12 Reasons Not to Buy a Pet Turtle or Tortoise

Updated on May 31, 2019
Ben Zoltak profile image

I am a turtle and tortoise-lover. Though I've tried many times to keep these lovely animals, I've failed miserably. Learn from my mistakes.

Don't Buy a Pet Turtle or Tortoise If You're Not Ready

It's a little embarrassing to write this article, not only because everyone who knows me knows I am a turtle and tortoise nerd, but also because I have literally loved turtles and tortoises to death.

You see, even though I had read several books on these extraordinary reptiles, I still couldn't care for them as needed. Because of this, several have died under my (lack of) care.

Before you read the reasons you shouldn't get a tortoise or a turtle, I want to emphasize that I speak as someone who was convinced that he had the means and environment to keep such a wonderful pet.

Some people I've met can keep these pets alive, but few can keep a turtle or tortoise and have them thrive. If you're thinking about getting one, for the sake of these beautiful creatures, please read this list first and sleep on your decision. If you truly think you have the requirements to purchase a pet turtle or tortoise, then, by all means, go ahead—but only then!

Pop Quiz!

How Long Do You Think Turtles and Tortoises Can Live?

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Four Things You Didn't Know About Turtles and Tortoises

Many people purchase baby turtles or tortoises because of how cute they are, not knowing that these animals have more to them that meets the eye. Here are four things most people don't know about turtles and tortoises:

  1. They can carry salmonella. In fact, selling small turtles (shells less than four inches long) was banned in 1975 to prevent the spread of Salmonella. According to the CDC, this ban "likely remains the most effective public health action to prevent turtle-associated salmonellosis."
  2. They live for a long time. If maintained properly, some turtles can live for decades (even longer than humans) and grow to be a foot long. Some box turtles in the wild are over 200 years old. (How'd you do on the pop quiz!?)
  3. If released into the wild, pet turtles can be a danger to local populations of turtles and tortoises. Because of the pet-trade, red-eared-sliders are now considered one of the world's 100 most invasive species.
  4. They need room. Turtles and tortoises need about 10 gallons of tank space for every inch of shell. Red-eared sliders are the most common and least expensive pet turtle, and they grow to 7 - 9 inches long, meaning you'll need 70 - 90 gallons of tank space.

Nine Things You Need to Know Before You Buy a Pet Turtle

Like any pet, you need to do your research before getting a turtle or tortoise. Here are nine things you need to think about before purchasing one.

  1. The start-up cost of buying a turtle and its habitat (which can be $600 - $1,200), is actually the cheapest part of turtle ownership. Your turtle will require hundreds of dollars in upkeep each year.
  2. Turtles can live for a very long time, often over 25 years. Be prepared to care for a turtle for its entire lifetime.
  3. Turtles need fresh, clean water and bedding. You should expect to spend about half an hour each day caring for your turtle. You'll need to find someone to help care for your turtle while you're gone.
  4. Most turtles and tortoises hibernate for 10-20 weeks. You'll need to make sure it has an appropriate hibernating environment.
  5. Your turtle or tortoise will need fresh fruit, vegetables, mice, and insects to eat.
  6. Turtles do not really interact with or particularly like humans. Keep in mind that your pet will mostly interact with you only at feeding time.
  7. Though cute, turtles and tortoises do not make good pets for children, especially because they can transmit salmonella.
  8. If you do choose to purchase a turtle or tortoise, choose the species carefully. For example, it probably doesn't make sense to have a turtle from a tropical climate if you live somewhere that gets very cold.
  9. Never purchase a turtle that was wild-caught. Before getting one, ask the dealer for proof that the turtle was captive-bred and raised. This will ensure safe pet-trade practices as well as help make sure you have a healthy turtle.

Necessary Equipment for Your Turtle and Its Cost

 
 
 
UV-A and UV-B Light Source
Glass normally filters out the ultraviolet rays that your turtle needs to be healthy. If you want your turtle to live indoors, you need to replace that light artificially with UV-B tube fluorescents paired with UV-A producing basking bulbs. The ‘basking bulbs’ sold at pet stores for around $10-20 don't produce UV-B.
UV-B bulbs run $20 - $70; UV-A bulbs run $10 - $20
Tank and Tank Stand
10 gallons of tank for every inch of shell
Around $200
Filtration System and Pump
For a turtle (being the messy creatures they are), you need a filter rated for twice the tank size (regardless of where the water level is). Even with a good filter, you'll need to clean its tank and change the water frequently.
$70
Turtle Food
Face it, no one likes to eat the same thing every day. Pellets should only be one part their diet, which needs to include live food like worms, crickets, and snacks.
$45 / mo
Additional Supplies
(basking rock or surface, gravel, timers for lights, water heater, surge protectors)
$100 - $200
Total Set-Up Cost
One turtle and the supplies you need to house it will cost around $500.00 (on the cheap end) to $1,200.00 (with the best equipment).
$500 - $1,200

How to Care for Pet Turtles

12 Reasons Not to Buy a Pet Tortoise or Turtle

Even though it is, in theory, possible to provide your turtle with the environment it needs to thrive, most people don't have the time, money, or desire to put so much effort into their turtle pet. Here are the main reasons you shouldn't get a turtle or tortoise.

1. You Don't Have Enough Room

Like mentioned above, even the smallest turtles and tortoises require a lot of square footage to live happily. Many turtles also need both an aquatic and a terrestrial environment, a place where they can completely dry off.

A medium-sized tortoise such as a South American Yellow or a Red Foot requires serious square footage. It can be expensive to provide that in tank form, but don't think this means they can freely roam your house. Read the next reason to find out why!

2. You Can't Maintain the Correct Temperature Consistently

In a well-meaning attempt at giving my now-deceased Red Foot tortoise some more room to roam, I let him amble through my former Chicago apartment.

He disappeared! I couldn't believe it! It wasn't until several weeks later that I found his rigor mortised carcass. He had somehow found his way into the only non-heated room in the house.

Even without mishaps like this, it's difficult to maintain the correct temperature in a tank environment, and you'll need to purchase thermometers to make sure your pet is at the ideal heat level.

3. You Can't Give the Reptile a Secure Habitat

I once had a box turtle named Geronimo (not a good name for a turtle.) I thought I had a wonderful habitat set up for him in my yard with over 100 square feet of space surrounded by chicken wire. However, he either climbed out, or a cat jumped in and claimed him. Either way he disappeared within the span of a week.

If you try to give them the space they need in anything besides a tank environment, you'll find it hard to secure.

4. You Think You Know Everything Because You Read One Article or Book

I thought I knew everything I needed to know because I'd read one book about box turtles when I was a kid. I placed three healthy specimens in a barren enclosure on my porch. However, all three perished, overheating in this enclosure which didn't provide the required temperature gradient or shelter needed by all reptiles.

It was also too small, and lacked substrate. You will find a lot of conflicting information on turtles and tortoises published as if in great authority. If you are serious about being a good pet-owner, you'll need to read several sources to understand the high level of care that these animals require.

5. The Turtle and Tortoise Pet Trade Threatens Native Species

This reason could arguably be #1 on the list, but I wanted to get some of the extreme cautions out of the way first. Where I live (Wisconsin in the United States), there used to be a large population of box turtles.

