16 Best Types Of Pet Turtles: The Only List You Need (2023)

The best types of pet turtles are all a ton of fun to own. We frequently hear from owners who can’t stop telling us how amazing these little reptiles can be!

But there are a lot of options out there, which can make it hard to choose the perfect species for you.

Fortunately, this guide makes it easy. We narrowed this list down to only the best pet turtles, so all you need to do is scroll through and pick your favorite!

Mississippi Map Turtle

Hailing from the lakes and stream of the Mississippi Valley, Mississippi map turtles are gorgeous little creatures with tons of personality. The reptile gets its name not only from its native habitat, but also from the distinct look of their shells.

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The carapace features several ridges and lines that mimic the markings on topographic maps.

These reptiles don’t get as large as some other freshwater turtles. Males are the smaller of the bunch, averaging out at 3 to 5 inches. Meanwhile, females can reach lengths of up to 10 inches.

Like other semi-aquatic pet turtle species, Mississippi maps require a well-maintained tank with land and water. These creatures are powerful and active swimmers. They spend most of their time diving deep in the water. While they may be slow on land, they are speed demons when swimming!

A natural-looking habitat is a must for Mississippi map turtles. They thrive in lush environments filled with underwater vegetation and natural decor.

The land portion doesn’t have to be as complex. In fact, all this type of pet turtle needs is a small perch to bask in the light. If you plan on owning a Mississippi map, it’s important to focus your attention on creating a safe and healthy underwater environment.

Common Musk Turtle

Sometimes referred to as the stinkpot musk turtle, the common musk turtle is best for herp-lovers who aren’t afraid to get a little messy!

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You see, these pet turtles produce a musky liquid whenever they feel threatened or scared. The orange liquid releases from the plastron and has a very pungent odor. Like the musk of a skunk, the smell is not easy to get rid of!

For this reason, it’s best to observe the common musk turtle from afar rather than handling it. They will get more comfortable with you over time. But there’s still a risk of experiencing that smell if you handle it excessively!

Odors aside, the common musk turtle is a joy to care for. They are beautiful creatures that blend in well with their natural surroundings. The shell takes on several muted shades of dark brown, black, and gray. However, the head features some signature yellow stripes that make it easy to identify.

Powerful and prolific swimmers, common musk turtles will spend most of their day exploring the underwater habitat you create. They don’t need a ton of decorations to stay happy. However, plants, floating toys, and some driftwood are always appreciated.

Red-Eared Slider

The red-eared slider is a popular species in the herpetology community. This is due, in large part, to their active nature. Plus, they have some stunning good looks to boot!

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The most identifying feature of this turtle species is the striking red patch of skin just behind the eyes. The rest of the skin features stripes of dark olive green and yellow. So those two stripes add a cool accent to the turtle’s body.

Red-eared sliders are on the larger side. They measure about 12 inches long when fully grown. As a result, you’re going to need a significantly large enclosure.

These guys will need about 10 gallons of water per inch of length! If you plan on keeping more than one, you’ll need to up the ante even more.

Curiously enough, red-eared sliders aren’t very territorial. They can live in small groups without any issues. That is, however, if you have a large enough habitat.

Groups can cohabitate and even socialize. You might see them stacked on top of one another, which is an interesting sight to behold!

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Peninsula Cooter

Found throughout the state of Florida, the peninsula cooter is a common pet turtle species. It’s readily available and is often one of the first species that herp-lovers attempt to care for.

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They’re pretty easy-going, which is great for beginners. As long as you meet their baseline health and habitat requirements, peninsula cooters can live long and happy lives in captivity.

Speaking of which, this type of turtle requires a long commitment. In good living conditions, peninsula cooters can live up to 30 years!

Like other aquatic turtles, peninsula cooters thrive in water. They prefer warm temperatures around 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is close to year-round temperatures in Florida. These turtles also require high humidity levels of about 70 percent!

Technically speaking, the peninsula cooter is an omnivore. However, it does best on a plant-based diet for most of its life. The turtles will feed on aquatic plants throughout the day. For mealtime, they enjoy blanched vegetables and leafy greens.

