CARE & HOUSING 

​If you own or are thinking of owning a turtle or a tortoise, you owe it to the animal to learn as much as possible about its habitat and dietary needs (beyond what you may be told at a pet store). We have the information you need to make a truly informed decision on whether a hard-shelled pet is right for you and what you need to do to get ready or advance forward in your animal husbandry skills.

Every species of chelonian (turtle and tortoise) has its own special habitat, climate, and dietary requirements. These requirements are interlinked and affect an animal’s health, appetite, quality of life, and longevity.  There is no “beginner” or “easy” species, just the ones you know a lot about and can keep healthy and happy,  and the ones you have yet to become expert in keeping.

A chelonian's size is NOT limited by the size of its enclosure. As the animal grows, the space may become too small  for the  animal.

All species require spacious, well enriched enclosures that allow for ample exercise and low-key exploration within a safe, predictable world free of predators. You can’t keep a turtle or tortoise in a small enclosure and get by with “outings” into the yard or house. When plopped down in a new area, what we view as “fun exploration” is really a stress-filled period in which the animal is trying to get is bearings, figure out where it is safe to rest and hide, and determine the location of key resources. What looks like a great day out isn’t necessarily so for your turtle.

Chelonians are not nutritionally wise; they eat what tastes and looks good, even if it is not particularly good for them. Diets should not based simply on what an animal readily eats, but on what is both palatable and healthy. In the wild, food resources may be seasonally variable and spaced out. In captivity, it is easy to overfeed animals, and feed them incorrectly, resulting in obesity and serious health problems.

​​​​Tortoises & Box Turtles

  • Hibernation Pit Design (RGTTC)

  • Wellness Checklist (RGTTC)

Box Turtles

 

Semi-Aquatic (water) Turtles

 

​​​Dietary Advice

Species-Specific Care Web Links

Tortoises

 

​​​Supplies & Feed

​While some of these websites sell chelonians, we list them here as sources of quality feed and other well-priced supplies for your hard-shelled pets. We encourage you to adopt, not shop, when it comes to obtaining a turtle or tortoise. 

Copyright Rio Grande Turtle & Tortoise Club. All rights reserved. The Rio Grande Turtle and Tortoise Club is an all-volunteer,
non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the care, conservation and preservation of chelonians.

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