Hundreds of thousands of these were sold to the pet trade and to educational/medical suppliers in the past four decades. The species is not protected, but I fear it's too late. I've been looking for them in the wild all my life and have never seen one. You can hear the same story all over the world: Asian, Indian, African (especially Madagascar species) are all on decline. In many parts of the world, it's against the law to own some species.

6. They Carry Diseases

I once cuddled up with my Red Foot tortoise and fell asleep only to wake up with a putrid warm and wet turd planted inches from my nose. Tortoises can carry salmonella and herpes to name two of the more upsetting diseases out there.

Although the claims that all small turtles carry salmonella are dubious, anyone handling these creatures would do well to constantly wash their hands after handling. Oh yeah, and don't take naps with them. Or give them to kids that might lick them or their fingers after handling.

7. You Can't Give Your Turtle or Tortoise an Adequate Diet

Most turtles and tortoises are omnivores, though some are strict vegetarians and others are carnivores. Each species has not only a varied diet, but in many cases each has a very specific list of foods that are usually only available in their home range.

Whatever you do, don't think your pet can survive on pellets from a pet store. This is a death sentence. All turtles and tortoises need a lot of fresh food.

8. Your Dog Might Eat Your Turtle

My roommates once had an ornery pet Chow. I came home from work one day to find the dog tearing open my box turtle. It was a tragedy.

Also, about a month later, the dog mysteriously died. I've read that many box turtles carry built up levels of toxins in their bodies because they eat mushrooms and other things that are poisonous to most other animals.

9. You Can't Afford a Head-Started Hatchling

In another mixture of misguided attempt at animal husbandry I bought a half-year-old leopard tortoise because he was cheap, around $100. Unfortunately, his enclosure was too close to a window. It wasn't encased because I thought that tortoises didn't need to be in a tank-type enclosure. I was wrong.

At that tiny size, the creature needed humidity and temperature that was strictly monitored, and grossly absent in the enclosure I provided. I brought the hatchling to a veterinarian where he administered a vitamin that brought him around for a few days.

Instead of taking the vet's advice and putting him in an enclosed tank until he was larger, I brought him home to his former enclosure. The tortoise perished a few days later.

10. You Want an Exotic Pet for a Status Symbol

This is maybe the worst reason to buy a turtle or tortoise. It means your heart is not really in it, and you will not be taking all the steps necessary to care for this environmentally needy pet.

If you want people to know how interesting you are, read a book or buy a Rolex. Leave these vulnerable creatures out of it.

11. Once You Buy One, They Are Not Easy to Rehome

Turtles are the most abandoned pet in the United States (probably because of the reasons I've outlined above). However, releasing your pet into the wild is a bad idea. It's very dangerous for the turtle (who is unlikely to survive), and to the native population, which it can infect with diseases or damage through increased competition for resources. Zoos are also often reluctant to take them, because of the aforementioned reasons.

 Great Hatchling Sulcata Tortoise / / CC BY 2.0
Great Hatchling Sulcata Tortoise / / CC BY 2.0 | Source

If You Still Want a Pet Tortoise or Turtle, Get Informed

If you must buy a turtle or tortoise, read a lot about them. Ask trainers, vets, or zoo keepers how to successfully care for these delicate creatures. Just because they have a shell does not make them indestructible.

If I have exposed myself to ridicule here so be it. I deserve it. I should be ashamed of my gross mistakes in turtle and tortoise pet-care and I am. I hope that this article at least, will give some people food for thought about purchasing a turtle or tortoise.

I have vowed to never purchase another turtle or tortoise again, unless I own a property where I can provide it the absolute best environment.

Things to Consider If You Still Want to Buy a Turtle or Tortoise

  • Take into careful consideration all the many needs these animals require. They are wonderful and fascinating creatures. Read books, articles, and ask professionals their advice on turtle care.
  • If you must buy one, consider purchasing a red-eared slider as they are one of the easiest to take care of. It's also one of the few species that is actually doing too well in the wild as it invades the environments of species that lay eggs less frequently.
  • However, should you purchase a slider, be warned that because they are an aquatic species, they have a dynamic (read: odoriferous and gooey) bioload (poop) that needs to be filtered and cleaned frequently. (My thanks to a reader, Taylor, who wrote an eloquent rebuttal in the Comments Section on why Russian Tortoises are much easier to maintain as pets than Red Eared Sliders. Namely, they don't need a tank full of water to stay happy. Please read her comment below to find out more).
  • Box Turtles are absolutely not for beginners, nor are Red Foots, Spider Tortoises, or Pancake Tortoises. Choose your pet wisely, and don't be afraid to consult and listen to a veterinarian if you need help.

I encourage anyone with a knowledgeable opinion in the matter to leave more reasons below in the comments section.

Where turtles belong.
Where turtles belong.

A Heart-Warming Turtle Story From the Comments

Here's an excerpt from the comment section below (edited for clarity and length).

" . . . My son and I captured a nickel-sized hatchling painter this year, and held onto it for a day. My son begged and pleaded to keep it. Instead, we released it on the same lake where we found it (albeit a little closer to our house). A few months later we saw a small tortoise off the pier, near where we had released it. It had doubled in size and was covered in some algae, looking healthy and happy. We're so lucky to live near a turtle's natural home and to visit him like a neighbor!"

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        Lana Tainter 

        3 weeks ago

        I was given a baby red ear slider by my neighbor who didnt want him anymore I have him in a tank with rocks and water I change his water every day he likes warm water he wont eat fresh anything I have given him many fresh fruits and lettece wont touch them he only likes the food that I bought at the pet store and he only likes a certain brand he is very spoiled He has grown twice his size and as he grows I upgrade his tank I love my turtle and talk to him every day he has given me joy

      • profile image

        Steve burke 

        4 weeks ago

        Hugely beneficial well written article thank you ..

      • profile image

        Deb 

        4 weeks ago

        Thanks to all of you who posted without being nasty to the person who wrote the article. I'd just like to add that ADOPTING is the way to go, NOT BUYING! Take in the ones others discarded; don't create more havoc. thanks!

      • profile image

        Lizzy 

        6 weeks ago

        Hi Ben,

        Thanks for this great article. I think a lot of people take advantage of anonymous comment sections to say awful, mean things that they would never say if they could be identified. Same reason people can be a**holes in their cars on the freeway, but perfectly polite at the grocery store.

        I think it took a lot of courage to share your stories of how challenging it was to raise pet turtles and tortoises. You sound like a kind and empathetic person - I'm sure you wouldn't be sharing your experiences if you didn't care about these animals.

        I've been on the fence about getting one, and your article was helpful (along with others I've read online that echo your same points). In the end I've decided against it. Appreciate the time you took to write this article!

      • Ben Zoltak profile imageAUTHOR

        Ben Zoltak 

        7 weeks ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

        Thanks Catbark! Sometimes I don't think people read the entire article, or they themselves profit from the pet trade and are quick to judge. I do think there are responsible turtle and tortoise dealers out there that work hard to help satiate the desire for pets while at the same time help to alleviate the pressure on wild populations. Thanks for the steel-heart response, it's not easy admitting out mistakes out in the open.

