The Best Pet Turtle | Answering the controversial question of what is the best turtle for pet ?
Are you looking to get a pet for your child or yourself? Or, do you already have many pets at home and are looking for something different? Turtles make for a great pet option. They are quiet and do not require much attention. They are fascinating and appealing as pets. However, having a turtle as a pet is not suitable for everyone because:
- They are not highly active and interactive
- You cannot cuddle them
- They can easily outlive you
- You need to pay attention to their environment and food
Once you decide to keep a turtle, you must spend some time learning more about the various turtle species. This is the only way you can find the right turtle to keep as a pet.
The Best Turtle Varieties
Before you learn about the turtle varieties, you need to be sure that you want to have a turtle as a pet in the first place. Some turtles are friendly and have an easy temperament, while some prefer to be left alone. So choosing the right one as a pet is important.
Here are the top 8 turtle varieties which are great as pets.
- Painted Turtles
Painted turtles are not painted but look like they are colorfully painted. In the United States, there are 4 species of painted turtles
- Eastern Painted Turtle
- Midland Painted Turtle
- Western Painted Turtle
- Southern Painted Turtle
Painted turtles make great pets. They prefer a habitat with a water body but require no substrate. You can add plants, rocks, and sand to make the turtle tank look attractive. These turtles like to bask, and by adding a basking light, you can maintain the right temperature. Adult turtles need big tanks with a capacity of at least 20 gallons of water for one turtle, along with space for them to bask or relax.
- Common Musk Turtles
The common musk turtles are also known as ‘stinkpots’ because they emit a foul-smelling liquid from their glands located on their shells’ underside. This only happens when they sense danger. They spend most of their time underwater, and you should provide them with a deep tank. The tank does not have to be wide, and an adult turtle can live comfortably in a gallon with a capacity of about 40 to 70 gallons. They are easy to handle because of their small size. Their appearance is attractive, but they are not as friendly as some other pet turtle varieties.
- Slider Turtles
There are 4 types of slider turtles, 2 of which are popular as pets. Red-eared slider and Yellow-bellied slider. They have pleasant and friendly personalities. The males can grow up to 9 inches and females up to 13 inches and sometimes even bigger. It would be best if you had a big tank or container as red-eared slider turtles are happy and healthy only when kept in a lot of water. A 150-gallon tank is ideal for large adult female sliders.
- Diamondback Terrapin
This turtle is not strictly a freshwater turtle. The Diamondback terrapin prefers brackish water found in areas where ocean water mixes with water from rivers. When you keep it as a pet, you have to maintain the right amount of salinity in the water. They are active and have a friendly demeanor. They love to swim and bask alternatively and are powerful swimmers. It would be best if you kept them in large tanks with a lot of depth. Male adults range from about four to six inches, and females, between six to nine.
- Mississippi Map Turtles
These turtles have a prominent dorsal fin that runs along with their shell and is sometimes called ‘sawback.’ They don’t require big enclosures, and even in limited space, they can thrive. The Mississippi map turtles don’t like to be handled too much and hide or take cover to enjoy peace. Compared to other turtles, their lifespan is shorter, and on average, they can live up to 30 years. If you want a hardy turtle and are less prone to health issues, then choosing a map turtle is ideal.
- Spotted Turtle
Spotted turtles are among the smallest turtles to be kept as pets. They have a beautiful shell with distinctive spots on them. They are not strong swimmers and should not be kept in deep water. Spotted turtles need basking areas, and you can add a platform for them. You are making a life-long commitment and sometimes beyond that because they can live up to 100 years of age. Please provide them with a varied diet, including meat and leafy greens.
- African Aquatic Sideneck Turtle
Sideneck turtle has a unique look with its distinctive colors and patterns. You may have these as your pets for a long, even up to 40 years. The shell of this turtle is generally dark brown, while the skin color ranges from brown to olive. They always appear to be smiling with their upturned mouth. Round eyes and black markings on the top of their heads make them look attractive. They can grow up to 12 inches and require a big tank to live comfortably.
- Reeve’s Turtle
Thanks to their small size, Reeve’s turtles are quite manageable. Though exact size may vary from one specimen to another, most of them will grow up to 6 to 8 inches. They need sufficient area for swimming plus some area to bask on. They are not great swimmers, and too large an aquarium can be detrimental. As pets, they are easy to handle and look after. They are neither picky about food, nor do they want too much attention.
Just acquiring a turtle as a pet is not enough! Though they are easy to care for, there are some factors that should be kept in mind. Their longevity is a crucial factor, and you must choose a turtle accordingly. To some people, the long life of turtles can be a big plus point, while it can be a negative for some. Some turtles can start small but can grow big! Turtles are beautiful and make for unique pets with their interesting personalities. Look after them well and enjoy their companionship for a long time.