When you are ready to purchase your pet turtle, you should only consider buying a turtle from a reputable pet store. Before purchasing from the store, check the turtles’ living environment. Are living areas clean? Are there too many turtles in one tank? Sometimes overpopulation can lead to health problems among reptiles.
The next thing you will want to do is carefully examine the turtle. Check to see if the turtle resists you touching it. The turtle should withdraw his head if you attempt it. Caution: do not try to stick your finger in front of the turtle’s face; they can bite very quickly.
If the turtle does not make any attempts to avoid you, this could be signs that the turtle may be sick. You will also want to examine the turtle’s skin. If it is dry and cracked, sometimes it can be a sign a shedding, but if you observe a little more closely, you may be able to determine if the turtle may have a fungus.
At times the cause of a fungus could be from a cut on the skin. Avoid purchasing a turtle if the shell is soft. Turtles can develop a condition called shell rot and should be examined by a vet or reptile specialist.
You may also find turtles at your local animal or reptile rescue center. Because of the long life of turtles, some owners decide that caring for a turtle is too much responsibility and may take them to an animal shelter or reptile rescue center. Although at first thought it may sound like adopting a turtle from one of these places may sound a little “unusual”.
However, the care turtles received from the rescue center will usually be better than that of a pet store. At an animal shelter or rescue center, all animals are carefully examined by a vet or specialist before letting someone adopt them. You may also receive better help for questions you may have about the pet’s health.
Last but certainly not least, you should have a home set up for the turtle before you bring it home. Often a turtle’s new home may be an extensive project, so you will want to take your time with it.
Avoid carrying your turtle home and leaving it in the container from the pet store while working on its new home. The turtle has probably endured some trauma in the past couple of weeks and will want a place to relax, a place where it can call home.
With this being said, you should also avoid constant handling and attention at first. Let the turtle get used to his new home for a while and then drop by a few times per day.