        Best,

        Ben Zoltak

      • profile image

        TheWilbur5000 

        8 weeks ago

        i have just got a tortoise and it couldn't be less trouble to keep. i enjoy caring for him and he is healthy and happy in a simple cage brought off The Tortoise Shop. i would never tell anyone not to get them or that they are hassle- it is one of the best best you can get in my opinion- quite, don't need to do anything accept give it baths and feed it right foods. they are friendly and happy and you can even teach them small, simple tricks! i think this article is completely false and somebody felt like writing a bad review and they posted it so people think a tortoise or a turtle is bad news. Author of this article: you have no idea what you are on about and quick question D you even own a tortoise or a turtle?

      • profile image

        tagonio 

        2 months ago

        I have a wonderful pet Sulcata Tortoise and a Macleay River Turtle, I love them so much, and they take research and commitment, but they are amazing

      • profile image

        why! 

        3 months ago

        how could you hurt them!!!!they just need love and care...

      • profile image

        Clancy 

        3 months ago

        I have a little Macleay River turtle. He's one of the smallest turtle breeds in Australia. Squirtle is only around 6 inches but he still has a 250L tank (I think thats 66 gallons?) He has a lot of room and honestly the more room the better.

      • profile image

        Author is a dickhead 

        3 months ago

        This guy absolutely sucks! Sounds more like he intentionally killed most of his “pet” turtles. What a DBAG! If your tortoise disappears, go find it you dick! If a vet tells you not to do something, don’t do it! Jesus you should never be allowed to adopt an animal again. Who even thought it was a good idea to publish your idiotic nonesense?

      • profile image

        Toby 

        3 months ago

        Toby is about 65 years old.Barbara my wife found him on a big moor before we were married and we have been married nearly 65 years.He escaped twice but he was found after a local tortoise hunt.He has a large garden to explore and sleeps in a 5 star home.Feeds on apple garden peas and stuff he finds inthe garden.Hasa bath every two days.Onlyproblem He will out live us so my son will be next dad.Toby is a cracking pet.

      • profile image

        VictorTepes 

        3 months ago

        I enjoyed reading your article very much. I used to be a licensed wildlife rehabilitator and would frequently take in injured turtles, usually eastern box turtles. I kept two of the turtles because their injuries were too serious to release them within the acceptable window of time for them to reclaim their territory. They were approximately 30-years old when they came to me and I had them both from 1996 until last Summer when one of them was able to climb out of her enclosure and run away. I guess she didn't like living with me but I miss her. I still have her old, scared but lovable friend "Grandma".

      • profile image

        Turtle lover 

        4 months ago

        I have 4 turtles that i love dearly

        1-Dimondback Terripen that is 20 yrs old i have had him every since he could fit into a planters peanut can and had plenty of room to move around my sister found him along 20 yrs ago in a water meter and kept him for 2 weeks and said she really didn't have time to take care of him i said i want him and my daughter and i try to come up with a name for him we could never xome up with the perfect name so we kept calling him mr.turtle and today when i speak to him he looks up at me with those darling little eyes. I have never seen a turtle with such a wonderful disbersistion as mr turtle has i can put him on the floor and he will literally follow me all over the kitchen i mean walk right behind me my family gets such a kick out of it the relationship thats between him and i.I can take my nose and kiss him under his neck and he stretches his neck out just as far as he can for me to do that.If anything happens to him my heart will be be crushed i love him so much so hes my first and well i mean well taken care off 55 gallon tank turtle dock heat lamp food pellets /shrimp/worms/apples/ crickets oh he really loves those. So yes i know how to take very good care of my turtles.But its not really all what you supply them its about how much love and attention you give them also.And my other 3 are treated just as good just like children don't do for one it you cant do for all.my other 2 are Red ear sliders Lucy&Ricky and i bought both of them in Nags Heads 10 yrs ago they were 2 tiny little turtles that needed a home.And my 4th one is a painter's turtle which of course is in a separate 10 gal.tank that my daughter and her boyfriend gave to me one day they were on a job site and her boyfriend step outside for a minute and saw something that looked like a quarter that he came from a hair of stepping on and he stop and said oh my gosh its a turtle so my daughter text a pic to me and asked me if i wanted her and i was like love at first sight YES' so thats how i got Marley.So i have had her for a year and she has her own little village with her dock heat lamp and all so with my Maltease and my Turtles and my family and friends im a and my new Grandbaby im a rich women.So if you want to buy a turtle you buy one if it doesn't work out then im sure you can find someone who would take it in .

      • profile image

        Me 

        4 months ago

        I love tortoises so im looking at getting one but i will be very careful and look after it well

        thanx this info is very helpful

      • profile image

        Anonymous 

        5 months ago

        This whole article is more about how terrible of a pet owner you are rather than good reasons not to get a turtle as a pet. I have no intentions of getting a turtle for a pet, but you sound like a complete idiot when it comes to pet care. I’m sorry, but I care more about animals than your feelings...

      • profile image

        rohit 

        7 months ago

        red glider is legal or illigal in india

      • profile image

        Maria Bunny 

        7 months ago

        I’m sorry but... I’ve had 2 box turtles when I was 12, we had a very large backyard so dad told us we should leave them there. We never had problems with them, we also had 15 dogs (12 rat terriers and 3 chihuahuas) and all they did was play with them.

        I recently got an aquatic turtle for my birthday (3 months ago), and although I don’t have all the fancy stuff I still let him sunbathe for 30 minutes a day and change his water daily. Many of you will say I’m not taking care of him properly but he looks healthy. I sometimes let him roam around the apartment and my chihuahua (puppy) loves to play with him, the old chihuahua I have however is scared of turtles.

      • profile image

        Tortoise lover 

        7 months ago

        I need information about tortoises

      • profile image

        turtlelady57 

        7 months ago

        I found this article helpful. However my 10 yr.old Buddy, found at the size of a quarter & Miss Dott 6 yrs. old, half dollar size when found have been great pets. They pretty much come to me when they need anything. Timing is key to understanding they're needs. Turtles do play

      • profile image

        Clumsy Turtle 

        7 months ago

        I have two turtles ,Jack and Jill ,they are red eared sliders and they are about 3 months old now, they healthy and they look happy , although i dont have any uvb or uva light, they are healthy , i take them for sunbath for 15min and its fine , you can see jill on my youtube channel ' Clumsy Turtle ' .

        I care them with love and its enough for them . Why dont you directly say you dont like turtles ? I think you hadnt care them proper thats why they died (sorry for grammer)

      • profile image

        Anonymous 

        7 months ago

        You know, not everybody thinks they know everything just because they read one article or book. I've been studying for months and read about like 32 articles. That's just you, I guess.

      • profile image

        Dan 

        8 months ago

        Sorry, but you sound negligent. I think that these are examples of why YOU shouldn't have a pet, not examples of why I shouldn't...

      • profile image

        tortoise 

        8 months ago

        for me i love tortoises they are amazing right !!!

      • profile image

        8 months ago

        Turtles are one of the easiest pets to care for. If you've killed that many turtles, that's on you. My neighbour has had her turtle for two decades and it's completely healthy and happy. My friend also has had hers for a little less than a decade.

        I have no idea how you killed so many of those turtles, man.

      • profile image

        Wtf 

        8 months ago

        I’ve read the entire article && quite frankly, while you have some good points.. you literally just sound like an uneducated owner. You bought turtles && tortoiseshell and in MANY instances you didn’t have the right environment or did things that the MAJORITY of tortoise/turtle care articles, sites, && books.. say NOT to do.

