The Ultimate Care Guide For Baby Turtles – Fumi Pets

The Ultimate Care Guide For Baby Turtles - Fumi Pets

Last Updated on February 5, 2024 by Fumipets

Navigating the Tiny Shells: The Ultimate Care Guide for Baby Turtles


Welcoming a baby turtle into your home brings joy and responsibility. These tiny reptiles, with their miniature shells and endearing demeanor, require specialized care to ensure their well-being and growth.

In this comprehensive guide, we dive into the essential aspects of nurturing baby turtles, covering everything from their habitat setup to dietary needs. Whether you’re a seasoned turtle enthusiast or a new caretaker, join us in unlocking the secrets to providing the ultimate care for these delightful baby turtles.

Baby Turtles

Baby turtles are intriguing creatures that are both charming and fascinating. It’s not every day that you stumble across someone who lugs about their whole home! When it comes to turtle care, there are few details that should not be missed. Poor husbandry makes baby turtles particularly prone to issues that inhibit adequate, healthy growth. Adult turtles who are happy and healthy began their lives as well-cared-for baby turtles. Here are the fundamentals of caring for a newborn turtle so that they have the greatest possible start in life.

Turtle Facts

When it comes to tortoises vs. turtles, there’s a lot of misunderstanding, but the simplest way to tell the difference is that most turtles are aquatic or semi-aquatic. There are exceptions, such as the Eastern Box Turtle, but tortoises are normally terrestrial whereas turtles are aquatic. Aquatic turtles were popular as pets in the United States in the 1940s and 1950s.

The Red-Eared Slider is the most popular and common aquatic turtle. Many people are unaware that aquatic turtles maintained as pets grow to be considerably bigger than they seem, reaching lengths of 10-12 inches. They live for a very long time, with the majority living for 20 years or more if properly cared for. It’s not unthinkable for a turtle to live to be more than 40 years old.

The selling of aquatic turtles less than 4 inches in length was prohibited by the US government in the 1970s. Around this period, scientists discovered a link between handling turtles and catching salmonella. Small turtles were prohibited from sale in the United States because they were more likely to be swallowed by youngsters. It’s rare that you’ll accidently come into contact with a little baby turtle unless you stumble across one in the wild, someone gives you one, or you breed your own turtles.

Are Baby Turtles Good Pets?

Even though they’re adorable as a button, baby turtles aren’t very terrific pets. Most turtles dislike being handled, and it may cause them to get stressed, resulting in health issues and even violence. Except when necessary for enclosure maintenance, feeding, or healthcare, most turtles should be left alone. Turtles are considered infants until they reach the age of a year, at which point they are termed juveniles. Breeders should be able to tell you how old a turtle you buy from them is, but pet retailers may have trouble getting this information.

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Baby turtles may be difficult to care for, and they are particularly vulnerable to stress and disease. Because many turtles are nocturnal, handling during the day and exposure to strong lights may cause your newborn turtle to become anxious. They must be fed on a regular basis, and the temperature of their cage and basking area should be checked on a daily basis.

You’ll need to supply clean water on a regular basis for terrestrial newborn turtles. You’ll need to check the water quality for aquatic turtles in the same way that you would for a fish aquarium, and do partial water changes as required to enhance the water quality and eliminate waste.

Where Can I Get a Baby Turtle?

Turtles are commonly sold as newborns or juveniles in most big-box pet retailers, depending on the species. You could also be able to locate a baby turtle at a local aquatics or pet shop, however they will be more difficult to come by. Breeders and internet stores are a sure-fire method to get a baby turtle. Make sure you do your homework before buying a baby turtle from a breeder or retailer. Some dealers will not offer you a healthy young turtle, putting your ability to properly care for the turtle in jeopardy.

How Much Does It Cost To Own a Baby Turtle?

A young turtle will most certainly set you back at least $50. If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind shell design or species, you may pay $500 or more. Because a young turtle is so little, it may be tempting to buy a small cage when you receive one.

