Blog Entry 35: Turtle?

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As some of you may know, at the end of august my family and I got a new family pet. My husband had been hinting at me for months about how much he would love to have a pet turtle or tortoise and I being the big animal lover looked into the care for that type of pet.

I started looking at shelters for turtles as I fell in love with the cute videos and photos. Sadly because we live in Alberta there are many laws that do not allow you to buy or adopt most types of turtles. The reptile rescue doesn’t even post their turtles on their adoption area so we didn’t even know that they rehomed them.

We ended up getting a little Yellow Bellied Cooter, which after some looking around we found out that he/she was a Yellow Bellied Slider.

Merlin has been a great learning curve for me because I mostly work/have pets of the furry variety. I’ve had fish in the past so learning about his water habits where nothing too new. What was new for me was things like lighting, basking, diet and general health care.

Basking was one of the easiest to learn but hardest to do.

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It was hard because we did not have one of the store bought floating docks. I did not want to spend money on plastic until I could help it. So out we went to get some lovely bricks and used it along with the drift wood to make a ramp and platform for Merlin to bask.

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Lighting, which goes hand in hand with basking, was also confusing. Did you know Turtles need UVA and UVB lights? The worse part is you can’t get both in one bulb. The heat lamp has the UVA and we have a UVB bulb as well.

Next was the diet, and boy let me tell you, that was the hardest part. Many websites have no information on this breeds diet. This is because the Red Eared Sliders and Yellow Bellied Sliders are cousins, and because they are so closely related, live in the same type of environment they also eat the same.

Once I learned that, life was much easier. Sadly by the time I found out this information I had already messed up a little. I had not been feeding him carrots, which is part of their weekly balanced diet.

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As you can see in the photo above, right under his eye he had a red irritated mark. This was due to the lack of Vitamin A from the lack of carrots.

So off to the vet we went.

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By the time we got to the vets he had been getting carrots daily for about a week, so the irritation was gone, but just in case it was something else we took him anyway.

He came back with a clean bill of health (right down to his poop).

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Since the vet visit in September, we’ve had no issues. We upgraded to an 80 gallon tank (thanks dad) and life has been good.

Just like all my other pets, Merlin gets weighed about every week to two weeks.

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Merlin doesn’t seem to mind the weighing as much as the measuring, which he protests in his hissing “I hate this” stop making me hold still kind of way.

I write down his weight which I can look back on at any time.

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He has grown lots since we got him months ago, over 1/2” in total length. His weight has been steady and all in all he is a happy health turtle.

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I love watching him and as a little extra to my blog here is a video I made. Enjoy and remember:

Always try to adopt and not shop. Learn about your pet before you get them or you’ll run into trouble.

Enjoy and tune in for more blogging and photos!

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