        You’re right though, you should NEVERRRRR buy another turtle or tortoise. By the looks of it, you’ve killrd enough

      • profile image

        Justin D. Whitehead 

        8 months ago

        You've killed so many turtles... A... Are you The Shredder?

      • profile image

        BORRIS 

        8 months ago

        FOR ME TURTLES ARE COOL PETS ;]

      • profile image

        Gillian Moore 

        8 months ago

        I have had a tort for about six or seven years. Torts are definitely a life commitment, as pets. They live for decades and a tort could outlive its owner. Therefore, if you are not ready for such a commitment, please think twice before you get a tort.

        These cute animals are not at all easy to deal with. Unlike dogs and cats, torts cannot be trained to do anything: they only run for food.

      • profile image

        I love tortoises 

        8 months ago

        thank you. I want a tortoise but now i understand how hard they are to take care of.

      • profile image

        Turtlemom 

        8 months ago

        I have 2 tortoises and they no not take much to care for them the way this article states. Of course just like every animal they need care but not the way it's making it seem. I've had them for 2 years now and they have never needed that much care, they never needed to go to the vet or ever had mice to eat. The only thing I need to do constantly is make sure I clean up the food they don't eat so the tank doesn't get dirty, give them water and sometimes taking them outside. Also just to add something else, I have a dog and he does not try to eat them I let the turtles walk around the house he goes to sniff them and runs away. I'm pretty sure he is more scared of them then they are of him. I hold them, my turtles love the affection I give them, some people say "They are turtles what feelings do they have," but in all reality they love to be held and they love it when I gently rub the top of their head and underneath. Just wanted to put a little out there, but turtles aren't at all hard to care for unless you can't be buying food often. (Lettuce, apples, sweet potatoes and grapes) is what I feed my 2 lovely turtles. I hope this can help someone with some of the information they wanted :).

      • profile image

        Turtle Mom 

        8 months ago

        I have two pet tortoises and the only thing I need to keep up with daily is taking the food they don't eat and tossing it out. They are quite easy to care for.

      • profile image

        Boblarington 

        9 months ago

        Evryone should have a pet turttle

      • profile image

        Tortoise lover! 

        9 months ago

        Tortoises do not require insects to eat! In fact that is not at all part of there diet regime nore do they eat mice!!!!! Some weeds i.e dandylions, milk thistle and succulents are fine with some veg\ fruit! They are also suitable for responsible children!

      • profile image

        Gsjsksu 

        9 months ago

        They are wonderful creatures, just because you couldn't care for them don't try and put everyone else of

      • profile image

        spenecr lewis 

        10 months ago

        A friend gave me a tortoise and I think I love it ....

      • profile image

        Michael 

        10 months ago

        So basically... You have no clue as to how you care for any reptile and so you tell others not to, based on your EXTREMELY negligent experiences?

        I'm not trying to be mean, but then you did kill so many with such simple and avoidable errors. You sound to me like someone who gets a reptile without truly studying them because you had a gerbil once in grade school.

        There was a list of things I wanted to point out, but looks like some fellow named Bill already went down that line very well. I will only point out that anyone CAN give the animals all the things they need unlike you say, the problem is most are like you. They don't.

        I picked a sulcata tortoise myself, rescued from a shelter (with those ones, that's typically best because many get them then throw them out). He's quite a healthy little fellow and a very enjoyable pet, a huge step down difficult wise than my monitor lizards who are all also very healthy (though half of them are aggressive of course, as they are larger monitor lizards) and thriving in my care. My families Sonoran desert tortoise is just as healthy too, though much older than my tortoise. We are constantly studying and tweaking every little thing for the animals, plus vet checkups yearly (or more should an issue actually arise, thankfully only had to do that once and resolved it within a week)

        Caring for animals is as simple as studying up on them and actually using the information you read

      • profile image

        Turtlegirl 

        10 months ago

        Just read an astounding amount of the comments below after reading this article. My first major response would be: Wow. Followed by: am I really surprised?

        As a loving turtle mom who was a turtle enthusiast for years before I ever had them as pets I can tell you that I have done my fair share of research, and still do. That being said, I can also tell you that doing said research has led me to find various articles which seem to be either written on a completely scientific level which is very long and drawn out and not to mention hard to read, or are a lot like the above article which is individually opinionated and based on personal experience (not too good at that) instead of fact. Regarding research, my best advice is to do a lot and not rely solely on information on the internet. Read books, talk to RESPONSIBLE owners, talk to vets, and really investigate. This would be best before you get the turtle or tortoise, but I'm sure once you have one you're going to have a few questions over time that you need answers to.

        Secondly, I'd like to comment on cost/attaining said pet.

        If you exclusively buy a turtle and all supplies from a pet store, yes, you can pay a rediculous amount of money to start up. Fortunately, pet stores are not the only way you can ethically get a pet turtle. I liked that this article brought up the fact that turtles are one of the most abandoned pets, because it is completely true. Unfortunately people get tired of them or can't afford them and they want to get rid of them. Normally, before abandoning pet turtles, people do try to get rid of them. Craigslist is one great way to find some of these turtles who are in need of new homes. Reptile rescues are another good connection. I know that you might seem sceptical about Craigslist, or any other classified listing a pet turtle, but if you are knowledgeable you can find a good pet in need of a good home, and best of all you normally save a lot of money. I purchased my turtles (two southern sliders) from a lady off Craigslist. She had gotten too many and needed to re-home them. She provided me with lots of pictures and we talked over the phone before I visited them. She also gave me a very large tank, gravel, ornaments, and filter for them. In all, I paid her $80. It was the best purchase I have made in my life. I have two adorable healthy aquatic turtles that my family and I love. I have never had a single issue with either of the turtles (named Butters and Biscuit), and I feel so happy that I was able to help them and their owner by giving them a good home instead of just buying a turtle from a pet store. I think before you buy from a pet store it's always a good idea to see if there are any turtles that need immediate rehoming locally.

        That being said, I have had Butters and Biscuit for a long time now and I am now looking to expand our family by rescuing more aquatic turtles who need new homes in my local area. Rehoming is not for everyone but I really feel good knowing that I can help.

        On a further note, I'd like to add my opinion about the above article. To start, I'm glad they touched on turtle abandonment and the fact that turtles aren't the cheapest pets to keep, but as I noted above, cost is a variable based on aquirement. The supplies you purchase can also make a big difference in cost. For example, cheap bulbs ($15-$20) do not last long (maybe a few months at best) however a more expensive bulb can. The uvb bulb I bought when I got my turtles cost me $45 (bulb only) but has lasted for a year and a half now and is still going. If you do the math, that breaks down to me spending $2.50 per month for a bulb vs up to $10 per month. Investment in supplies seems to really pay off, or so I have found this far.

        Second, I would like to think a person would begin to learn and therefore make needed changes after so many reptile deaths, this was very concerning to me.

        To conclude, I am also glad the author discussed unethical capture and release in the wild. Preserving our natural species is very important, , not only for the individual species but also for it's natural biome. Please be responsible and protect our nature. Do not capture wild animals for pets or release pets into the wild, it is amazing how much is effected by one small act that may seem meaningless or of good intent.

