Friday, January 15, 2016

So, you think you want a turtle?

Example Set up and Care Sheet for Red Ear Slider - Trachemys scripta elegans 

THEY WILL GROW LARGE and FAST and LIVE 40+ years! 

photo courtesy of
The Red-eared Slider (RES) is a medium-to-large sized turtle capable of reaching straight carapace lengths of 7 to 9" in males & 10 to 12" in females (note: in rare cases larger red-ears have been found). Male RES are smaller than their female counterparts, reaching ~ 7 - 9" adult SCL. Males have elongated front claws to aid in courtship and mating rituals & their tails are much longer than females. 


Many times people believe and are told by the vendors that the hatchling will not grow. WRONG! They will grow into the size of this paper very fast. Those cute turtle lagoons usually sold along the turtle are what we call “Death Bowls”. The images speak for them selves. 


Throughout their lives, RES are omnivores progressing from predominant carnivore as juveniles to predominant herbivore as adults. Be careful not to overfeed your Slider. Recommended feeding only 2 to 3 times a week for adult turtles and every day or every other day for the rapidly growing hatchlings. Sliders will consume vegetables, greens such as mustard greens, turnip greens, dandelion, spinach, carrots, zucchini and any aquatic vegetation, i.e. duckweed, water lettuce, water hyacinth, etc. They will also consume insects, worms, snails and fish. Many of the commercially prepared turtle diets that exist on the market today are excellent Slider food. You must provide Calcium for proper shell growth. Powdered calcium can be sprinkled on foods. It is suggested that one use calcium supplemented with vitamin D3 if the animal is being maintained indoors and calcium without D3 if it is outdoors. Provision of a cuttlefish bone, which can be gnawed if desired, is also recommended. 


TEMPERATURE RANGE (°F) Air Temperature: mid 70's - 80's Basking Temperature: High 80's to low 90's Water Temperature: ~ 72 to 76 degrees for sub-adults & adults, 78 to 80 degrees for hatchlings & smaller juveniles. For single adult male RES could do okay in a 75 gallon aquarium. Single large adult females need a minimum of a 125 gallon tank. This allows them decent room (quality of life) in addition to plenty of water to assist in good health and filtration. Basking areas can be made of anything that will support their weight and is non-abrasive. Smaller enclosures tend to resemble prison cells. Would you like to spend your whole life in the bathroom size prison cell? Predator safe outdoor pond is the BEST! 

Example Glass Aquarium Setup 
(Prices are approximate average, please check for accurate prices with the right retailer)
1.) 125 Gallon glass aquarium combo. with fluorescent light hood & glass canopy: ~ $1,100. 
2.) Oak Stand Cabinet: ~ $550. 
3.) Black Clamp Lamp with Ceramic/Porcelain socket for heat bulb: ~ $25. 
4.) 200 watt Stainless Steel submersible heaters: ~ $40. 
5.) Rena FilStar XP3 Canister Filters with additional purchase of biomedia: ~ $200. 
6.) Large Turtle Ramp (for female RES or big males plan to build your own platform): ~ $30. 
7.) Digital Thermometer: ~ $10. 
8.) 1 Can ReptoMin Aquatic Turtle Food: ~ $10 - PLEASE Check the care sheet for proper diet!
9.) Python System for water changes: ~ $30. 
10.) 3 Bags of 'River Pebbles' from Lowe's (cheaper than pet store gravel): ~ $25. 
11.) Active UV-B Heat (T-Rex)100 watt flood - ~ $50. (Lasts about 6 month) (Use in place of one of the fluorescent bulbs that came with your tank combo. with this bulb, nearest the basking platform). 

Total: ~ $2,043 

Great example for indoor set up adapted from -,,,,

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Ready for winter?

