The yellow belly turtle is a freshwater turtle from North America. Its scientific name is trachemys scripta. This species can measure up to 30 centimeters for the female, and 20 centimeters for the male.
Although it can live in a large aquarium, it is more at home in an outdoor tank. This yellow belly turtle is omnivorous and feeds on insects, small fish and raw meat.
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Is it dangerous for a yellow belly turtle to stay out of the water ?
Yellow Belly Turtles can acclimatize very well and stay outside all year long. The ideal is to create a pond for them. The depth of this pond will have to be at least 80 cm, to avoid the freezing of the turtles which hibernate.
The slopes of the pond will be soft and covered with substrate, in order to allow the turtles which come out of a long hibernation at the bottom of water to be able to go up to the surface to breathe.
Some big roots and flat stones easily accessible to the animals will act as solariums. The aquatic plants will oxygenate the water and will provide a good food for the yellow belly turtle. There is no risk for these turtles to stay out of the water.
How long can a yellow belly turtle stay out of water ?
Generally, a yellow belly turtle will not venture more than 2 or 3 days without water, you should not force their hand. They feel very well when it is time to go out or to enter the water to refresh themselves. We must not forget that they are above all water turtles.
How long can a yellow belly turtle live ?
A yellow belly turtle can live until about thirty years. Compared to a dog or a cat, it is definitely more. It is therefore necessary to be really passionate about aquatic turtles and over several years, because abandoning an animal is really regrettable. Because in some regions the yellow belly turtle is considered invasive.
Do yellow belly turtles winter in water ?
If your yellow belly turtle’s pond is deep enough, it can hibernate there. However, there is a great risk that the tank will be completely frozen, and that the turtle will die of hypothermia.
Indeed if the volume is not sufficient, the upper ice layer will become thicker and thicker and will reach the turtle located at the bottom. This will prevent him from going to the surface to breathe. Moreover, the attacks of rodents are frequent for the immobile species.
It is preferable to make your yellow belly turtle hibernate in a plastic container that we place in a fresh room of your house rather than in the open air, like a cellar for example. This box should be closed with small holes for air to pass through, to avoid being bitten by mice or rats. You can place a thermometer in the tank to monitor the temperature from a distance.
The tank is then filled with water with a very low height so that the turtle only has to raise its head to breathe on the surface.
For the hibernation to take place in good conditions, the temperature of the room and the water must be between 41 and 50°F. Above this temperature, the yellow belly turtle is not sufficiently asleep and depletes its nutritive reserves too quickly. And below 41°F it risks dying of hypothermia.
In a house, the cellar is usually an ideal place for this, as it is both cool and humid. You can control your turtle’s weight by weighing it briefly so as not to wake it up. It should not lose more than 1 to 1.5% of its weight each month.
If your cellar is not cold enough, you can place its tray in a refrigerator specially used for the occasion.