        Over all, I would rate this article of poor quality, but I would like to say that it has brought up many good discussion points in the comments. Hopefully the discussion can be a better resource for the articles readers.

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        Paul 

        11 months ago

        Hey, I found a small red ear slider few years back. Bought a large fishtank and been keeping it since. No hassle at all. Tank just has a water filter. Never needed a vet either.

        I live in Pune, India.

        If anyone needs one, I will be able to help too. Has taken me 4 years to be an expert on this species.

        91- 8329668788

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        Osher 

        11 months ago

        I want a turtle

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        おPost an Entry 

        11 months ago

        Zendesk Chat - Google+

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        Kay 

        11 months ago

        Your article was most endearing! To own up to your sad mistakes takes courage!! Very helpful information! I think i will pass on owning a turtle thanks to the in depth and personal experience you have shared. You probably just saved a turtles life!

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        Himanshu jain 

        12 months ago

        I want turtle

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        Jo 

        12 months ago

        My family got a red-eared-slider turtle since August 1991, she is part of our family. Loking after her not always was easy, but we learned a lot, read every book, and in the last 27 years not even once took her to our local vet. All her brothers and sisters died from his care. Currently Margie is living with my brother and his family, she always was his pet, his dauthers love her, she is part of his family now. And compare to this article, Margie can recognize each one of us, and I got 5 siblings, plus my parents, nana and other relatives not to menotion my bro and sis kids. She recognize our voices, yes turtles got very sensitive senses of hearing.

        If you look after your turtle, it's a best companion for rest of your life.

        I concider taking my own turtle right now.

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        Name=none your beez wax 

        12 months ago

        I do not believe that tortoises are that bad. See I’m only ten and I have a Russian tortoise squirtle and he is doing great. So I don’t and will ever believe you. So I recommend to all of you DO NOT listen to this article!!!

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        Diane 

        12 months ago

        Senior citizen, alone would like a pet. Can't have cat or dog. Any suggestions?

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        Bill 

        12 months ago

        This article seemed like it was intentional discourageing potential buyers. Your lack of differentiation between tortoise and turtle care is also quite misleading. These rules are mostly based on one easily avoidable incident that could be prevented with even a small bit of common sense sense.

        1. No idea why your example was the medium-sized red foot. It’s omnivorous and hard to take care of. Plus it gets to a decent size. Smaller tortoises like Russians are far easier to provide adequate enclosures for.

        2. This must be made up. Who lets a COLD-BLOODED animal wander around a cold apartment without supervision? Even pet stores (who couldn’t care less how long the thing lives after the warranty is over) will tell you that adequate heating is required. Plus, most people can research if their tortoises can withstand the climate outdoors, saving much the hassle with temperatures.

        3. Minimal effort can be put in to construct a wooden enclosure. Tanks rarely reach acceptable sizes and cost a load. Why not just hammer some wood together to make a cheap enclosure that can be any size you want? Predators always roam around to find prey, backyards are no exception. Throwing a tortoise out there to live in some enclosure with no bottom or roof is a death sentence. Not only can cats crawl in, tortoises can dig their way out easily unless the walls are buried deep into the ground.

        4. Anyone who cares about their pet does not assume that they know everything and are constantly trying to find ways to improve their animal’s existence.

        5. Buy em from breeders to prevent getting wild-caught ones

        6. No animal is completely “clean”. Tortoises just happen to be on the infectious side of the spectrum. Washing hands and caution should always be exercised because nobody likes Salmonella. Also, side note, who cuddles with a tortoise? They feel like round stones with arms and legs. Their claws aren’t particular sharp but it certainly isn’t comfortable when they jam those claws into your flesh.

        7. Care sheets and online resource can provide tons of lists with dos and don’ts so you don't poison your tortoise. It isn’t even difficult to find them.

        8. Dogs are predators. As cute as a dog might seem, they could kill a tortoise with their plain curiosity. Diseases can also be transferred. Reptiles and dogs don’t mix, it isn’t rocket science.

        9. Reasonable, babies are indeed hard to take care of. I still cannot believe that you disgregarded a bet or of pure... laziness? You shouldn’t be surprised that it dropped dead. Listening to vets is common sense.

        10. Reasonable. Though it’s ironic that you say “leave these poor creatures of it” yet you’ve shown various instances where the same poor creatures have died in your hands from neglect because your heart wasn’t in it enough to LISTEN TO VETS or READ ADDITIONAL RESOURCES.

        11. Reasonable

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        Jem 

        13 months ago

        Don’t think I want a turtle I thought they be really cool but the cost and work I don’t think this is the Wright thing for me.

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        Micky Memes 

        13 months ago

        Here’s the problems I have with this article

        -Failure to comply with a veterinarn who is darn well more qualified than you to say what a turtle needs or doesn’t need.

        -Killed several tortoises and turtles and refusal to completely take the blame.

        -Says they can spread salmonella (reptile salmonella is found in their urate/urine, feces, and sometimes mouth so no they don’t “spread” it)

        -Sometimes forgets that turtles and tortoises are two different animals

        -Only specifies a few species

        -Says almost all who bring them home does a bad job of caring for them

        -Insultingly biased opinions used as fact.

        I don’t think this article is the worst. It really isn’t. It actually does have some fair information, though you’ll have to look. Some turtles and tortoises just make horrible pets for most people, like Cherry head red foots, common red foot tortoises, sliders, snapping turtles, soft shell turtles, leopard tortoises, mata Mata turtles, and giant tortoises. I see those way too often than they need to be kept. But that doesn’t excuse the fact that there are plenty of great examples of other turtles and tortoises.

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        meme 

        13 months ago

        I have a tortoise and I will update its home to be healthier for her.

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        karis 

        13 months ago

        but i still want a turtle

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        Jeff 

        13 months ago

        You could of said what kind of dogs would eat a toirtose. I have had a toirtose for 2 years now and my Japanese chin has never gone near the thing.

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        Arielle 

        13 months ago

        Jesus, how do you live with yourself. Killing that many animals and not stopping? For god's sake, if these were fluffy kittens, you would not be so blase. I feel sick reading this article.

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        Qyll 

        13 months ago

        how could you possibly kill that many tortoises like holy, been a reptile keeper my entire life only time any have died that has been "my fault" was when flash frost occurred and the temps dropped below freezing for like the first time in 20 years never made that mistake again and never lost any more lizards because of it.

        also turtles and tortoises are very different, you really should be differentiating between them as turtles are extremely easy to care for if u have a brain.

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        Gabe 

        13 months ago

        I have two red eared sliders for 20+ years, and they are not that particularly hard to handle. Most people tend to overfeed them I suppose, I only give them food when they try to "bite" my finger. They learned to do it softly though. As far as I see they don't need extra heating, however never put them instantly into hot or cold water because they can get cold. Otherwise after a few years, they will pretty much sign you what they want. For diet, they generally eat fish and juicy vegetables, but they pretty much eat every kind of meat you give them. They don't cost too much 2 kg of fish is enough for them for a year. At first they always try to escape, and they don't measure vertical distance well, so don't let them fall off something. However during hatching my female always tries to escape, so I watch out for her during that time. She really needs a sandy place otherwise becomes really crazy. They can spread salmonella for sure, but still less dangerous than other animals, with parasites. With time a very special relation will form with your turtles. They are pretty clever, my male even learned to operate the robot vacuum cleaner before I put it into a table where he cannot reach it, and they will love you in their way if you respect them.

