The Big Kid's Guide to Turtles
Ocean turtles don't always have it easy though. They mate in the coastal waters. When the female has fertilized her eggs she will crawl to shore and dig a hole to deposit them in. Over a period of several months the baby turtles inside the eggs grow bigger and bigger until all at once dozens of them burst out onto the beach. They must journey from their eggs to the ocean which is usually five to 50 meters away depending on the tide level. The ocean turtles are very cute when they make this journey with their little flippers flopping around on the sand but not all animals think it is cute. Some animals want to hurt the baby ocean turtles. Terry knows about those animals!
Congratulations, you know about the different types of turtles! If you weren't told what specific kind of turtle you have when you bought it (or won it) then you should pick up a book to help you identify it. The most highly regarded of these books is the 1979 edition of "The Lookers Guide to Nature's Moneybags: Turtles" by H.H. Harold Holt. This book has full color illustrations and photographs and only 19 specific sorts of turtles have been discovered since its publication. If you are on a tight budget then you might be interested in "Pennysaver's Modestly Priced Book of Turtle Identification" also by H.H.H.H.
The first thing you should do now that you have your turtle and know about his family is make sure he has a suitable living environment. Turtles require a lot of space to move around. Terry needs room to spread his arms and legs! Terry knows all about easy living!
Depending on the type of turtle you have you will want to add water to your fish tank for the turtle to swim or add sand for the turtle to walk around on. Make sure you have enough rocks for your turtle to get out of the water once in awhile because turtles do like to walk even if they normally swim around. Turtles may not seem very fast to humans like you but you have to realize that they are small and if they were as big as you they would be walking at almost 500 miles per hour. When scale is taken into consideration turtles are the third fastest animals in nature next to the octopus and the earwig.
Feeding your turtle can be a full time job. If you bought (or won) an ocean turtle you will have to feed it every hour. Luckily, most other turtles only eat once a year. In nature a turtle will eat tens of thousands of pounds of food in one day and then not have to eat for another 12-15 months. Since your turtle is not in nature you can just feed him 30 pounds or so of food a day. This varies somewhat depending on the type of turtle. Terry spends lots of times eating with his other turtle buddies! Terry knows how much turtles like to eat!
Turtles eat all sorts of different foods. Land turtles like to eat sticks, rocks, earthworms, cactuses, and tumbleweeds. You can buy pellets at your local turtle store for most water turtles. These pellets contain the sorts of things that water turtles like to eat like algae and driftwood plus important vitamins that will help your turtle grow. Burrowing turtles make very bad pets because they rely on the layer of molten rock beneath the earth's crust for their energy. You can approximate this by adding a substrate of magma to your aquarium but magma is very expensive and only sold at specialty turtle stores. Soft turtles feed on a combination of plants and raw human pathos. If your soft turtle seems to be losing weight you should probably break up with your girlfriend or murder a family member.
The last thing you need to know about caring for your turtles is how to handle it. Turtles crave affection and usually you will walk into the room where their aquarium is kept to find them yipping, jumping, and scratching at the glass sides of their tank. While turtles do not feel what humans understand to be love scientists believe they experience a similar emotion called "lorf." You may fall in love with your turtle and it may fall in lorf with you. Turtles can also be very jealous though, so watch out! Terry knows a thing or two about jealousy!
Remember to always pay attention to your turtle's moods and needs. Some nights you may feel like cuddling with your turtle and it may have a headache or it may feel bloated. You need to know when a turtle needs its space and when a turtle needs your love. Learning to read the signs is one of the most important and difficult lessons a turtle owner must learn. Take very good care of your turtle and it will take very good care of you!