A few insects here and there are good as well as a source of protein. Larger adults will need more substantial protein sources. We’re talking about foods like mice and fish!

Wood Turtle

Here’s a species that you’re not going to find at every pet store. Wood turtles are a bit rarer than others on the market. They often fetch a higher price tag, as most come from breeders.

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You might see a wild-caught specimen every once in a while. Avoid those at all costs. Wild populations are on the decline, so collecting them is illegal in most regions.

If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a wood turtle, you’re in for a treat. These reptiles are very active and exhibit some unique behaviors.

On dry land, wood turtles have no problem sharing their habitat. They socialize with one another and coexist in peace. But the second they go in the water, things change!

They can get a bit territorial in the water. These pet turtles are known to dry to drown others that encroach on their space. So, you have to be careful about providing plenty of space for your turtles.

Razorback Musk Turtle

This gorgeous turtle species lives a unique lifestyle. Razorback musk turtles are almost entirely aquatic! You can usually find them lounging around the bottom of the aquarium or swimming around. It’s rare to see them go on land.

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However, many herp-lovers recommend installing a perch just in case. For the most part, the only time that razorback musk turtles venture on land is to lay eggs. The turtle may occasionally step out of the water to bask.

The razorback musk turtle has a very distinct shell with a couple of notable features. The first thing you’ll notice is the design of the scutes.

Each scute features lateral black lines along the perimeter. The lines move toward the center of the scute, creating a stunning pattern.

The shell also has a sharp keel down the center. It rises up dramatically, giving the shell an oblong shape that you don’t normally see in other types of turtles.

Razorback musk turtles aren’t too difficult to care for. As long as you have a well-maintained and well-decorated tank, they will live happily.

The turtles also accept a wide variety of foods. They are carnivorous, so it’s important to stick to high-protein foods like worms, mollusks, insects, and fish.

Pink-Bellied Side-Neck Turtle

This sweet pet turtle is a real looker! It’s revered the world over for its vibrant coloration. Rather than the muted tones you often see with aquatic species, these guys are sporting bright neon shades.

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You might see colors like pink, red, or bright orange. Coloration varies dramatically from turtle to turtle, so you never know what you’re going to get!

The interesting thing about the reptile’s coloration is that most of the eye-catching stuff is on the shell. They usually have distinct patterns on the bottom of the plastron as well as the carapace. As for the skin, it’s usually gray with a few pops of color here and there.

Pink-bellied side-neck turtles need ample space to swim. These turtles have large webbed feet that they use to paddle through the water. They spend most of their time under the surface of the water where they will forage and play.

Of course, a land-based basking spot is paramount, too. Basking areas should have temperatures in the low to mid-90s so that they can thermoregulate their bodies efficiently.

Reeve’s Turtle

As the smallest member of the Mauremys genus, Reeve’s turtles are quite manageable. Exact sizes vary from turtle to turtle. But, most specimens born in captivity will grow to be around 6 inches in length. That makes them noticeably smaller than other aquatic turtles in the trade.

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Reeve’s turtles are easy to please when it comes to their habitat. They need a sizable swimming area as well as a piece of land to bask on. That said, you don’t need a large aquarium to keep them happy. In fact, larger habitats could be detrimental.

These critters aren’t the strongest swimmers out there, so there’s a very real risk of drowning. Most herpetology enthusiasts recommend providing a depth between 1.5 and 3 times the length of the turtle. That’s a happy medium that can keep the turtle safe while still giving it plenty of freedom.

Reeve’s turtles aren’t super picky about food either! They willingly accept commercial turtle food products. You can also provide leafy greens for a more natural alternative.

The most important thing is to provide a balanced diet with a calcium to phosphorus ratio of 2:1. This will help avoid calcium deficiencies and any shell issues that follow.

Painted Turtle

The painted turtle is another eye-catching species with a lot to offer in the looks department. They are aptly named for the beautiful markings on the shell. But that’s not the only part of them that’s attractive.

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The body of this pet turtle is colorful, too! The head mimics the color pattern of other aquatic turtles. You’ll notice similar stripes of dark olive green and yellow. However, the neck, arms, and legs have several patches of bright red that pop!

