My turtle's nails are getting long! Should I trim them?
NO! Absolutely not! Turtle nails are not like cat or dog nails, it is very painful for your turtle if you were to cut its nails. If your turtle's nails are getting too long, chances are that it is a male turtle. Male turtles, such as the Red Eared Slider, often have very long nails as it is a signature trait distinguishing their gender and it is perfectly NORMAL... they use their nails as a symbol of masculinity and fertility. During mating season they will use their nails in their mating dance by tickling another turtle's head as a way of saying "Hey... wanna make some babies???" See the video below:
As for tortoises, if you are concerned about the length of your tortoise's nails, chances are you aren't providing the correct bedding or exercise for it to naturally trim its nails. Acceptable bedding should not absorb moisture and should be low humidity such coconut shavings, biodegradable pet safe box shavings, or sand. Each species of tortoise requires different bedding, and always make sure that your bedding is non-toxic as your tortoise may try to eat it. Never house your tortoise in products containing toxic chemical releases or sap such as cedar, pine, or alfalfa because products such as these create moisture unhealthy for its nails and the toxins are harmful to your tortoise in the event it tries to eat it. Let your tortoise out of its habitat and let it walk around rough surfaces every once in a while. Rough surfaces can be the floor or carpet in your home, and letting it walk around on it every once in a while will slowly, safely, and naturally trim its nails. Taking your tortoise outside is great too! Just make sure the temperature outside is an acceptable over 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and if it comes into contact with plants or grass, make sure the plant is safe for your tortoise to eat and the grass is NOT TREATED with any chemical or growth fertilizer, this can be fatal to your pet! Monitor your pet very closely as tortoises are very curious creatures, make sure it doesn't wander off, eat something its not supposed to, fall, or get stolen... yes, sadly tortoises are stolen quite often so be aware.
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