Showing posts with label Turtle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Turtle. Show all posts

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Joy of Pet Turtle Love - Pixel Shares Fun Info on #ReptileCare

This post is a sponsored post. I am being compensated to help spread the word about Reptile Ownership, but 'Pixel Blue Eyes: Her Tails of Adventure' only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. petMD® and PetSmart® are not responsible for the content of this article.
Mommy and Harriet, her first and most beloved box turtle.

Being a pet parent is such fun. It doesn't matter what kind of pet you have, as long as you know how to care for your pet, love it and play with it, you will have many wonderful experiences and at the same time, learn a great deal. It's a journey of joy and adventure.
I'm channeling my inner turtle right now under this blanket and let me tell you, it's pretty fun! Mommy says it's important to know the facts about what your turtle, or any reptile pet, will need to help it succeed, so it can thrive and really enjoy life. She's really grateful for resources like the petMD® Reptile Center that provides information on #ReptileCare and so much more. If you click on the Reptile 'Articles' link, it lists a bunch of articles on every topic you can imagine. It's really fascinating. You'll be so reptile smart after reading these articles, you'll be the best reptile pet parent ever! Speaking of learning, Mommy wanted to share some interesting things she learned along the way in her years of being a turtle parent.

Interesting Questions and #ReptileCare Information on Living with Box Turtles:

Do Box Turtles Like Living Indoors?
Mommy's box turtles enjoyed their large indoor habitat. They would come to the plexiglass window and greet Mommy in the mornings when they woke up, and interacted well with the living arrangements within the habitat. They had warming lamps, 3 pools, several rocks and lumps of wood to climb on or get under, lots of living plants to enjoy, and real dirt to burrow in. Mommy lined half the enclosure walls with images of forests, waterfalls and scenery the turtles would love. Mommy also made sure they had a set "day" of 10 - 14 hours (depending on season) and "night" time, so their body clocks would stay consistent. The box turtles had a lot of variety in their diet to make life good too!
What General Temperatures and Conditions Do Box Turtles Need?
Box Turtles generally need warm, moist conditions in an enclosure, but it depends on where the box turtle is from. It's important to have both a warm and a cool side in your enclosure so that your box turtle can regulate its body temperature. The warm side should have a warm spot provided by a low wattage light bulb that reaches 80°F-90°F (27°C-32°C). The cooler end of the enclosure should generally stay between 65°F-75°F (18°C-24°C). If you make it any colder, they might try to hibernate. You can purchase inexpensive thermometers to ensure the temperatures are within range. Make sure the soil is moist, at least in one section of the enclosure. Not wet, just moist. Box turtles live in the forest floor where all the moist fallen leaves are, so they enjoy and need that humidity that leaf litter can provide. Misting half of the enclosure once a day should do the trick for your box turtle.
Do Box Turtles Like Dogs?
A lot of them do, and the same goes for dogs liking box turtles. My older sister Morgan, who was a standard black Schnauzer, LOVED Mommy's first turtles Harriet and Lucky. Morgan would hang out with the turtles when Mommy would take the turtles outside to get some sun and explore. The turtles never snapped at her and always let her sniff at them because she was so gentle. Mommy always kept a keen eye on her beloved turtles, but one time little Harriet got away from her, and Mommy was frantic. But Morgan loved Harriet too, so when Mommy said, "Go find Harriet, Morgan," she immediately started sniffing the ground looking for her! Sure enough, Morgan led Mommy right to Harriet, who was up against the shed behind a flower bush, no doubt looking for a tasty snack to eat. Morgan became the box turtle guardian from then on.
Do Box Turtles Like to Swim?
There are all kinds of turtles who are water turtles, and people often see box turtles near water...but box turtles do not seek water out to go swimming. They normally only like water that is neck deep. They use water for a few reasons:
 - when they are thirsty/to get a drink
 - when they wish to cool down/to soak their body
 -  to procreate with each other
 - to lay eggs (at least that is what my Harriet did 3 separate times, though she was infertile and the eggs never hatched)
Incidentally, Mommy did have one box turtle, Henry, who LOVED to swim in a sink full of water. He would swim and swim and swim, just like he was a little dog. It was very cute. She'd take him out, but if she set him on the side, he'd dive back in again. He loved it!
1. Girl Box Turtles have Brown Eyes and Boy Box Turtles have Red/Orange Eyes - Always!
2. Box Turtles can live between 50 - 100 years! Really!
3. When you see a box turtle crossing the road...ALWAYS help cross to the side it is headed, or it will start back over again to get to it's original destination.
4. The age of a box turtle can be generally determined by counting the rings on the plates (scutes) of the turtle's shell (carapace), similar to the rings on a tree. Each ring equates one year.
5. A box turtle's shell does not get fully hard until it is approximately 7 years old.
6. Some box turtles will come when called, just like a dog. Yes indeed! It's truly amazing and so adorable. Here's one adorable example.
Do Box Turtles Make Noise?
Not really. They are very quiet animals. Oddly enough, they can be semi loud eaters, depending on what it is they eat. Mommy told me that she believes that part of it is the sound the food makes but part of it is their jaws working and grinding at the food. Thank goodness they don't eat crunchy Rice Chex late at night when you are trying to sleep!

