Freshwater Turtles is a large format soft cover book with nearly 300 hundred pages of exquisitely written and accurate information on nearly every species of freshwater turtle on earth. Russ Gurley is the director of the Turtle and Tortoise Preservation Group. This organization is fighting hard everyday to educate the public about turtle and tortoise husbandry as well as conservation.
If you own only one book on aquatic turtles, then this is the one to have. The information included for each species covers everything from natural history, adult size, diet, captive care considerations, and breeding.
Highlights include the section on the red eared sliders and the North American box turtles. Both of these species have long been staples in the pet trade, and represent some of the most incorrectly cared for reptiles. The data provided is thorough but concise. The reader will not have to wade through dozens of pages. Instead the author has condensed all of the vital info into a few well presented pages. I found the information on box turtle hibernation to be especially good, as this is an often misunderstood aspect of reptile care.
In addition to the species specific information, there are general chapters on feeding herbivorous, omnivorous, and carnivorous turtles in all stages of life from hatchling through adulthood. Other chapters cover water quality, filtration, breeding, enclosure design, lighting, and health.
The chapters on filtration and enclosure design are very detailed and include many examples of turtle homes you can create yourself. Everything from small aquariums and tubs to elaborate outdoor ponds are covered. The health chapter is also very informative. Mr. Gurley has done much of the leg work for the reader, so that they can easily identify and treat a variety of common turtle maladies. Recommended medications and dosages are given, but most drugs mentioned in the text will require a prescription from a vet.
Overall, Keeping and Breeding Aquatic Turtles is an exceptional text, that is not only informative and well-written, but also easy to read and reference. This book gets my highest recommendation for turtle fans of all levels.
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