Painted turtles reach lengths of about 12 inches as adults. Females are almost always larger than males.

In the wild, you can spot these creatures swimming in the water or basking on a floating log to dry off. In captivity, you must cater to that behavior and create a similar environment. These turtles spend a lot of time in the water. But the occasional lounging session is important, too.

Because they spend so much time swimming, feeding painted turtles can be a bit tricky. They do not eat on land. Instead, they eat while swimming.

To keep the food contained, it’s a good idea to get floating pellets or a clip that you can attach to the side of the tank to hold greens.

Spotted Turtle

Measuring only 4 to 6 inches, spotted turtles are one of the smallest aquatic turtles available in the pet trade. They are similar in size to the common musk turtle. But, they have a far more unusual look!

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These critters don’t have the signature stripes that most aquatic turtles have. Instead, the shell is adorned with white spots. You can find them on the turtle’s head, too!

The spots start out small when the turtle is born. But as they get older, the spots become more prevalent.

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The rest of the body is covered in large protective scales. There’s a mix of black and tan, which creates a beautiful appearance that complements the spotted shell.

The spotted turtle’s relationship with water changes quite a bit as it ages. When they are young, juveniles will spend most of their time in the water. They only come out to bask.

But when they reach maturity, the opposite is true.

This can make creating a suitable habitat tricky! You need to find a good balance between land and water. Don’t provide a super-deep water area. They aren’t strong swimmers and can easily drown.

To prevent this, keep the water shallow enough for this pet turtle species to reach the surface while standing up.

Caspian Pond Turtle

Unfortunately, Caspian turtles are a rare commodity these days in the pet trade. At one time, they were regularly imported from Eastern Europe and the Middle East. But declining wild populations have put a stop to that.

You can still find Caspian turtles for sale. Several dedicated breeders are keeping these guys accessible to herp-lovers!

But before you adopt one, you need to make sure you have a large enough enclosure. This type of pet turtle reaches lengths of about 10 inches when fully grown. They require a large habitat to stay happy.

You could keep them indoors in a standard aquarium. However, they fare much better in an outdoor pond. They need as much swimming space as they can get!

Not only are they powerful swimmers, but they also have a penchant for diving deep. That’s not something you can promote in a cramped aquarium.

Caspian turtles have a reputation for being quite personable (making them very good pets). They’re like the dogs of the pet turtle world! They can identify caretakers and may start to beg for a treat when they see you!

Yellow-Bellied Slider

This active pet turtle species has captivated the hearts of reptile-lovers the world over. Yellow-bellied sliders are one of the more popular species in the trade. Despite their larger size and somewhat demanding needs, people love them!

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Appropriately named for the bright yellow color of the plastron, these turtles are quite beautiful, too. The shell is relatively muted, featuring colors of dark olive green and black. However, the skin is a bit more vibrant.

These guys have thick bands of yellow all over the head and arms. On the head, the striped meet at the pointy snout.

Yellow-bellied sliders need a precisely controlled tank to stay healthy. While they spend a lot of time in the water, you can’t neglect the land portion. They prefer temperatures between 90 and 100 degrees in the basking spot.

Not only that, but you need to establish a routine lighting schedule. Yellow-bellied sliders are diurnal and rely on a standard day/night cycle to stay in good health.

Central American Wood Turtle

Next up, we have the Central American wood turtle. This species is similar to the wood turtle we went over earlier. However, these guys come from hot and humid environments and spend far less time in the water.

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Having a swimming area is still important. But, it doesn’t need to take up most of the tank as it would with other species. In the wild, Central American wood turtles spend a lot of time on land. They stick close to the water, but they are land-rovers through and through.

Focus your attention on creating the best land-based environment possible! The best course of action is to recreate the river shores of the rainforests these turtles inhabit in the wild.

That means creating a humid and wet environment. You can use an absorbent substrate material like coconut coir or cypress mulch. Regular mistings paired with the swimming area should keep the humidity levels above 75 percent at all times.

