A terrapin is an excellent and unusual pet to own. Like amphibians, they need access to both water and land. When housing a terrapin you’ll need to create an environment for them that mimics their natural habitat as closely as possible and gives them plenty of space to enjoy both the land and water. Here we explore some pet care advice for keeping terrapins in your home.
The most important thing to note with these unusual pets is that they will live for up to 30 years in captivity. Before you take a terrapin into your home you need to be prepared to care for them for their entire life. While they’re small when you first get your terrapins, they will also grow rapidly. In the first 2-4 years, your terrapins will over quadruple in size and the larger species will grow to 25cm within 5 years.
How to home the terrapin
While a tank with constructed land areas will be suitable for the terrapins at first, they will quickly grow out of a standard tank and you will need to expand their living space. Terrapins should be homed in a large tank or secure pond that has both adequate heating and lighting. The pond needs to be secured to prevent the terrapins from getting out and also to prevent children or pets from falling in. You’ll also need to control the heat, light and water carefully:
- Temperature – The terrapin needs varying heat in their tank. They need both a basking area under a hot light and an area where they can cool down again.
- Light – You will need to install a 7-12% reptile lamp. This will expose them to UVB, which they desperately need to store calcium. The lamp will need to be regularly replaced and caution needs to be taken to prevent any exposure to broken glass for the terrapins.
- Water – Terrapins will make a mess of the water so you will need a powerful filter. A pond-standard filter will be required and this will need to be properly maintained and regularly cleaned.
Terrapins are fantastic and unusual pets to own, but you need to plan ahead seriously to do so. They will take up a large amount of space in the home and will need a great deal of kit to get started.