The variety of pets that one can legally get these days is incredible, and turtles have been on that list for a while now. They do not compete with top pet options like cats or dogs, but they definitely have their loyal following. But as with any other pet, there will be a lot of time, money and care that you’ll need to invest in a turtle as a pet. So the question of whether a turtle makes a good pet depends on whether you are prepared to be a good pet turtle owner! So before you make that decision, here are a few very important aspects of pet turtle ownership that you need to keep in mind.
Turtles seem like good options for people who want to have a pet that will not make them go outside, will not require tons of food and will make little if any noise at all. This doesn’t mean that turtles are low maintenance creatures. Yes, they are often cheap to buy, or even free if you look around on the internet for owners who don’t want them anymore. If you’re looking at those options, make sure to get all of the set up that comes with that turtle. You’ll be amazed. First, the size of the tank and the amount of stuff inside a turtle tank will surprise you. Without realising it, you will probably end up owning a small pool inside your house. It will come with a water filtration and circulation system, special lighting and so on. Unless you are a DIY sort of person, getting all the gear even for a ubiquitous species of turtle, like the Red Eared Slider, is going to cost you between $300 to $1000 depending on how fancy you want to go. Why so expensive? Well, for example, lighting isn’t just for a pleasant environment. Turtles need special UVB bulbs that enable them to absorb calcium and keep them healthy. They also need a heat lamp for digestion. If you want to keep multiple turtles, then the amount of stuff you need begins to quickly multiply, as you generally need to keep them separate. Turtles are not always friendly to each other.
Turtle is a pet that you don’t pet. Unlike other types of pets who enjoy and, indeed, need physical interaction with their humans, turtles are not up for cuddles. Picking them up and holding them is stress for them, which they will be quick to communicate by attempting to bite you. There are wilder species of turtles and others that are a bit more tame, but on the whole, turtles are best left alone. Another reason why you might want to think twice before interacting with a turtle is that they tend to be carriers of Salmonella. This is a problem for both wild and domestically kept turtles, but especially those turtles that are kept in unclean tanks. So after every time you touch a turtle you must wash your hands thoroughly. This might put you off getting a turtle as a pet in the first place. They are majestic creatures and an essential part of Earth’s ecosystem, but perhaps it is best to admire them in the wild.