Water and land turtles, everything you need to know

Water and land turtles, everything you need to know

If we have turtles at home, today we will learn everything we need to give them the best possible life. They are animals that should only be bought in authorized establishments, or better yet, adopted, because surely there is a neighbor, family member or friend who has a turtle, but for whatever reason, they can no longer care for them.

Throughout this text we are going to learn some basic advice on feeding turtles, as well as the types of turtles that exist and the basic care they need. Raising turtles is easy and cheap, but their survival depends exclusively on us, and we are responsible for their having a full life.

How long do turtles last?

Approximately, a tortoise usually lasts between 60 and 80 years, so that pet that we are giving our son will accompany him throughout his life. Water turtles have a life expectancy of about 15 or 20 years, as we can see, it is less than half that of land turtles.

For the tortoise to live a full life, it is necessary to comply with a series of basic guidelines and advice, especially with regard to food and hygiene. Turtles are animals that do not groom themselves like cats, so we must take good care of them and give them a very varied diet so that they have all the necessary nutrients and live happily.


Mainly there are 2 types of turtles, those of land and those of water. Within each group, there are several species, but we already explained that in another text. What both turtles have in common is that they both need water, one as a regular medium and the other to hydrate and even feed.

The most common thing in pet stores is to see water turtles. They need a pond or aquarium and a dry area where they can rest and sunbathe. However, tortoises need a lot of area with natural sunlight and a small area with water where they can cool off, hydrate and even feed.


Well, the diet of the turtles must be very varied, not only shrimp, or pressed feed, nor fish food that looks like colored paper. Water turtles eat shrimp, yes, but also earthworms, worms, insects such as flies, snails, slugs, small fish, algae, etc.

On the other hand, tortoises eat almost the same as us, so, in that sense, it will be easier to feed them in a variety of ways. For example, they eat green leafy vegetables, flowers, seeds, roots, slugs, snails, grasshoppers, fresh fruit, etc.

Both species share some foods, but land turtles have a more powerful jaw, so they can eat roots, stems, crunchy vegetables and even small insects, or not as small as grasshoppers.

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basic care

The basic care of the turtles goes through the space where they are going to live, in this case the aquarium. This must be perfectly enabled for each species and it is not recommended to mix turtles and fish, although it is generally not a problem.

The terrarium or aquarium must be large. For water turtles, it should be quite deep, since they like to swim a lot, but also a flat area where they can rest in the sun and even a branch or stone area that acts as a bridge and allows them to go from one corner of the terrarium to another without step on the water

In the case of the tortoise, the terrarium must be flat with stone or sand and a small part with water and deep enough for the animal to swim and dive. The dry area may have edible plants for them or that attract the attention of insects that are eaten.

Something in common between both species of turtles is that it is recommended that they go out of the terrarium a few hours a day. But always under supervision or in a safe area, since it could be buried and then we don’t find them.

The cleaning of the terrarium should be done at least once a week. And we must even clean the shell of the turtle and for this we will use warm water and a toothbrush. If we see that the animal is stressed, we leave it alone and resume cleaning after a while. Beware that tortoises tend to have a bad temper and can bite.

Care to keep them at home

We are going to see a summary of the basic care and other tips to have turtles at home and have as full a life as possible. The most important thing is to always consult a specialist to help us.

  • Veterinary check-ups, at least once a year.
  • Diet as varied as possible.
  • Maximum cleanliness of the terrarium water.
  • Release it outside the aquarium for at least 2 hours a day.
  • Keep the tortoise away from dangers such as dogs and parrots.
  • When incorporating another turtle, try to make it the same species. If in doubt, consult a specialist.
  • May there always be sunshine in the aquarium.
  • Protect the animal from low temperatures, since the terrarium must always be around 20 degrees.
  • Control hibernation, since there are some types of turtles that do it for several months. We must not disturb them.
  • That in the terrarium of the gopher tortoise there is enough soil so that it can dig if it feels like it.
  • Mixing tortoises and tortoises is not recommended. Much less if the land is larger.
  • The water in the terrarium must be free of chlorine, to avoid damage to the shell of our turtle.