Galapagos Tortoises: Care Needed
Galapagos tortoises, also known as aquatic turtles, tend to have a voracious appetite and need certain specific care. Would you like to know what they are? In this article, we’ll explain everything about it.
Characteristics of Galapagos Tortoises
First of all, you should know something about the Galapagos tortoises: they are large reptiles that live naturally in Ecuador’s Galapagos archipelago. Their scientific name is Geochelone Nigra and they are the largest in the world.
Of course, we can’t have one at home because, on the one hand, they are Galápagos heritage and, on the other, they measure almost two meters in length and weigh 250 kilos.
So when we talk about domestic Galápagos turtles, we are referring to water turtles, which live in an aquarium or pond and maintain an omnivorous diet (vegetables and meat).
How to care for Galapagos tortoises?
If you want to keep one of these pets at home, we recommend that you pay close attention to their care and certain special requirements:
This is the most important point, because unlike land turtles, aquatic turtles feed on plants and animals (they are omnivorous). Consult the veterinarian for him to indicate the amount and dosage of food according to the animal’s age : once a day, if it is young, every two days, if it is a young adult, and twice a week, if it is older old.
It is necessary to provide live food for the Galapagos tortoises to remain healthy. This means that you should feed them snails, worms, crickets or beetles once a week.
In addition, they consume aquatic plants, fruits (pear, fig, watermelon, melon, banana) and vegetables (lettuce, cucumber, beetroot, radish).
You should know that these turtles have a voracious appetite and you will see them devouring their food every time you offer it to them. But that doesn’t mean you have to feed them all the time. Be very careful not to overdo it, as your pet could get sick!
Another precaution with the Galapagos tortoises has to do with their habitat. Aquatic turtles do not spend all day underwater, and they need a dry space to rest and receive warmth. Being cold-blooded, they need the sun’s rays to raise their body temperature.
The terrarium is a ‘container’ that can be purchased at pet stores and is best suited for a turtle, as it has an aquatic and a dry area. Choose an appropriate size in terms of how much she measures and weighs, taking into account that she can grow or you can adopt another.
The water in your terrarium must be changed periodically, as it gets dirty : remember that Galapagos turtles eat or take food to the aquatic part.
Besides, that’s where they do their necessities and wash themselves. You can put in a filter to keep the water in better condition for longer, but that won’t “free” you from having to change it at least once a week.
4. Lighting and temperature
It is essential that the aquarium complies with other requirements related to light and heat. Natural lighting is always more recommended than artificial lighting, but it is not about letting it get too exposed to the sun’s rays, as it can suffer from burns to the bark and limbs.
It is advisable that the place chosen to locate it has a daily exposure of two to three hours of natural light. In this way, Galapagos tortoises synthesize vitamin D and heat their bodies. We can also help by fitting a light bulb or fluorescent tube (which will work on cloudy days).
As for the water temperature, it must range between 25 and 30°C, depending on the time of year. Do everything possible so that the turtle does not suffer a sudden change in temperature and thus prevent its health from being affected.
Any questions you have about the care of Galapagos tortoises should be asked to a veterinarian, who will be able to inform you further and explain what you need to know.