How to Care for Pet Turtles

One mom shares what it takes to keep her kids' pet turtles happy and healthy.

Some kids really love turtles, and if you’re in the market for a pet turtle for your child, there are a few things to think about. Warren mom Christina Dobbs has two turtles – which her two boys love observing. Turtles are very interactive and require a simple diet. While Dobbs’ kids help with feedings, these critters – Snappy and Shelly – also have tanks that need regular cleaning and specialty lighting. Plus, turtles can live a long time (and some get quite large!). Here, Dobbs offers turtle upkeep factors to consider.


Along with their 35-gallon tank, Snappy and Shelly need lamps on to keep them warm. There are two lamps set on timers to alternate between daytime and nighttime temperatures and lighting.


Dobbs cleans the tank every three to four days using specialized equipment, including a suction hose. “It’s pretty quick and easy, especially compared to a fish tank,” says Dobbs.


Snappy and Shelly like to snack on fruit, meal worms, lettuce, cut up grapes and purchased turtle pet food. Don’t worry; the meal worms come freeze dried, not live.

This post was originally published in 2015 and has been updated for 2017.


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