Our Privacy/Cookie Policy contains detailed information about the types of cookies & related technology on our site, and some ways to opt out. By using the site, you agree to the uses of cookies and other technology as outlined in our Policy, and to our Terms of Use.


How to Take Care of a Sun Turtle

| Updated September 26, 2017

A sun turtle, more commonly known as a painted turtle, has one very important thing in common with every other animal. That is, of course, to live a long and healthy life they must be taken care of in a way that will encourage their growth and prosperity. Take a look at some of the basic requirements that must be met in order to keep a sun turtle happy.

Make sure you have the proper habitat for your turtle. A good starting point is getting an aquarium, making sure that it's not only large enough for your turtle but has both an area for him to swim in and an above-water area for him to bask on. The water level should be lower for younger turtles, but as they mature the water level can be increased up to 8 inches. Water should be filtered and kept clean.

A basking lamp should be set up over the dry side of the aquarium. It should be equipped with an UVB bulb, which is a bulb used specifically in the care of reptiles and has been known to increase the vitamins absorbed into the creature's body. The temperature on that half of the aquarium should be kept at around 90 degree Fahrenheit.

An adult turtle should be fed only 2 or 3 times a week, but a young, growing turtle can be fed every day or every other day. A balanced diet is necessary; turtles will happily eat a mix of vegetables such as zucchini and carrots, greens such as lettuce, and any aquatic vegetation that is in the tank with them. Turtles will also eat worms and small insects.

Calcium is crucial to a turtle's development and continued health. Prepared turtle diets can be a great supplement to the vegetables and greens that she is fed. Vitamin D3 is also crucial, and can be sprinkled on food as an additive.

You can also add a cuttlefish to your aquarium; some turtles like to chew on them.


  • Turtles have been known to hibernate in the winter months. If you notice any strange behavior, contact a reptile vet and ask for information.


  • Make sure the substrate ("bedding") that you include in your habitat is too large for the turtle to try to eat. Turtles are, by nature, shy and reclusive. They may not like to be handled.