The two most common turtles that are available through Pet Shops are either the Long-necked turtle (chelodina longicollis) or the Short-necked turtle (emydura macquari).
The long-necked turtle’s shell can grow to the diameter of 25cms, while the short necked turtles shell can grow even larger, to the size of 30cms in diameter.
Both of these species are commonly found through out Australia, but are common in South Australia in the River Murray.
They can live to well over the age of 50 years, and has been debated that they can live over a hundred! One thing is for sure, if your looking at getting a turtle, make sure you are committed to look after it for it's entire life. You may even have to pass it down to your children. Many people tire of owning a turtle and release it in a local waterway, this is cruel and irresponsible.
Turtles are interesting as they can retract their head and limbs up tight, and appear to have non at all from above. Unlike most cartoons though, they don't actually pull them right inside the shell, they are more like being folded up. This makes it hard for predators to attack them. The long neck turtle can also emit a unpleasant smelling fluid when handled, or when it wishes to frighten off predators This fluid comes from "musk glands".
There is some confusion between the titles "turtle" and "tortoise" even today. In general, tortoise refers to a land only reptile that has feet rather than fins. While turtle refers to a water based reptile that has fins with no claws. So which it is? Both short and long neck turtles have webbed feet and can spend several month on land, they are also at home in the water. They have been commonly referred to as turtles for some time, but it's still debated which of the old categories they fit into.
Turtles make excellent pets but need a lot of care and dedication due to their longevity. If you interested in getting a turtle, please make sure you can accommodate them.
If you are about to get any turtle, you need to make sure you have the basic requirements, before you even bring them home! Here is a list of the basic requirements for any turtle.
- Aquarium with turtle ramp
- Filtration (under gravel or power filter)
- Aeration (air pump & air stone)
- Lighting (or natural light)
- Substrate (gravel, sand, pebbles etc.)
- Treated/Stabilized Water
- UV Lighting
- Plants (live or plastic)
- Test Kits (pH, ammonia etc)
- Aquarium Backing
Suitable For People Aged: 10 & over
Experience Required: Aquarium fish preferable
Feeding Care Time Required: 20 minutes a day
Maintenance Time Required: 1 Hour a Week
Minimum Space Required: Aquarium
Cost of Upkeep: (approx) $5 Per Week
Life Span: (approx) Over 50 years (depending on species)
Availability: Seasonal around summer
To read our care sheet, simply click the link above to open it in your browser. However, if you want to download it to your computer for future reference, simply 'right click' on the document and select "Save Target As...". Then simply choose a location (like your desktop) to save. You will need Acrobat to read and print these documents.