How Do You Care for a Baby Painted Turtle?

Painted turtles are small, hardy turtles that generally do well in captivity, although not all states allow them to be kept as pets. With the proper care, baby turtles, or hatchlings, can live for decades if they live in a suitable habitat and eat a good diet.

  1. Create a good environment

    A long, 20-gallon aquarium is a good starter home for a turtle. Place 1 to 2 inches of clean sand or fine gravel at the bottom of the tank, and add clean, chlorine-free water. Install a small filter to keep the water clean, and use a submersible heater to make sure the water's temperature stays between 78 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Create a basking area with driftwood, corks or rocks for the turtles to climb and get sunlight. If natural sunlight is not available, install a UVB-emitting bulb in the aquarium.

  2. Feed the turtle a varied diet

    Young painted turtles are largely carnivorous. Feed them floating turtle food, worms, crickets and feeder fish. As they get larger, add leafy greens, such as lettuce and kale, to their diets. Provide a varied diet to ensure that the turtles do not develop defective shells or other health problems due to nutrient deficiencies.

  3. Keep handling to a minimum

    Painted turtles can become quite tame in captivity, but they do not enjoy being held. Keep handling to a minimum to avoid stressing the turtles.