Types of Turtles

Turtle seems similar to each other but there are hundreds of different types of turtle species. Based on its habitat, there are two different types of turtles which are sea turtles and freshwater turtles. Some of them are living like wild animals whereas the rest are living as pets. Turtle is one of the most popular animals because of its benefit to human beings.

It is believed that turtle can be used as traditional medicine, food, and cosmetics. Nowadays, people can take care of some turtles as pets. The most important thing to consider before taking care of a turtle is that you know its species, food, habitat, the characteristic of turtle, level of humidity, and even level of temperature.

By considering those factors, you can take care of the turtle maximally. As a result, they can live long-lasting than their actual age. Before choosing the best turtle for pets, you need to learn the types of turtles.

The idea is to understand which one of the turtles are safe for pets. Some types of turtles are better living in a wild without help from human beings whereas some of them will be loved to live with human beings and even need help from the owners. Choosing the best turtle for pets is important whether for the owners and also for the turtle.

As the owner, you know that the turtle is safe, especially if you have kids at home. You can also be sure that the turtle is happy being one of the members of your family. Let’s take a look at the types of turtle that you can take care of as pets and the turtles that must life freely in their habitat. The list is supported by the details of the turtle to give a better understanding.

Types of Turtles for Pets 

Some of the turtles are friendly enough and easy to take care of. They can be lovely new pets at home. Here is the list of the types of turtles you can take care of as pets.

1. African Sideneck Turtle

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African Sideneck turtle is known as the West African mud turtle or Pelusios castaneus. The size of this turtle is various but mostly it is only up to 11 inches. The length of the carapace is around 8.5 to around 10 inches along with dark brown color. African Sideneck Turtle is a cute pet due to its small size and color.

The diet is also simple because it is an omnivorous animal. You can give this turtle various types of foods such as earthworms, leeches, aquatic insects, crabs, mollusks, shrimps,frogs,  snails, as well as fish. You can also give them your favorite seeds, fruits, and vegetables for an easier option. It is better to feed them in a different container for once every two or three days.

Just make sure to create a comfortable  place for this turtle just like their original habitat. Originally, African Sideneck turtle lives in lakes, swamps, streams, and ponds so it is good to prepare a glass aquarium with 40 gallons of water capacity. Just make sure that the turtle can swims around the aquarium.

You can also add some cork bark, some big flat rocks, as well as any kind of vegetation. Don’t forget to control the water temperature and flow rate. It will be comfortable for the turtle to life in an aquarium with a flow rate of about 350 gallons an hour along with 70 to 75 degrees. It is okay if you want to add UVB light so they get vitamin D3 and change the light every 9 months.

2. Red Eared Slider Turtle 

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Most people love to Red Eared Slider turtle because this turtle is easy to take care of. That’s why this turtle is also one of the most popular turtles for pets. You can easily find this turtle in the southeastern United States, Indiana, New Mexico, and the Gulf of Mexico. Red Eared Slider turtle has a medium to large size and loves to live in freshwater, especially in the sunny climate.

Just imagine that if you take care of this turtle well, Red Eared Slider turtle can accompany you up to 30 years. One of the interesting things about taking care of the Red Eared Slider turtle for pets is because they will swim around and beg for food. If it is your first time to take care of Red Eared Slider Turtle, you need to prepare a tank first.

Just make sure that the tank is big enough so they can swim freely. Use only clean water and change the water at least once a week. For the small or baby turtle, use a 10-gallon tank whereas, for the adult turtle, you need to prepare a 55-gallon tank. The ideal size of the aquarium is 12 inches deep, 20 inches tall, and 48 inches wide.

It is better to use a glass or acrylic aquarium. Don’t forget to put a basking site at the water line so they can easily go there. You can use any types of basking sites including smooth rocks or float cork bark. You may also add basking lights and water heater to keep them warm. The point is that you have to create a place similar to their original habitat.

As an omnivorous animal, Red Eared Slider turtle loves to eat plants. They eat mostly plants, fruits, and vegetables. You may also give them pellets to give more nutrition.

Just feed them two or three times a week and don’t put too much food otherwise it makes the water dirty. The specific foods you can give to this turtle are romaine lettuce, kale, spinach, turnip greens, dandelion, white clover, carrots, broccoli, apples, pears, berries, and many more.

3. Reeves Turtle 

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Reeves turtle is also known as Chinese Pond turtle and the scientific name is Mauremys reevesii. It is a popular turtle in China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. If you treat this turtle well, they can live from 10 to 15 years or even 20 years. People love it because it looks small and cute. The size is only 6 inches when they are young or baby and it achieves up to 9 inches when they get older.

The female turtles are larger than the males. Most of the Reeves turtles have a rectangular carapace along with olive green, darker tan, and black color. Commonly, the shell is also creme, yellow, or tan along with darker brown or black on the bony scales. As a pond turtle, Reeves turtle loves sluggish water, especially an area with soft bottoms, aquatic vegetation, and basking sites.

