There aren’t many reptiles sold in Singapore pet stores due to their exotic breeds and endangered existence. However, the Red-eared Slider is the one terrapin that is available in almost every pet shop. These terrapins may have a hard shell, but they are quite fragile in nature! If properly cared for, they can live up to 30 years of age. To ensure that your scaly friend lives a full and happy life, here are some things you will need to know to care for your Red-eared Slider.Source: Atlas Obscura
Accommodating their size
Red-eared Sliders are tiny and cute if you purchase them when young, however an adult terrapin can grow to 30 centimeters in shell size. As your terrapin will be with you for many years, it is important to continually provide it with a tank or a pond large enough for it to roam about and swim in. If you have a backyard, you can dig up a pond and install a pond-liner for your terrapin as well.Living conditions Source: Turtleholic
As these reptiles love to bask in the sun as well as dive under the water, set up a dock in your tank where your terrapin can lay on rocks or logs above the water. These creatures get their vitamins from UVA and UVB lights; however, never place your tank under direct sunlight, so as to prevent your tank from overheating. Instead, place 5% UV bulbs over your tank and also include a heat light, to ensure that the basking area is at least 10 degrees higher than the water temperature. You might also want to install a submersible water heater to maintain the ideal temperature of the water between 24-29˚C.Diet Source: Petguide
Improper environmental conditions and diet are common culprits to health problems in Red-eared Sliders, so it is vital that one creates safe living conditions so that your pet stays emotionally as well as physically healthy. Terrapins can get depressed and weak if they live in poor conditions, or if they lack the necessary vitamins from their food and from basking in UV light. Dry terrapin pellets work as a good base for your terrapin’s diet, however they also need to feed on water plants and vegetables like carrot tops, romaine lettuce, water hyacinth and water lettuce. A bit of live protein will also go a long way, so rather than feeding your terrapin dried shrimp that has no nutrients whatsoever, opt for fresh shrimp instead.Health awareness
Check your pet regularly for signs of health problems, as it is difficult for your Red-eared Slider to show that it is in discomfort. Eye infections are a common issue when the water in the tank is dirty. Your terrapin will have puffed, swollen eyes that leak discharge, and this is the time to take it to the vet, and upgrade your water filtration system. Other common problems include soft shells, bacterial infections, respiratory infections and sometimes, even open wounds. If you are unsure about any unusual symptoms, the best thing to do is to visit your vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
The Red-eared Slider is the only reptile Singaporeans can keep as pets, so treasure your scaly friend! As long as you have prepared your tank, food and most importantly the responsibility to look after it for several decades, they will be a joy to care for and to observe as they grow over the years.