Turtles make great pets and have become popular ones as well. The most popular species is probably the red-eared slider, but there are several other species of aquatic turtles that are commonly kept as pets.
What a lot of people who want to own turtles do not realize is how big aquatic turtles can get. For instance, red-eared sliders and a couple of other species grow to 10 to 12 inches long, thus requiring larger enclosures.
Turtles do not need a lot of attention, although regularly giving them some may result in tame and sociable turtles. In any case, if they are well taken care of, they can survive for many years.
Aquatic turtles need large tanks, special lighting, good filtration, and regular cleaning. Although these creatures do not need a lot of handling, they are not ideal for children, since they often harbour Salmonella bacteria, and children tend to put anything they touch into their mouths.
Aside from a fairly spacious environment for itself, turtles need regular exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. There are special light bulbs designed for reptiles that produce both UVA and UVB light. Without this light, your pet turtle can suffer from metabolic bone disease or soft shell syndrome.
Aquatic turtles can also get messy. Their tanks need regular cleanings and, most importantly, a good filtration unit to help maintain appropriate water quality. There should be water deep enough to allow them freedom to swim, along with a place to get out of the water and bask under a heat light. Appropriate water and ambient temperature should be maintained at all times.