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Place a couple of hiding boxes around the enclosure for comfort and create an appropriate temperature gradient for thermoregulation. The basking hotspot should be the warmest area of all, reaching temperatures around 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Three-Toed Box Turtle

The three-toed box turtle is not a species for novices by any means. It has some behavioral quirks and demanding care requirements that could be overwhelming for first-time pet turtle owners.

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That said, experienced herpetology enthusiasts can find a lot of joy in caring for these creatures. For one, they are beautiful and have a unique appearance that makes it stand out.

It’s not the most vibrant species out there. But the high-domed carapace features rich neutral tones and a beautiful spotted pattern. Complementing the shell is eye-catching skin coloration.

The skin has a base color of brown. But, many turtles have red and orange spots that adorn the head and legs.

Speaking of the legs, can you guess what the most identifying feature of the three-toed box turtle is? The hind legs only feature three toes rather than the standard five! It’s an interesting physical characteristic that, luckily, has no impact on their quality of life.

That’s probably a good thing considering this species’ susceptibility to anxiety. They are cautious creatures that don’t do well in new environments or situations. They take time to adapt, so take things slow and hold off handling your pet turtle!

Eastern Box Turtle

Check out this beauty! The eastern box turtle is a menacing look that many pet turtle-enthusiasts adore.

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The shell features a high-dome shape. It’s covered in red, orange, and light-brown markings. The body is predominantly red. Bright red scales highlight the dark black skin.

To top it all off, the turtle has piercing red eyes!

Don’t let the appearance of the eastern box turtle fool you. They are a lot shyer than their looks would lead many to believe.

These types of turtles are capable of aggression. But in most cases, they only lash out when they truly feel threatened. In every other instance of stress, the turtle will simply retreat into its shell.

Eastern box turtles will get more comfortable with owners over time. They can recognize your voice and appearance. Like a dog, they will waddle over to you and beg for treats once they establish a level of trust with you.

Unlike other species on this list, the eastern box turtle is not aquatic. It prefers to live in a land-based habitat with precise temperatures, humidity levels, and lighting. That said, you may find it wading in its water dish every once in a while!

African Sideneck Turtle

The African sideneck turtle is an aquatic species that requires plenty of swimming room. These pet turtles do have strict care requirements, which can be tough for inexperienced enthusiasts to meet. But once you get things established, it’s smooth sailing going forward!

The biggest challenge owners face is maintaining water conditions. African sideneck turtles stick to the water most of the time, only leaving occasionally to bask on a floating perch. As a result, water can sour pretty quickly.

You must invest in a powerful filtration system. Not only that, but it’s important to use dechlorinated water to ensure that these turtles aren’t exposed to potentially harmful chemicals.

Once you get everything set up, you’ll quickly find out why these turtles have their common name. They have longer necks than most types of turtle species. The size of the neck prevents them from being able to hide inside the shell fully. So, they have to tuck the head to the side!

Interestingly enough, the neck is beneficial when it comes to safety. If the turtle ever gets turned upside down, they can use the neck muscles to quickly turn back around!

Now It’s Time To Pick!

Now that you know about all of the best pet turtle species out there, it’s time for you to make a choice.

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There are so many amazing types of turtles out there, so don’t feel obligated to only choose one. We know plenty of people who own multiple different breeds (usually in different enclosures).

At the end of the day, you really can’t go wrong. Caring for these amazing little pets never gets old!

FAQs

What is the best turtle to own as a pet? ›

Here are a few types of turtles that would make good pets:
  • Red-eared slider (aquatic)
  • African sideneck turtle (aquatic)
  • Western painted turtle (aquatic)
  • Mississippi map turtle (aquatic)
  • Common musk turtle (aquatic)
  • Spotted turtle (aquatic)
  • Yellow-bellied slider (aquatic)
  • Reeve's turtle (aquatic)
Aug 17, 2022

What is the easiest pet turtle to take care of? ›

If you want to make an easy choice, then Red-Eared sliders are a great option. They are the most popular species of turtle, and they are readily available in most pet stores. Depending on their size, you can sometimes get Red-Eared sliders for under $20 from a local pet store.