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        Alice 

        14 months ago

        Should I still buy a turtle after reading this?

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        Michael 

        14 months ago

        I have had a mud turtle since 1994. He periodically has to move into a bigger aquarium but he gets a plentiful supply of goldfish, pellets, crickets, worms, and Bob has been a great pet. He was a rescue in 1994 where a woman found children hitting him with a hammer and cracked his shell. I kept it covered in Bag Balm and washed him frequently. He was the size of a coffee table coaster when he came to me. Now he is about 3 lbs and the size of a small dinner plate. He was found in the Chicago area and spent 4 years at college with me in Galesburg, Illinois. We moved home to Arkansas in 1999 and we now live in Oklahoma. Bob does take some time for care. I have a filtration system that the filters need changing every 3 weeks. He spends a lot of time asleep but is active at night. I have a light that changes light frequencies periodically so he experiences sunny, cloudy, dark, light, and even storms through the artificial light. His tank has 3 inches of gravel, smooth rocks, and an old cinder block in it that gives him multiple layers to sit and gives places for the goldfish to swim in under and around. After 24 years, he is just a member of my family.

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        Me 

        14 months ago

        Jesus christ you’re basically a turtle serial killer who tf makes that many mistakes when something’s life is on the line

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        justin 

        14 months ago

        what turtle eats mice?

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        Julie 

        14 months ago

        My daughter brought home a male and female RES from a friend who didn't want to care for them any longer. Most likely for the reasons mentioned above. I need to re-house them both since the female is quite large now. The cost of providing these turtles with a new habitat will run me over $1000 CA, which is in addition to the $1000 I have already spent. I feel so sorry for them, as they deserve to be in their own natural environment. Just may spend the $1k on shipping them to a RES sanctuary.

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        KingBuster 

        15 months ago

        I totally agree with Michelle Stirling. Tortoises and Turtles are not the same thing. I even have 2 baby Leopard Tortoises.

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        Kim 

        15 months ago

        Thanks for your candor. I really want a pet turtle my very small, city apartment really doesn't have space for a 10 gallon tank.

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        Ae47373 

        15 months ago

        It sounds like a lot of these deaths were easily preventable. In one instance you even acknowledge disregarding a vet's advice, returning your pet to conditions you knew to be unsuitable, resulting in the turtle's death. It is misleading to say "few can keep a turtle or tortoise and have them thrive". All that is required is a minimum level of preparation, responsibility, and willingness to heed the advice of professionals.

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        Noah 

        15 months ago

        video didn't help me

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        Michelle Stirling 

        15 months ago

        You didn't take a vets advice and you're surprised the animals you were trying to care for died?

        Also, you seem to think that 'turtles' and 'tortoises' are the same?

        Rigghhtttt.

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        July 

        16 months ago

        I have 4 turtles. 2 Florida Cooters and 2 red eared sliders. All have their own aquariums and heaters and filters and islands and uvb lights. So no its not impossible to keep them happy and healthy. Im ready to get a tortoise too now

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        Jess 

        16 months ago

        Thanks for your honest report on your experiences with tortoises. I was sure it would be the pet for me, but your logic tells me that it won`t do at all.My problem is finding an ideal little pet for a lonely retired lady who is out quite a bit, namely, me! Probably it won`t be a good idea to get any pet now, I`ll have to watch animal programmes on tv instead!

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        Matt 

        16 months ago

        While there is underlying truth in this article, it is WILDLY EXAGGERATED! As a turtle parent of many many years, I can say that keeping turtles is an amazing experience. It just takes a little research and attention to detail. Don't try to discourage others just because you aren't responsible enough to keep a turtle. Also, 500-1200 for initial set up for one turtle????? I'd love to know what you smoked to come up with that figure. 50 gallon Clear plastic Rubbermaid storage bins can be bought at Walmart for 10 bucks, my entire setup cost me about 100 per habitat, and according to their vet, my turtles are healthier than I am, and will probably out live me. Educate yourself before writing articles.

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        mandit 

        17 months ago

        I have a two year old baby tortoise. she is a Russian tortoise. I got her when she was one. She is so sweet. she is two and a half now. she is healthy and a super easy pet to take care of. I think there are a lot of hype to take care of them. Its so easy. she is in a 40 gal tank the size of a large orange small grapefruit. she is healthy. I made her cozies. mine loves them I crocheted them and she keeps warm in the winter. she gets a bath once a week maybe twice. we don't have salmonella. my kids kiss her shell and head. I pet her all the time. she loves it. it takes time, handling a trust building. OH AND WE CUDDLE WITH HER. she sleeps with us in her cozy in the winter its very very cold at night. she is in fact nestled right next to me as I type this in her cozy. my daughter still cherishes her. my son adores her and is thirteen. if you love them, they become like family and not forgotten and they get depressed sure you should not buy one if your ready to add one like a member of the family. you will have an awesome friend. and the writer cant keep anything alive. btw fish in a fish bowl an anoles are difficult to keep alive... torts easiest pet ever, I bought a cheap heat lamp at Walmart. I don't use fancy lights they keep breaking and shes healthy as can be

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        Anomonys 

        17 months ago

        I personally think these are not good reasons on why not buy a turtle or tortoise. Who agrees?

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        Me 

        17 months ago

        Hello, I am very sorry about all the rude comments people have said on here. I own a female Red-Eared Slider who is now about 3 1/2 years old.

        I am planning on giving her away to a pet shop, because I am moving and cannot take her with me. I appreciate your advice and your willingness to put your mistakes on display--it isn't easy!- but I hope you have found the right pet for you! Taking care of a turtle is difficult, as I am guilty of neglecting my turtle and desiring a pet with warmth and empathy.

        This article should be accepted because it is the truth: I am not sure how much I spend on my turtle every week but food itself costs 10-15$ because it has a mixture (which I must buy at least twice a month). The 55 gal tank was bought years ago (on sale) for around 100$, and the two bulbs are around 15$ each, and they blow about once or twice a month! I am also a college student so that leaves me little time to take care of her. It is easy to disregard these words when you don't really take care of the turtle or give them minimal care, but only a dedicated owner can make the mistakes you have and tell about them. The mistakes you made were the result of much care and aspiration to be a good owner!

        Overall, I think that your article is a lesson given from hard learned lessons that have sadly cost the lives of many turtles and tortoises, and you don't want that for anyone (or turtle) else. These words should be heeded not sneered at. Have a blessed day!

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        blink 

        18 months ago

        The only thing this article demonstrates is that YOU should not have a pet turtle. How many animals had to die before your dumb ass realized that YOU'RE too stupid to care for another living creature? Seriously, half your points reference at least one dead reptile; caused by you're staggering retardedness. This isn't an advice blog mate, it's prima facia evidence of relentless animal cruelty. Never write nor buy a pet again you absolute CRETIN!!!!!!!!!

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        Julie 

        18 months ago

        Before you think your turtle has died you should know that determining a turtle is dead is very difficult. Even experienced reptile vets keep a turtle for at least 24 hours after euthanizing a turtle to be sure. I have rescued thousands of turtles on road crossings, and taken hundreds in to be treated by a local vet who accepts wildlife for free, and many had injuries that looked like the turtle could not possibly be alive, but many of them were. Before deciding your turtle is dead, you need the advice of an experienced reptile vet.

