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Hi im 13 and i just got a new turtle from a lake that i caught fishing it was a baby . but i need some help b/c i just took my turtle out of a tank with 8  goldfish and put it in a small/ med.  tank with one large sized rock and one small so it has something to rest on but now it wont eat it just swims and looks at me BUT DOESNT EAT !! and i dont want it to die b/c im in love with ronald ( the turtle's name) and its been doing this for 2 days now it starts to shake when we let it walk. Is it b/c it hasnt ate ? please help !

Hi Ce'Nae,

I don't want to make you feel bad, but if you really care about the turtle, PLEASE take it back where you caught it and let it go.  Baby turtles are very important to the survival of the wild populations, and keeping a turtle healthy in captivity takes a lot of room, money, and time.  Beyond that, hatchlings are more delicate and a wild hatchling in captivity, with someone who doesn't know how to care for it, could very well result in the death of the turtle.  So please let it go.

If you insist on keeping it, you need to get a 30 gallon tank (this is just for a baby--it will probably need a 100 gallon tank or larger as an adult).  You need a filter that can handle at least double the tank's capacity (so at least 60 gallons).  You need a proper basking area, and a bulb that will provide both heat and UVB--get a ZooMed Powersun (cost is about $40, and needs to be changed every year).  You need to be able to accurately check basking and water temperatures, and you may need a water heater if you can't maintain the water temperature at about 75 degrees.  In addition to all that, you need to commit yourself to providing a varied diet that includes pellets, animal protein of various kinds, and greens/veggies.  You can't just throw pellets in and expect it to be healthy--they need a variety of good foods just like people do.  And, of course, you need to keep the tank clean.  But most importantly, you need to do a lot of research.  Find out what species you have, and read as much as you can about it.

Here are some links on proper turtle care.  But again, I strongly recommend you return this turtle to the wild where it belongs.  If you really want a turtle, learn all you can, and then buy a captive bred hatchling.


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Questions regarding husbandry of Russian tortoises and other Mediterranean species, sulcata, and redfoot tortoises; general tortoise and turtle care; box turtle care. If I can't answer a specific question, I can provide sources for further research. Disclaimer: My advice is not a substitute for vet care. If I think your tortoise/turtle has a specific medical condition or injury that warrants a vet visit, I'll tell you so, and if possible I'll help you locate a vet. It is neither legal nor ethical for me to provide veterinary advice.


I have kept and bred Russian tortoises for over ten years and have other Mediterranean species plus redfoots and box turtles. I've worked with other tortoise and turtle species while doing volunteer rescue work; mostly sulcata but some leopards, California desert tortoises, yellowfoots, all box turtle species, red-eared sliders, etc. I don't personally keep aquatic species, but have access to a wealth of information and research to help you with any questions you might have.

My knowledge is based on hands-on experience keeping, breeding, and working with tortoises and turtles.

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