4 Pros and 4 Cons of Having a Pet Turtle

Discover the pros and cons of having a pet turtle to help you decide whether it’s the right pet for you.

Mar 12, 2024byDonna Hobson
pros and cons of having pet turtle

The decision to get a pet is a big commitment. Pets require time and money. They also need to be cared for properly.

Turtles are great pets to have if you want something that is low maintenance and doesn’t require much space. However, turtles do require an investment in both time and money. You will need to spend at least one hour per week cleaning the tank and feed them every day, which can be difficult if you work full-time or don’t have many free hours in your day.

Turtles Are Slow and Quiet – Pro

turtle walking across sand
Credit: Image by David Mark on Pixabay

A turtle’s personality is often described as shy, introverted, and protective. They make great pets because they are easy to care for, and their introverted nature means they spend most of their time in solitude.

However, turtles do not like to be handled or touched by humans, so you must respect their space when interacting.

Turtles make ideal pets for people who live in apartments or low-noise areas. These quiet animals will not cause a disturbance; plus, their independent nature means they won’t distract you from your day-to-day responsibilities. Turtles are usually silent, but they can make some noise when they are mating or laying eggs.

Having a Turtle Can Reduce Your Food Waste – Pro

turtle with mouth open
Credit: Image by cristouclap on Pixabay

Turtles are not picky eaters; most will consume anything that comes their way as long as it’s edible. This means that your pet turtle will eat all your leftover fruits and vegetables from the week, leaving you with less overall waste.

Most turtles are omnivores, meaning they consume a diet of meat and greens; many enjoy fresh vegetables, feeder fish, and worms. Turtles don’t have teeth, but they have a powerful jaw that can clamp down on prey and exert hundreds of pounds of pressure.

Turtles Are Low Maintenance Pets – Pro

turtle lying on log outside
Credit: Image by Ralph on Pixabay

Turtles are easy to take care of because they are low-maintenance animals. Unlike cats, dogs, and other pets, you don’t have to worry about setting up and sticking to a regular feeding regime; turtles can survive up to 160 days without food! Still, that doesn’t mean you should only feed your turtle three times a year. For optimum health, you should feed a young turtle every day and an adult turtle every 2-3 days.

In addition, you don’t need to take a turtle out for a walk each day. As long as they have a sufficiently sized tank, they’ll be happy with two to three outdoor exercise sessions in your garden each week. Some people believe that turtles do not require additional exercise outside the tank, but they can get bored if kept in a confined space for too long.

Allowing them to have some time outside each week is an excellent way to provide enrichment, and you don’t have to worry about them running away as they don’t move quickly enough to escape as long as you’re monitoring them. In addition, turtles are solitary animals, so they demand little time and attention. All this animal asks for is a continuous supply of fresh water and regular helpings of food.

Good Option for People with Allergies – Pro

person holding snapping turtle
Credit: Image by Scott on Pixabay

Cats and dogs can trigger allergic reactions because they produce protein allergens. These proteins are found in their saliva, skin, and urine. When people come into contact with these allergens, they can cause an allergic reaction like eczema or asthma.

A turtle is an excellent pet for someone with allergies because they don’t produce any dander, which means they can’t cause any allergic reactions in people who suffer from them. Turtles also don’t produce the same allergens that other animals do, so there’s little to no chance of an allergic reaction happening as a result.

Your Turtle Requires a Specialized Environment – Con

turtle swimming in water
Credit: Image by Geraldine Dukes on Pixabay

In many ways, turtles are low maintenance compared to other pets; still, when you take on the responsibility for any animal, you need to understand their needs and how you can meet them. Turtles are relatively uncommon in the pet world, so the treatment they require is quite different from standard pets such as cats and dogs.

If you adopt a turtle, you first need to ensure that you have an adequately sized tank; this should hold ten gallons of water per inch of the turtle’s length. For example, a five-inch turtle will require a swimming area that contains at least 50 gallons of water.

Turtles are cold-blooded reptiles, which means that their body temperature is regulated by the temperature of the environment around them. This is why turtles living in cooler climates require specialized environments to keep them warm. Within the tank, you’ll need to create an area where your turtle can bask on dry land underneath a heat lamp.

A pond is also a great way to give your turtle additional space outside its tank. You can fill it with plants and rocks, giving the turtle a place to explore and hunt in the water.

Turtles Are a Long-Term Commitment – Con

turtle sitting in the grass
Credit: Image by Sandy Karreman on Pixabay

All pets are a commitment, but turtles are a big commitment because they live for a long time. While the average turtle’s life expectancy is between 40 and 50 years, they can live as old as 100, which means you could spend the rest of your life looking after this animal.

One of the big problems with keeping a pet turtle is that owners can lose interest. Even after years of investing time and money into your pet, they won’t give you much in return in terms of love or affection. Turtles make great pets for people interested in the species and enjoy observing them. They are not a good choice for people who want a responsive pet to play with.

You Can’t Train a Turtle – Con

turtle floating in tank
Credit: Image by Sandy Karreman

Animals are not always the easiest to communicate with; some, like turtles, barely respond to humans. This is because turtles are not as social as other animals; they prefer to be alone and do not like to interact with other species.

Other pets – such as cats and dogs – can be easily house-trained, can learn tricks, and will respond to your commands. In contrast, a turtle is unlikely to form a bond with you, and you will not be able to teach it things. If you have a turtle as a pet, you need to take care of it without expecting anything in return.

Turtles Can Carry Diseases – Con

turtle by the water
Credit: Image by andrea N on Pixabay

Turtles are not aggressive animals; they do not bite humans unless provoked. However, they might bite a person if they feel threatened. But turtles are Salmonella carriers and can pass the bacteria to humans. Salmonella is a type of bacteria that causes food poisoning, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and dehydration.

All reptiles are natural carriers of salmonella, but while it is harmless to them, it can be seriously detrimental to a human’s health. Those particularly at risk from the bacteria, include children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems. This is one of the reasons why turtles are not the best choice for a family pet.

Turtles carry the salmonella disease on their outer skin, so washing hands before and after handling turtles or anything in contact with them is essential.

Donna Hobson
byDonna Hobson

Donna believes that keeping a pet is the key to a happy life. Over the years, many creatures have passed through her home - Sooty the cat, Millie the rabbit, Stuart (Little) the guinea pig, and Trixie the tortoise, alongside her pet goldfish, Zippy, who lived to the grand old age of 24 years! She currently resides with her black kitten Jinx and an aquarium full of fish and snails to entrance them both. When she is not looking after her pets, Donna enjoys researching and writing the answers to all your pet-related wonders.