They do, however, develop swiftly in their first year and may soon overrun a tiny tank. A 29-gallon tank may be plenty if you get a lesser kind of turtle. A bigger species will almost certainly want a tank greater than 40 gallons. A turtle tank will most likely cost you $40 or more. A filter, elevated basking area, heat lamp, lighting, and tank accessories are all required for your turtle, so tank setup might cost $100 or more.

Feeding a young turtle won’t break the budget, so plan on spending $30-50 a month on your baby turtle’s food. A vet visit is recommended when you initially get your newborn turtle to ensure its wellbeing. This first appointment will most likely cost $75 or more, but you will not need to take your turtle to the vet again unless it becomes unwell or has an emergency.

What Kind of Home Does My Baby Turtle Need?


A waterproof aquarium with a minimum capacity of 29 gallons is required for aquatic and semi-aquatic turtles. You’ll need a tank that can accommodate a vivarium setup for terrestrial turtles, but it should be in the same size range as tanks for aquatic turtles.


A bare bottom tank, pool filter sand, turtle-specific substrate, and pebbles are all options for aquariums. It’s critical that you choose stones or gravel that are too big for your turtle to consume. Coco coir or coconut fiber are the ideal materials for vivariums, but you may also use a soil and sand mix, peat moss, and turtle-safe mulch.

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Light and Heat

To keep his shell and bones healthy, your turtle will require a lamp that emits UVB rays. You’ll need a separate heat lamp and UVB light since a heat lamp won’t give UVB rays. In a basking area at one end of the cage, heat lights are also required. Some individuals buy heat lamps with day/night illumination, which emits red light at night, which is not harmful to nocturnal turtles.

Tank Accessories

Baby turtles need a place to bask. A platform outside the water that aquatic and semi-aquatic turtles may use as needed for basking is required. At one end of their cage, baby terrestrial turtles will want access to a basking area. Basking zones should be elevated but not more than 12 inches away from the heat source. Decor and plants are examples of other tank additions. Some plants may be consumed, but your young turtle is unlikely to eat many of the plants in the cage.


To keep their water quality excellent, baby turtles in aquariums need a powerful filtration system. Some filters are sold as turtle tank filters. Another alternative is to buy a filter that is rated for a tank that is bigger than the one in which your young turtle is housed. Despite the fact that baby turtles produce significantly less waste than juveniles and adults, they are nonetheless dirty and need proper filtration.

What Should I Feed My Baby Turtle?

Although all baby turtles are omnivores, the nutritional requirements of terrestrial and aquatic baby turtles vary. Baby turtles on land consume more vegetables than water turtles. Chopped leafy greens, such as romaine lettuce, fruits, such as melon, and commercial turtle food should be provided to them. Aquatic baby turtles will consume certain vegetables and fruits, but they should eat commercial turtle food and proteins like baby feeder fish, insects, and tiny shrimp for the majority of their diet.

Although a well-balanced meal should supply your baby turtle with all it needs to develop and stay healthy, some baby turtles may need vitamin supplements including calcium and vitamin D supplements. Feed your young turtle 2-3 times each day, and discard any uneaten food within a few hours. Terrestrial turtles should always have clean drinking water available to them.

How Do I Take Care of My Baby Turtle?


Feed your young turtle 2-3 times a day, and throw away any food that hasn’t been consumed. Because aquatic turtles may be untidy and have a propensity to defecate while eating, some people advocate keeping them in a separate tank for meals.


To prevent stressing your newborn turtle, handle it as little as possible. If necessary, capture it swiftly and gently with minimum shaking. Handling causes less stress in terrestrial turtles than it does in aquatic turtles. Before and after handling your baby turtle, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly.


Bathing or shell cleaning are not required for aquatic young turtles. If they have trash or food debris on them, baby terrestrial turtles may require a brief wash off or a lukewarm water bath in a shallow dish.


