If you are planning to purchase a pet this year, you might be wondering whether turtles make excellent pets. To help you make a purchase decision, we have highlighted everything you need to know about turtles. Read on to learn more.
What Are They?
Turtles are marine reptiles with bony or leathery shells and webbed feet. In some parts of the world, freshwater turtles are known as terrapins, while saltwater turtles are known as turtles, creating a lot of confusion.
They feed on a variety of food of both plant and animal, although most of the species are primarily carnivorous. Most of the species live between 20 and 40 years on average, except for sea turtles, which can live up to 100 years.
Turtles make great pets for different reasons which include:
- They are easy to maintain
Raising and taking care of pets comes with various challenges. Turtles make great pets because they give their owners fewer headaches compared to some higher-maintenance pets. They are easy to give them care, quiet and relatively small. All you will need is to provide them with a good diet and proper housing.
- They are easy to feed
You may have pets that eat a lot at your home, but turtles whether small or big won’t add to that problem. As stated earlier, most turtles feed on fish, worms and green products. You may also decide to feed them pelleted turtle diets since they are nutritious and easy to use. Turtles also benefit from vitamin and calcium supplements added to their normal food a few times per week.
- Not difficult to house
There are several options for housing your pet turtle than you think. They are relatively easy to accommodate in either ponds or any other habitat all year-round. Young water turtles need around 25 gallons of water while adult turtles need a minimum of 55-gallon of water.
- They are affectionate
Turtles have very unique personalities. One of such personality is affection. However, you need to keep in mind that these personalities differ between species. Some are very friendly and like to be cuddled while others like to hide when they encounter human beings. For instance, land-based turtles like to spend their time with human beings. Other species can be integrated with the family and can freely move around the homestead just like cats and dogs.
- Easy to train
The shelled creatures are easy to train compared to tortoise. In Turkey, turtles were taught how to dance various genres of music. They can adapt and respond to their names when called. They can easily roll over even without training.
- Turtles can be longtime friends
When you decide to add turtles to your family, just know that you are buying a companion you are going to spend the rest of your life with. Some species can have a long life span of up to 100 if they are taken care of properly. It is a big commitment you need to make, but the rewards are encouraging.
Types of Turtles You Can Have as Pets
There are different types of turtle species you can consider buying, ranging from snapping turtles to sea turtles. With so many options, choosing the best species can be a little bit overwhelming. Some of the most popular species that make good pets include:
- African Aquatic Sideneck Turtle
These are freshwater turtles originally discovered in southern and eastern Africa. African aquatic side neck turtles make great pets because they are playful and active during the daytime. They have webbed feet, can grow anywhere from eight to eighteen inches long and live up to 30 years.
- Painted Turtles
Painted Turtles are some of the popular turtles in North America where they originate from. They are found in northern Mexico, most parts of the United States and Canada. Like African Aquatic sideneck turtles, they are active during the day and hibernate during the winter. Males are generally smaller but adult females can grow up to 10 inches long. If cared for properly, they can live up to 55 years.
- Central American Wood Turtle
These turtles are found in Costa Rica and most of western Mexico. There are four subspecies of Central American wood turtle, but the ornate wood turtle is the one that make a great pet. This species lives in mostly in tropical environments, and is best known for its awesome red striping.
- Red Ear Slider Turtle
These turtle derives its name from the distinctive red mark behind each eye. It is most common in Texas, Illinois and the Gulf of Mexico. It is a strong swimmer and prefers to stay in ponds, marshes, and other slow-moving freshwaters. It takes long to trust its owner, but become friendly with time. If cared for properly, they can live anywhere from 30 to 80 years.
- Caspian Pond Turtle
Caspian pond turtles originated from Middle East. They are distinguished by their olive and tan color with cream or yellow patterning on their head, arms and shell. They are friendly and quickly learn to recognize their owners. Their only downside is that they return immediately to the water if they are frightened.
- Eastern Box Turtle
Eastern box turtles are popular in the eastern parts of the United States, especially in North Carolina. They slow to mature, slow crawlers, and can live more than 90 years in the wild but a shorter lifespan when they are kept in captivity. They require access to ultraviolet light, warmth, and humidity.
- Reeve’s Turtle
Reeve’s Turtles are mostly found in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, North Korea, and China. They like staying in small streams, lakes, and ponds, and prefer still or slow-moving water. They make great pets because they are small and breed well in captivity. They can live up to 15 years when they are in captivity.
- Mississippi Map Turtle
The Mississippi map turtles are found in the Gulf States and the Mississippi Valley. They derive their name from distinctive map-like markings. They like to hibernate in streams, lakes, and rivers, preferably in large flowing bodies of water.
