Scarsdale Veterinarian Shells Out Turtle Care Tips

Pet turtles can fascinate families for many decades with proper care. Our Scarsdale veterinarians want to provide some basic turtle care tips, reminding pet owners throughout Westchester to thoroughly research their species’ specific requirements so their turtles can thrive for many years.

Central Animal Hospital Loves Turtles!

Central Animal Hospital provides exotic veterinary services for a variety of pets, including turtles.  As reptiles, turtles need a specific temperature range, diet, housing, and habitat. The following are general guidelines, but each species has different requirements, so species-specific research is critical!

Heat and Light-In the wild, turtles regulate their body temperature with the sun (between 79-100 degrees Farenheit).   In captivity, turtles should be provided with a 75 – 100 watt incandescent bulb with a reflector.  Scarsdale veterinarians offer Turtle Care TipsArrange brightly lit areas of the tank that provide the higher temperature range for basking, and sheltered areas in the lower range for sleeping. Ask us about safe light and heat sources!

Housing-A securely-latched, 20-gallon (or larger) aquarium gives turtles needed roaming space, humidity, and security. Suitable substrates include indoor/outdoor carpet, newspaper, straw, hay, alfalfa pellets, or wood chips mixed with peat moss. Avoid kitty litter, gravel, sand, soil, or crushed walnut shells as these can cause deadly intestinal blockages. Provide a shallow water dish that the turtle can enter and exit easily, and clean it daily. Clean the cage at least weekly.

Diet-Each species has specific dietary requirements and preferences, so be sure to research them. Generally speaking, turtles need about 50% high-protein food and 50% plant-based food. Dust every meal with a calcium lactate, carbonate, or gluconate supplement. Use a multi-vitamin supplement only once a week. Pet stores carry these, and we can also make species-specific recommendations.

More Information …

We are always happy to answer turtle care questions, so please call us!  You can also visit the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) website for additional information: And, our local Greenburgh Nature Center has many turtles in their live animal museum that you can visit and handle. Their volunteers are very knowledgeable in the care of turtles. GNC is located at 99 Dromore Road, Scarsdale, NY 10583  (914.723.3470).