In chilly temperatures, turtles and other reptiles enter a semi-hibernation stage known as brumation. They will consume substantially less and be lot less active at this period. You’ll probably need to alter the temperature to allow for proper brumation throughout this period. If baby turtles hatch late in the year, they may not be able to undergo brumation.

If they do start brumation, it should be limited to no more than 10 weeks to avoid malnutrition and health issues. Over the summer, help your young turtle acquire weight and strength so it has enough energy for brumation. Because it varies dependent on age and species, any questions or concerns concerning brumation and newborn turtles should be explored with your veterinarian.

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Enclosure Care

Once a week, do a partial water change and inspect the filter for your newborn aquatic turtle. You may need to conduct a bigger water change every couple of weeks, and you will need to gradually replenish filter media over time. Full water changes and changing all filter media at once should be avoided since this might cause your tank’s beneficial bacteria colonies to fall.

Spot clean the cage and substrate as required for terrestrial newborn turtles. Much of the substrate should be changed out weekly, and it should be completely replaced every couple of weeks after a thorough tank cleaning.

How Do I Know If My Baby Turtle Is Sick?

Shell Damage

An accident or sickness might result in shell damage. If you see cracks, peeling, or soft places on the shell of your newborn turtle, have your turtle’s veterinarian examine it to help you figure out what’s wrong.

Vitamin A Deficiency

This deficit is directly linked to a poor diet. Lethargy, inappetence, swelling around the eyes, purulent discharge around the eyes, abscesses, and respiratory infections are only a few of the symptoms. Vitamin A deficiency may be treated with a good diet, but it’s best to see a veterinarian first. Prepare to provide the vet a detailed report of what your young turtle consumes in a day.


Abscesses are infected pockets that may spread to other parts of the body, causing systemic diseases. Bacteria cause them, and even the slightest scrapes may trigger them. Turtles often develop abscesses near their ear holes, although they may develop abscesses virtually anywhere on their bodies. Abscesses cause swollen regions that are typically accompanied by redness and may resemble a giant pimple. A veterinarian should be consulted for treatment.

Respiratory Infections

Respiratory infections are normally caused by bacteria or viruses, although they are often caused by a vitamin A deficiency as a side effect. Open mouth breathing, nasal discharge, thickening mucoid secretion from the mouth, lethargy, and inappetence are some of the symptoms. Respiratory infections may rapidly turn fatal, therefore your young turtle’s veterinarian should be consulted as soon as possible.


Baby turtles are adorable, but they are tough to care for and do not make good pets, particularly for youngsters and those who enjoy interactive pets. Although your young turtle will most likely link you with food and safety, most prefer that you give them room and handle them lightly so they don’t get agitated. Stressed young turtles may get ill rapidly, so make sure your turtle is in a secure, healthy environment and remain in contact with your veterinarian if you detect any difficulties.

Questions and Answers on Baby Turtle Care



What kind of habitat is suitable for baby turtles?

Baby turtles thrive in a well-designed habitat that includes a clean and adequately sized aquarium or terrarium. Ensure a basking area, a UVB light source, and a water area with proper filtration to meet their physical and environmental needs.


What is the ideal temperature for a baby turtle’s habitat?

Maintaining a suitable temperature is crucial for a baby turtle’s well-being. The basking area should have a temperature between 85-90°F (29-32°C), while the water temperature should be around 75-80°F (24-27°C). Consistent monitoring of temperature levels is vital.


What should baby turtles eat for a balanced diet?

A well-balanced diet for baby turtles includes a mix of commercial turtle pellets, fresh vegetables, and occasional treats like small insects or worms. Providing a varied diet ensures they receive essential nutrients for growth and development.


How often should baby turtles be fed?

Baby turtles typically need daily feeding, with the amount depending on their age, species, and specific dietary requirements. Offering a variety of food items in appropriate portions helps maintain their health and vitality.


What veterinary care do baby turtles require?

Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial for baby turtles to detect any health issues early on. A qualified reptile veterinarian can provide guidance on vaccinations, parasite control, and overall health assessments, ensuring your baby turtle enjoys a long and healthy life.




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