Raising Baby Turtles
Tour Five
An Interesting and Enjoyable Environment

    How in the world do you make an interesting and enjoyable environment for a pet box turtle? Are we nuts? Are we assuming we know the emotions for turtles? Well? Well take a look at these pictures and see what you think.

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    We affectionately refer to our baby box turtles as "the cricket hunters". Occasionally we purchase some crickets and dump them into the vivarium. Boy does that bring the box turtles to life. They love to pursue them and the crickets seldom last more than a day. With all the cover to hide in the crickets try to hide rather than jump out of the tank. The turtles definitely enjoy them.

    That was simple wasn't it. It's a good trick to keep in mind for a turtle who may not be eating. Usually they will eat a cricket regardless of the turtle food they pass up. Of course earth worms and other live food work well too.

    So what else can we do to make their lives in captivity interesting. As I write this late at night, I am being watched by Laura from less than two feet away. Laura is watching me intensely.

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    Our 20L aquarium sets beside the computer table where we spend a lot of time. It is also at a location where we pass by it frequently. Therefore, we see each other frequently. We look at each other, gesture to each other, and communicate. It's a two way relationship. Some turtles scratch at the glass until we pick them up. And, baby turtles can vocalize to get noticed too. If we ignore that empty food dish, they will definitely communicate with us.

    The location of the aquarium can be very important. We have found that turtles that live with us in locations where we spend lots of time will develop relationships with us that are very pleasing. Much is being written about the ability of many wild turtles to home in on their home range, their ability to return to their home range. Well a baby turtle raised right there next to you in the house is home.

    A specimen turtle is an animal in a cage on a shelf in a storage room somewhere. A pet turtle is a turtle you live with. A pet turtle you live with has a much more interesting and enjoyable environment. Watching you is part of their entertainment.

P.S. Laura looks sleepy but she is still keeping me company.

    We hope you enjoyed our fifth behind-the-scenes tour. More to come.

Revised 9/8/2004


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