Musk turtle care is not difficult, but these magnificent creatures require considerably more specialized care than the usual pet. I’ll go through each step in detail in this tutorial to ensure your musk turtles remain happy and healthy for the rest of their lives.
As Pets, Musk Turtles
When the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles made their big screen debut in the 1990’s, numerous children worldwide declared their desire for a pet turtle. At the time, millions of baby red eared sliders were purchased by unwary parents who had no idea that these adorable tiny animals would quickly mature into adults measuring up to 30cm in length.
Not only can a giant terrapin like this deliver a severe bite when provoked, but it also comes with a slew of practical constraints, like the requirement for a massive tank and constant cleaning. It’s unsurprising that so many were released into the wild or “donated” to rescue organizations.
The reptile trade has evolved since then. Dealers and pet owners are more knowledgeable than ever about keeping turtles as pets, and a far wider variety of species is available. Musk turtles are one of the turtles that are well-suited to being kept as pets.
One of the most enticing parts of maintaining musk turtles is their modest adult size; adults generally reach a shell length of around 3.5-5″ in total, with males being somewhat bigger than females. This makes them significantly more adaptable to confinement.
Along with their smaller size, musk turtles are also quite appealing animals. The Common Musk Turtle is the most often encountered species in pet stores. These chelonions (the collective term for all shelled reptiles) generally have brilliant yellow stripes across their heads, which disappear as they mature. Additionally, the juveniles can have a “razorback” look, with part of their shell scales protruding into the air. Again, as musk turtles mature, their scales tend to flatten down little, giving their shell a more conventional form.
The first message here is that if you’re seeking for a lovely pet turtle that grows to a small size, the musk turtle is an excellent choice. So – how can musk turtles make good pets? That is precisely what our musk turtle care sheet will cover…
Tanks for Musk Turtles
Selecting and assembling your musk turtle cage is likely the most critical phase. Additionally, it is the most costly and, for novice reptile keepers, the most complicated. However, if you do this correctly, you will already be 80% or more of the way to success.
A customized glass aquarium is the ideal musk turtle tank. A 20 gallon (60cm/2 foot long) tank is recommended for a single musk turtle, whereas two turtles require a 30 gallon tank. If you purchase hatchlings, as the majority of people do, they may appear to be “lost” in such a vast aquarium. Regardless, purchasing and setting up a tank is not inexpensive, and it is typically preferable to begin with a tank sufficient for adult turtles rather than needing to upgrade after a few months.
After purchasing a suitable tank and mesh lid, the following step is to select the appropriate electrical equipment. The many parts of equipment you choose will maintain your tank warm and sanitary, creating the ideal environment for your pet.
- UV Light
- Turtle Water Heater
- Heat Lamp
- Aquarium Filter
If there is one disadvantage to maintaining any type of turtle, it is that they may be untidy animals. They subsist nearly entirely on aquatic food. They grasp a piece of food with their mouth and then claw at it with their front feed in order to bite off an appropriate-sized chunk. This means that the food you supply – often some sort of meat – is shredded in the water. This may quickly devolve into a disaster if not handled appropriately.
Even little turtles, such as musk turtles, are capable of astonishing strength. They frequently injure and kill living plants, knock over or rearrange rocks, and do a variety of other things.
As a result, it is advisable to keep tank decor to a minimum. While some turtle caretakers use aquarium gravel to line the cage’s bottom, it is more customary to leave the tank’s foundation bare. This makes it easy to vacuum up uneaten food and maintain a pleasant odor.
As previously said, it may be beneficial to create a place where your turtle may crawl out of the water to bask. Turtle basking platforms are an inexpensive and practical choice in this situation. Directly over this platform, place your ceramic basking lamp.
By now, you should have a good idea of the fundamental items you’ll require. So let’s briefly go through the environmental parameters that this setup is intended to give…
- Water Purification
- Temperature of the Water
- Temperature of Basking
- UV Illumination
Feeding Turtles Musk
Musk turtles are mostly carnivorous. They’ll consume a variety of things in captivity, and altering the diet of your musk turtle may assist avoid inadequacies. Among the most popular foods are the following:
- Turtle Sticks or Pellets
- Commercial Fish Food
Do Musk Turtles Experience Loneliness?
Humans are notorious for projecting their own emotions onto our dogs. A frequently asked issue is if musk turtles would become lonely if kept alone or whether they should be kept in groups.
As male musk turtles age, they frequently have only one thought. If a pair is maintained together, the female may become nearly overwhelmed by his attempts and may begin to deteriorate. Similarly, two men may begin a struggle for supremacy at some point. While two or more females can coexist peacefully, this is most easily accomplished in a much bigger tank with various basking areas and platforms.
Thus, it is prudent to regard musk turtles as solitary creatures for their own protection.
Cleaning & Upkeep
While turtles may be untidy creatures, the proper upkeep will help keep their tank looking nice. Consider the following critical factors…
- Food Elimination
- Changes in the Water
- Cleaning of Filters
- Elimination of Algae
- Environmental Examinations
- Examinations of Health
Handling Musk Turtles
Turtles are more of a pet to admire from afar than a bearded dragon or a ball python. They are very delicate, and a fall can be deadly.
Nonetheless, there may be instances when you must relocate your musk turtle. If this is the case, keep in mind that while musk turtles are smaller than many other types of pet turtles, they may still deliver a terrible nip to the unlucky.
There are several possibilities available here. Smaller turtles may be easily picked up and placed in a plastic tub or a soft aquarium net. When physically handling your turtle, the optimal position is at the rear of their shell. Your thumb should be positioned beneath the shell, with your other fingers holding the turtle in place on the top of the shell. Holding your turtle so far back prevents it from reaching around to bite you. Additionally, your hand will be far enough away from their legs to prevent them from pulling you away.