Owning a turtle can be a fantastic experience for anyone looking to have a constant companion. However, contrary to popular belief, turtles require more care than being put in a tank with occasional feedings.
That being said, any potential owner needs to research the kind of turtle they wish to own. Though there are many different breeds of turtles to choose from, many people decide to bring a Southern Painted Turtle into their homes. To decide if a Southern Painted turtle is right for you we have created a fact and care guide!
What kind of temperament does a Southern Painted turtle have?
Just like any other species, individual Southern Painted turtles are going to have their own personality. However, there are some common characteristics that you can expect across the board.
Southern Painted turtles generally enjoy being left alone, whether that means they are in the wild or in a tank at home. It is possible to handle a Southern Painted turtle, and the more you do so the more likely your new friend will become used to being held.
However, because of their size and instincts, Southern Painted turtles tend not to like it when other animals or creatures get too close to their head. If you make quick movements near their head, you can expect them to flinch away or even try to bite you.
If you are hoping to have a thriving tank with a variety of life in it, you are in luck! Southern Painted turtles can be housed with other turtles and some fish if they are of roughly the same size. You can learn more in my article on can turtles live with fish?
How big do Southern Painted turtles get?
Adult Southern Painted turtles typically don’t grow more than 6 inches long. Additionally, females of this species tend to be larger than the males. If you are considering getting a Southern Painted turtle as a pet, it is important to know that you can’t purchase one if its shell is smaller than 4 inches.
You also should refrain from taking a baby painted turtle from the wild. This is because the smaller a painted turtle is, the higher the risk of it getting injured due to its shell still being soft.
How long do Southern Painted turtles live?
If you are looking for a pet that is going to be around for a long time you’re in luck! In the wild, Southern Painted turtles can survive for around 15 to 20 years. When kept in captivity in a habitat with perfect husbandry they can live even longer, sometimes up to 50 years!
How to have the best Southern Painted turtle set up
Setting up the perfect habitat for your Southern Painted turtle is going to be the most difficult part. When it comes to size, any turtle is going to need at least a 30 gallon-sized tank to be happy.
Keep in mind that the more space your turtle has the happier he will be! If you plan on having multiple turtles, you should have 40 gallons of space for each of your new friends. Southern Painted turtles have similar requirements to a red eared slider tank.
Southern Painted turtles will spend most of their time swimming. Therefore, when you set up your new buddy’s living space, make sure that you have plenty of water for him to swim around. And while you want to have most of the tank filled with water, your painted turtle is also going to need places to get out of the water and take a break.
For more tips, check out my article on how to set up a painted turtle enclosure.
Accessories for a Southern Painted Turtle Tank
I recommend that you have at least one basking spot along with some spaces that your turtle can hide in. You can also add some turtle tank plants which will make your new Southern Painted turtle happy. If you choose to have more than one turtle in the same habitat, you should increase the number of hiding and basking spots in the tank. Providing more than one for each turtle will ensure that there won’t be fighting over resources.
When it comes to making sure that your painted turtle’s setup is as perfect as you can make it, you’re going to need more than just a tank filled with water and places to hide. Your turtle is going to need the water in its habitat to be filtered and heated.
He is also going to appreciate it if you have a UV light above any basking areas. This helps your turtle dry off and helps prevent shell rot. Southern Painted turtles are cold-blooded creatures. This means they can’t regulate their body temperature. It is essential to keep an eye on the water temperature with a thermostat. You can also use a thermal temperature gun to keep your turtle’s basking spots at the perfect temperature.
What does a Southern Painted turtle eat, and how much do you feed it?
Now that you know exactly what you need to create the perfect habitat for your new Southern Painted turtle, you’re probably wondering what you’re going to need to feed it. Well, painted turtles are omnivores. This means they can eat a little bit of plant matter and a little bit of animal matter. This being said, you have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to feeding your new little friend.
The most common food option chosen for turtle owners is pellets from a pet store. However, it is important to note that you shouldn’t feed your painted turtle only pellets. Make sure you are supplementing your Southern Painted turtle’s diet with other fresh foods. This can include plants such as lettuce, parsley, and even dandelions!
Just check that no pesticides or chemicals have been spread over your lawn before you offer your turtle anything from outside! And because these turtles are omnivores, you can give your new little buddy some crickets, worms, or other insects as a tasty treat.
Will a Southern Painted turtle ever need to see a vet?
Now that you know how to set up a habitat for a Southern Painted turtle and what you will need to feed one, you are probably wondering if these amphibians need to see a vet. Simply put, yes, they do! There are some medical conditions turtles can face that only a vet can diagnose and treat. This is especially true if they develop a turtle disease.