Get your turtles ready for winter

In the early fall wild box turtles will begin to search for a protected place to spend the winter. It’s crucial to assess your box turtle’s health before you allow it to hibernate. There are many questions you need to ask and answer before your box turtle can safely hibernate. The first is should you even hibernate the turtle? If it is healthy, then yes. Hibernation helps turtles maintain normal thyroid activity, synchronize their reproduction cycles, and complete their normal life expectancies.

Here are do’s and don’ts for successful hibernation:

• Do take the time to prepare a proper hibernation place for your outdoor box turtle. Don’t leave it up to chance.

• Do choose an area that does not flood or collect run-off water. Your turtles could drown.

• Don’t hibernate sick, light weight or young box turtles. Keep them indoors in a roomy, well heated tank and feed them all winter long.

• Do protect your hibernating box turtles from foraging wild animals like rats, mice or raccoons and from other pets that may break open their hibernation boxes or dens.

• Do check on your hibernating turtles once in awhile. You may find ill turtles above ground or the signs of wild animals foraging for food.

• Don’t let your turtles hibernate in wet or soggy ground.

Read more @

Friday, May 23, 2014

Happy World Turtle Day May 23, 2014

May is a busy month for turtles. Turtles wake up from hibernation and it's time for mating, migrating, nesting, and babies. Therefore in 2000, May 23 was designated World Turtle Day.

Spring and early summer is a time of turtle nesting and babies. You can see turtles walking on the road or turtle hatchlings around local ponds and creeks. However cute they look and no matter how much your child wants to pick them up and take them home it’s not a good idea.

Turtles—sea, freshwater, or terrestrial—are the favorite animals of many people. These attractive creatures continue to beat incredible odds to survive in today’s world of increasing pet and food trade, pollution and shrinking habitat. Please, read some suggestions on how you can help those beautiful and important little creatures, which have been part of our ecosystem for a long, long time on our website:
10 Things to Do for Turtles

DFW Turtle & Tortoise Club is volunteer based and thrives on donations.
We provide great community for local turtle enthusiasts and people interested in turtles and tortoises. We educate public, provide consultations about captive care and wildlife rescue in cooperation with other wildlife and turtle organizations. We also offer educational presentations for schools, museums, and youth groups. Feel free to contact us for more information.

There are many ways to support us:
You can purchase fun T-shirts and other items at
Or you can send donation through our website
or directly via to

