The terrarium should ideally replicate the environment your turtle would have in nature. This article discusses how to provide the turtles with the most suitable living environment.
Space is probably the most important factor when it comes to the comfort of your pet. In case of tortoise the space requirements should be decided considering the size and habits of your turtle. Some turtles do not grow too big while others grow to extraordinary sizes. Similarly some turtles are not very active whereas some like to climb, explore, dig and burrow. Therefore it is important to understand the habit and growth characteristics of your turtle before planning to make or purchase a terrarium.
Hide Boxes and Substrate
A couple of important factors that contribute to providing your turtle with a natural environment are hide boxes and substrate. Substrate is the ground that your turtle will live on and hide boxes give your turtle a feeling of safety. There are many different kinds of substrates to choose from. Sterilized sand, pet carpet, artificial pebbles and mulch style mixes are the most popular. The substrate must complement the needs of your turtle. Turtles usually like to have pebble substrate but it is good to have different substrates in different portions of the terrarium. Rock and sand substrates provide good basking area for the turtle because of their ability to retain heat.
Maintaining a proper temperature
Many people believe that because reptiles are cold blooded animals, keeping them in high temperatures is healthier. It is a wrong perception – being cold blooded means that they can’t adjust their body temperature internally. Therefore, your terrarium must provide an appropriate range of temperature to the turtle. Turtles feel comfortable moving between cool and warm areas. To have your terrarium both cool and warm areas you can heat one of its portions
Basking lamps and heating pads are ideal sources of heat and when used in combination they’ll give your turtle a more natural feel. For terrarium that is kept in places where the climate is generally cold, buried heat pads will be more effective.
Having a drainage system in place to keep the terrarium clean and healthy
In terrariums that are set up in aquatic or tropical environments, the substrate can some times become waterlogged. A waterlogged substrate can putrefy or start breaking down. Replacing the substrate can be an expensive undertaking which can be avoided by having a proper drainage system in place. Gravel, false-bottom and light weight expanded clay aggregate are some of the systems that can be incorporated inside the terrarium.