffer from the same.
  • Ask the breeder about various paraphernalia of terrapin petting.
  • Learn about various problems you may have to face.
  • Contact the breeder before buying your terrapin to find the exact size of the terrapinarium, so that you can keep it ready in advance.
  • Ask the terrapin breeder about an experienced vet.

Remember:

  • Buy your terrapin during summer. In the colder season they tend to hibernate and become less active.
  • Don’t buy a hibernating terrapin or one that just has recovered from hibernation. It takes about 4 to 10 weeks to be fully active.
  • Try to count its age by the rings on the shell and the size. But growth depends on the age and the environment it is living in too.
  • Keep your terrapin in a perfect and spacious tank with arrangements of filter pump, thermometer, UV light, thermostatic heater and a comfortable basking place.

 

European Pond Terrapins

 

European Pond TerrapinHi, this is Emys. I am here to welcome you all for a discussion on European Pond Terrapins today. I have been allowed to say a few words about us on this occasion.

We are here to talk and exchange our opinion about the population of European Pond Terrapins.

The situation is grave as our conservation status has been declared as ‘Near Threatened’ according to the IUCN 2.3)[1].

Emys orbicularis (Linnaeus, 1758); Yes, that is what we are named binomially by the scientists. To elaborate our classification more scientifically, we are under the Kingdom- Animalia, Phylum- Chordata, Class- Reptilia and Order- Testudines. Emydidae is our Family name which we proclaim proudly.

Now, before we go for the open dialogue, let me give you an overview about our community.

We, the European pond terrapins, inhabit the ponds and other slow-flowing water bodies like streams and marshes at various locations in Europe. Other than Europe you can see us in some places of Asia and Northern Africa.

But we avoid hot sandy areas of deserts. We were introduced into of North America and in fact a small and secured population of us exists in Australia too. We were more widely distributed during the early post-glacial era, but unfortunately, we have lost a great number of populations.

 

Find out more about ongoing terrapin care

Is a turtle the right pet for you?The Turtle Guide Book covers everything you could ever wish to know about terrapin care.

Giving incredible detail on almost every subject, it is a great guide that is available as an instant download or physical paperback book delivered to your door.

 

Click here to read my full review

 

Normally we are not very large but our length may vary from 12 cm to 38 cm according to the place of habitation. Our shells look elegant in a great combination of brown and green with some yellow specks here and there!

Shells are smooth and oval with average size of 7 to 14 inches. We have a characteristic yellow ring around our eyes and sharp nails on the webbed digits.

Our food habit is simple, we are omnivores, but if you ask about the preference, then I must mention that meat, fish, insects, worms, carrions are the things we relish with great pleasure. But at times, to avoid starvation, we nibble on vegetations too.

We are shy creatures and love to embed ourselves within the under-water mud for hibernation for at least seven months in a year. We have a long life span and can survive 30 years or more in captivity. Clutches are hatched during August and September.

We suffer from various types of parasites including some nematodes. Presently we are protected nationally in several European countries. But to increase our population, more care should be taken. What do YOU suggest my friends?

 

Maryland Terrapins

 

Terrapin FoodDiamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin; family Emydidae) are popularly known as ‘Maryland terrapins’. They are labeled as official state reptilesof Maryland since 1994.

Even the University of Maryland College Park has also chosen this species as their official mascot. They prefer to live in the less salty and unpolluted brackish water of Chesapeake Bay.

Maryland terrapins used to be considered as a delectable part of culinary cuisines during 19th century which caused drastic reduction in the population of these mute, helpless and easy to prey creatures. Even the landlords used to feed terrapin meat to their slaves because of the cheaper rate.

Long back, the Maryland terrapins used to swim in abundance in the Chesapeake Bay. But the ruthless fishing to satisfy the taste buds of human beings has brought them down to a status of endangered species at present.

Maryland terrapins get killed not only by the fishing nets, but several predators including birds, raccoons, crabs too destroy the eggs and the hatchlings.

This horrifying reality, forced the people of Maryland to feel the urgency of saving the Maryland (diamondback) terrapins before it is too late. Maryland has taken up various research projects to shield them from getting extinguished. Now (effective from 1st July, 2007), no one in Maryland can own or purchase the diamondback illegally for any profit making purposes.

 

Find out more about ongoing terrapin care

Is a turtle the right pet for you?The Turtle Guide Book covers everything you could ever wish to know about terrapin care.

Giving incredible detail on almost every subject, it is a great guide that is available as an instant download or physical paperback book delivered to your door.

 

Click here to read my full review

 

Diamondback or Maryland terrapins can be easily identified by their unique, grey-brown-black rings (concentric and diamond shaped) on the surface of their scute. It is believed that the number of the rings increases with their age.

Feeding habit:

Diamondback or Maryland terrapins love to prey on mollusks like crabs, snails, mussels etc. Although worms, small fishes, carrion and even marine plants are also equally relished by them.