Monday, November 11, 2013

Get ready for the holidays

shop at

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

10 Things you can do for turtles

10 Things to Do for Turtles

Spring and early summer is a time of turtle nesting and babies. You can see turtles walking on the road or turtle hatchlings around local ponds and creeks. However cute they look and no matter how much your child wants to pick them up and take them home it’s not a good idea.
Turtles—sea, freshwater, or terrestrial—are the favorite animals of many people. These attractive creatures continue to beat incredible odds to survive in today’s world of increasing pet and food trade, pollution and shrinking habitat. Here are some suggestions on how you can help those beautiful and important little creatures, which have been part of our ecosystem for a long, long time:
1. Give Turtles a Brake. First, be safe and don’t have an accident; then if possible avoid hitting the turtle. If you can safely stop and you want to do so, move the turtle off the road in the direction in which it was going. If the turtle is a large one, or a snapping turtle, use a stick to nudge him gently across the road without getting too close. Do not pick up a turtle by its tail, as it can cause dislocation of the turtle’s spine.
2. Protect Turtle habitat. Support your local turtle conservation programs. Report any abuse, poaching (of sea turtles, her eggs or hatchlings for example), or any other of your concerns to a local legal agency like Texas Parks & Wildlife department. These activities are violations of U.S. state and federal laws.
3. Don’t take turtles out of the wild. A game warden will fine you if you get caught. Turtles take up to 10 years before reaching sexual maturity to reproduce. Taking a turtle out of the wild will cause great harm to the future population of turtles. When the population is thinned beyond a certain point, adults are unlikely to find each other for mating. Many turtle species lays relatively few eggs and the hatchlings are very vulnerable during their first years to predation. This means not enough turtles can be produced for the population to survive and the population becomes reproductively dead.
4. Enjoy Turtles in the Wild. Never keep wild turtles as pets or buy them from a pet store. The trade in reptiles as pets is responsible for tremendous animal suffering and serious damage to turtle populations. Learn to enjoy turtles by observing them in their natural habitat, where they belong. If turtles live in your yard, why not keep them happy by building a pond and by landscaping with plants that provide protection and food? Edible plants for turtles include tropical hibiscus, dandelion, geraniums, and Chinese lantern. (Make sure that your plants are free of pesticide and herbicide residue.) Piles of leaves, vines, and downed trees make perfect turtle hiding places.
5. Don't release turtles back in wild. Think twice before buy turtle as a pet. Turtles can live 40, 60 even hundred years. They can grow large and need lots of space to roam or/and swim. This is the number one reason of turtles being released back in wild. Turtles kept in captivity for a while often lose the need for hunting since they have been fed and they will not be able to survive in the wild. An even bigger problem can develop, that is releasing the turtle, even in its potentially native habitat, will affect biodiversity of the pond or lake you release it in. Introduction of parasites and illnesses can wipe out entire fish or other local fauna population. For help, contact your local Turtle Club, Herpetological Society, Wildlife rehabilitator or your local animal shelter.
6. Get Turtles out of U.S. Live Animal Markets. Turtles are among the most popular offerings at live animal markets in the United States. They suffer terrible abuse in filthy, neglectful conditions, and are slaughtered by being cut apart while conscious. The vast majority of market turtles are taken from the wild, contributing to declining U.S. turtle populations. Tell state wildlife agencies that you’re concerned about the increasing collection of wild turtles to supply animal markets in the United States and abroad (mostly in Asia).
7. Say NO to turtle racing. Turtle racing is an event that is often held for the entertainment of young children at fairs, picnics, rodeos and socials across the U.S. usually without knowing what harm they are doing to the local turtle population as well as to the individual turtles. Turtles are found and collected in the wild and the overwhelming majority is picked up off of the roads. These “collectors” often exceed their legal limit of turtles. Turtles are piled up in five gallon buckets or cardboard boxes for a time ranging from several days to several weeks without food or water. As a result the turtles are under enormous amount of stress and sometimes covered with urine and feces which could spread disease among the turtles.
8. Don’t Mess with Texas. Pollution makes its way into bodies of water and wild areas, poisoning turtles and destroying their habitats. Always properly dispose of any hazardous materials such as paint or oil. Garbage, such as plastic bags, kills many pond turtles and sea turtles that either ingest it or become entangled in it. Reduce the amount of garbage you produce, recycle, and dispose of it properly.
9. Spread the Word. Educate others about the importance of protecting turtles from commercial exploitation and abuse in your community and throughout the world. Be a voice for turtles.
10. Join and/or support turtle conservation and educational organizations. You can find and join local Turtle & Tortoise Club/society like DFW Turtle & Tortoise club so you can connect with others with great knowledge about chelonians and help with local efforts to protect turtles. Many other organizations like TSA - Turtle Survival Alliance and World Chelonian Trust have a great resources and extensive information about captive care and conservational issues.
by Barbara D.
1. Box Turtle Partnership of Texas [BTPT] articles by Michael Smith
2. World Chelonian Trust –
3. Humane Society of the United States
4. Turtle Racing in U.S.A. by Alex Heeb
Barbara D. is founder of DFW Turtle and Tortoise Club, Member of DFW Herpetological Society, Member of World Chelonian Trust, and partner of BTPT

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Please come join us at
1st Annual reptile & Amphibian Day
at UTA

Rare & Exotic Species - Amazing Native Animals - Turtles & Tortoises - Venomous & Giant Snakes!

October 13th, 2012
Saturday - 9am - 5pm

University Center Bluebonnet Ballroom
UTA Campus - Arlington - Texas
more info
Bring this flyer and get $1 off