Do Turtles Need Rocks in Their Tanks?

Whether you have aquatic or semi-aquatic turtles, you will need to make sure that the environment you create for them in your aquarium has some pebbles or rocks. Pebbles or rocks act as great substrates for aquatic environments, and allow for your turtles to feel at home.

Why is the idea of having pebbles in your tank coming up in the first place though? Especially if they are so helpful. This is mainly because turtles are omnivores like humans, but unlike us, they tend to try and eat almost anything around them. This includes pebbles and/or rocks, which they can eat, but will inevitably have massive repercussions.

Let us start looking into ways you can help keep your turtles from having rocks and pebbles and what eating them could do!

It does seem rather obvious that turtles would tend to eat pebbles that are so small, since they try out stuff from their environment. In that case, size matters a lot. The smallest of pebbles can be almost 2 millimeters, which makes it quite easy for turtles to scoop them up. However, they can also be as large as 2.5 inches, ensuring that there is no way turtles will try and swallow them. Thus, it is key to look into the sizes of the pebbles you are purchasing based on how big you want or need them to be.

Pebble Surface

Pebbles are also very helpful in creating a completely different environment for your turtles. Since turtles like to spend time outside of water, creating a small area without any water will allow for them to grow better and healthier. It is best to create an area that is completely submerged in water, and another that provides a warm atmosphere for your turtle to dry and warm up in.

Reducing Pressure

Turtles can really succumb to the pressure created in tanks, and you should do your best to avoid them having to be a victim to that. This is where the substrate bottom comes into play, as they allow your turtles to have a nice surface. What helps further is the separation from water to dry land that you create via sand and pebbles. These will help prevent any issues with your turtle’s feet when in the tank. Not to mention, these also give your tank a great aesthetic appeal.

Now that we have an idea of the use of pebbles in turtle tanks, let us look into why a turtle would actually want to eat them in the first place!

Why Turtles Eat Pebbles

Why Turtles Eat Pebbles

Turtles kept in tanks eating pebbles can become quite dangerous for the health of your turtles, and if they have done so; it is best to consult a vet in order to make sure they are okay! However, wild turtles also engage in this behavior but are less affected due to it being a natural environment.

Out of Boredom

However random it may seem, it is true that turtles can be bored enough to eat the pebbles in its tank. The same happens if your turtle is too hungry. To avoid these it is best to keep the tank filled with stuff for your turtle to engage with so that it does not have to resort to eating pebbles. As for hunger, make sure to follow a strict schedule of feeding your turtle regularly, so that it does not feel the need to eat anything that you think it should not.

Nutrients and Minerals

The wild environment is flush with various nutrients and environments, a lot of which can be found in the rocks. Turtles know this, and feel the need to eat certain rocks to make sure they are provided with these minerals and nutrients. However, captive turtles need to be provided these minerals and nutrients by you, so that they avoid the rocks and pebbles in general.

Effects of Eating Rocks

It may be quite obvious, but turtles can easily die from eating pebbles or rocks. One or two may not cause this, but captive turtles can end up eating quite a few of them. These can get lodged in their intestines which inevitably leads to death. Veterinarians are of the utmost urgency if your pet turtle has eaten anything, as surgery might be quite necessary at that stage.

The Takeaway

Pebbles and rocks can play a big role for your pet turtle and its habitat, but you must ensure some factors so that they do not get harmed. Different turtles may require different habitats, so it is of the utmost importance that you always do your research on turtles and what they require their habitat to be like. Good luck on your search for the best turtle habitat!

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