Which turtles like to be held? ›

Reeve's turtles are very social and, with patience and consistency in care, can grow to enjoy being handled and petted. They grow to be 6-9 inches long and live up to 20 years. They like having water to swim in and a spot to sunbathe.

What is the cutest pet turtle? ›

Here is a Summary of the 10 Cutest Turtles in the World
  • Florida Box Turtle.
  • Red-Eared Slider.
  • Northern Red-Bellied Turtle.
  • Yellow Bellied Slider.
  • Eastern Mud Turtle.
  • Eastern Box Turtle.
  • Hawksbill Sea Turtle.
  • Leatherback Sea Turtle.
Nov 23, 2022

What turtles don t stink? ›

Razorback Musk Turtles (Sternotherus carinatus)

Rarely do they emit the musky odor in captivity and they also produce much less waste than other species causing almost no smell. Like most musk turtle species, Razorback Musk Turtles are almost fully aquatic. While they will come out to bask, it's not nearly as often.

What is the friendliest turtle? ›

The Wood Turtle is known for being very friendly, with the right handling and interaction, and pretty hardy. Their needs aren't as complex as most aquatic species. They do need a decent-sized enclosure though, and this means they're often best suited to being kept in an outdoor environment.

Can you kiss your pet turtle? ›

Don't kiss or snuggle your turtle. This can spread germs to your mouth and make you sick.

Is it OK to hold a pet turtle? ›

Hatchlings can be picked up with one hand using the thumb and index finger. Once picked up their full body should be supported. Larger turtles should be picked up with two hands, holding them by their shell.

Do all pet turtles bite? ›

Yes, however, the severity of the bite depends a lot on the size and species of the tortoise or turtle. Do they only bite when they are hungry/curious? No, they can bite if they feel threatened. Some species are more defensive than others.

Do turtles like hugs? ›

No Hugs or Kisses, Please

Even though she is very interested in people, turtles don't enjoy being handled like other animals enjoy cuddling with or being petted by their human companions.

Where do turtles like to be rubbed? ›

Turtles will be the most receptive to human interaction when they feel safe and secure, so place them on the floor (preferably tile rather than carpet) when petting them. Pet the top of the head. Gently run your finger on the middle-top of the turtle's head, carefully avoiding the nose/eyes.

Do turtles get jealous? ›

Tortoises and Turtles Feel Jealousy

While reptile jealousy isn't quite like human jealousy, it can result in the same kind of behaviors. This is mostly between males.

What is the rarest pet turtle? ›

The Swinhoe's softshell turtle (also known as the Yangtze giant softshell turtle) is the world's rarest, with just one male in captivity and one other animal of unknown sex known to be living in the wild in Vietnam.

What is the prettiest sea turtle? ›

Considered by many to be the most beautiful of sea turtles for their colorful shells, the hawksbill is found in tropical waters around the world. They spend their time in coral reefs, rocky areas, lagoons, mangroves, oceanic islands, and shallow coastal areas.

What is the cheapest pet turtle? ›

Red-eared sliders, one of the most common pet turtles, can be found for as little as $20 in pet stores, while some types can be purchased from breeders at a much higher cost.

Do turtles prefer clean or dirty water? ›

However, no matter the species or the habitat, every pet turtle prefers a turtle tank with clean water. Clean water is essential for your pet turtle's tank, especially since aquatic turtles spend most of their time in the water, and that means removing waste.

Do any turtles have teeth? ›

In fact, no species of turtle has teeth. The reason is that they are not required to eat their food. Unlike many predators that have canines to kill their prey and eat their meat, turtles do not need to attack in the same way. Not having teeth does not mean that a turtle's mouth is soft.

Do turtles bond with humans? ›

Yes, turtles do get attached to their owners. They can sometimes express their emotions by showing playful behavior when they are around their owners.

Do pet turtles have feelings? ›

Most people tend to assign human emotion to animals. This is called Anthropomorphism. In reality, turtles and tortoises do not feel the range of emotions that humans do. Anger - Turtles can and do fight with other turtles, not out of animosity, but rather as a means to an end.

How can you tell if a turtle is male or female? ›

The most common way to determine gender in a turtle is to look at the length of its tail. 3 Female turtles have short and skinny tails while males sport long, thick tails, with their vent (cloaca) positioned closer to the end of the tail when compared to a female.