It depends on the condition of the habitat, Reeves turtle can also live in marshes, swamps, and rice paddies. The way to take care of them is easy. You can give the turtle plants and animals because they are an omnivorous turtle. Their favorite foods are worms, small fishes, insects, and also green leafy vegetables.

You may also give water lettuce, duckweed, or water hyacinth. Reeves turtle is not too good at swimming so you have to prepare a tank with less than 2 inches deep water to prevent drowning, especially if they are a baby turtle.

Keep the water temperature around 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and it is better to give the aquarium basking sites. By the time they get older and bigger, you can use a bigger tank such as 20 to 30 gallons of a water tank.

4. Mississippi Map Turtle 

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Some people call Mississippi Map Turtle as the “sawback” turtle along with a scientific name known as Graptemys Pseudogeographica Kohni. The size and appearance make this turtle becomes one of the popular pets. The strong character is on the shape of the shell and the yellow strips in their bodies.

People love to see this turtle, especially because they are good swimmers. Their swimming ability is coming from the turtle habitat in which they love to live in large streams, lakes, and rivers. That’s why you have to prepare a large aquarium so they can swim comfortably. An adult male Mississippi Map turtle has 3.5 to 5 inches carapace length whereas the female has a bigger length around 6 to 10 inches.

You may give them a variety of vegetables such as spinach, parsley, dandelion leaves, and romaine lettuce. Mix their food with fish, mollusks, mealworms, crustaceans, and aquatic insects. You have to feed them 4 to 5 times a week because they are an active turtle. Since they love to swim, you have to prepare around a tank with 25 to 75 gallons of water.

Just make sure that you pour clean water. Then, you can install a powerful water filter to give sufficient oxygen and keep the water clean and clear a little bit longer. Besides swimming, they also love basking so it is better to prepare flat surfaces. They love to stay in an area with plenty of vegetation so you have to add some aquatic plants on the aquarium and prevent them from stress.

5. Russian Tortoise 

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Russian Tortoise is the family of Testudinidae and Agrionemys genus. The color is exotic and natural in which most of these turtles has black with yellow colors. The size is various but it might be 5 to 10 inches or 13 to 25 cm. If you can take care of them well, Russian Tortoise can live up to 40 years.

The habitat of this turtle is in southeastern Russia, eastern Iran, northwest Pakistan, and Afghanistan. It is a strong turtle since they can live in extreme temperatures. That’s why this turtle is easy to take care of and fun as pets.

6. Greek Tortoise 

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Greek Tortoise is another family of the Testudinidae and Testudo genus. Unlike Russian Tortoise, the size of the Greek tortoise is a little big bigger. A Greek tortoise can have around 5 to 11 inches or 13 to 28 cm in length. Some people are a little bit confused about the color because it looks similar. Greek and Russian Tortoise has a different color.

The color of the Greek tortoise is brown and goldish yellow. The difference is also in their life span. Just imagine that Greek tortoise can live up to 125 years if they live in a good habitat or you can take care of them well. Too bad, some of them are dead after 20 years because of predators. It is a common animal in North Africa, southern Europe, and southwest Asia.

The fun part of keeping Greek tortoise is because they are responsive to their keepers so you can play with them. This turtle is also easy-going, friendly, and interactive and they don’t hide inside the shell if you get closer to them.

7. Hinge Back Tortoise 

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Tortoise is a cute turtle and most of them are coming from the Testudinidae family. One of them is Hinge back tortoise. This turtle is coming from the Kinixys genus. The size is medium in which it is only around 9 inches or 22 cm length. It makes Hingeback tortoise a good option for those who want to take care of a turtle.

Just like any other Testudinidae families, this turtle also has a brown-black and yellow color. In the wild, especially in good habitat, Hingeback tortoise can live up to 20 years old.

Types of Turtles You Can’t Keep as Pets 

After learning the types of turtles you can keep as pets, you also need to know that some of them are not for pets. It is better to let them as a wild animal in their habitat. The main reason is that those turtles become an endangered species. That’s why some of them are taken to the conservation for rehabilitation and breeding. Let’s check the list of the endangered turtles you wouldn’t better to keep it as pets.

1. Alligator Snapping Turtle – Types of Turtles

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It is called an alligator because this turtle has a powerful jaw. The scientific name of this turtle is Macroclemys Temminckii. Alligator Snapping turtle is commonly found in freshwater such as lakes and rivers in the United States. Amazingly, this turtle can live up to 200 years.

Alligator Snapping turtle is considered as the heaviest in the turtle species. The weight can achieve up to 113 kg to 180 kg along 40.4 cm to 80.8 cm length. In the wild area, this turtle love to eat prey such as fish, worms, shrimps, feeder fish, minnows, and many more. Sometimes, they also eat dead animals. The powerful jaw and turtle’s teeth help to hunt.

