What do Michelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello and Raphael have in common? Renaissance artists? But ask avid comic collectors and video games addicts and they’ll give you a different answer. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! That’s right. But we could actually put it into a more appropriate term: Teenage Mutant Ninja Terrapins.
Eat like a Terrapin
What do terrapins eat? All terrapins are omnivores: they, by nature, eat anything they find edible to eat. Fishes, snails, worms, insects, grasses, fruits and vegetables, etc. are just a part of their buffet.
In the wild, terrapins eat live prey. They don’t like to scavenge on dead meat. Of course, who doesn’t want his food to be as fresh as the early morning dew? However, people have come to adore these little babies that they take them as pets. So when domesticated, the owner has to make sure to provide low-fat meat as part of a nutritious diet, consisting of plant food and all.
On the contrary, they drool over fish like tuna, mackerel, sardines, etc. which is good, since these are widely-available in the nearest supermarkets globally. They also enjoy mussels, prawns, earthworms, water snails, among all others. Terrapins should be allowed to eat all parts of the fish since each part is saturated with specific nutrients. Plant food consists mainly of leafy vegetables, flowers and fruits. They normally relish lettuce, watercress, and other green veggies. Fruits – apple, blackberry, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, and banana – are greatly appreciated. You could easily notice that the younger terrapin’s diet consists mainly of meat, while the older ones are omnivorous.
One very important factor to bear in mind is that terrapins, just like humans, shouldn’t be fed with the same food for stretched periods of time, since the same food can only contain the same nutrients, and thus, aren’t going to be enough.
But it is very hard to tell which of these are terrapin’s favorites. It is because their diet is very diverse, and the sure way to find out is to try. Some say that the terrapin’s staple food is relatively decided. They, like us humans, have special preferences, and it depends upon the terrapin itself! Most don’t easily appreciate cooked meat, though of course, if very hungry, won’t have any choice but to eat them. Some are given commercial foods to help in the diet but is never enough to replace the healthy, natural diet. Some are also given dietary supplements to satisfy the terrapin’s nutrient requirements. Lastly, young terrapins should be fed on a daily basis, while the older ones don’t demand much. Three to four times a week can be satisfying for them already.
By USDA photo by Jenny Mastanuono (Flickr: 20120523-USDA-APHIS-JEM-1210) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Other information about terrapins
Turtles, Terrapins and Tortoises are Chelonians; they are reptiles characterized by a body-encasing shell of usually fused, bony plate, covered by large, spiny scales. These hard-shelled fellows are estimated to have been roaming around the planet since the Triassic period, approximately 200 million years ago. If you think that their protective shells and anatomical structures have just been recently developed, you are wrong; they have gone dramatically unchanged in anatomical appearance since that time. Nevertheless, one cannot help but be amazed by how these reptiles came up with an adamant shell. Perhaps the creators of TMNT chose artistic names for their main characters since the artworks in their shells are a spectacle.
Turtles are referred to as those that primarily thrive in saltwater; tortoises are those who live mainly on land. Where do terrapins live? They are the ones you can find mostly in freshwater, so Donatello and the gang are actually terrapins. But basically, Terrapin is just an Algonquian word that also means turtle.
Their sizes can be measured by the length of their upper shell (carapace) or the lower shell (plastron) in a straight line from front to rear. The cutest – and when I mean cute, I say small – measure less than 12cm. The largest in existence today can reach 2.4m. If in case you’re wondering if they’re going to fit in your aquarium, you need not worry, because you won’t find them in pet shops, and they aren’t even terrapins to begin with! You can find more info about terrapins here which I think is a brilliant site.