How to Care for Your Hatchling

The very first care the hatchling turtles receive will come from you, and this will occur as soon as the female lays her eggs and incubation begins.    To ensure that nothing happens as this process takes place, know when to expect the eggs to hatch.    Once you have already determined the proper time, start checking regularly.   Look over your turtle every day for 10 days before they are due.   This will prepare you just in case they arrive early. Moreover, you have to realize that neonates usually take one to two days before they can finally escape from the eggs after the initial tear.

Once hatchlings have finally emerged out of their eggshells, you can place them in a shallow glass aquarium or plastic container.   Make sure it is filled with approximately two inches of  treated, aged, or filtered water.   However, a hatchling turtle can only be moved to larger quarters after it is four to six months of age.As a responsible turtle keeper, you must change the water daily to ensure the health of the hatchlings.    Also, increase the water level as the turtles grow; however, make sure that it is not too deep, to prevent the juveniles from drowning.    A  land area is also needed should they wish to leave the water and bask.    Remember, turtles, even hatchlings, need to warm themselves.

Do not forget to put a reptile fluorescent light tube either in the container or in the shallow glass aquarium.   Keep it on for 6 to 10 hours a day. Providing it is not too hot, ’sun’ the turtles for 10 to 20 minutes, two to three times a week.   Monitor them regularly.

Concerning the feeding of a hatchling turtle, the remnants of the yolk sac will continue to provide it with nourishment for the next few days, or  up to one week.   You will notice, though, that the hatchlings will start to show some interest in solid food from their third to fifth day.  Provide them with live food, such as bloodworms, daphnia (water fleas),  or mosquito wrigglers,  until the time they become familiar with feeding.   They should be given a variety of food every day for their first year.  Nutrafin® Tropical Fish Flakes recommended because they contain vitamin D3 and other important vitamins and minerals.

It is illegal to buy or sell turtles less than four inches unless they will be used for educational purposes.   Turtles can cause disease, especially to children and people who have weak immune systems.  Children also have the tendency to put things in their mouths, touch things and then  put their unwashed hands in their mouths.   Both pose a great risk because turtles can be the source of salmonella poisoning.  Salmonella is bacteria not seen by the naked eye.   It can cause human disease called salmonellosis, a serious infection of the gastrointestinal tract.  Many people  think that salmonellosis is  solely a food-borne disease;  but the truth is that salmonella aslo occurs naturally in reptiles, such as turtles.  Therefore, turtle owners should exercise extra caution when keeping and handling their turtle pets.

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