How do you please a turtle? ›

Remember never to put your turtle on its back, grab its tail, or force it out of its shell. Your turtle will not think that is funny and it will stress them out. If your turtle enjoys affection, you can pet their head, chin, and shell as long as they allow you to do it.

Does touching a turtles shell hurt them? ›

Turtle shell nerve endings

That being said, strong or sharp impact to the shell can hurt a turtle. This is because the nerves on the outside of the shell can transmit the vibrations to the nerves on the inside of the turtle's shell, which are much more sensitive.

How do you make a turtle love you? ›

After the turtle accepts regular feeding, lightly pet his neck and head while he eats. If the turtle retracts, stop and wait until a nice level of comfort is regained. Petting the turtle on a regular basis will establish a positive action and reduce shyness around humans.

Does picking up a turtle hurt it? ›

Aside from possibly injuring the shell, it can be stressful on the turtle. DON'T hold a turtle with a soft shell (young turtles, species of turtles with naturally soft shells, turtles with diseases that make their shell soft) by the back edge of the shell. It can cause permanent damage.

What music do turtles like? ›

Try something with more vibrations, or different levels of bass, or maybe no bass at all. Remember that your tortoise is stuck inside a hard shell—a shell that is very sensitive and can sense vibrations in the air. Maybe Hard Rock tickles, while soft piano music feels like a gentle massage!

What do turtles need in their tank? ›

Turtles live mainly in water. They'll need an aquarium of at least 29 gallons, with a screened top. Turtles need 12 hours a day of “daylight,” but their aquarium should not be placed in direct sun. Instead, use a UVA/UVB bulb to provide the rays they need for strong bones and shells.

Can you give turtles a bath? ›

It is perfectly safe to give your chelonian friend a bath, in fact he/she might actually like it! All one needs is a toothbrush, a tub of some sort large enough to accommodate the tortoises, and tepid water, no deeper than is necessary to cover the entire plastron, and a few centimetres of the carapace.

Do pet turtles get sick? ›

What are some of the common diseases of pet turtles? Common conditions of pet turtles include vitamin A deficiency, respiratory diseases, abscesses, shell infections, shell fractures, and parasites.

Can turtles recognize their name? ›

Tortoises are very smart and can actually learn their name. Turtles will also recognize their keepers, but mostly because they are excited you're bringing them food.

What is the IQ of a turtle? ›

IQ is a measure of intelligence that can only be applied to humans. While many may not think turtles are terribly intelligent, some are capable learning to respond to their own names and may even recognize their owners. IQ cannot be measured in turtles or other animals.

Do turtles like their shell scratched? ›

In fact, turtles do have nerve endings in their shells and a scratch seems to feel good. Our big sea turtles are no exception! So the next time you visit and you see one of the turtles shimmying their shell under a finger of coral, now you'll know they're just enjoying a good back scratch.

How can you tell if a turtle is unhappy? ›

Hunting Behavior

If you place live insects, fish, or small amphibians in their tank, a happy turtle will "hunt" them down as part of their meal. If the turtle ignores them completely, this is a sign they may be depressed or unhealthy.

Do turtles like it when you brush their shell? ›

Turns out, even if a turtle doesn't need cleaning, they seem to enjoy the feeling of bristles on their shells. In fact, that's one recommended way of petting them.

Do turtles sleep with their head out? ›

Turtle Sleep

Aquatic turtles may spend hours sleeping on a dry dock or with their head poking out of the water but they may also sleep underwater for shorter periods of time, coming up to take a breath when necessary. Land turtles don't swim like aquatic turtles so they can sleep anytime, anywhere.

What happens if you turn a turtle around? ›

The turtle is on a mission, and if you turn it around, it will simply go back across the road when you drive away. Finally, DO NOT relocate them. Many turtles have "Home Ranges", a territory they call home, and when relocated, they will search out ways back or just stop eating.

Do turtles like belly rubs? ›

Turtles love belly rubs too!

