Saturday, February 1, 2020

Are Turtles good pets?

From: Larry T.
Sent: February 1, 2020
To: undisclosed recipients
Subject: Fw: Are Turtles good pets?


Thanks for your question Larry. I've never had a pet turtle and the only one I saw as one was in my 8th grade science class. ~Den

Are Turtles good pets?

Though cute, turtles and tortoises do not make good pets.

Many people purchase baby turtles or tortoises because of how cute they are, not knowing that these animals have more to them that meets the eye. Here are four things most people don't know about turtles and tortoises:

1. They can carry salmonella. In fact, selling small turtles (shells less than four inches long) was banned in 1975 to prevent the spread of Salmonella. According to the CDC, this ban "likely remains the most effective public health action to prevent turtle-associated salmonellosis."

2. They live for a long time. If maintained properly, some turtles can live for decades (even longer than humans) and grow to be a foot long. Some box turtles in the wild are over 200 years old. (How'd you do on the pop quiz!?)

3. If released into the wild, pet turtles can be a danger to local populations of turtles and tortoises. Because of the pet-trade, red-eared-sliders are now considered one of the world's 100 most invasive species.

4. They need room. Turtles and tortoises need about 10 gallons of tank space for every inch of shell. Red-eared sliders are the most common and least expensive pet turtle, and they grow to 7 - 9 inches long, meaning you'll need 70 - 90 gallons of tank space.

Also, Things to Consider If You Still Want to Buy a Turtle or Tortoise.

Take into careful consideration all the many needs these animals require. They are wonderful and fascinating creatures. Read books, articles, and ask professionals their advice on turtle care.

If you must buy one, consider purchasing a red-eared slider as they are one of the easiest to take care of. It's also one of the few species that is actually doing too well in the wild as it invades the environments of species that lay eggs less frequently.

However, should you purchase a slider, be warned that because they are an aquatic species, they have a dynamic (read: odoriferous and gooey) bioload (poop) that needs to be filtered and cleaned frequently. (My thanks to a reader, Taylor, who wrote an eloquent rebuttal in the Comments Section on why Russian Tortoises are much easier to maintain as pets than Red Eared Sliders. Namely, they don't need a tank full of water to stay happy. Please read her comment below to find out more).

Box Turtles are absolutely not for beginners, nor are Red Foots, Spider Tortoises, or Pancake Tortoises. Choose your pet wisely, and don't be afraid to consult and listen to a veterinarian if you need help.


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