Turtles are not the most active of pets. However, they are beautiful, friendly, curious, and awe-inspiring. Just watching them swim and move around in their habitat can be calming and help relieve stress. Kids can learn about patience and gentleness when caring for a turtle, too.
There are quite a few different types of turtles available on the market to take home as pets. But which are the most suitable for a human home life? We have put together a list of the 8 best turtles to keep as pets to help make the job of choosing a perfect pet easier.
The 8 Types of Turtle Species That Make Great Pets
1. Red-Eared Slider
The Red-Eared Slider is extremely popular, so they are widely available and easy to acquire as pets. These turtles are beautiful, social, friendly, and typically active throughout the day. They love swimming, yet they are usually housed inside to protect them from the elements. But with warm weather and proper surroundings, they can live outside in the yard. Indoor housing should include UV lighting for warmth, plenty of space to bask, and a source of water to spend time in.
2. African Sideneck Turtle
These turtles are unique in that they cannot retract their heads completely into their shells like most turtles can. They require a large amount of clean water to swim in. These turtles don’t do well in temperatures under 70 degrees, so they should be always be kept indoors. They love to eat lettuce, shaved carrots, and other produce, which is a healthy and affordable snack that they can enjoy every day.
3. Eastern Box Turtle
The Eastern Box Turtle requires a humid environment for good respiratory health, so their space should be kept warm and their shelter should include a large body of water. They don’t like to be handled much, and they can be quite shy. However, a tasty treat can bring them out for a friendly visit at any time of the day. They
4. Western Painted Turtle
These water turtles have distinctively designed shells that make them interesting to look at. Their water tank should be filtered, and they should have access to at least one basking light to stay healthy as they age. The Western Painted Turtle is a bit shy, which explains why they like to hide, and they prefer to be enjoyed from afar rather than held. However, they will get used to their family members and tend to make themselves visible when someone they recognize shows up.
5. Mississippi Map Turtle
The Mississippi Map Turtle is a small animal that can live up to about 30 years old, which is actually a little shorter than most other types of turtles. These little turtles are timid and tend to be afraid of loud people and commotion. Their shelter should be in a peaceful place where there isn’t much action going on. Without getting stressed, these hardy turtles are quite healthy and aren’t prone to many health problems.
6. Common Musk Turtle
As their name suggests, the Common Musk Turtle is common and easy to find in pet stores around the world. These turtles are small and require little maintenance, making them suitable for new or young pet owners. However, like most turtles, they don’t like to be handled much. They can even become a little aggressive and release a musty odor when they feel threatened. Also, they don’t like to swim and in fact, are weak swimmers. Therefore, they should have access to only shallow bodies of water.
7. Spotted Turtle
These beautiful turtles are named after all the little spots on their shells. The Spotted Turtle can live to be very old, some even living for more than 100 years! Therefore, they take a serious family commitment when purchased as a pet. They eat a varied diet consisting of leafy greens and veggies like peas, as well as fruit and meat. They need little space to thrive, making them perfect bedroom pets for kids.
8. Yellow-Bellied Slider
These are hardy little aquatic turtles that like to be active during the day and rest at night, which means that the family can enjoy observing them just about any time they want. These are easy turtles to find on the market and are affordable too. They grow up to 13 inches long and love to spend most of their time in the water.
Now that you know about the 8 best pet turtles, you can decide whether you want to adopt one. However, there is more to think about than just the type of turtle that you want to invest in. Don’t forget a tank or caged shelter, basking lamps, a clean swimming hole, drinking water, and food when budgeting for your new pet. Which turtle or tortoise are you most interested in having as a pet? What kind of shelter do you plan to create for them? Share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comments section below, and be sure to check out the Asian Turtle Network for more conservation details!
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Featured Image: Rudmer Zwerver, Shutterstock