Veterinarian Albuquerque -Veterinary
As a veterinarian in Albuquerque I usually try to let people know that turtles are not perfect pets for children. They are not easy to care for, not great for handling, and they often harbor Salmonella bacteria that can be passed to the children who don't understand the need for careful hygiene. Many children do not have the interest or ability to provide the amount of care and cleaning that a turtle rightfully requires, so parents must realize the responsibility for care ultimately falls to them if the kids lose interest.
Having said all that, given the right person and the right commitment turtles make beautiful, fascinating, and enjoyable pets. The first step is to research the species available and the care required by each. While the basics of aquatic turtle care are similar for all species, potential owners need to consult specific care sheets for details on housing, environment and feeding for the species in which they are interested.
For beginners, the hardier turtles are suggested, such as red eared sliders, cooters, and mud and musk turtles, keeping in mind that sliders and cooters will reach a mature length of greater than 12 inches, while mud and musk turtles are about half that size. Snapping turtles have a reputation for being large, aggressive, and generally more difficult to care for so are not good for beginners.
Here in our Albuquerque veterinarian clinic we often treat turtles and while they might not make good pets for kids they are great for other people. Beyond providing a proper environment and diet for aquatic turtles, they do not need a lot of attention, although regular interaction may result in a tame and sociable turtle. In any case, they are lovely and if properly cared for should provide years of enjoyment.