peninsula cooter care

Baby turtles are easily housed in a standard 10 or 20 gallon aquarium. There are a number of aquariums produced specifically made for reptiles, however, it is important to insure that the aquarium is designed to be filled with water. Male sliders stay small enough to be kept in indoor aquariums, however, females may grow too large to affordable house indoors. At this point an outdoor habitat may be the best option. In an aquarium, a valuable asset is the addition of a filtration pump. This makes regular cleanup easier, however, it should not be used as a replacement of regular cleaning and sanitization. Not only do pumps filter the water, but they also create a more naturalistic environment, with soothing sounds of trickling water. There are a variety of these pumps on the market, many at very economical prices. Even though cooters become quite docile and familiar with handling, it is important to remember that they still remain a wild animal. As with any such animal, it helps reduce stress if the animal is housed in a naturalistic habitat. There are a number of aquarium gravel variations that allow for customization to better match the rest of the simulated environment. Before adding any gravel to an aquarium, make sure it is first sanitized, and then washed. Utilizing a strainer allows one to more easily and effectively rinse the gravel. Anytime anything is added to your turtle’s habitat, it should be sanitized and washed. Other important features include a basking place. A proper backing place will be place directly under a heat source (preferably with UVB lighting), and it allows your turtle to warm itself completely out of the water. This basking is vital to your turtles health and development. A creative owner will find an endless possibility of options available to continually customize and improve their turtle’s habitat. A nice feature, specifically made for turtles, is floating basking rocks and logs. These floating basking platforms feature naturalistic design and function. These basking platforms remain on top of the water and rise with added water, or lower with evaporation.

While we live in a day and age of fantastic technologies which treat and purify water for human consumption, the chemicals used in such are not as beneficial to your turtle as they are to yourself. Chlorine and fluorine (fluoride) are present in most public water sources. To eliminate these chemicals, one may use special drops available that neutralize the water of such harmful chemicals and are especially designed for use in aquariums and terrariums. They are economical, as well as easy to use, requiring only a few drops per gallon of water. This is much cheaper overall, than purchasing bottled water. Using these drops in conjunction with a household water purifier, like those found on kitchen faucets, provides a double safe guard against toxins in the water.

Artificial aquarium plants, and decorations may be used, but care should be given that no real plants are used unless they are known to be safe for use in aquariums and with your turtle. Please bear in mind that any plant may be eaten if it seems appetizing to your turtle. Please bear in mind that your turtle enjoys swimming. Therefore it is important that its habitat not be too cluttered, as too interfere with swimming. Also, make sure that there are no danger zones in the habitat which could trap your turtle underwater, thereby drowning it.


As with all reptiles and cold-blooded animals, temperature regulation is a necessity. There are a number of ways to achieve the desired temperatures and most of them can be used in conjunction with one another to produce the desired effect. Creating a simulated day and night cycle also promotes to better turtle health. Usually a 14 hour day cycle is optimal. During the night time cycle, temperatures may drop provided that approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit is the nightly low ambient habitat temperature. Day time ambient temperatures in the upper 70’s to lower 80’s is ideal. The basking lamp should be UVA and UVB light with a basking spot temperature of the mid to upper 80’s. In conjunction with your basking lamp it is recommended that you invest in a quality fluorescent lamp which should also emit UVA and UVB light. Not only will this make your turtle more active but will also allow your turtle to make vitamin D3, which is of importance. Adjustable thermostats are available that allow precise control of the aquariums water temperature. They are reasonable in price, and if bought new, have very minimal risk of injury to your turtle. Under tank heat strips or mats provide gradient heat as well. If night time heating is required to keep your turtle above 65 degrees, a ceramic heater may be used.


Your cooter will require a special diet in order to insure proper health. There are a number of commercially available diets, which are made specifically for aquatic turtles, and baby aquatic turtles. The cooter is omnivorous and eats a varied diet. It is important when feeding your turtle to carefully move them into a separate feeding container, which also contains water (halfway as deep as your turtle is tall). This allows your turtle to skim and feed off of the surface of the water, as it has evolved to do. It is important to do so in a separate container, to keep the habitat from becoming too acidic. There are a number of theories about how much a turtle should eat. Obesity can become a problem with all reptiles, and likewise can be fatal with all reptiles. If not fed a premixed diet, meats should make up no more than 35-45% of its diet. A turtle is full when it slows down its feeding response. Some experts claim that a turtle should be allowed to eat for only 10 minutes, while others say 1 hour. This theory is a broad guideline, as each specimen is different. Some animals eat faster than others.

Monitoring the rate at which the turtle is consuming the food is a safer and more practical approach to judging when it has received enough. While commercial turtle foods are the best, and most convenient, some owners prefer to give their turtles more fresh ingredients to comprise their diets. It is important to properly educate yourself in your turtle’s dietary needs before attempting to regulate their captive diet. Meats and staple protein sources should only be given every 2-3 days. Never feed your turtle raw or uncooked chicken, as this can cause salmonella contamination. Shrimp and krill are packaged for commercially available turtle foods and treats. Various feeder worms, fish, greens, vegetables, and fruits are suitable. Making greens available daily will also provide for healthy turtle habits between protein feedings. Dandelion, romaine lettuce, collard greens, mustard greens, and turnip greens are normally enjoyed by most aquatic turtles.

With proper nutrition aquatic turtles should seldom need supplements. During development, however, aquatic turtle may develop calcium deficiencies. If not prevented this can lead to soft shells, other deformities, and even death. Calcium supplements specifically formulated for the needs of reptiles are available low prices. To administer these supplements, which are in powder form, simply dust the food source in the calcium powder. Do this once to twice a week, and provide the turtle with a secondary calcium source. Turtle will readily chew on cuddle bones, which also are available in most pet retailers. On very rare occasions your turtle may need additional supplement to help it-overcome illness or deficiency. Just as with any other pet, having a good relation with a veterinarian, specializing in herpofauna medicine is advantageous. Not only can a veterinarian assist with medical concerns, but they can also provide answers to questions that you may have regarding captive turtle care.