When bringing your turtle home for the first time, remember that they are going through a lot of stress. Try giving your turtle a little quiet time for a few hours so that it can get used to its environment.
You may visit with your turtle on the first day, but try to keep it brief and without touching. It will help your turtle get used to it’s the new home and bring its stress level down. Then slowly introduce yourself over the course of a few days by spending a little more time with it. Avoid picking up the turtle suddenly and not for a few days. It is usual for your turtle to want to resist any touching for a while, this is a good sign, and it means that he or she is well enough to react.
After some time, your turtle will begin to recognize you. After all, you are the one bringing the food. It is very common for a turtle to get excited or come over to you when it sees you walk into a room.
Although your turtle is excited to see you, keep in mind that it still does think of food. Try to keep your hands away from it’s head as it can even bite. If you do walk into the room and the turtle does not react, or you have noticed that it is not active, it may have gotten sick.
Check the turtle for anything that doesn’t look right. Droopy eyes, bulging eyes, closed eyes, gunky eyes, can all be a sign of something is wrong. If you suspect your turtle is sick, you should seek the help of a qualified reptile vet.
If you are going to have your turtle outside, it will begin to hibernate in the fall. Try not to disturb your turtle while it is hibernating, doing so can create health risks or may even be fatal. When a turtle is hibernating, you probably will not see it until about the end of April or so.
Hibernation helps prevent liver disease among turtles and also helps create a healthier turtle for breeding. Try not to let your turtle hibernate if you do not want him to be gone that long. If you can keep your turtle inside around room temperature, the turtle will not hibernate. It is OK if your turtle does not hibernate; it just takes it out of a natural cycle and may be cause for liver problems later.
It is almost impossible to know the age of your turtle unless the place you got it from knows when they were born, or you raised it yourself since birth. Often time’s people think that you can count the rings on the turtle to determine the age. However, this is not the case. Turtles can have growth spurts in their life and grow more than one ring. Turtles live a long time, so guessing is almost worthless.
Some land tortoises have been known to live for more than 200 years (it would be hard to track down the original owner), box turtles have been known to live for 75 years, and water turtles around 20-30 years. Sometimes you can tell if your turtle has been around the block by looking at the shell, older turtles will have worn spots from digging holes over the years.