Terry's pet turtle, Tiny Rex, lives in a fish tank by the kitchen sink.
Tiny Rex is really growing when Terry found him (Tiny Rex was just walking around in the yard) he was about the size of a silver dollar, just a baby. Now he's nearly as big as Terry's hand. He's about 2 1/2 years old.
Just after I took this picture Tiny Rex snapped at Terry.
He is so cute and fun to watch swimming and basking on his log under the light.
This kind of turtle, a red eared sliders, usually comes (to Oklahoma) from a pet store and use to be prizes at carnivals. Someone may have bought or won him and didn't want him anymore and just turn him loose outside.
Aquatic Turtles as Pets
What You Need to Know Before Getting a Pet Turtle
By Lianne McLeod, DVM, About.com
See More About:
* pet turtles
* red eared sliders
* turtle hatchlings
* turtles in ponds
* salmonella from turtles
Red Eared Slider
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Freshwater Turtles Terrapin Turtle Turtles Habitat Green Turtles Types of Turtles
Aquatic and semi-aquatic turtles are popular as pets. The most well known is probably the red eared slider, although there are several other species which are kept as pets.
Turtles have been popular for a long time. Baby red eared sliders were readily available and inexpensive many years ago, which unfortunately resulted in a lot of neglected turtles. They were often sent home with tiny plastic bowls with a little plastic tree (unfortunately these are still sold with turtles in some places). With no filtration system and no room to grow, these little babies didn't have much chance. In the 1970s, the US government banned the sale of turtles less than 4 inches long, once the connection was made between turtles and Salmonella infections, especially in children. It is not that baby turtles carry more Salmonella than larger ones; it is more of a case of children being more likely to handle the smaller turtles (and/or put them in their mouths!).
Sadly, many turtles are still sold to people who have little idea how much care turtles require, including large tanks, special lighting, good filtration and lots of cleaning. Even worse, they are sometimes given out as prizes at fairs and at other events. All too often aquatic turtles die due to stress and neglect - and sometimes they suffer so much stress, overcrowding and neglect during transport and in shops (and fairs) that even if a new owner provides ideal care the turtles may be so ill they die anyway.
Turtles and Children
Turtles are not ideal pets for children. They are not easy to care for, not great for handling, and in addition they often do harbor Salmonella bacteria which can be passed to the children who don't understand the need for careful hygiene. Many children do not have the interest or ability to provide the amount of care and cleaning that a turtle rightfully requires, so parents must realize the responsibility for care ultimately falls to them if the kids lose interest.
Size and Life Span
Many people also do not realize how big aquatic turtles can get. Red eared sliders and a couple of the other commonly available pet species will grow to at least 10-12 inches long and thus will require correspondingly large enclosures. All turtles have the potential to enjoy a very long life span (i.e. several decades!) if cared for properly.