Spotted turtles are a very handsome species found within the ponds, swamps and marshes of the USA. Fairly small, the average length of the spotted turtle’s carapace is between 3.1 and 4.7 inches (8 and 12 cm).
Although spotted turtles will eat non-aquatic worms such as red wrigglers and night crawlers, they do need to drag them to the water. Adult turtles only feed in the water. Despite this, they are not particularly strong swimmers and usually stay in relatively shallow water. Owners of pet spotteds should bear in mind that their water area need not be too deep. One inch (2.5cm) to one and a half inches (3.8cm) is often deep enough for a hatchling. Do remember to change the water regularly. As they grow, add more water and continue to monitor its chemical balance. A complete change of water should be a weekly routine, with frequent partial changes in between. A depth of 6 to 8 inches (15.2 to 20.3 cm) should be quite sufficient for mature spotted turtles.
The ideal habitat for a pet spotted turtle is split comprising half land, half water. This type of turtle is used to water that is quite frigid. They are most active in the spring and fall months, often going dormant during the height of summer and in winter. Their natural enemies are raccoons and muskrats. If your pet spotted turtle lives indoors, set up a basking area incorporation heat and UVB lamps.
Unlike certain other species, males and females are relatively easy to tell apart. Besides the tail, which is much thicker and longer in the male, there are other distinctions. From the moment they hatch, their chins have different colors, tan for the male and yellow for the female. Females often develop more spots than the males, and in general, both genders get more spots as they age. The plastron of the male is noticeably concave, while the female’s is either convex or without curve. The carapace, which is mostly black, aids their basking.
They are quite intelligent, as lab tests in mazes have proven and they have a life expectancy of up to sixty-five years. They will snack on duckweed, but their main food preferences are carnivorous and include worms, snails, minnows, carrion and crayfish. They can also be fed commercial aquatic turtle food. While hatchlings need to feed daily, an adult can be fed every second or third day. Do not provide too much food, as it might rot in the water.
If seeking to obtain one, the best route would be to work through a captive breeder. In various parts of America and Canada, spotted turtles have been declared at risk of extinction.