Hibernation:

Maryland terrapins are aquatic reptiles. They are ectothermic (cold-blooded) creatures. Hence their body temperature is controlled by the surrounding environment.

During winter their body temperature also falls and they need to go for hibernation (resting period). Diamondbacks dig out underwater mud and partially bury themselves. Their body metabolic functions also reduce drastically.

With the onset of warmer season during the month of May, the Maryland terrapins also resurface and heat themselves up by sunbathing (basking) on the sandy beaches.

Breeding:

After the hibernation, their reproductive activities like mating, nesting or laying eggs start. Maryland terrapins produce a number of eggs in a sand pit and cover it thoroughly. Interestingly, the temperature inside the pit determines the sex of the hatchlings.

 

Terrapins How To: Breeding

 

Common Terrapin IllnessesDo you know nothing about terrapin breeding? Just cool down dear terrapin lover…!

Here are some useful and handy tips and guidelines regarding one of the most frequently asked questions – “How to breed my pet terrapins”?

 

Step One:

Things you will need:

  1. A male terrapin
  2. A female terrapin
  3. One vermicular or an incubator
  4. One breeding box

 

Find out more about ongoing terrapin care

Is a turtle the right pet for you?The Turtle Guide Book covers everything you could ever wish to know about terrapin care.

Giving incredible detail on almost every subject, it is a great guide that is available as an instant download or physical paperback book delivered to your door.

 

Click here to read my full review

 

Step Two:

Matrimony:

Have you got the couple of terrapins, a male and a female? Are your terrapins happy with each other? Well…, Cupid is also ready to strike!

A pair of sexually mature male and female terrapin is ideal for mating. Terrapins of 5 to 11 years of age are generally considered as the ‘Best’ provided they are reared in proper condition.

 

Step Three:

Provide the appropriate environment:

Terrapins need an environment combined of both aquatic and terrestrial condition but they breed inside water and lay eggs on the land. Specific temperature is necessary for the breeding and that differs from species to species.

Breeding terrapins outdoor is easy but may not be convenient all the times. Mimicking the outdoor environment with a few tricks can be a good alternative to make your terrapins comfortable.

 

Step Four:

The breeding box:

A comfortable box is what your female terrapin might be looking for. It might climb into it and get ready to lay eggs. Get your box ready with a near-natural condition of sand and moist soil (about 1 ft).

 

Step Five:

Get the wedding bells ring:

Prepare the atmosphere…

  1. Let them hibernate
  2. Keep the couple separate for a few months because re-union after a few months generally triggers the mating instinct…! After all ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’.
  3. An amazing fact – Your female terrapin may lay eggs years after mating as she can store sperms for more than three years! But this is a rare occurrence.

 

Step Six:

Handling and storing eggs:

Mark the top of the breakable eggs so that you can take extra caution and don’t flip them. Success rate of incubation in vermiculate is higher than in natural condition.

Temperature around the eggs determines the sex of the hatchlings. At 24 – 28º C males and at 30 – 32º C females are hatched. But shell deformities may occur at higher temperature.

 

Step Seven:

Hatchlings:

It takes 60 to 120 days to produce hatchlings. Separate them from the adults as they may kill the hatchlings. Give them a regular and well balanced food.

 

Amphibians of the Reptile World

 

Terrapin FoodStudies on the fossils prove that the reptiles were present on the earth about 320 million years ago.

Turtles are categorized under the class Reptiles and their fossils, unearthed from various parts of the world, have confirmed their presence approximately 250 million years before.

Reptiles are one step superior to the amphibians (the class of animals which are aquatic as well as terrestrial) in the evolutionary process, as they were evolved from the latter.

Snakes, lizards, alligators, turtles…all these are examples of reptiles. Among them, turtles are very commonly mistaken as amphibians because of the nature of their habitation.

Aquatic turtles live in various water bodies like bogs, woodlands, pasture edges, sea, river, and ponds while the terrestrial ones (tortoise) live on land, sometimes even in deserts too. This feature gives them a characteristic similarity to an amphibian.

Primitive turtles were bigger in size, around 20 inches (50 cm) more than the present ones. Other than the beak; they had some small teeth too.

There are several types of turtles, among them Leatherback sea turtles of the present day are the largest turtle which can grow up to 5ft in length and 800 kg or 1,800 lbs in weight.

 

Find out more about ongoing terrapin care

Is a turtle the right pet for you?The Turtle Guide Book covers everything you could ever wish to know about terrapin care.

Giving incredible detail on almost every subject, it is a great guide that is available as an instant download or physical paperback book delivered to your door.

 

Click here to read my full review

 

Unlike amphibians, turtle’s eggs do not need water for hatching. Turtles can live on the land (Terrestrial turtles or Tortoise)), in the sea (Turtle), or in the brackish water (Terrapin).

Like other reptiles, turtles are also cold-blooded animals and hence require very less energy for their survival. The female water turtles dig their nesting burrows and lay their eggs on the sea shores or the river banks and then cover them with sand and go back to the sea.

