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According to Turtlecare.net, baby yellow-bellied turtles have a 99 per cent mortality rate in the wild. Those that become pets have a better chance at survival. But these baby turtles are delicate and must be handled with care. The yellow-bellied turtles or "sliders" are a good choice for inexperienced turtle keepers. They are reptiles that will provide lots of entertainment for over a quarter century.
Start your baby yellow-bellied slider out in a 15-gallon aquarium with a good-sized basking spot, such as a flat river rock. Shallow water is advised and should be as deep as the width of the slider's shell. Make sure that you heat the water and getting a water filter is advised. If the filter causes a current, break it with a brick or other rock. Otherwise your turtle will overexert itself swimming against the current. You can also tilt the aquarium to have deeper water by the filter and shallow water adjacent to the basking rock. Clean the tank every day if it doesn't have a filter.
Water temperature should be kept at 29.4 degrees Celsius. You can purchase an incandescent lamp from a pet store to heat the turtle's basking rock and warm the water. If your house is too cool, partially cover the tank to keep the turtle's environment warm enough. If condensation forms, uncover the aquarium for awhile. A heating pad placed under part of the tank to warm the water will work with smaller aquariums containing just a little water. The ideal air and basking temperature for sliders is 29.4 degrees C.
Baby turtles are meat eaters. They like chopped up red worms, earthworms, small snails and tadpoles. As a treat, you can feed your slider freeze-dried or frozen bloodworms from a fish store, but don't feed your slider bloodworms too often. Fresh vegetables are also important for baby sliders. They like butter lettuce and carrot slivers. They also like veggie cubes (for fish). Feed sliders Reptomin turtle pellets when other food is not available. Sliders should eat one to two times daily in small amounts. Float fresh vegetables in the water for snacks.
Most sliders are quite sociable and interact with their humans. A turtle's shell is part of its skin. Take special care when handling to be very gentle. Sliders will nip and bite when they are hurt, so it's a good idea to keep fingers away from a turtle's mouth. Wash your hands before and after handling turtles. Your best bet is to handle them infrequently.
Baby sliders should have vitamin supplements added to their diets. These should be high in vitamin A and calcium. Do not overfeed a baby turtle. If it grows too fast, its shell will get deformed. Turtles are particularly susceptible to colds. If a turtle is breathing with its mouth open or has a runny nose, heat its water a couple of degrees higher and give it extra vitamins. If symptoms persist take the turtle to a veterinarian.
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