Terrapins are typically attractive pets and they can live up to 25 years. People mostly buy terrapins as young hatchlings. At this stage, terrapins could be quite tiny, but with proper care, it is possible for terrapins to become 12 inches long as healthy adults. However, we should be aware that terrapins are generally messy and we should wash our hands carefully after we handle them. Their diet is consisted of vegetables, meat and some vitamin supplements. It is important to choose alert and right eyed terrapins as pets. They should have unscathed legs and unbroken shells.
A moderately sized tank at about 24-inch long should be large enough to accommodate a couple of young terrapins or one adult one. In general, terrapins could live well in larger spaces. It is important to avoid overcrowding the tank with multiple terrapins, because this may lead to more aggressive behaviours. The tank should have two distinct areas, the cool end and warmer, drier end to let terrapins dry off and bask. Each of the area should be large enough for all terrapins to use and there must be a slope to allow terrapins to drag themselves more easily between areas. The water should be about 2-inch deep and in general, the depth of the water shouldn’t exceed the width of the terrapins. However, adult terrapins could appreciate deeper water. Like in aquariums, we could consider using water filters to keep the inner environment clean. It is important to clean the tank regularly with proper disinfectants. This will prevent foul smell from coming out of our tanks and keep our terrapins healthier.
It is a bad idea to position our tanks in direct sunlight, because the temperature inside the tank can eventually become higher than the surroundings. Such a condition will disrupt the ecosystem and make our terrapins less comfortable. To better care for our terrapins, it may be necessary to put a thermometer. The overall temperature should be about 20 Celsius at night and 30 Celsius for day. To make terrapins healthier, the basking zone should have UVB lighting. However, we may need to change the lamp regularly because they could lose efficiency eventually. We should consult with experts about the proper intensity and distance from the basking area.
It is not recommended to give our terrapins dried, commercial food. Like any animals, our pets need fresh food. Terrapins could eat green vegetables, crickets, locust, earthworms, oily fish meat, some minced liver, a bit of meat, wax worms and insects. It is important to feed young terrapins daily, while adults could eat every other day. As mentioned previously, terrapins are particularly messy. They could empty their bowels and bladders immediately after eating; this could cause the water and basking areas to get dirty quickly. In general, we could pick up terrapins and put it at separate bowl filled with tepid water outside the tank for eating. We could put the terrapins back into the tank, once they have emptied their bowels and bladders.