First Time Having a Turtle - Turtles and Turtle Care
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-16-2018, 12:15 AM Thread Starter
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Red face First Time Having a Turtle

Hello everyone!

Greeting from a 3-striped mud turtle owner from SoCal. It's my forth day living with this cute 3-striped mud hatchling. it's cuteness is definitely unbelievable with the size smaller than a quarter. Muddy is his name (hint: mud turtle) and he has been doing pretty well. He actually basks and eats, even though he doesn't eat a lot per meal (1/2 of a hatchling pellet) but I hope this situation will get better overtime. He is currently living in a 20g tank with provided UVB lamp, heater, basking dock, a thermometer to track the water temp, and a not that great of a filter (decorative reptofilter that came with the full turtle kit... it's pretty bad).

I have been doing research about turtle, especially 3-stripe mud but I could not find much. It's about RES all over the Internet, but not 3-stripe.... Why is that? So, If anyone has any great source of info regards of 3-stripe, please let me know, much appreciated!

1 last question! I have read elsewhere that female turtle can actually lay egg without mating. I am not quite sure if this apply to all types of aquatic turtle ( read about this fact in a post talking about RES). Can anyone tell me if 3-stripe is also the same? Does this mean that if Muddy turns out to be a female, I have to provide "her" a nesting area to lay egg to avoid "egg binding" scenario?

Thanks in advance
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-16-2018, 09:21 AM
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Sounds like you are going to be a good parent to Muddy ! Doing homework is the key. Unfortunately RES's are the most common turtles in this hobby and on forums. But Austin's Turtle Page has the widest range of turtle owners around. Check out there forum , there are several 3-strpes on there. 3-stripes are very close to the common North American mud turtle , information there will help.

As with all babies that small handle sparingly , very delicate. Mortality rate is high with some because some owners just handle way to much. Also be consistent with the water temps and the basking area temps for a baby !

Eating is the main priority for a baby and "it is" , great ! About 1/2 half to 1/3 the size of it's head ( not neck included ) twice a day would be good for a baby. As it gets more comfortable with you as food provider then that begging starts and will get more so with age. It's your responsibility as owner to feed a proper well balanced diet at each stage of it's life and requirements do change from baby , juvenile to adult ! The begging never goes away don't give in to it ! That will create problems if you do.

And yes , all females at a point will produce eggs ( infertile ) . I have been doing this over 5 decades and have tried all kind of nesting boxes. Turtle's are very picky never using any man made boxes I tried no matter how elaborate I made them. Spent lots of money and time trying , end result , my garden has always been best spot for them.

My Piggley says Hi !
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-16-2018, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
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As you mentioned, I should feed him twice a day right? Should I feed him 1 pellet in the morning and then after work, feed him another one? Isn't feeding one a day good enough? I have heard a lot of turtle owners saying that feeding one a day, everyday, is enough for a hatchling. The breeder that I got Muddy from even recommends feeding him every other day.

Moreover, Muddy never seems finish his food. I usually give him 1 pellet and he only eats half of it. I feed him in a different container tho.

I am not sure If i am comfortable enough if I let "her" laying egg in the garden when it's time for "her" to do so. First of all, I have a cat... and Loki is pretty.. you know lol. Secondly, 3-striped mud is pretty small in size and if I let "her" free roam in the garden to lay egg, I may not find her after that

Last edited by Avotoast; 05-16-2018 at 01:08 PM.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-16-2018, 02:30 PM
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A baby to me yes twice a day. That is what it needs to fill 1/2 to 1/3rd it head size divide into two feeds. Not a full feeding at both but a daily amount divided into two feedings. I can only go by what I have done over the decades and reputable breeders I know. If it's head ( 1/2 to 1/3 ) is only one pellet then one. Take that one pellet and break in half , into two different times. All turtles are a little different. My Piggley liked to eat mainly in the afternoon as a baby. Not when it was convenient to me. Being very observant with a turtle goes a long way.

The different container make sure it's tank water or at least treated water.

Your first post said heater ... water heater or basking dock heat lamp? You need both along with the UVB specialty bulb unless it's a mercury vapor which is too much for a baby in my opinion. Water At 80* "consistent" day and night and the UVA and UVB bulbs on a timer (10-12hr's a day on a timer) at 90* , Yes. Both bulbs over the basking dock together. Turtles need a sleep cycle as we do ! If it gets to cool in habitat on dock at night that's why the water is heated , it will sleep in the water.

You have plenty time before you can even tell sex 100% , the garden nesting is watched very closely not unattended.

Watch cats with the light fixture for the turtle they like the warmth , think safety.

Last edited by litefoot; 05-16-2018 at 02:48 PM.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-16-2018, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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Is it necessary to have a water heater and a heating lamp? Many have said that only 1 is needed, either a water heater or a heating lamp. The heating lamp is used to heat up the water, and so does the water heater. So why need both at a time? What your thought on it? I direct the UVB light on top of the basking dock so when Muddy basking, he will get some UVB light.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-16-2018, 07:50 PM
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In my time I've seen some people try to justify having only a heat bulb to heat the water to. It will only heat a very small area at the surface. Maybe yes for one gallon of water that's it. A heat bulb is used to warmup basking area so a turtle goes under the UVB that's needed. UVB's do not alone produce adequate heat. Only a mercury vapor does both and the smallest is to much for a small tank. The smallest size starts for minimum of 90 gallon tank. The water heater is to maintain all the water at a proper setting. Also properly having all lights out for a good sleep cycle , it does get cool for a turtle and can go into the warm water environment and can sleep comfortable. 3-strip muds are not normally recommended as a beginner turtle especially a baby. Once they are 2-3" they are a little more hardy. 3-stripes are known when babies getting respiratory infections and have a high mortality rate. Another reason RES's the #1 turtles "very hardy" to just about any changes on land or water. I haven't been active on this forum but others for years. This forum talks more on everything but turtles and I want to help it get back to turtles. That is what is correct for turtles to have a happy healthy long life. Not what some others want to justify by there pocketbook is needed. You are doing right asking questions now. There is good info out there just hard to find about muds. Before Hurricane Katrina took all turtles that most would be in there 40's today. One snapper five RES's and a common mud. Now I'm retired and old starting our lives over (lost everything) from the storm , it's just Piggley .
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