If you are thinking of buying a turtle for the first time, consider a yellow bellied slider. This slider, easily recognized by its yellow belly, is the best species for beginning turtle keepers, as is its relative, the red-eared slider. They have a high rate of survival in captivity, and have been a part of the pet turtle industry for six decades. These turtles are cute and appealing, and, unlike other species of turtles, they are easy to keep, with very basic requirements. They need only clean water in sufficient quantity, proper lighting and air temperature, a healthy diet, and separate areas for swimming, drying, and basking. These species of turtles are heavy baskers; thus, they need a separate area where they can get full sun.
The yellow-bellied slider, which reaches a shell length of 8 to 10 inches, can be housed indoors. For hatchlings, use an aquarium that can hold 15 gallons of water. On the other hand, an adult yellow belly must be enclosed in a 60-gallon (or larger) aquarium. Add 20 gallons for each additional turtle in the same tank. See it’s photo
The turtles belonging to this family are not picky in their diet. They are omnivorous; although the mature female of this breed is mostly herbivorous, and the male, whether mature or quite young, is mostly carnivorous. They follow an aquatic plant and live prey diet, eating water lilies, small feeder fish, worms, insects, (such as crickets), and carrion. To complete their diet, provide them with commercial turtle food and chopped vegetables.
Hatchlings of this particular turtle species start out brightly colored, but this soon fades, transforming into duller hues. The upper shell is green. The plastron is colored yellow, with a small, irregular, greenish spot on each front scale. Generally, the head, tail, and limbs are green. Viewed from above they appear almost round.
Native to the southeastern United States, yellow bellied sliders have a life span of 40 years or more. Generally, they are hardy creatures. Nevertheless, any turtle can get illnesses if their owners do not provide them with proper and knowledgeable care. Remember, a pet turtle requires a balanced diet to avoid nutritionally-based illnesses. Calcium is important for the yellow belly, especially the baby turtles and ovulating females.
When handling yellow bellied turtles, always remember that their shells are a part of their skin, so be gentle! If you hurt them, they will nip or bite hard. For this reason, proper handling is essential! Let them feel secure by holding small turtles with your fingers, or a hand on each side of the shell if the turtle is large. Focus is a necessity when holding it. Make sure your fingers are away from its mouth! Although they can be safely handled, it is best, whenever possible, to leave them by themselves.
Turtle ownership should be a happy experience for novice turtle keepers. It should not provide the owners with too much hardship. The key, therefore, is to make informed decisions. If you are looking to buy your first turtle, take the time to do the research, so that you will enjoy your new turtle pets or, pet for years to come.