What is a Box Turtle's Favorites Fruit?
Strawberries were, claws down, the favorite fruit of Mommy's box turtles. Apparently, it's a favorite for other box turtles too. Mommy loved watching them eat and thought it was so cute how they'd wear the fruit on their face like a toddler. Take a look at this fun video by a fellow box turtle lover showing her box turtle enjoy a big, red, juicy strawberry. It's very sweet and makes Mommy miss her Box Turtles very much!

Remember that when you have your own reptile, one of the very best resources for information, articles and excellent veterinary care help is the petMD® Reptile Center. The center's content continues to expand with more information and all kinds of interesting articles about turtle care, #ReptileCare and will answer all kinds of questions you may have as you care for your turtle or other reptile. And as you set up your indoor habitat for your new reptile, don't forget the incredible selection at the Reptile Purchase Center at PetSmart®, where you can find everything you need to make the perfect home for your turtle or other cool reptile.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Joy of New Turtle Love - How to be #ReptileCare Prepared

This post is a sponsored post. I am being compensated to help spread the word about Reptile Ownership, but Pixel Blue Eyes: Her Tails of Adventure only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. petMD and PetSmart are not responsible for the content of this article.

Bringing home a new pet, a new best friend, is a wonderful experience! You are full of excitement, anticipation and joyful emotions are running through your heart, mind, and body as you go to meet, pick out and bring home the new addition to your family. The excitement is the same no matter what type of pet you get, whether it's a dog, cat, bird, ferret, or reptile. In my Mommy's case it was a turtle. But planning everything out before you get your new pet, including getting proper supplies, food and proper vet care, is critical to its success, especially when it comes to #ReptileCare.
Bringing Home A New Turtle:
Turtles have delicate systems, even though they have a "tough outer shell", so they need a proper environment to live in. When Mommy started caring for her first turtle Harriet, a female Eastern Box Turtle who had been injured by a car, there weren't many reliable resources for assistance. She scoured the internet forums and found a pet store with a semi knowledgeable person who was of some assistance, but it was tough finding out all that she needed. Mommy did the best she could and gave Harriet the very best life, but she's really glad to know that today, reptile lovers can rely on the petMD® Reptile Care Center for all kinds of information about proper foods, habitats and medical needs for your turtle and all reptile care needs. 

Ideal Box Turtle Habitat:
Box turtles can live both indoors and outdoors if they have appropriate lighting and a good clean, proper habitat. For our indoor box turtle habitat, Mommy built an indoor plexiglass window terrarium that was 3'x9'x1.5'. It was filled with 7" of clean potting soil and peat moss. Mommy placed several plastic 3-inch deep "pools" that were buried to the rim in the dirt so the turtles could walk to the edge of the pools to drink, step into the pools to soak their bodies or do other recreational things. It was very important that Mommy change the water out of the pools anytime it got dirty. Turtles carry salmonella, so sanitary conditions are of utmost importance. Remember to always wash your hands both before and after you handle, pet and care for your turtle.

