Australian Freshwater Turtles are quite unique when you compare them to other turtles throughout the world and their husbandry is equally so. For decades the available husbandry guides were specifically aimed at North American or European species of turtles and tortoises which have very different husbandry requirements to ours. For too long people needing accurate information on the keeping and breeding of Australia’s freshwater turtles had to rely on incomplete or out-dated references or trial and error, often to the detriment of the turtle. Finally, we have a comprehensive guide to the specific care of Australian species and it has been a long time coming.
This soft cover book has an easy to follow layout and invaluable information for the beginner looking to keep turtles for the first time. The layout consists of a broad introduction and succinct housing instructions followed by diet and breeding for the first 75 pages. There is a concise health and disease section aimed at allowing keepers an understanding of turtle illness and injury written by reptile specialist vet Dr Robert Johnson. A glossary is provided to aid in understanding both turtle specific and veterinary terms used throughout the text.
The last and largest section of the book contains the species accounts of turtles available as pets in Australia. This section is a little repetitive and may have been better represented by grouping similar species but demonstrates each turtle and its habitat well and this will assist in the identification of each species. I was a little disappointed that more species specific husbandry requirements such as pH, growth rates and egg data weren’t offered but adequate information is provided. I would have liked to see a more natural diet list suggested within the species profiles, rather than meat and supermarket vegetables but there is a broad list of suggested foods and it does stress that variety is the key to successful turtle care. This book does not imply that diet should be limited to what is recommended within the text and as care should be taken not to include items with too much protein or high levels of anti-nutrients, keepers are able to add or remove dietary items as more information becomes available to them.
This book is beautifully illustrated with over 350 colour photos and I’m impressed that photos of equipment and specific husbandry and housing practices were included and not considered a waste of space as other publishers of husbandry guides have been known to do. This reinforces complex concepts and allows the reader an extensive understanding of each aspect of turtle care.
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