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Help with setup for two tiny peninsula cooters

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  • Help with setup for two tiny peninsula cooters

    Here's the story:

    CoWorker's friend was vacationing in NYC. Saw someone dumping baby turtles down the storm drains, and stopped them. Was able to recover two of the babies.

    They brought them back to PA and went to a pet store for help. The pet store set them up with a 10 gal tank with dirt, heat lamp, and a water dish and mealworms for food. They have no plans on keeping these little guys long term, though and ask my coworker if she knows of anyone who will take them.

    I was asked if I wanted turtles, and she showed me their picture and described their setup. These turtles looked aquatic to me and so I said I would take them just to give them a better setup until they got too big for what I have available.

    They were identified as Peninsula Cooters. The bigger one is just at the 2" mark while the other is about 1.5".

    I have a planted 29 gallon tank which has a few baby plecos that I can't for the life of me seem to catch. It has duckweed on half of the surface and floating other plants. The water is 78F. I purchased a 10.0 UVB bulb for a clamp lamp, lily pad dock area, and baby turtle pellets (I also plan on adding some baby guppies to the tank as live food for them to chase, and supplementing with veggies like Romaine. The plecos will help them out in that arena :P).

    I have a few remaining questions as I am a noob to turtle ownership.

    * If I use the 29, can I keep it filled with water, or do they need shallow water when they are that small?
    * How often do they need to be fed?
    * How far from the basking spot should the UVB bulb be placed?
    * Do they come from fast moving clearwater environments, like a river, or still blackwater environments like a pond? Currently this tank is set up to be more like the later.
    * Do turtles need to be slowly acclimated to a new tank like fish do?


  • #2
    I don't know cooters personally (that makes me lol just saying it) but I did keep RES (red ear sliders) a long time ago, and your set up sounds ideal for now! They'll need more space as they age, as I'm sure you know, but that's much better than a 10g with some dirt and a water dish.

    I would definitely think they'd prefer a pond environment and you can probably keep the water level 3/4ths or 1/2 full, just to be sure they can haul out successfully, but that turtle dock is going to provide that for you. Generally UVB should cover the basking area too, as that's when they'll be most likely to spend time absorbing it, so either place the two lamps next to each other or, if you have your UVB in a hood, lay it diagonally across the basking area. Turtle babies are greedy little shits and mine ate every other day until they hit 6" or so, but you should check that with any cooter-specific caresheets online. (I really can't stop lol'ing at that, I am a child) Mine ate mostly earthworms (bait stores are great for this), dubia roaches, crickets (on tongs, because they'll just drown) butterworms, the occasional feeder fish, and mixed salad and fruits, like melon, red leaf lettuce, kale, chard, raspberries, etc. They're also very hardy, even as young things, so you can generally just dump them into a tank with no worries. Turtles also can tolerate a heavy range of water parameters, provided you have enough filtration because they will poop you out of house and home!

    Post pics, if you can. I like turtles.
    3.8.0 C. ciliatus , 1.1 G. vittatus , 0.1 G. gekko , 2.0 F. pardalis ambilobe, 1.0 C. calyptratus, 0.1 P. grandis, 1.0 P. curtus


    • #3
      As it turned out, they were actually not cooters but yellow bellied sliders!

      Here's a video of the more gregarious of the two begging for a treat :P


      • #4
        That sounds adorable, but I can't see the video D:
        In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.


        • #5

          Huh wonder why Here's the link!


          • #6
            Aww cute turtlets. :3:

            YES are virtually the same as RES, so anything you find online for one will be applicable for the other. They'll probably enjoy a nice 40g breeder or 55g (bigger would be better if you can afford it, but that's a nice amount of space for just two) as adults, and you'll want a big powerful filter because turtles. Are. Pooping. Machines. I actually used to take mine out and put them in a bucket to feed them because they were just incredibly messy eaters, and it saved my cheap little Tetra filter some effort.

            Your 'pond' is adorable and I bet they love all that cover and space.
            3.8.0 C. ciliatus , 1.1 G. vittatus , 0.1 G. gekko , 2.0 F. pardalis ambilobe, 1.0 C. calyptratus, 0.1 P. grandis, 1.0 P. curtus


            • #7
              Haha I am always finding little heads poking out of the duckweed :P

              I have a 40 breeder waiting in the garage. I think if these are female, though I'm going to need to rehome them to a real pond. I met some adult female RES's at the last reptile expo, and there's no tank I could have that would be big enough. They're going to need a real pond at that point.


              • #8
                Yeah, definitely see if you can find someone with a privately-owned pond, especially one with other turtles. Keep in mind, they're really invasive and incredibly damaging to the native turtle populations, and they're illegal to release in pretty much every state except Louisiana, so it has to be either an above-ground or completely secure pond, and definitely don't let them go in a public park or anything like that (not that you would).

                Honestly, if you can't find someone with a safe enough habitat, I would go with just an indoor pond-liner pool or someone with a big 100+ gallon tank (preferably in the 350 range, but you take what you can get with turtle rescue, unfortunately) who knows enough about turts to keep them happy, because it is so difficult to rehome them once they get to adult size. I hope for your sake you got boys!
                3.8.0 C. ciliatus , 1.1 G. vittatus , 0.1 G. gekko , 2.0 F. pardalis ambilobe, 1.0 C. calyptratus, 0.1 P. grandis, 1.0 P. curtus


                • #9
                  It won't be too hard to find people with ponds - a friend of mine works at a pet store that specializes in ponds and they have a large indoor display pond. They might even take them on as store pets


                  • #10
                    That's perfect! Man, these little guys really lucked out when you got a hold of them.
                    3.8.0 C. ciliatus , 1.1 G. vittatus , 0.1 G. gekko , 2.0 F. pardalis ambilobe, 1.0 C. calyptratus, 0.1 P. grandis, 1.0 P. curtus