The Pros & Cons of Pet Turtles

With Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles back on the scene, it’s a good time to look at having these reptiles as pets. Obviously, the first thing is to absolutely NOT take one from the wild.

And here’s a few more Pros and Cons of pet turtles to give a little guidance.

PRO

Unlike a mouse which may live two years, you can have a long and happy life with a tortoise (land-dwelling) or turtle (water,dwelling). We’re talking 80 years or more long.

Thomas the tortoise lived to 130. He died after being bitten by a rat.

Thomas the tortoise lived to 130. He died after being bitten by a rat.

Source: The Daily Mail.

CON:

The long life span of turtles and tortoises is the main reason they are not recommended as pets. That’s a serious commitment that not many 8 year-olds cooing over a Ninja Turtle are ready to make. Even though the turtle may be able to skateboard.

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PRO:

Remember the story of the Tortoise and the Hare? Pet turtles can appeal to people who need to slow down and appreciate the simple pleasures in life. Like watching it eat a strawberry.

 

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CON:

Just make sure that strawberry isn’t near your face. Most turtles are not friendly.

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PRO:

They look cute dressed as dinosaurs. Although the cat ain’t buying it!

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Con:

Pet turtles are high maintenance. Tortoises like to roam and Turtles need larger tanks as they grow which are expensive to set up and require space! Although turtles are primarily aquatic, they’re not fish! Tanks must be kept clean and they also need a place to get out and get dry.

This is an example of a Turtle Tank Fail!

This is an example of a Turtle Tank Fail!

Pro: 

Yes, they’re unique and nothing can beat a tortoise smile.

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Wait, that’s a turtle smile. This is a tortoise smile. And a rather sexy one, if I may say.

This is actually a Giant Tortoise from the Galapagos Islands, so you won't be finding one of these in your living room anytime soon.

This is actually a Giant Tortoise from the Galapagos Islands, so you won’t be finding one of these in your living room anytime soon.

CON:

Turtles and tortoises need a varied diet and since they’re reptiles, you will need to see a vet familiar with exotics. This will not be cheap. They also stress easily which can lead to unwanted visits to aforementioned not cheap vet.

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The bottom line is Turtles and Tortoises do not generally make good pets. You need to research extensively as some stay as small as your hand and others will be pushing your furniture around. It’s crucial to plan ahead before committing to an animal that may outlive you. Pet stores sometimes sell ones caught from the wild which is a big No-No. So please, if you are serious about getting a pet turtle – Adopt Don’t Shop!

Far better to get a tortoise or turtle fix by seeing them in their natural habitat. Like this! 

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For more information see TortoiseTrust.org and Chelonia.org.

Originally published August 12, 2014

Raquel Ritz says:

I have a tortoise and I agree on all points. I must say they can be really charming or change completely and start biting your toes and fingers!! Follow like crazy your cat or dog and give them a sneaky bite while they are not looking. But then you can find them squeezed sleeping between your other pets.They have a lot of personality for being so tiny ;). And they are quite cheap to maintain (so far just deworming in our vet twice a year and he checks the weight, shell and skin look healthy).