I get asked quite frequently what my favorite reptile is, and of course it has changed a few times, but I have always gone back to the turtle. No matter the species, I love turtles. To go into more detail, I particularly like my turtle. My turtle's name is Ralph. Ralph has a very interesting back story behind him. Like many turtles, Ralph was wild caught, by my brother. I'm sure most people remember the catastrophic hurricane named Katrina that hit Louisiana and surrounding states. Well Ralph is a survivor of that hurricane, now I am sure some of you are thinking, why not just leave him out there? Natural instincts right? Well to defend myself, I was pretty young when this hurricane hit. But on a different story I believe Ralph was saved. I have yet to mention what species of turtle Ralph is, he is a yellow belly slider. Not commonly found out here in Colorado, but a very frequent visitor of the Louisiana territory. We have guessed that Ralph may have been only a few months old when he was discovered, he was super tiny! So my dad tells me. So now Ralph is roughly 12 years old! And he is till going strong, of course. In turtle years being 12 is practically still a baby.
Now the care for turtles is pretty easy, just not cheap. Most people that buy turtles end up putting them in ponds because of the size that they get. But not little ol Ralph, he lives comfortably in a 40 gallon breeder size tank. Year around Ralph's water is 82 degrees. That may sound warm, but Louisiana is a pretty hot state! He also doesn't have to worry about predators, he does have to worry about his fish friends though. They love his little turtle pellets and dried shrimp a little too much. Remember like I said, turtles are easy to care but not cheap. Well Ralph has cost me at least $500 alone.
Let me give you a list of aquatic turtle basics:
Daytime basking bulb for heat
Strip fluorescent bulb for UVB rays
Floating basking platform
a HUGE canister filter
A heater made for turtles
and of course, a big tank!