Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!

The turtle is a reptile whose body is surrounded by a characteristic bone armor. There are many species of turtles - small and medium-sized, marine, terrestrial and semi-terrestrial. There is also a domestic turtle which is considered a pet by some. Check out how to care for a turtle, what it can eat, how long it lives and what is the price of a turtle.

Turtleis an extremely interesting animal. Turtles can be admired in the wild, but there is also the possibility of breeding them. Learn how to care for them at home, which species are best to choose and what diseases turtles suffer most often.


  1. Domestic turtle - types
  2. Turtles - swamp, steppe and other species
  3. Turtle - price
  4. Turtle - what does it look like?
  5. Turtle - diseases
  6. Breeding turtle - how to care for it?
  7. Turtle - what can he eat?

Domestic turtle - types

Domestic turtles can be divided into two types - tortoises and terrestrial turtles. The most common species of farmed terrestrial turtles are the steppe turtle and the Greek tortoise. On the other hand, the water-terrestrial turtles include red-eared turtles, yellow-eared turtles and Chinese turtles. These turtles do not reach spectacular sizes, which is why they are perfect as pets.

According to the ordinance of the Minister of Environment in force (from 2011), some turtle species cannot live in the natural environment, they must live in captivity. These include the lizard turtle, the painted turtle, the spiny turtle and the ornamental turtle.

Turtles - swamp, steppe and other species

Turtles belong to the order of amniotes from the sauropsid class. There are nearly 365 species of turtles in the world. They can be divided into carnivores and herbivores, and aquatic and terrestrial. Turtles are found on all continents except Antarctica. In Poland, the only naturally living turtle is the pond turtle. There are, however, several species introduced to our area, including: steppe turtle, predatory turtle, lizard turtle, spotted turtle, Greek turtle, red-eared turtle.

Turtle - price

Prices for farm turtles vary widely. They depend primarily on the species. The spiny turtle costs about PLN 30.

Prices for North American red-eared turtles andYellow-collar fish start from several dozen zlotys, however, you can find much more expensive individuals (in the range of PLN 100-200). Chinese turtles are in a similar price range.

Small ornamental North American turtles - hieroglyphic, yellow-bellied turtles, Pseudemys Nelsoni, Pseudemys Peninsularis, Pseudemys Texana cost around PLN 45-60.

Tortoises are much more expensive. The prices of Greek and steppe turtles range from 400-550 zlotys. The African hinge turtle (Kinixys belliana) can cost up to PLN 1,000.

Turtle - what does it look like?

A characteristic feature of turtles is a double-layer armor, composed of a series of bone plates … It has a protective function. The dorsal part is a carapace, and the abdominal part is a plastron. The head of the turtle ends with a horned beak and the tail is short and pointed.

The dimensions of the turtle depend on its species. The Egyptian turtle grows up to just 14 cm in length, and the leatherback turtle can grow up to 2 m in length.

Turtles appeared in the world at the turn of the Palaeozoic and Mesozoic, i.e. about 225 million years ago.


Turtles should not be kept loose in the apartment. One of the most common breeding mistakes is letting tortoises across the floor with mites, bacteria and hair. Turtles tend to suck in all the debris. In addition, we will never reach a temperature of 27-28 ° C on the floor, and this is the temperature we should provide for the turtle.

Keeping a turtle on the floor does not guarantee it any safety either, as it may be trampled on or attacked by other domestic animals (e.g. dogs or cats). In addition, turtles require a suitable substrate. A slippery floor on which your pet has no traction can cause injury and even degeneration of the joints!

Turtles also need high air humidity and (which not everyone remembers) access to the sun. Therefore, keeping them loose on the floor does not provide them with the conditions necessary for the proper functioning.

Turtle - diseases

Turtles can get sick of all kinds. Some of them are related to improper care of your pet, while others occur spontaneously.

The most common ailments of farm turtles include: anemia, diarrhea, lack of appetite, kidney disease, diabetes, herpesvirosis, skin infections, runny nose, metabolic skeletal disease, wounds, injuries, eye infections, internal and external parasites, corneal scar hypertrophy (beak), gout and arthritis, sterile gut syndrome, constipation, degeneration of the hip joints, jaundice.

