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Contains articles and advice on a wide variety of turtle and tortoise species. Answers and addresses questions on species husbandry, captive status, breeding, news and conservation issues concerning turtles and tortoises.

Inexpensive Homes for Sliders, Painted Turtles and other Semi-Aquatic Species – Part 1

Black Knobbed Map TurtleFrom simple, easily-cleaned habitats to complex environments, herp enthusiasts have many options when it comes to setting up terrariums for reptiles and amphibians.  Today I’ll cover everything you’ll need to create an ideal habitat for semi-aquatic, basking turtles, including Red-Eared Sliders, Painted and Map Turtles, Cooters and others.  With a bit of modification, your set-up can also accommodate largely-aquatic species such as Musk, African Mud, Snapping and Soft-shelled Turtles.  I’ll also mention money-saving alternatives to certain products, along with non-essential “extras” that can be added if you wish.


Surface area, to allow for swimming and bottom “prowling”, is a more important consideration than water depth for most species. Read More »

Tortoise Habitats – Glass Aquariums Are Not Suitable Tortoise Homes – Part 2

Hermann’s TortoiseTortoises have long been immensely popular pets, and with good reason.  We know a good deal about their needs, but misinformation as to a proper enclosure abounds.  In Part 1 of this article I discussed the general unsuitability of glass aquariums and the usefulness of outdoor enclosures.  Today we’ll take a look at indoor cages that can be purchased or (if you are more skilled than I!) built.

Plastic-Based Animal Cages

Plastic-based wire animal cages are preferable to aquariums for small tortoises.  Please bear in mind, however, that all except the Egyptian Tortoise (Testudo kleimanni) and the Speckled Padloper (Homopus signatus) will outgrow most available cages (please see Part 1 for further information).  Read More »

Huge African Spurred Tortoise Found Living in Arizona Desert – Part 2

Desert TortoiseFrom Water Hyacinths to Norway Rats, introduced species are one of the leading causes of animal population declines and extinctions worldwide. Introduced turtles, while not usually viewed in this light, can be problematic…feral Red-Eared Sliders, for example, are out-competing native turtles in many countries (please see article below).  Please see Part 1 of this article for more information on African Spurred Tortoises, Geochelone sulcata, in Arizona.

Disease Transmission

Disease introduction is a particularly serious concern when an animal is introduced into the range of a relative, as is the case with African Spurred Tortoises in Arizona.

Native Desert Tortoise, Gopherus agassizii, populations, already fragile, could be decimated by a disease or parasite that may be carried by, but is relatively harmless to, Spurred Tortoises.  This was a common occurrence in zoos when related animals from different parts of the globe were exhibited together, and the chief reason why I advise pet-keepers against the practice. Read More »

Tortoise Habitats – Glass Aquariums are Not Suitable Tortoise Homes – Part 1

Geochelone denticulataTortoises are among the most popular of reptile pets, and many folks now realize the importance of a proper diet, UVA and UVB light, and heat.  Yet many well-meaning tortoise enthusiasts continue to provide their pets with grossly inappropriate accommodations – a situation that is fueled by those pet store employees who recommend glass aquariums to first-time owners. Read More »

The Asian Turtle Crisis – a Sobering Update – Part 2

Chinemys reevesiiAsia’s freshwater turtles face an unprecedented extinction crisis, which may soon result in the loss of 90 or more species.  In 2001, I joined other turtle enthusiasts in south Florida to help process nearly 10,000 turtles of many species that had been confiscated on route to food markets in China.  The magnitude of the response to their plight heartened me, but today, unfortunately, we are still fighting an uphill battle.  Please see Part 1 of this article for details.  Following is a bit more on this sad situation. Read More »

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