Francisco Pierre the Slider Turtle
Would you consider buying/obtaining/owning a turtle?
My sister has a slider turtle named Francisco Pierre. She bought him a couple years ago thinking that a turtle would be a perfect pet because it's cheap and easy to take care of. But lately I've noticed that she hasn't been taking care of him. I moved him into my room today, and because I've now adopted Franky as my own, I thought a little bit of research would be a good idea.
The first thing I learned (and have known for a while, but hadn't known to what scale) is that I will need a much, much larger tank. Apparently sliders can get more than 12 inches long, and the suggested tank size is 10 gallons per turtle inch in length...That means I could end up with a 100 gallon tank for this turtle.
Franky is currently 5 or 6 inches long, and my sister has had him for only 2 or 3 years, so I'm assuming he'll get much bigger.
The second thing I learned is that I could feed him in another water area (because turtles have to swallow underneath water) to lessen the mess in his regular tank. And that his diet should be more meat than veggies, which means I'll have to get different types of food, like shrimp and krill and mealworms and all the other -worms types of food. The food that I've currently got for him has pellets, krill, and shrimp, so I'm happy to see that my sister has been doing her job with taking care of him.
Red Eared Slider Turtles Eating SMALL Guppies. I am seriously considering buying smaller fish for Franky.
And then I learned that he could live to be 40 years old. Yikes! I am so not sure if I am prepared to care for a turtle for the larger part of the rest of my life. I have at least decided that I will be better able to take care of him than she because of our current schedules. I am at home more often than she is, and I intend to get him another heating lamp, as my sister's apparently died months ago, and she hasn't replaced it.
The last thing I discovered while researching slider turtles is that Franky might in fact be a female. Francesca? Francesca Pauline? I've no idea what I will rename her if this is the case, but I think I'd still be calling her Franky. Somehow, I doubt she'd mind.
Her sex is important, however, because if Franky is actually a female, then she has another 2 - 4 years before she matures sexually. Once she does, she may start laying eggs. This means that I will have to make sure that I have a large enough tank by then to set up a nesting area for her to lay her infertile eggs.
The alternative is to wait and see if she lays her eggs in the water (which they do not prefer), or if she retains the eggs (which can be detrimental to her health). Needless to say, I am sorely hoping I've misjudged my inspection of her markings in determining her sex.
My Journey Ahead
I do not know how my sister will react to seeing that Franky has been moved to my room. I do intend to talk to her about it. As she had bought him as "love turtle" between her and her ex boyfriend, I do not think she will be too upset, but we shall see. Wish me luck on this!
I do hope to start expanding the tank size. She is only in a 10 gallon tank as of now, but it has a crack on the back side of it anyway. As the smallest tank that is suggested for hatchlings is 20 gallons, I am beyond upset that pet stores sell these high maintenance creatures with little to no instruction and the assumption that they are instead cheap and easy.
As I discover what is best for Franky and how to go about it, I will write anecdotes, tips, and anything else that I feel may interest my readers. I know it will take a while before I have everything set up for Franky, but I am positive that she will be much better off once I've figured it all out.
If you have any suggestions, tips, or any stories of past experiences, please share! Anything that will help me with my care of her is welcome.