Newest Review: ... they interact with you more. My little brothers are two baby map turtles, sized around the same size as a 50p piece and cost £20 each from... more
Much more personality than a fish!
Member Name: littleme96
Date: 04/12/08, updated on 04/12/08 (626 review reads)
Advantages: Amazing creatures that are beautiful and interesting to watch!
Disadvantages: Need specialist equipment. Not for everyone!
Turtles are amazing and facinating creatures - I'm sure that many of you have seen giant Sea Turtles on nature programmes and would agree that they look incredibly serene and calm.
I am the proud owner of a Mississippi Map Turtle called Bruce. We decided to buy Bruce after looking around our local Seapets centre and seeing how cute the turtles looked. As we live in an upstairs flat with no garden, we were unable to get a Cat or Dog as a pet as this would be unfair on them, so a turtle seemed to be a fantastic compromise, as they seemed to have a lot more personality than a fish, but could be kept in a tank!
Having looked into it a bit further, we went back and purchased a large tank, gravel, a water filter and pads, chemicals, UV lamps and a heater. We also bought some accessories for the tank including some rocks and a few plastic plants. We had to have the tank set up for a week before going back and buying our turtle to make sure that it was at the optimum temperature.
The following week we returned to Seapets to choose our turtle. The species available were Mississippi Map turtles and there was one turtle who appeared to be trying to catch our eye! All of the other turtles were sitting there sunbathing under the UV lamp, but there was one that was frantically swimming in front of us as if to say 'pick me, pick me'! We just had to have him - there really was no contest!
Map turtles are a really pretty species and are so called due to the bright thin lines that cover their skin and shell and look a bit like a road map! We have found that Bruce's 'map' has faded as he has got bigger. He also has spines on his back called 'scutes'. Turtles do not have teeth and instead have a hooked jaw which enables them to crush their food. Mississippi Map turtles are semi-aquatic and therefore need to live in an aquarium, with raised sections to allow them to sunbathe under the special UV lights.
When we bought him 2 years ago, he was tiny - about the size of a 50p piece, but he is much more heavyweight now! This particular species of turtle can grow up to 10 inches if female, but luckily males don't grow quite as big and tend to stop at around 5 inches. As the name suggests, this type of turtle can be found in the southern region of the USA and tend to live in rivers and ponds with abundant vegetation and lots of insects and fish.
Map turtles are very shy and always have an eye out for predators, especially when they are sunning themselves outside of the water. If there is a movement that they are unsure of, they will dive back into the safety of the water.
Bruce is not nocturnal and usually spends his days sunbathing, swimming and scouring the floor of his tank looking for food! His nights are spent sleeping under the water with his eyes closed. However his eyes are rather unusual - as he has transparent eyelids which kind of peel over his eyeball!
We mainly feed him Turtle food that you can buy from Pet Shops which contain small shrimps and dried pellets, however he is also rather partial to the odd bit of pork or gammon. Freeze dried bloodworm is another occassional treat. As the water is kept at the required temperature and is filtered, he only needs cleaning out about once a month, although chemicals need to be added to the water weekly.
Although Turtles may not be traditional pets, they really are interesting to watch. Bruce is actually quite social and does not mind being picked up every now and then (although when handling, they do need to be kept wet). We are so glad that we made the decision to buy one and hope that he is with us for many years to come! He really is part of our family.
Summary: A fairly low maintenance pet.
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