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Book Review: Turtles: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual

Updated Version
Original Book Reviewed

Turtles: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual
By Harmut Wilke

(This review was originally published on Turtletopia.com in October 2000.)

Format: Paperback, 64pp.
ISBN: 0812047028
Publisher: Barron’s Educational Series, Incorporated
Pub. Date: November 1991

Owning a turtle or tortoise requires a lot of work. Many people purchase the Chelonian without any care or thought as to what is really involved in the maintenance of the turtle. If you’re about to purchase your first herp, this book is on the highly recommended reading list.

Even though this book is out of print (this version was published in 1982), it is still a great resource for the beginning and advanced herpetologist alike. My two favorite chapters of the book are “Terrariums – Size and Equipment” and “Understanding Turtles”. Even though the author does not go into much detail on the habitat setup of the aquatic turtle, there are several pages on the setup and maintenance of the land turtles terrarium.

My other favorite chapter, “Understanding Turtles”, was excellent because the author gave a short history lesson on the origins of the turtle. In addition, he included a section on the anatomy of the turtle and discussed the subject of a turtle’s body language. Not many authors have the experience to write on those topics.

In addition to the enormous amount of information presented in this compact format book, the many photos and drawings (over 50 total!) were a great addition. As a very informative, yet clear manual, I highly recommend this book for everyone interested in learning more about turtles.

In This Book…

  1. Preface
  2. Considerations Before You Buy
  3. The Most Important Land and Water Turtles
  4. Terrariums – Size and Equipment
  5. Basic Rules for Care
  6. Diet and Feeding
  7. If Your Turtle Gets Sick
  8. Breeding Turtles
  9. Understanding Turtles
  10. Protected Turtle Species
  11. Books and Associations for Further Information
  12. Index

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