Turtle House Pets: Types, Care And More Useful Information

Comparing to other, more common pets, turtles may seem like exotic pets. Yet, is it possible to have and enjoy their company? 

Of course it is! Turtle house pets are popular just like dogs, cats and others.

In this article, we bring useful tips on how to choose the best turtle type and how they behave as pets. What is more, you will learn a lot about the care and find out some useful information! 


Is It Possible To Have Turtle As A Pet?

Turtles are well-known as one of the slowest animals on the planet and it may seem that they will be boring pets. But, this doesn’t have to be true! If you decide to have it as a pet, you need to understand it will need some investment. First, some species are expensive and even if you save some money on buying, you need to invest in building ideal habitat. Be sure that they need different habitats from dogs or cats, so you need to adapt to that. What is more, some species are on the endangered list of animals, so never take a turtle from nature. Rather buy from the certificated seller or owner. 

Characteristics Of Turtles As Pets

House turtle is common pet and very likeable among youngsters and older people. Before buying one for your home, you need to know what to expect and which are the most common characteristics. Depending on the species, they can grow up to 18 inches, which is the most common size of turtle house pet. Yet, some species can grow even more to the size of a dog! Buying a turtle is like having a lifetime friend! Some species can live for 200 years, but mostly house turtles can live for 25 years which is still a long amount of time. It is important to know about any species, like how long do cats live in captivity. In that way, you can plan is it possible to invest so much of your time and life into carrying for it. It is popular to connect turtles with water, but not all turtles swim and some enjoy muddy habitats. What is more, you need to be careful about the amount of water so it doesn`t drown. Turtles are very interesting pets, mostly because of their look. Yet, they can be loyal and recognize owners. There are not many activities you can do with them, like going for a walk or playing games, but you can still observe it and enjoy their company. All in all, there are very quiet and slow and love simulation games you can leave them to play. Only if they are carried badly or treated badly, they can become aggressive and possibly bite the person closest to them. 

Types Of Turtles As Pets

Like any other pet, there are several types of turtles ideal for holding in the house. They are usually smaller and adaptable, so living in captivity is comfortable for them. Even though they have some similar characteristics, like better temperament, they differ in size and colour. We bring you the 6 most popular types of house turtles and how to recognise them! 

Red Eared Slider turtle

Red Eared Slider

As one of the most popular species, the red-eared slider is common as a house pet and you can easily recognise it because of red spots on each side of the head. This turtle adores water and is one of the most popular aquatic turtles. Yet, you need to take good care of it since it loves warmer temperatures and clean water. Learn which are the signs of low oxygen in the aquarium to react on time and clean it better. They can live more than 50 years and tend to be more expensive, because of aquarium equipment and maintenance. 

Common Musk Turtle

This is another species of aquatic turtle that love to spend time in clean water. They tend to be rather small and very compact for indoor conditions. The most important is not to hold them in their hands often – when they feel threatened, they tend to leave an odour, very musky and unpleasant. Even though they love water, they aren`t the best swimmers, so be sure to avoid too deep aquariums. They can also live up to 50 years. 

Eastern Box Turtle 

Eastern Box Turtle

This turtle is adored for its bright orange marks on the shell in contrast with the black colour of the body. It can grow larger than other species but needs low maintenance and care. After some time, you can place it both inside the house or indoors. They love humid conditions and be sure to have a shallow pool with clean water. They tend to be shy and can recognize you as an owner, but you need to be patient and have minimum contact. 

Spotted Turtle

The smallest turtle of all of the house turtle species, the spotted turtle is well-known for its bright yellow spots on the dark shell. This aquatic turtle can live in smaller spaces and is ideal for those who don`t have too much space for turtles. What is more, they don`t need much care and are very friendly. They love water, but it needs to be shallow with a lot of ornaments to rest. Some of them can reach 100 years. 

Yellow-Bellied Slider 

Yellow-Bellied Slider

As its name said, this turtle is well-known for its yellow belly and bottom. They are one of the most popular turtles but require excellent conditions to live long and happy. Unlike other species, they are very active during the day which is ideal for owners to observe them. They need much space to move and live and a good diet to survive more than 20 years. 

Wood Turtle

The wood turtle is very simple to care for, but rather a friendly turtle in need of interaction. They don`t swim well, so you must remove any deeper water source. Tend to leave the environment humid and full of places to hide and rest. 

Care For Turtles

Turtles can be very long-living pets, only if you care for them well. Mostly, people get bored with time and forget about proper care and a change of routine can kill your pet. To be sure you do everything to make your turtle happy, read those tips!

First, you need to choose the best tank. Ideally, it should be 10 times bigger than its size. Fill it with comfortable sleeping areas since most of the species tend to hibernate for 10 weeks during the year. Also, be sure that you provided all conditions: while some are good swimmers, others can drown. Be very careful about the water amount. You need to clean it regularly and keep the water or dry areas very clean to prevent many diseases. 

Then, it is important to keep the satisfying temperature and light. Some turtles are very active during the day, but most of them are active at night. Check if they have enough shadow to sleep and light for the night hunting. 

Feeding the turtle depends on the species and you need to learn it well. While some adore greens and are very easy to feed, some needs protein source. Turtles are omnivores, so some eat bugs and pieces of meat. Be sure their diet is balanced and food fresh. For better vitamin and mineral intake, check for turtle food supplements in pet stores. 

Last, but not least, is to learn to avoid holding turtles. Even though they are pets, they can feel threaten and become aggressive or spread odours. Be sure you are very careful and try to observe them for the distance or behind the glass. Even though some species are friendly, they still appreciate their alone time. 

turtle and cat

Turtles And Other Pet Animals

Having turtles with other pets is possible if you take care of their contact. If you have a cat or dog, you need to fully protect the tank from their reach. Even though turtles escape in their shell, sharp teeth can damage sensitive skin. Be sure they don’t have access and never let any other animal play together. 

Disadvantages Of Having A Turtle

Even though it is possible to have a turtle house pet, there are some disadvantages and you must be aware of them. First, all turtles carry salmonella. This is bacteria that is natural for them, but in contact with humans, cats or dogs have serious problems. The first sign is diarrhoea and vomiting which can completely leave the person exhausted. Even though you wash your hands after carrying the turtle, it can stay on the surface you have put it. So, be sure to avoid contact with them and clean well all surfaces they were on. The other problem is that they live long and many people get bored with them. Never release it in nature because some species are invasive and can cause problems for the local animals. 

To Sum Up

House turtles are ideal pets for people who are interested in reptiles. Yet, you need to assure them of strict conditions and take care of them for many years. With proper care and a balanced diet, you can have a friendly and interesting pet for more than 50 years! Just like fishes, turtles need an aquarium, so you can use some of these 150-gallon turtle tanks but also smaller fish tanks such as these 15-gallon aquarium kits.

Joana has graduated in Linguistics in 2014. and began her work experience as a journalist and freelance writer. Her professional writing experience, as well as experience with pets, brought her to Petovly where she’s an editor. Working on the site, she collaborates with vets and animal shelter workers she has met when she was volunteering as a student. This experience made her an expert in pets’ care, breeds, and diseases.