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        Max Curbelo 

        19 months ago

        Everyone should completely disregard this article.

        Reason: Practically every comment (Read if you want just trying to save you time)

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        George M Jempty 

        19 months ago

        NPR is running a segment about regrets during 2017 this coming Friday morning (Dec 29 2017) and mine is about not saving a turtle headed for the road when driving away from the vets. I started telling my wife that I wanted a turtle but she pointed out they had salmonella plus I found this article and read about all the other issues. We have decided, and this is something others who are considering getting a turtle for a pet might also consider, to instead donate to a turtle rescue

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        Jena 

        19 months ago

        Sorry but most of this I disagree with... a turtle that lives most of it's time in the water does not need gravel or any substrate for that matter. That is optional. Yes it makes the tank look nicer, but it's a pain to clean. I have a red eared slider I had her for about 10ish years and we never put gravel or anything like that in her tank, and my dad just changes her filter frequently and that keeps the water pretty good. Also the temperature downstairs where I keep her is always at a good temperature. It never gets too freezing or too hot and so forth because my parents have a built in air conditionar/heater. She mainly has a pellet diet, and been thriving on that for years and she is healthy. I sometimes switch out her pellets for dried meal worms or I buy her bunch of fish occassionaly (usually when my parents and I go on trips) to keep her occupied. Her tank is secured and she has never escaped out of her tank. Not all dogs kill turtles or any animal either.. yes some doggies do but mine wouldn't even care about the turtle. But we also never let the turtle interact with my dogs. It's just will stress a turtle out to be near a animal like that. We actually never really handle her either. We just let her live in her tank. On occassion I'll bring her out. But she is rather happy in her tank. And what kind of idiot sleeps and cuddles with a turtle???? And my turtle happen to be a impulse. Kind of. My uncle didn't want the turtle anymore so he gave the turtle to me to take care of and I had her ever since and my dad and I take care of her and we learn more about the care each day. In fact we are getting her a larger tank since she outgrew her old one and I am going to even make her a really nice basking area too (she does have a basking area but it's not handmade it's just a log and a floating dock that is totally useless cause it doesn't hold her weight) Yes turtles are a lot of work and a big commitment but they can make great pets for the right owner. They are also really relaxing animals. I can sit and watch my turtle for hours lmao.

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        Carolyn Stanard 

        19 months ago

        I have a pet male Russian tortoise had him 4 years now do believe he is almost fully grow he might have 2 or 3 more inches to grow got he not to small at the pet store now he knows his way around my two bedroom apartment his name is max and he eats veggies every day now he hibernating

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        Anonymous 

        20 months ago

        Also, you are exaggerating the cost too much. You don't need 500 dollars for a setup, that is just absurd. I don't want to seem like a jerk, but also you should be unbiased for your opinion.

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        Anonymous 

        20 months ago

        You seem like your pushing people away from the idea of getting a pet turtle. You build a rule from an exceptional accident that may or may not happen to someone. I didn't like your article. Plus, there are many small turtles why would you recommend red ears as starters?

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        Carol 

        20 months ago

        I have had a tortoise for 43 years ...he lives in my front garden and during winter hibernates under a bush....I feed him lettuce and he roams round the garden.

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        MR 

        20 months ago

        Umm. It takes years for box turtles to mature and lay eggs (like 5 years), so keep waiting...

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        Maeve 

        20 months ago

        I'm a 13 year old and I have more common sense than you, you are the dumbest person ever to get turtle after turtle and once they die, welp, you just get another one. It is disgraceful that you didn't do the proper research and you have the audacity to tell actually informed soon to be tortoise owners like me to rethink getting one because of the dumb mistakes that you made that you wouldn't have made if you made an effort to have proper care for the beautiful reptile that turtles and tortoises are. You are at fault for taking the lives of multiple reptiles that had the right to a full life, not to mention your friends dog's life.

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        Beau 

        20 months ago

        I think turtles are great pets, some have lived to be released and some died. I have two right now who have lived in the same tank, 1 for the last 20 years and the other for 14 years, both are healthy and have eaten pellets their whole life.

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        skankhunt 42 

        21 months ago

        Just because people are shitty and think animals are pets shouldnt be the reason to not get a tortoise

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        Christina 

        21 months ago

        How do you know if your turtle is male or female? How does their breeding cycle work?

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        Halee 

        21 months ago

        I got a turtle about 5 weeks ago I've never owned a turtle before and it was a baby box turtle witch is a female and she is so nice and sweet and cute her diet is : worms, sometimes watermelon, lettuce, and a cherry tomatoe he is very happy about about a week before I got hime I got a new one and they where best friends and he's never been better until I gave away my turtle I just got and he was lonely trying to get out of his chafe and barely eating but yesterday I brought home a male box turtle and now he eats a lot he's happy and soon there should be eggs

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        Tina 

        21 months ago

        my baby name is Rebecca and I tried to do everything I can for her to make sure she warm and award is always clean and she eat crickets she e Palace she got a lot of food so I don't see her like that all day but she do eat enough so am I doing a great job with Rebecca

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        Leo Sinnott 

        22 months ago

        Have Russian Tortoise for 5 years now, no problems, bath 4 X's a week. He is interactive as he gets up and follows me around the house until I give him his baby doll. He humps the doll then he then eats and back to the doll. This and his outside time keeps him happy. He an a younger Herman female have a heavy bricked containment area 10 X 5 X 2 feet with screen covering to protect from preditors, they come into the house nightly. I can offer one recommendation, feed carrots, it controls parasites.

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        Tanya deweaver 

        22 months ago

        I was 11 when I got my first turtle and managed to keep him alive for a year and a half I kept him in a small tank and changed his water 4 times a week and feed him your just a bad owner if an 11 year old can manage to take care of a turtle and keep it alive for that long with just a small tank a few rocks for its tank while changing the water frequently and feeding it u can to ur just a very shitty owner and shouldn't ever purchase a turtle or any type of animal/reptile again

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        Ari 

        23 months ago

        Totally agree. If you are not ready to commit to a unilateral relationship (YOU giving pleasure to your pet), better buy a cat or a dog. Torts and turts are reptiles, mind you, so they don't show the sort of affection dogs or cats do. They are cute and fun to watch, however. I personally keep 6 of those; 1 tort, 5 turts. The tort is more amusing than the turts because they are more docile, gentle and can share the same habitat as ours.

        I recommend RES for beginners because they are tough and resilient. I had 3 of them, 1 died due to jaw infection, the other two are more than 10yo now and are healthy. TIP: If you want to get one, choose one with attitude, not appearance. Ones that are dominant (claiming the best basking spot in early morning,) fearless, are likelier to survive babyhood. Remember also that if you do want one, be ready to commit to keep them for years. My RESs survive on a diet of pellets, shrimp scraps, live fishes and veggies (occasionally), the eat almost anything. And they spend 99.9% of their lives in the water. I kept the RES in small 2 cubic feet aquarium (yea, I know, too small for a half-foot turt,) and they were fine with it. I changed the water once every 2 or 3 days because I have no filtration system (had them, they clog up every 2 days.) So I don't think they actually need as much space as mentioned in the article. I now have a small pond to keep them, though, and they acted just like when they were in their aquariums (following you around, thinking you're food.) Some caution, cute as they may be, RESs are aggressive and they WILL bite you in self defense or accidentally if you try to hand feed them, so hand-feeding is NOT recommended. As a matter of fact, petting them is not recommended. A friend of mine mischievously handled my RES, got bitten, and had severe infection. They also carry a lot of germs with them, so wash your hands often after handling them. Water from their aquarium helps road-kills decompose 2x faster (YES, we don't have anyone to take care of road-kills here, so they may lay there for quite a while...) which proves it is full of nasty, nasty germs.