Indoor lighting for the terrarium is very important as well, so make sure to have at least 2 good, high quality sun lamps that will give your turtle proper warming, UVB and light options. Mommy had several large flat rocks that her turtles could climb up on and "sun" themselves whenever they wanted. Box turtles also love to dig in the dirt and bury themselves, which was very fun to watch! And don't fret if you don't see them for a while...they often go to sleep in the dirt. The longer you have your turtles, the more you'll get to know their habits and favorite "hiding places", whether they have an indoor or outdoor habitat.

Box Turtle Picnics in the Sun!
Mommy used to bring her first box turtle Harriet outside for "picnics in the sun" when she lived in the indoor habitat exclusively. Mommy would make lunch for herself and for Harriet, place Harriet in her portable plastic "sunroom" and they'd go outside, eat lunch together and enjoy the afternoon with the dogs in tow. Everyone had a great time! 

An outdoor habitat for your box turtle needs to be enclosed securely so they cannot dig out or climb over. They could get caught and break their beak or hurt themselves in another way. Mommy used strong posts and chicken wire that was secured into the ground and then surrounded the outside with solid stones all around it. Mommy said to make sure that within the enclosure (but not near the edges of it) your turtles have rocks to climb on, logs to get under for burrowing, pools to swim in and drink from, and plenty of space to roam around in. Turtles are roamers, and they like to explore their surroundings. They also love water, so make sure to have shallow pools for them to hang out in and drink from. Clean these out regularly so they always have fresh water.

Pixel's Ultimate Box Turtle Food Shopping List:
Box turtles need both protein and fruits/vegetables for a well balanced diet. Box turtles are natural hunters for their protein, but they will need your help to ensure they get what they need. So, you can hunt for their earthworms in your yard, or shop for their mealworms, earthworms and crickets at a local pet supply store or fishing supply store (they are used as bait in fishing). Then release them in the habitat (or in a little turtle bowl) and let your turtles "hunt" for their food, whether it's indoor or outdoor. 

Protein (all live):
- Mealworms 
- Earthworms 
- Crickets
- Slugs

Fruits and Vegetables:
- Bananas
- Berries: blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries
- Watermelon, Honeydew melon
- Cantaloupe
- Tiny Tomatoes, Squash and Peas
- Leafy Greens such as Kale
- Dandelions (from your yard)

Pixel's Ultimate Box Turtle Supplies List to get you Started:
- Large Glass or Plexiglass Terrarium
- 2 Heat lamp sources with UVB
- Clean potting soil to fill terrarium approx. 4" deep (turtles need to burrow)
- Exo Terra® Reptile Feeding Dish(es) (GREAT for food & drinking water)
- Pretty decor items (log type items, a couple of rocks) so turtles can "sun" themselves
- Tortoise Playpen (Wish they'd had fun item this when Mommy had her turtles!)
Visit the Petsmart® Purchase Center to shop for ALL your reptile care needs as you prepare for your new turtle addition! They've got it all.

It is extremely important that you have a good veterinarian that knows about #ReptileCare if at all possible. Ask your veterinarian about this, and use the petMD Reptile Care Center as your #1 resource for all things reptile. It has loads of articles, helpful information and tips on taking care of your turtle or whatever reptile you may have. You can visit their petMD Facebook page and follow petMD on Twitter for the latest information on their site.
Do you have a turtle or other reptile? Would you like to get one as a pet? Do you have any questions about turtles? I'd love to talk with you about it. Just leave me a comment friends! Or visit me on Facebook and let's start a conversation!! I love talking to my friends there!

