This blog is primarily for new, future or even experienced Singapore terrapin keepers.
If you are planning to get a turtle, or knows someone who is, read this and/or get them to.
Frankly, most people don’t plan to get a terrapin (including me), they just get it on impulse for a variety of reasons and usually more than one terrapin. And all of them who got them on impulse have no idea what they got themselves into and how to care for them other than the all too common ‘traditional pet store advice’ i.e. put them in a tub with 1 inch water and throwing pellets in daily. If the reasons below describes you, I would seriously urge you to dig deeper into this blog to find out more about terrapin care and if you should consider getting one.
You child wants one, not you
Chances are you are a parent, harmlessly strolling into a pet store with your child and stumbled upon a tank full of tiny, coin-sized red eared slider terrapins. Aww. How cute. Your child begs you for one with that puppy eyes so you asks for the price. $3?? How cheap! Give me two! The store keeper proceeds to sell you a terrapin package consisting of an island tub and pellets, totalling about $30. What a steal. Your child is happy, you are happy, it was a good day.
Three months later, your child lost interest on the terrapins, you couldn’t care less, the terrapins got too big for the tub and your room have a seemingly permanent stench of the tank. Next thing you know, you are putting your terrapins up for adoption online, or worse, throwing them out in a longkang.
Getting a terrapin for your child requires more of your commitment than your child’s, much like getting a dog or a cat. A pet teaches the child responsibility and ownership. Although you bought it for your child, you are required to oversee that the pet is well taken care of. If you are going to neglect the terrapin, your child will inevitably follow your footsteps. The first step to taking care of a terrapin is to know its requirements and that is what this blog aims to do concisely.
Getting a terrapin is dirt cheap
Amongst all the pets that are allowed in Singapore, namely dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, terrapins ranked last in the list of animals people give any hoot about. As common as terrapins are, not many people know much about their basic needs. With a terrapin costing $3-5 a piece, there really isn’t much holding you back from getting one, especially since it’s so cute. If you had to fork out $20 for a terrapin, you will probably ponder a little bit more about purchasing one.
Easiest and cheapest pets to keep. Right.
People have a misconception that terrapins are really easy and cheap to keep. They are almost second-class pets and not many are willing to bother much about terrapin care. Plus with the pet storekeeper insisting it’s such a simple keep, 1 inch of water, tub and pellets. Who couldn’t do that? Even my 3 year old can. Except that he doesn’t after a few months, you don’t, and the 1inch water is forever dirty green and smelly. Yucks!
But they are so cuuuuteeee!
They are! For like a few months. Then, because you are unequipped with the knowledge to care for them, they turn from a 50 cents coin to a wallet-size monster in 6months. They can barely move in that island tub, heck, they are probably bigger than the island itself. At this point, you are probably unwilling to spend any more on this cheap $3 smelly monstrosity. Tell me if you still find them cute then. This was probably what happened to the terrapins you stumbled upon in longkangs and reservoirs.
Does any of them resonate to you? If so, I suggest you read more to find whether it is a suitable pet for you, because it might be more than you can chew.
These will happen if you are not prepared to care for such pets.
People buying terrapins on impulse is of no fault of their own. It is the lack of information going around on something so common that’s the problem. Even I am guilty of impulsive purchase of terrapins in the past.
Personally for me, to find information regarding terrapin care is not exactly a walk in the park. There are too much scattered information around and most are pertaining to the western climate. This site aims to give you a full and concise approach to terrapin care i.e. what you need to get started. I hope through this site, I have able to better highlight the realities of terrapin-keeping and give a different perspective on having terrapins as pets.
14 thoughts on “READ THIS!”
Thank you, I was considering buying a turtle as an easy pet for the kids and I miss pets but I realise its a serious commitment and something I need to think more about.
I’m glad you took the time to research and reconsider your options. They can be great pets, but definitely not an easy one.
Hi, I think I’m 4 years late to see this post. My mum bought 2 terrapins for my little sister, but as she grows up, she starts losing interest in taking care of them and cleaning the turtle tank. Any suggestions to where I can release them? Because I know releasing them in ponds are illegal, and I don’t really trust people to take them in. Any reliable organisations that I can release them too?
Hi Shaz, it is best to give it up for adoption, people who take in big turtles generally know what they get themselves into. There are no organizations I know of that takes in unwanted pets.
Hi, we currently have few terrapins and two of them have already grown (2yrs) to the length of 20cm & 25cm. Another one is 12cm. And the remaining three are 5cm. I have to put them the 25cm individually in plastic rectangular container big enough for them to crawl around. Recently I put up one for adoption and managed to find him a family.
Question: Anywhere in Spore can we release them if they really grown too big to handle? Previously am aware Turtle farm in Chinese Garden can take them.
Hi Christopher, it is best if you put it up for adoption. Turtle farm used to be in Chinese Garden and have since moved to ORTO in Yishun. They actually do not accept turtles any longer.
Hi, I have always wanted to have a turtle since young.. I am ready now, I am a Malaysian, now I live here however will b going back once the border restriction loosen and I don’t mind taking the turtle I am planning to have to follow me back once I leave Sg or start commuting again.. Question is, will I be able to take my grown turtle back to Malaysian at that time?
Hi Dhillon, bringing back your turtle will depend more on Malaysia’s restrictions than Singapore’s. Bring a pet to Singapore may require paperwork and quarantine. You might want to check with Malaysia authorities. Having said that, you might be better off getting one when you are back in Malaysia as there are many more varieties to choose from.
Please advise where in Singapore can I put palm-sized terrapins up for adoption. Thank you.
Hi Evelyn, there are no adoption organisations for turtles. Best you can do is post it on Facebook terrapin groups for adoption.
hi im quite intrested of adopting the lil terrapin i have alot of questions like how is the condition of the turtle ?
Can you tell me what species is the terrapin from the picture above?
It is a red eared slider, other wise known as singaporean turtle
i believe the turtles are red ear sliders