        As for the tort, I keep it in my backyard. I built it a burrow using an overturned large bucket with 1/4 side cut open as entrance, and a small tub for it to hydrate and wallow. Both are tucked in the shady corners of the yard. I sometimes allow it to enter my house. I don't recommend torts for beginners, they do require much space as they love to explore, and they require more care than the RES. I also don't recommend mixing dogs with torts or turts, there are cases when the torts bite the dog in an exploratory manner, and the dog ended up chewing up the torts. Torts poop big and unlike dogs, they cannot be trained, so keeping them like you keep your dogs indoors is not recommended.

        I may not be the best pet-keeping person in the world, as some of my pets died prematurely and some died after a long life. I did the some basically same mistakes the writer of the article did, and I don't blame him. He tried, I tried, my equipment for keeping the pets are more rudimentary compared to his, lacking vets too (they are expensive, you know,) but we love our pets.

        My word of advice, consider something more general, like a dog, a cat, a rabbit, a mice, or a hamster, before deciding on a reptile as a pet...

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        Ramakant 

        23 months ago

        I found a small two inch long turtle near my house, not knowing what to do, I brought it home, made a small pond for it, tried to feed it with pellets, but it does not like it, then found some earthworms, it happily eat earthworms. No idea what habitat it is from and how to keep it...I am from India

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        Matthew 

        2 years ago

        I really don't think you should ever own any kind of pet again. Ever.

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        Cindy Hunnicutt 

        2 years ago

        I am sorry, but my comment to you is going to be mean. You sound like and idiot. You openly admit to going against your vets advice and let your sick tortoise die. You didn't realize that turtles are quite expert diggers and were surprised it "got out" and escaped. I am certainly not an expert on reptiles, but a little basic knowledge and common sense would help you. You sound like you haphazardly went about having a turtle or tortoise and knew better than everyone else including your vet and they suffered for it. You definitely should not have a pet anything.

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        JDeWitt 

        2 years ago

        So I found a turtle hatchling in my pool filter, & he was alive. I set up a nice little habitat for him, & he was doing quite well, eating well, etc. I had him for about two months, and he had grown quite a bit. I set up a bigger habitat, & unfortunately I got a little lax about checking places he could get stuck. Last night, he got stuck between a rock and the side of his tub, & he drowned. I have been incredibly upset about it all day, as it was my fault. I feel just terrible. He had been doing so well, swimming all around, climbing up on his log to bask, eating well... & I had always made sure there were no places he could get stuck, but I missed a spot. Actually it was an area where he could have gotten out when he was a bit smaller, but as he's grown lately, he didn't make it out. It was just horrible to find him. I love little critters, & I have actually seen a couple of these tiny little things squashed on the road. Our pond is full of turtles, which I feed, along with the fish. The bad thing about the pond is that any little creatures, such as baby ducks or baby turtles, get pretty quickly eaten by the big catfish, big turtles, and the herons, hawks, and owls that frequent it. So when I find something like a live baby turtle, I want to help it grow & thrive. Next time, I will be diligent about keeping the tub or aquarium safe. Sad day.

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        Kish 

        2 years ago

        People should really actually READ the article.

        First, every reptile lover can tell you that you don't need nearly that much space. From Reptiles Magazine. "A 30-gallon tank is the absolute minimum size for smaller species measuring between 4 and 6 inches. For turtles between 6 and 8 inches, a 55-gallon tank is appropriate. And for turtles measuring more than 8 inches, tanks in the 75- to 125-gallon range are a better choice." According to this article, it would require 3-4x the tank size. That's grossly incorrect.

        The writer admits to leaving the turtle out with a dog around, then surprised when the dog, a hunting animal, killed it.

        The writer admits to IGNORING THE VETS ADVICE about a habitat, and then being surprised when it died.

        Constantly says pet-trade is dangerous, but the pet trade today has practically zero effect on the invasiveness of species. Back a few decades, they'd import the animals en masse, then release them when no one bought them. On top of that, nowadays, there are many places that will adopt turtles and other reptiles that you can no longer care for. You don't have to release them into the wild, on top of that, releasing an animal that was bred in captivity is a death sentence.

        The moral of this article isn't "don't get a pet turtle/tortoise" - It's "The person who wrote this article is terrible at taking care of pet turtles and tortoises and tries to scare people away with their horror stories."

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        Karlea 

        2 years ago

        Who do you think cleans the pond water turtles live in ... Noone ... I only change my turtles water when its cloudy every few months been doing this with him since i got him for over 10 years ... I also have 3 other turtles i have adopted over the years ... Only turtles i had die on me were bc my original turtle picked on them ... 120 dollars worth of turtles gone 6 baby turtles gone turns out my original turtle needed to be with a girl who was bigger then him to be the boss lmao all he will eat is fish and pellets thats it ... Where 2 of the others will eat almost any veggies and pelletts thats it no fish

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        Sinrick 

        2 years ago

        My boyfriend and I have a 7-year old female red-eared slider turtle, she died last night. If I have read this article before we bought my red red-eared slider, his tragic death could have been avoided. We prayed and beg for her forgiveness for being such a lousy owner. In this few months my boyfriend only change the water once a week(with a underwater filter). The temperature here at the Philippines is so high 86.0 °F. Her male red-eared slider companion is still alive and about 6 years old by now. Is it still worth if we keep the male one or do we need to set him free? I am very depressed and scared that the male slider might die too. :'(

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        Uzo 

        2 years ago

        Thank you so much for this article. I just stumbled across it and your article has saved a lot of stress and heartache. I wanted to get a turtle for my little girl but on reading this article and weighing up all the options, it's not the right pet for us. Thank you so much for saving us a lot of heart ache

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        Anon 

        2 years ago

        Wtf... I've had my hermanns tortoise for over 10 years now and he was my very first pet. By the sounds of it your just a shitty owner... not sure how you could mess up so badly that it resulted in the deaths of so many innocent souls. Please refrain from buying anymore pets or even having children for that matter.

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        Moaning for my pet turtle 

        2 years ago

        Me too...If I have read this article before I bought my red ear slider, his tragic death could have been advoided. He passed on today. Struggled with RI and fungal infection. He is very brave and I am very proud of him. I prayed and beg for his forgiveness for being such a lousy owner. In the first few months I only change the water once a week(with a underwater filter). The fish tank is too small and the busking light too near to him. I have learnt my mistake and I will definitely think twice about keeping one again.

        Btw after I fed him fresh prawn and fish(which was about two weeks after I brought him home), he totally reject turtle food. Wonder is that a common trend, or that he is just too picky...

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        turtlepie101 

        2 years ago

        i am doing a report on why dogs are better than turtles this helped a lot thanks

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