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Joy of Pixel's Turtle Love - #ReptileCare with petMD

This post is sponsored by petMD Reptile Center, and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Reptile Ownership, but "Pixel Blue Eyes: Her Tails of Adventure" blog only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. petM D ®  and PetSmart ®  are not responsible for the content of this article.  
My Mommy has been a dog lover her entire life, but did you know that she and I have also been turtle lovers? Oh yes, it's true. Before Mommy had me, she had box turtles (as well as dogs too) and she absolutely loved them! Eastern Box Turtles to be exact. And they were beautiful!
She had 4 box turtles over the years, two boys named Henry and Guy, and two girls named Harriet and Lucky. She took the time to learn all she could about box turtles so she could be the best Mom ever and provide all the care they needed.
At the time there was not a whole lot of resources for great #ReptileCare, so she learned on her own or found the occasional turtle forum online.
Today there is a great resource, thanks to the new #ReptileCare Center on the petMD® website. What sets them apart is that all of their content is either Veterinarian written or vet approved for accuracy and factual information. They are continually expanding the information and articles on the site. The pedMD Reptile Care Center has all kinds of interesting and helpful articles about things I never would have known about including reptile obesity, gastrointestinal issues in reptiles, and even something called star gazer syndrome. It's really fascinating stuff!
When Mommy had her turtles, she was with them all the time, and really bonded with each one. She built a large indoor terrarium with plexiglass for them and an outdoor habitat for them as well. She bought them mealworms and got them LOTS of earthworms. Mommy would then let her box turtles "hunt" the worms in the dirt, which they LOVED to do. She provided them with all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables to eat, which Mommy said was especially fun to watch them eat. Their favorites were strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, bananas, and watermelon.
 Turtles love to go exploring, just like people and pets, so Mommy took her box turtles camping up in the mountains with her, so they could enjoy it too! She found that her turtles love to climb trees, which she found very interesting. Her littlest one, Harriet, was the best and most avid climber. She really had to watch Harriet like a hawk because she could get 2-3 feet up an angled tree in no time! It was a curious thing that, to this day, Mommy has no idea why they did it!
Mommy said that through her years of caring for her beloved box turtles, she discovered that turtles and dogs shared some interesting similarities...
Interesting Similarities Between Dogs and Turtles that Mommy Discovered:
  • Turtles have unique, individual personalities. Just like dogs.
  • Turtles need a balanced diet. Just like dogs.
  • Turtles need Veterinary Care. Just like dogs.
  • Turtles need fresh water available to drink at all times, separate from their drinking water. Just like dogs.
  • Turtles love eating certain fruits and vegetables. Just like dogs. 
  • Turtles like to have their neck gently rubbed. Just like dogs.
  • Turtles can bond with their owners. That's their own way, yet just like dogs.
    Read "Can Your Reptile Bond with You?" on pedMD.
Other Interesting Turtle Facts:

  • Turtles can both hear and communicate.
  • Turtles have thin flaps of skin covering internal ear bones. The skin flaps allow vibrations and low-frequency sounds in the ear canal.
  • Water turtles generally live to about 30-40 years; box turtles (and tortoises) live an average of about 50-100 years.
  • According to the American Pet Products Association, Turtles are the #1 reptile pet.
  • Box turtle males have orange eyes and a slight concave to the bottom belly shell.
    Females have brown eyes and a flat belly shell.

There are a lot of great articles on the petMD® website that are very helpful, informative and even just entertaining. There's a great infographic about "Choosing a Reptile" that you'll really enjoy if you are interested in different reptiles and want to learn more.

Here are some good rules to follow when you handle a turtle, either your new pet or someone else's:
  • Always wash your hands both before and after you touch the turtle. Turtles carry salmonella which can make you extremely ill. 
  • Remember that turtles have a beak, they can be moody and they might snap at you. So be wary of where your hands are in regards to their mouth.
Reptile ownership is so much fun, especially if you have the right information, the right tools, and the right mindset. To help you find everything you need to get started, Petsmart® is having a Huge Reptile Mega Month with sales on all kinds of Reptile Care items. They have everything you need, including the live reptiles to start loving! 
So maybe you'll become a turtle lover too...or a gecko, or other reptile lover.
Who knows....reptiles and dogs make great friends!

Get social with petMD on Facebook and Twitter!

Do you have a reptile already? Are you wanting to get one? I'd love to hear about it! Tell me your story in a comment my friend!