Types of Turtle Species? Differences?

Question: I am getting a pet turtle and am going to be buying a tank soon. What are some of the differences of different turtle species to have as pets? Why would I choose one species over the next is what I’m asking more or less. Do some of them make for better pets in a more friendly manner? Some valuable advice from the experiences would be of great value to me right now. Thanks for the help.


Answer from Chris W:
The most common species of pet turtles are probably the red eared slider and painted turtle. They are the most friendly towards humans and that’s what makes them so popular. As a pet, humans like to pick these turtles up and let them walk around in their yards and do all sorts of things.

types of turtles

They do get fairly large but nothing too huge. Full growth would be a maximum of 8-12 inches roughly and that’s even pushing it for a maximum growth. It’s most common to see the 5-6 inch size turtles of these species. These two types do need a fair amount of water and I must say… I have seen so many owners LACK TO PROPERLY SETUP their tank. I am seeing 6 inch turtles in little 10 gallon aquariums and it makes me sick.. But that’s a whole other discussion.

Turtles like this that move around and grow to these sizes need large habitats. People look at me funny when I tell them they need a 55 gallon aquarium at bare minimum. A turtle that is 6 inches around needs some room to move around and exercise. Would you like to live inside of your car?? No. My point exactly.

Four Most Popular Types of Pet Turtles

Slider Turtles, Painted Turtles, Box Turtles, & Mud Turtles

The more less common are breeds of the box turtle types. They take a lot less water habitat and are happier with just a dry substrate setup for habitat. They tend to be easier to care for but a lot less friendly and full of personality. This is more my style of pet turtle just because I never take mine out but like to just watch it roam in its territory and habitat. I like things quite and simple like that.

Your going to find that the most varying factors of different species are going to usually be amount of sunlight, people skills, size and growth, trying to think here… water quality is another factor to change with species. Some turtles will need much cleaner water than others. Nutrition is another key factor that will change. Some turtles might be able to eat more simple foods like pellets while others will need live food like minnows and live fish. Habitat size is another biggie. Turtles like “painted turtles” are going to need much more room to swim around then just a small 3 inch box turtle. You really just have to research some of the different turtles to have as pets.

There are literally so many species and types of turtles to have and they are all generally the same in nature as far as “turtle habitat and lifestyle” but small variables do change according to location and climate habitat differences. Those differences should be found by doing intense research on your certain species.


Reply from Ethan V:
I can honestly say that I have had tremendous luck with having painted turtles for patents. I actually found a nest of newborns outside of my house and I decided to have a couple of them as my pets. If you give painted turtles Enough room to move around and roam inside of a decent size habitat they are going to live a happy life. I have is 300 gallon aquarium and I have a couple of turtles inside of there and they are happy as ever and I love taking care of them. Most people will never have that big of a tank but I’m a hardcore pet owner. I would advise the painted turtle just because it’s so simple and it’s pretty easy to take care of and it’s friendly to people somewhat. here is a cool video on types of turtles

Reply from Douglas T:
You can have Red Eared Sliders with Painted Turtles too and they could possibly mate with each other. I did this years ago and when the turtle laid eggs I had to destroy them because I did not have room for the expansion of more babies. Some may think it is cruel to get rid of them but I would say it’s more cool to have the babies live in a congested environment where I don’t have enough room to move around and play. I believe if an animal is not going to be his happiest as possible then you should not even raise it.


Reply from Benjamin H:
If you want to go with an easier route as far as a pet turtle that doesn’t take as much water and intricate habitat you should go with a box turtle. Box turtles move around a lot less and their habitat is more dryland and a dry substrate instead of a lot more water like other turtles. I’m not a huge fan of the box turtles just because there are less movement involved and I like to watch them so I usually go with the other species of turtles. That’s my favorite part of having a Turle is watching it swim around in the cool water and having it catch fish and such. Another cool fact to think about is some of these turtles live up to 100 years if that gives you an idea of how long they live for.


Reply from Rachel E:
Our kids always had pets turtles growing up and we always just went with painted turtles. What we would do is go to the hardware store and buy a huge pond liner and fill it with water and have a section of dryland is well with the light and they did perfectly fine. The kids really enjoyed this and we just put it in our garage so they would stay warm during the winter time. I believe that even though our kids are in college now they learned a lot of valuable lessons from taking care of pets like this and caring for animals.


Reply from NateDog:
I always buy red eared sliders because of how interactive they are. They love to move around in always be playing and it seems like they care less if you pick them up versus other turtles. If you pick up a box turtle it seems like it’s just going to sit at shell for two minutes and not come out and tell you set it back down. That’s still fine but as far as being interactive and having playtime with your pet it’s just a little more fun to have that more energized turtle as a pet.

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