Especiallydangerous diseases for turtles are: poisoning, bowel wedge, pneumonia, egg constipation, stomatitis, vomiting, rupture or fracture of the bladder, sepsis, abscess of the ears or limbs, necrotic dermatitis, mycosis, diseases of the upper respiratory tract.

The turtle will not tell you about his illness. Softening of the armor, swelling of the eyes, lack of appetite - this indicates that something is wrong.

The first symptom of nutritional deficiencies is the softening of the armor. The shell of a he althy turtle does not bend under the pressure of fingers. The second symptom that should be alarming is eye swelling. It is a symptom of nutritional deficiencies, vitamin A deficiency or upper respiratory tract infections, often accompanied by a lack of appetite.

Turtles are carriers of various pathogens, incl. salmonella, therefore, to avoid contamination, basic hygiene measures should be followed when handling these animals.

Breeding turtle - how to care for it?

Both tortoises and terrestrial turtles must live in a terrarium or a special aquarium. Ideally, it should be glass, although you can also buy plastic on the market. It is also important that the terrarium is not too small - turtles must move freely in it and have enough space to meet the need for exercise. The minimum size of the terrarium is 60x100x40 cm. Turtles should be provided with conditions similar to natural ones.

Equipping a terrarium for a semi-terrestrial turtle is a more complicated matter. Water is a necessary filling element. The bottom can be filled with a special gravel. It is important that the turtle also has the opportunity to go to the surface. Therefore, when deciding on a semi-terrestrial turtle, you should purchase a terrarium with an island. In the terrarium, it is worth placing a house in which the turtle will be able to hide. You can make it yourself from a ceramic pot, bark or wood or buy it at a pet store.

Tortoise terrariums should be equipped with heating lamps and a UVB lamp that emits ultraviolet radiation necessary for the proper development of these animals. Turtles like warmth - their proper development is guaranteed by a temperature of 27-28ºC. The heating lamp provides a local temperature of up to 35ºC. To keep the water at a constant temperature, you will need to purchase a heater. A good filter will help to keep the water clean.

You should also get a thermometer and a hygrometer to be able to control the temperature and humidity.

The ground is an important element for tortoises. Natural turf or bark mixed with hay will work best.

In the terrarium it belongsput two bowls - one for water and the other for food.

All turtles are oviparous.

Turtle - what can he eat?

The diet of turtles varies by type. Terrestrial turtles can eat freshwater fish such as guppies, gladioli, crucians, etc., whole and frozen. You can also give them dried smelt, water and land snails, earthworms, shrimps, aquatic plants (moat, water hyacinth, indentation, duckweed, dandelion leaves and plantain).

They cannot eat mammalian and bird meat, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, food intended for other animals and lettuce.

Chelonology is the zoology department dealing with turtles.

Tortoises are herbivores. Their diet should be high in fiber and low in sugar and protein. You can feed them with many common field plants (dandelion, broad-leaved and lanceolate plantain, all varieties of clover, nettle leaves, mite, bindweed, ground elder), leaves of some trees and shrubs (leaves of strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, geranium, lilac, violet African, basil, thyme, jasmine, pansy, zinnia) and green parts of some vegetables.

Turtles should not be fed fruit and vegetables, as they have too little fiber and too much protein, or they have oxalic acid that is harmful to turtles.

Sources: J. Pęconek, J. Szczawiński, M. Szczawińska, Żółwie and salmonellosis in humans [in:] "Życie świataryjne" 2009/84 (9).

J. Pasterny, Food preferences of tortoises most often kept at home [in:] "Life of veterinary medicine" 2022/92 (9)

About the authorWeronika RumińskaA graduate of Polish philology with an editorial and publishing specialization at the University of Warsaw. She developed her interests related to the editor's work already during her master's studies, actively cooperating with on the editorial path and social media. Privately, a lover of good crime fiction and horse riding.

Read more articles from this author

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!