Terrapins are the oldest among all living reptiles and have evolved around 215 million years ago. Its primitive natural instinct tells it, “Beware of anything bigger than you” and that makes YOU a ‘predator’ for this humble creature!
Before buying a terrapin, remember that proper handling is one among the few important things. They are cold-blooded reptiles and cannot generate their body heat.
This needs a careful set up of its surroundings with provision of optimum temperature, natural or artificial light, nutritional food, clean water, and medical attention in time. The size of the terrapinarium is also a matter of concern.
Terrapins are very delicate and timid creatures and may get frightened and alarmed when you try to pick it up. It is necessary to give it time to trust you slowly after which it may not resist or show any aggression against you. Even it may swim across to reach you once it gets used to your handling.
Earning the trust of your pet terrapin is very essential as it helps you to check it up regularly to find out any visible infection or other discomfort. Beginning with hand feeding is the best way for this purpose. It learns to relate you with food and becomes fearless about you handling.
Find out more about baby terrapin care
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Gradually you can start picking it up with utmost care, check up quickly and then keep it back again in the tank. This practice followed by a treat of its favorite food like fish will make you more reliable for your terrapin.
While handling, the terrapin should be held firmly from the side of the shell. Never drop it on the floor from high up as that can break its shell, head, neck or legs. Any such injury can be fatal for your pet.
A stressed or upset terrapin may struggle and try to bite or scratch while being handled and it is then better to leave it alone. Though most of the terrapins get used to the owner with time, some remain aggressive forever and that should be given respect.
Both pre- and post-handling, rinse your hands properly with soap and mild disinfectants to stay away from any contamination. Reptiles may carry some microorganisms like Salmonella, which can cause severe diseases in humans.
There are a number of pros and cons regarding a terrapin in captivity. But it is the careful handling, which can give your terrapin a long life. To learn more about handling terrapins safely please read my Turtle Guide Book review.