What turtle can live up to 100 years? ›

Leopard tortoise: 100 years or more. Greek tortoise: 100 years or more. Hermann's tortoise: 70-100 years. Sulcata tortoise: 30-50 years commonly, up to 120 years.

Is pig nose turtle rare? ›

The pig-nosed turtle is a relict both evolutionarily and geographically, with its current distribution reflecting a previous era when Australia was connected to New Guinea. This relict species is threatened by increased demand for individuals and eggs, for both food and the international pet trade.

What turtle is almost extinct? ›

What is the weirdest looking turtle? ›

Top 5 Weirdest Turtles and Tortoises
  • African Helmeted Turtle.
  • Cantor's Giant Softshell Turtle.
  • Alligator Snapping Turtle.
  • Desert Tortoise.
  • Common Box Turtle.

Is there a purple sea turtle? ›

Young Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtles are a uniform purple all over.

Do turtles cry when laying eggs? ›

Nesting sea turtles appear to shed tears, but the turtle is just secreting salt that accumulates in her body. Many people believe that while laying her eggs a sea turtles goes into a trance from which she can not be disturbed.

What is a good first pet turtle? ›

The best varieties for beginners are male painted turtles, U.S. mud and musk turtles, and male red-eared sliders, she says. "Turtles require more maintenance and space than most people generally assume," Pauli says, "and they live for decades, so buyers should be aware that they are a pet that may well outlive them."

How big of a tank do you need for 1 turtle? ›

Turtle Necessities

A 30-gallon tank is the absolute minimum size for smaller species measuring between 4 and 6 inches. For turtles between 6 and 8 inches, a 55-gallon tank is appropriate. And for turtles measuring more than 8 inches, tanks in the 75- to 125-gallon range are a better choice.

What is the easiest turtle to keep? ›

If you want to make an easy choice, then Red-Eared sliders are a great option. They are the most popular species of turtle, and they are readily available in most pet stores. Depending on their size, you can sometimes get Red-Eared sliders for under $20 from a local pet store.

Are turtles good house pets? ›

Turtles are often marketed as low-maintenance pets, but the truth is that they need special care and a lot of room to grow. Turtles will not survive in a small dish with a plastic palm tree. They need the right lighting, temperature and water filtration system.

Do pet turtles make good pets? ›

Turtles are one of the oldest kinds of reptiles on the planet. Their hard shell and slow-moving mannerisms make them unique pets. They're hardy creatures and can be fun to care for. They may seem like low-maintenance pets, but most turtle species can live for decades, which makes them a lifelong commitment.

How can you tell if a turtle is a boy or a girl? ›

The most common way to determine gender in a turtle is to look at the length of its tail. 3 Female turtles have short and skinny tails while males sport long, thick tails, with their vent (cloaca) positioned closer to the end of the tail when compared to a female.

How long do turtles last pet? ›

The average lifespan of a turtle or tortoise is highly dependent on the species. Some species may only live 10 to 20 years in captivity, while others can live up to 150 years. In general, most turtle and tortoise species can live well into their 50s if provided appropriate care.

Do all turtles carry Salmonella? ›

All reptiles, including turtles, shed Salmonella, much like humans shed skin cells. Human skin cells are harmless; Salmonella bacteria and the salmonellosis disease that it causes, are not harmless.

Do turtles need a heat lamp? ›

Quite simply, heat and lighting are important for turtles because they need it to survive. Light helps to regulate turtles' circadian rhythms.

How many eggs can 1 turtle lay? ›

Depending on the species and size of the turtle, a clutch will contain between 80-180 eggs. The largest sea turtle—the Leatherback turtles—lay approximately 110 eggs per clutch. Meanwhile, the Hawksbill turtles produce the largest clutches, with up to 140-160 eggs in a nest!

How deep should turtle water be? ›

Some minimum guidelines suggest the depth of the water should be at least 1.5-2 times the shell length of the turtle, and the length of the swimming area should be 4-6 times the shell length.

Will a turtle bite you? ›

Yes, however, the severity of the bite depends a lot on the size and species of the tortoise or turtle. Do they only bite when they are hungry/curious? No, they can bite if they feel threatened. Some species are more defensive than others.

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