While sea turtles like the hawksbill, leatherback sea turtle, loggerhead, green sea turtle, and flatback turtle may look appealing, many of these species are endangered. Instead of taking then to stay in captivity, which shortens their lifespan, it’s advisable to leave them the professionals for care and conservation.
Choosing the Right Turtle for Your Home
If you are considering buying a turtle as a pet, you will want to make sure that you choose the right species. To make the right purchase decision, here are some factors you will need to consider when choosing a turtle for your home.
The available space is one of the factors you need to consider when buying a turtle. Turtles are usually small when they young but can grow considerably large. With this in mind, you will need to provide a large habitat for your turtle to thrive. Also, keep in mind that small-sized turtles are not only easier to take care of but also to accommodate.
The habitat where you plan to accommodate your pet turtle needs some equipment to make sure your turtle stays healthy. In addition to equipment, turtles also need a lot of space for swimming, special light for basking to keep their shells healthy, and soft soil to play with.
- Bacteria and salmonella
Most species of turtles carry salmonella on the outer shell surface and their skin. The salmonella can be transmitted to human beings through handling or touching anything the turtle has come in contact with, such as water or food. When you are considering choosing one, choose a species with minimum risks of transmitting salmonella.
Most adult turtles eat both plants and animal products. Young turtles usually feed on animal products, including insects, cooked meat, and cooked eggs. Don’t forget that a turtle needs a lot of vitamins and calcium to keep their shell strong and healthy. Since it’s hard to get these nutrients from a regular diet, dietary supplements are the best way for turtles to get the calcium they need.
- Budget considerations
Some turtle species can be very expensive to obtain. Depending on their species, turtles can cost as little as $20 and may go as high as $500. Some species can be purchased from breeders and dealers at a much higher cost. When evaluating your budget, you need to consider more than the initial cost of purchasing the turtle. You will also need to consider the cost of dietary supplements, habitat, food, equipment, and proper care.
Where Can I Purchase A Turtle?
- Backwater Reptiles
The site sells imported live and captive-bred turtles for sale, from around the globe. They have both aquatic and terrestrial species, from young to adults. If you buy a turtle from the company, you automatically receive a 100 percent live arrival and health guarantee. The site also sells premium food for turtles.
- Tortoise Town
The site sells live baby turtles. They have some fabulous hieroglyphic river cooter turtles and red-eared slider turtles as well as Rio Grande cooter turtles. All of our baby turtles from the company come with a full live arrival and a 7-day health guarantee. They also have on-site biologists who guarantee that you will receive a healthy live baby turtle.
- Underground Reptiles
Underground Reptiles is located on 151 N Powerline Road in Deerfield Beach, Florida. The company’s official website sells some of the best turtles in the world. They have a great selection of turtles including mud turtles, cooters, musk turtles, slider turtles, softshells, sideneck turtles and more. They offer priority overnight shipping on all live animals.
- Uncle Bill’s
The site sells the most popular species of turtles including the Sideneck Turtle and the Cumberland Slider Turtle. If you are planning to purchase a turtle from the site, you will need to call the customer care agents in advance to confirm the store location you would like to visit. Some of the company’s popular stores include Uncle Bill’s Pet SuperStore Fort Wayne, Uncle Bill’s Pet Centers West 38th Street, Uncle Bill’s Pet Centers Greenwood, Uncle Bill’s Pet Centers Fishers and Uncle Bill’s Pet Centers East Washington Street.
PetSmart sells a variety of turtles and turtle supplies year-round. The site also sells other animals, including lizards, snakes, chinchillas, hamsters, guinea pigs, mice, rats, gerbils, bearded dragons, bearded dragons, certain geckos, certain types of birds and specific kinds of frogs.
Other Places Where You Can Purchase a Turtle
- Turtle rescue centers
You can choose to purchase your turtle from a rescue center. For instance, Land Turtle & Tortoise Rescue in Idaho has several orphaned turtles they nursed back to health after being abandoned by previous owners. Other excellent turtle rescues in the United States include the American Tortoise Rescue, the Eden Animal Sanctuary, and California Turtle & Tortoise Club.
- Local classifieds
There are several local classified ads where you can find several ads for turtles.
The advantage of using local classified ads is that they allow you to compare prices from different sellers. They are also an easy way for customers to connect with individual clients.
- Turtle breeders and dealers
You can purchase your turtles directly from turtle breeders and dealers. They breed different species of turtles for sale anywhere in the world.
As you can see, turtles can make great pets. Each different species has its unique requirements for a water source, food, habitat, water, heat, and humidity. And, with turtles hailing from locations, you will need to consider whether you can provide them with the right habitat. Some are prefer living away from humans, but here are several species that would be happy to live with humans.
If you are planning to buy pet turtles, you will need to do proper research before purchase. You need to determine what species you want and whether you are ready to meet their demands. Additionally, it is essential to examine local regulations to ensure you have the legal backing to own a turtle.