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Saw-shelled turtle

Discussion in 'Keeping Turtles Outdoors (Ponds & Dams)' started by CMartin, May 4, 2017.

  1. CMartin

    CMartin Egg

    May 4, 2017
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    Hi. :oops:
    I was hoping to get some advice about setting up my pond for my new juvenile Saw-shelled turtle Gus.
    The pond is fiberglass, is external but in a shady position, water is about 35cm deep, it has an external filter, a lily in a pot and rocks layering the floor.
    At present there are 2 fairly large fan-tailed goldfish calling it home as well. I was hoping to set up a log for Gus to climb up on and bask. Is this adequate? Would he need more sun/heat? He is only 30mm x 37mm big yet - would living with the fish be a problem for either?
    The sides of the pond are sloped and a bit rough - is it possible that he may climb out? I would really appreciate any info to help as I was probably in error thinking I could just introduce him to the pond the way I have described. The more I read the more I am concerned.

    Thanks in advance for any and all help, Carrie.
  2. smoyle

    smoyle Adult Turtle
    Staff Member

    Jan 7, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Hi Carrie, your turtle is waaaay too small to go outside yet, and your pond is really not adequate either for the reasons I'll detail below. You'll need to raise your turtle in an indoor tank for the time being, until he is big enough to go outside. Then you'll need to make some major changes to your pond/outdoor enclosure.

    1. 35cm isn't deep enough for an outdoor pond - the temperature fluctuation is way too much for a turtle.
    2. You can't keep turtles with goldfish, only fish your turtle can eat. There are lots of threads about why goldfish are bad for turtles.
    3. Rocks and other abrasive objects are no good in a turtle environment - again, there are lots of threads here detailing why.
    4. Turtles are excellent escape artists, and need a VERY secure enclosure.
    5. Turtles outdoor need sun in the morning and late afternoon - a totally shady position won't work for them.
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  3. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
    Staff Member

    Aug 18, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Hi Carrie and :aftwelcome:

    I agree with Simon, your turtle is far too small to be going outside into a pond setup, especially at this time of the year. As autumn draws to an end and winter approaches, turtles kept outdoors (like wild turtles) go into what's called brumation, (like hibernation.) Basically they cease eating, become a lot less active and go to sleep as their metabolism slows down. Turtles remain in this state, surviving off stored fat reserves until the arrival of spring when the weather begins to warm again in September. Your little turtle being captive bred and unprepared for brumation would not survive this duration.

    AFT recommends all baby turtles be kept indoors in aquariums where their environment is controlled, (water temperature, chemistry, lighting & diet) and their progress can be closely monitored until they are at least 15cm SCL, (Straight Carapace Length.)
    How to measure a turtle's SCL.

    A standard 3ft aquarium is the minimum sized tank you want to start out with when keeping a new hatchling turtle. This sized aquarium will last you 2-3 years if you don't overfeed your new turtle. By the time it outgrows this tank it'll be ready to move outside into a pond setup with the minimum dimensions of 2.5 metres long × 1.5 metres wide and a minimum of 60cm - 90cm deep. The pond will need to receive both morning and afternoon sun and be shaded from the intense midday sun.

    Below are some of the standard posts and threads we ask new members to have a look at:

    Please read the 'AFT Turtle Care Guide' :arrowright: AFT Freshwater Turtle Care Guide

    Why you Shouldn't Keep Two Turtles Together :arrowright: Keeping Two Turtles Together

    To understand why we make the recommendations that we do in the Care Guide
    please read this informative post :arrowright: Why we make the recommendations that we do here on AFT Part 1

    Also, it would be best to familiarise yourself with the skin infections care sheet located here :arrowright: Skin Infections

    After that, you can read the Most Common Mistakes made by novice keepers thread here :arrowright: Common Mistakes

    If your turtle is sick or injured and needs dry-docking :arrowright: Important Tips for Dry-Docking Sick Turtles

    If you have any questions about why we recommend Calgrit/Turtle Grit and River Sand instead of pebbles and small rocks,
    please read this thread as well :arrowright: Gravel Blockage-Very sick turtle!

    How to measure the
    Straight Carapace Length (SCL) of a Turtle's Shell :arrowright: Measuring the Straight Carapace Length of a turtles shell

    If you have any specific questions after that, please go ahead and ask. If you want to search a particular subject, look at the top of the page for the Advanced Search link and type in the word or topic you wish to learn about.
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