Breeding a water turtle: which species? What regulations, how to take care of them?


For decades water turtles were traded by the thousands and after some time in captivity they were finally released into the wild by their irresponsible owners. This has wreaked havoc on the surrounding flora and fauna. Today, we no longer have the right to breed any species of water turtle. Only Elseya and Emydura can be detained without the need for authorization. Let’s take stock of the drastic regulations relating to wildlife that protect ecosystems and see how to take care of your water turtle in order to meet its very specific needs.

What is a water turtle?

Among the water turtles, we identify those that live in freshwater and those that live in the sea. According to taxonomy, an even more precise difference is made between turtles that live both in freshwater and on land (freshwater turtles) and those that only live in water (sea ​​turtles). Note that those who only live on land are land turtles, but that is not the subject that concerns us here.

Owning a water turtle: what does the law say?

The detention of turtles in France is strictly regulated by law. Being struck, like many other animals, by the threat of extinction, they enjoy government protection. It is therefore compulsory to be in possession of a certificate of competence as soon as you have only one turtle. But to accommodate several specimens, the breeder must hold other authorizations and documents.

We no longer find in free sale than two species of water turtle, to know :

In our country, the detention of one of these two turtles is not subject to any authorization of any kind, for the moment in any case. This does not mean that we should neglect the needs of these NACs or even release them into the wild.

Caring for your freshwater turtle: main tips

If you are raising a freshwater turtle, it is essential to have a equipment allowing it to live both in fresh water and outside the aquatic environment. For this, we therefore install a aqua terrarium the characteristics of which must be as follows:

  • Material: glass or plastic.
  • Capacity: 45 to 50 liters minimum for a single specimen.
  • Minimum dimensions (it is imperative):
    • Length: 80 cm,
    • width: 40 cm,
    • height: 50 cm.
  • Minimum water height: 30 cm, that is to say at least equal to twice the size of the turtle.
  • Distance between the water line and the top of the aqua terrarium, always greater than:
    • 20 cm for an adult water turtle,
    • 10 cm for a juvenile water turtle.
  • A water heating system with a capacity of 1 W for 2 L,
  • Temperature: 24 to 26 ° C.
  • A heat lamp,
  • A UV-B index 8 to 10 lighting system,
  • Location: away from drafts.
  • Layout:
    • A pump,
    • An external water filter made with straw and gravel, allowing the water to be sufficiently filtered because a turtle pollutes its place of life a lot,
    • A preferably floating beach, made up of cork, gravel and / or sand, and which must be easily accessible. Its temperature should be about 5 ° C higher than that of water.

In order for the different bacteria likely to reside in the straw to have time to develop, it is absolutely necessary that the aqua terrarium is fully equipped and installed at least two weeks before placing the water turtle there. It also allows the filtration system to be operational.

The water turtle must be able to spend a good part of the year outdoors in a perfectly adapted environment. We can therefore install a small pool – mini swimming pool type for children – in the center of which we install a beach so that the turtle can get out of the water at will. Care is taken to place a few large stones in the water because of course you have to allow your NAC to be able to hibernate when it is cold, in an aquatic environment with a depth of at least 80 cm, and within which it is possible to protect yourself from freezing. But throughout the year, the water turtle must be able to land on a bright, calm, warm and dry area.

As for thefood intended for a water turtle, it is distributed once a day. It mainly consists of the following foods:

  • Water lentils,
  • Fish,
  • Washed salad,
  • Unshelled shrimps,
  • Molluscs,
  • Aquatic plants,
  • Granules For Water Turtle,
  • Cuttlefish bone powder,
  • A little liver, white meat and snails from time to time.

Even if care has been taken to meet all the conditions necessary for healthy water turtle, it is strongly recommended to take him to the vet once or twice a year so that the practitioner can check that everything is fine. Likewise, at least worrying symptom, a consultation is necessary. This could be, for example, wheezing, reddish spots under the scales, transit problems, loss of appetite, abnormal lethargy, difficulty walking or even a swelling of the eyelids and tearing.

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