Pet HQ sells baby Murray River Short Neck Turtles (Emydura Macquarii) when seasonally available. Customers must produce an in-date recreational licence issued by the Department of Environment and Resource Management to purchase any reptile from our store (see our guide on how to apply for a licence here).
Young turtles are best kept in aquariums, rather than ponds, so you can observe them easily. Clean the tank regularly, every second day is ideal. When cleaning the tank, remove the turtle from the tank until the new water reaches room temperature, as sudden changes in temperature will shock them. Never change all of the water in one hit as a drastic change in the water condition can also shock them. A good filter is a must as turtles can be quite messy especially when fed plants and frozen foods. Be sure to match your filter to your tank size (in litres) correctly and remember it is always better to over-compensate than under-compensate with your filtration. Lighting should also be provided as UVB is required for good shell and bone growth. Murray River Turtles grow to about a dinner plate size and require a large tank or pond when fully grown so it is usually convenient to begin with a large tank to avoid having to upgrade your tank size later on. You can however begin with a 2 foot tank (at the smallest) with baby turtles but an upgrade to a 3 foot tank is usually required within 12 months. Gravel should be fine grade, as it is easier to look after. Turtles live almost exclusively in the water for the first 2-3 years of their life, however they do need to reach the surface easily to breathe. They need to be able to get up out of the water, so adhesive turtle docks or raised logs or smooth rocks etc should be used to provide them access to an area where they can climb out of the water. Be careful where the raised area is however as turtles are known for climbing up and out of their tank! Water should be at least 15cm deep and increased as the turtle grows. It is a good idea to use a heater in winter until they are 1-2 years old.
We feed them Turtle Dinner (a specially designed frozen food which is available in store) as well as turtle pellets and live plants. They can also be fed mealworms, crickets, live fish, pieces of fish, white bait, yabbies, shrimps and chopped earthworms. Feeding should always be done in the water. Take care not to feed too much raw meat as this can cause poorly formed, soft distorted shell growth and bones. Pellets are a better food choice as they are especially designed to provide your turtle with the required vitamins and minerals needed for shell growth. Feed turtles twice a day, and decrease to once a day after 6 months. Larger turtles (over 2 years old) can be fed three times a week during summer, and once or twice a fortnight during winter (if too cold, may not feed at all). Do not leave uneaten food in the tank as this will cause a build up of nutrients and waste in your tank, turning your water toxic! You can train your turtle to eat in a smaller tank or container to avoid this. Put the turtle in the container (with conditioned room temperature water) with food for 20 minutes, and then return it to the tank.
Outdoor ponds must have a fence; or the turtles may wander or be attacked. The ideal pond is approx 2m long, 1m wide and 40cm deep, located in a summer shaded areas with ramps to allow the turtle to come out of the water and sun bake. The pond needs to be cleaned regularly, and should also have a layer of fine gravel, as direct contact with harsh surfaces (e.g. concrete) can harm the turtle.
Poorly formed, soft shells and bones can result from not enough UVB (in the form of natural sunlight or appropriate lighting) or from feeding only raw meat. Add calcium to the food to prevent this problem or, even better, provide a better diet. Skin sores and cracked shells can occur if the turtle is handled too roughly or the water is too warm. Fungus is caused by poor water quality and stress. If your turtle has fungus, it can be treated with sea salt 2g per litre of tank water. Paint the fungus with betadine and only put the turtle back in the tank for 2 hours a day to feed. If a turtle is spending a significant time out of the water, is often a sign that a fungal infection is developing. Respiratory problems can occur if husbandry standards slip a little or if the temperature changes suddenly. Often the first sign is that the turtle is blowing bubbles. If this is observed, the turtle will need to see a vet, as it will need antibiotics. Turtles slough off their skin to grow, and can do this at any time - it is not a cause for concern.
The tank should be placed near a window to allow natural light in. Unfortunately, these days, glass in the windows of houses have a shield to prevent UVB ray penetration, so either direct sunlight is needed or you will need to provide the correct lighting. Lights with a UVB rating of 5 (e.g. Repti-glo 5.0 or similar) are ideal. Ask staff for help if you are not sure. Turtles require the UVB to assimilate the minerals into the shell. Tubes should be changed every 6-12 months, as the useful spectrum declines and the tube does not produce UVB anymore. Direct sunlight is not the best idea, as it will affect the water temperature, causing it to fluctuate up and down. In a pond, the extremes will not be as great due to the larger water volume and greater exposure to air.
Temperature should be between 22-28 degrees, so in winter a heater is a good idea. Turtles may not feed if they are too cold, as they will not be able to digest the food.
Turtles should not be left unattended when you take holidays, they will need a house sitter or baby sitter.
WHY PET HQ ?
Pet HQ is not a franchise, we are a locally owned and independent business that is unique to Townsville. By shopping at Pet HQ you are supporting Townsville local businesses, thank you.
Pet Industry Association Member
As a member of PIAA, Pet HQ does not condone puppy farms and we are dedicated to the sourcing of our puppies from responsible breeders that are subject to independent audit each year. By registering our puppies with PIAA we also ensure that any puppy purchased from our store that becomes unwanted or abandoned, at any age, is re-homed. See here for more information.