Caring for Twist-Necked Turtles as Unique Pets
The Twist-necked Turtle for sale is a small freshwater turtle species that gets its name from its ability to twist its neck nearly 360 degrees. While interesting pets, they have very specific care requirements. This article covers everything needed to properly care for healthy twist-necked turtles.
An Overview of Twist-Necked Turtles as Pets
With their small size, unique neck movements, and engaging personalities, twist-necked turtles are increasing in popularity as exotic pets. But prospective owners need to understand their complex needs first.
Native to freshwater lakes and rivers in Australia and New Guinea, Twist-necked Turtle for sale get their name from their ability to twist their necks vertically or even backwards into their shell. This helps ward off predators in the wild.
There are three main species kept as pets:
- Snake-necked turtle
- Spider-necked turtle
- Western swamp turtle
All remain relatively small, reaching 5-7 inches as adults. With proper setup and care, twist-necked turtles can live 20+ years in captivity.
Creating the Proper Enclosure
Twist-necked Turtle for sale require an aquatic habitat with the following:
- Tank size - 75 gallon or larger aquarium or plastic tub. Hatchlings can start in a 40 gallon tank.
- Water temperature - 78-82°F maintained with a submersible heater and thermometer.
- Basking area - Use ramp, platform or rocks partially emerging from water. Basking temps 85-90°F.
- UVA/UVB lighting - Needed for vitamin D3 synthesis and shell health. Use reptile fluorescent bulbs.
- Filtration - Canister filter rated for a tank 2-3x bigger as twist-necks are very messy.
- Plants - Add live aquarium plants like anacharis, hornwort or water lettuce to help filter water.
Proper aquatic conditions keep twist-necked turtles active and healthy. Very frequent water changes are essential as well to control waste.
Feeding Twist-Necked Turtles
Twist-necked Turtle for sale are omnivores needing both protein and vegetables:
- Protein sources - Feed commercial turtle pellets, blackworms, snails, shrimp, feeder fish, crickets, mealworms.
- Plants - Aquatic plants, veggies like kale, lettuce greens, zucchini, sweet potato and squash.
- Fruits - Small amounts of melon, berries and mango can be offered occasionally.
- Calcium supplement - Dust food 3 times weekly with calcium powder for shell health.
- Variety is key - Rotate through different food items to ensure balanced nutrition.
A nutritious, varied diet supports growth and prevents common health issues like shell abnormalities.
Recognizing Illness in Twist-Necked Turtles
Watch for these signs of health problems:
- Lethargy and loss of appetite - Have vet run bloodwork panel and examine.
- Swollen eyes or runny nose - Potential indication of vitamin A deficiency.
- Skin lesions or shell abnormalities - Can result from poor nutrition, dehydration.
- Floating issues or unable to dive - Usually a sign of respiratory infection. Ensure proper tank temperatures.
- Diarrhea - Caused by parasites, infection, or nutrition issues. May require medication.
New turtles should be examined by an exotic vet before housing with existing pets. Schedule annual wellness checks to monitor for parasites and other issues. With attentive husbandry and early treatment, twist-necked turtles can live full, long lives in captivity.
Interesting Facts About Twist-Necked Turtles
- Genus: Platemys
- Native Habitat: Freshwater rivers and lakes of Australia and New Guinea
- Adult Size: 5-7 inches
- Diet: Omnivorous
- Longevity: 20+ years with proper care
With the right tank setup, nutrition, and attentive preventative care, twist-necked turtles make unique, personable pets. Be sure to research the commitment thoroughly before deciding if they are the right fit.