2. Spotted Turtle – Types of Turtles

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Spotted Turtle is also known as Clemmys guttata. This turtle is commonly found in lakes, rivers, and streams. Spotted turtle can live up to 25 years although the population has gone more than 50% until today. The original habitat is in Canada, certain parts of the United States such as Arizona, Indiana, New Mexico, and Missouri.

The length is around 3.4 cm to 12.4 cm along with 0.5 to 0.75 pounds of weight. Some of the turtles can achieve 3 to 5 pounds. Spotted turtle love to eat plants and insects including snails, earthworms, minnows, tadpoles, and many more.

3. Blanding’s Turtle – Types of Turtles

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The scientific name of this turtle is Emydoidea blandingii. Blanding’s turtle is commonly seen in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. This turtle loves to stay in lakes and shores, especially clean water and not too deep. The size is small and commonly seen in the areas with plenty of vegetation to avoid predators.

The mouth and shell become two things that make this turtle unique and interesting to see. The shape of the mouth makes them look smiling although this turtle is shy and frightened. The shell is green and it looks like an army helmet.

Blanding’s turtle is an omnivorous animal so they can eat meat and plants. It depends on their habitat, they can eat fish, frogs, or berries. They also love to eat insects including dragonflies, lizards, prey, and beetles.

4. Common Musk Turtle – Types of Turtles

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Common Musk turtle is also known as Sternotherus odoratus. The original habitat is in the United States as well as Canada. The life span of this turtle is up to 50 years. The size only around 4 to 5 inches in which the male is bigger than the female. They love to stay in water, lakes,  streams, and ponds. Since they are a slow walker and can’t swim well, they often stay in marshes and vegetations.

Most of the Common Must turtle has a deep brown face with yellow lines. The carapace is highly arched it gets flat when they get older. They also have a tail in which the male has a longer tail than female turtles.

They eat a variety of insects including crayfish, snails, earthworms, and mollusks to get energy. Sometimes, they also enjoy nymphs, tadpoles, dragonflies, and fish eggs. Some of them are also eating algae.

5. Eastern Box Turtle – Types of Turtles

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Eastern Box turtle is also known as a land turtle because they love to stay on land. If it is not on land, this turtle stay in shallow ponds or streams. They also love to stays in the moist forests, woodlands, marshy meadows, and pasture. The land turtles are a common turtle in Florida, Michigan, Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.

The scientific name of this turtle is Terrapene Carolina Carolina. They can live up to 138 years because this turtle is slow to mature. One of the reasons why people love to keep them is because of the bright color although the color fades when the turtle exposes to sunlight.

The carapace or the shell is also unique in which the same looks like a dome along with black or brown color and specific orange or yellow lines, spots, as well as patches. Some of Eastern Box turtles are red, white, orange, and yellow.

Eastern Box turtles love to eat insects and plants. The insects are including crickets, mealworms,  snails, caterpillars, grubs, roaches, and a lot more. Sometimes, they eat plants such as dandelions, collard greens, romaine lettuce, duckweed, flowers,  and many others.

6. Eastern Painted Turtle – Types of Turtles

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The scientific name of the Eastern Painted turtle is Chrysemic Picta. The habitat of this turtle is in the United States and southern Canada. The size is various but commonly it is around 4 to 10 inches. The female turtles are larger than males.

They love to swim around the ponds, marshes, and lakes. Eastern Painted turtles are carnivorous animals at their young age and becoming herbivorous when they get older. Generally, they love to enjoy earthworms, crayfish, slugs, and plants.


7. Wood Turtle – Types of Turtles

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Wood turtle or Glyptemys Insculpta is a common turtle species in West Virginia. The thing that makes this turtle interesting is because of its carapace. The top cell has a central keel up to the middle of the vertebral scutes. Commonly, the color of the turtle is brown and olive green.  Wood turtle can grow up to 9 inches in length.

You can easily find this turtle in water, marshes, and woodlands. As an omnivorous animal, Wood turtles often eat worms, slugs, snails, insects, and plants. The bad thing is that the population decreases significantly because people haunted this turtle for food. That’s why Wood turtle becomes one of the endangered species.

The explanation above shows that there are a lot of turtles you can keep as pets. At the same time, some of them are also considered as an endangered animal. The point is that you have to know the types of turtles first to make sure that you can take care of them legally or not. Then, you have to learn how to take care of them well, especially about the way to set the artificial habitat.

You need to understand the best water temperature, types of aquatic plants, the water deep, the size of the aquarium, and many more. You also need to know the best food you can give to the turtle. The idea is how to make your turtle life happily in your hand. As a result, it is not only you who are happy with a new and unique pet but the turtle also happy and healthy after being the part of your family.

Remember! Each country has a different rule related to wild animals. Just check the rules first before taking care of or buying a turtle. Make sure that it is safe and legal to buy so you can take care of the turtle without any kind of problems.

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