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Spotted Turtle, Clemmys guttata


Spotted Turtle, Clemmys guttataIntroduction The Spotted Turtle is a small turtle reaching sizes of 5 inches. They are identified by yellow spots on the carapace. Many have orange spots on their heads. They are native to the eastern coastal states and the Great Lakes. The eastern range is from southern Maine to northern Florida. The Great Lakes range is from western New York and western Pennsylvania, northern Ohio, southern Ontario, northeastern Illinois and western Michigan. Small populations also occur in central Indiana, South Carolina and North Carolina as well as parts of Canada. They are protected in much of their range. Spotted Turtles occupy most types of wetland habitats. They will most often be found in shallow wetlands with soft substrates and dense vegetation. Habitats such as marshes, wet pastures, bogs, swamps, coastal bays, and woodland streams are favored by these turtles.

Acclimation and Quarantine Quarantine and/or acclimation enclosures need not be elaborate, instead they should be sterile and easy to clean. Appropriately sized tanks or plastic Rubbermaid containers can be used. Water should be filtered and/or changed frequently. Be sure to provide a heat source, a pool, and a dry spot. A hide area should be provided for additional security. This setup should be used until the turtle is feeding regularly and appears to be in good health.

Housing Spotted Turtles will need housing that mimics their natural environment - warm, with water for swimming, and a dry warm area in which to bask. A glass or acrylic aquarium will be needed to house the turtle; glass is usually better, since acrylic tends to be scratched easily. Another option is a plastic utility tub, wading pool, or stock tank. An adult Spotted will eventually require at least a 30 gallon aquarium.

Heating and Lighting You should offer your Spotted turtle a photo period of 18:6. Day light can be provided using incandescent bulbs or fluorescent tubes. If you have a safe place, many people keep their pond turtles outside to benefit from the sun. Whatever type of light you decide to use, be sure your turtle receives UVB, as hatchlings and juveniles that do not receive enough UVB will develop MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease). Standard incandescent lights from the grocery store may be used for light and as a heat source. They do not produce UVB. Aquarium heaters may also be used for evenly heating the water in small to medium-sized enclosures. You should choose a heater that will provide 2-3 watts per gallon. The heater's thermostat should be set to keep the water between 70-78 degrees. If you choose to use a glass heater, be sure it is well protected. If the turtle knocks it against the tank and causes it to break, the turtle could be electrocuted.

Feeding The diet of Spotted Turtles should be well varied, containing foods from commercial diets (25% of the diet), animal proteins (25% of the diet) and vegetable matter (50% of the diet). The commercial diet can be comprised of trout food and commercial fish or turtle pellets or sticks; try to purchase a commercial diet that is vitamin enriched. The animal protein food items can be earthworms, snails, feeder fish, pinkie mice, crickets, blood worms and meal worms. For the vegetables and fruits in their diets offer collard greens, mustard greens, dandelions, shredded carrot, squash, beans, berries tomatoes etc. Keeping a cuttle bone in the enclosure for the turtles to chew on is an easy way to provide additional calcium as well.

Water Clean water should always be a main concern. Your turtle's water should be filtered and replaced weekly to bi-weekly depending on the type of filtration you choose. For smaller tanks, Duetto filters work well, as do the submersible Fluval filters, which come in several sizes. Carbon should be used with the filter to remove organic waste and reduce odor.