Both turtles and tortoises (land turtles) are slow growers. The hatchling mortality is also very high and only one among thousand hatchlings can survive to grow. But their life span can be above 100 years or more!

The unique exoskeleton of a turtle is made up of a hard protective shell (Top part –Carapace, Lower part–plastron). In adversity, they pull their body in it. They are carnivores and can become good pets too.

Turtles play an important role in the ecological conservation by forming a biological relationship with different other types of flora and fauna.

Due to uncontrolled killing of turtles, these timid, harmless and small creatures have become endangered nowadays. More over, the ecosystems would be severely damaged if the tortoise does not survive.

Think before you act….!!

 

Cost of Buying a Terrapin

 

Common Terrapin IllnessesTerrapins are much easier to buy than looking after because these small reptiles in captivity really need good care and attention for survival.

You should realize this before bringing the teeny-weeny terrapin to your home.

Buying a terrapin does not mean purchasing the creature only. You have to get the proper kit beforehand for setting up an almost natural environment for it.

 

 

Find out more about ongoing terrapin care

Is a turtle the right pet for you?The Turtle Guide Book covers everything you could ever wish to know about terrapin care.

Giving incredible detail on almost every subject, it is a great guide that is available as an instant download or physical paperback book delivered to your door.

 

Click here to read my full review

 

You will need:

A square and transparent glass tank (Terrapinarium) to store clean water within which your terrapin can swim freely.

A good water filter, net, and a siphon to replace the water frequently;

Aa UV lamp, to be fitted in the tank, in case it is deprived of the warmth of the sunlight. A florescent lamp, especially made for the reptiles can be the best option as it can provide both UV-A and UV-B in actual proportion. Remember, terrapins are cold blooded reptiles.

An elevated platform (Basking zone) to be made inside the tank so that your pet can come out of the water from time to time to take sunbath.

A thermostatic heater, which is to be fitted inside the tank to control the water temperature at 20º to 23º C. The old fashioned filament lamp can also be useful.

Well balanced food and supplements.

The contact number of a good veterinary doctor nearby.

The initial set up may cost a little high, but after all it is going to keep YOUR pet healthy in the long run.

Well, now you have your terrapinarium ready with all necessary equipments and you are watching your pet swimming happily in the water.

 

But keep a few things in mind:

  1. Check and change water regularly because their feces can pollute the water which smells terribly and cause several kinds of infections. Use net to take out the uneaten foods also.
  2. Vitamin D deficiency can deform their shell. Make sure that it is getting vitamin rich food and enough sunlight or artificial source of UV light but never leave them in direct sunlight for long
  3. Provide protein rich non-vegetarian food during the growing stage. Adults prefer to eat vegetables more.

Don’t panic if your terrapin is not eating properly. It is a common and temporary occurring. Just wait and watch for a few days before calling the doctor.

Give care, love and affection to your terrapin and see it growing up with pleasure….!

 

The story of Mr. Terrapin

 

Signs of a healhty terrapinIt is long since Mr. Terrapin won the race against Mr. Hare. Unfortunately, Mr. Hare is no more.

He was humiliated by his own fellow hares for the rest of his life.

Mentally shaken, he went into great depression and breathed his last due to a massive cardiac arrest.

Mr. Terrapin is very old now and sometimes, while basking in the sun, he tells the hair rising story of his win to his grand children.

The hares were very proud of their deft and super fast feet and that defeat literally smashed their confidence.

They were shattered, ashamed and angry because of Mr. Hare’s failure!

One day the youngsters wanted to re-play the race. Young Torty the Terrapin and Harry the Hare were ready to take the challenge. Speculations were on …Will Harry be able to reassess himself; can he re-establish their lost glory?

Or will Torty be successful to keep the Trophy back in their colony? However the final countdown started…!

This time the organizers gave a fair chance to both of them. They have to go through the jungle terrain as well as across the river, so that no one can complain about anything. Both Torty and Harry were a little apprehensive but they had no option.

The race was flagged off amidst a huge round of applause…

HI…HO…! Run…Run…Harry,…!!!
Run…Run…Torty…Run…!!!

All were shouting;…but Harry and Torty were running at their best speed till Harry reached the river bank…!

Harry was in a fix… how to cross the river? His precious coat will be wet! He was trying to find some other route but even after many serious calculations for half an hour, he couldn’t find one.

Suddenly he saw Torty getting into the cold water without any hesitation.

He swam across with extreme expertise, reached the other bank and shouted from there, “Hey Buddy, What’s up? Are you scared?”

Harry fumbled, “Y..Y..es!”
“Don’t bother, I’m coming back.” Told Torty.

And then Torty came back to Harry, asked Harry to sit on his back… and then swam again to cross the river. The result…? Well, they both finished the race together.

Harry hugged Torty; Torty danced tango with Harry. His Majesty King Lion handed the trophy over to both of them.

All the animals were joyous, and had a great feast that evening.

His Highness King Lion happily said, “All’s well that ends well, but remember, teamwork is the key to success…!!”