How long do pet turtles live?
Turtles sit high in the list of reptiles with the longest lifespan. Even small pet turtle breeds live for decades.
Compared to other common household pets such as cats and dogs, turtles will certainly outlive them by decades.
However, your pet turtle’s lifespan will ultimately depend on its species, environment, and diet.
In this article, we’ll discuss the life expectancy of the most popular pet turtles, along with insights into their nature.
How Long Do Turtles Live?
The four most common pet turtle species found in the US are:
- Red Eared Sliders
- Box Turtles
- Painted Turtles
- Map Turtles
These are the breeds we’ll be considering here.
Turtles do live a long time and so they are a big commitment.
If you are looking at getting your children a pet turtle, consider the fact that you’ll be looking after them for a long time after they have lost interest.
After the initial expenses of setting up a turtle tank, there will be ongoing expenses for turtle food, tank care devices like filters and turtle lights, and any vet bills.
Turtles make great pets as they are:
- Fun to watch (especially if you keep two turtles and can enjoy them interacting with one another)
- Take less time to care for than other common pets
- And they won’t destroy your home (thinking of my dog here)
However, they’re just a big commitment due to their long lifespan.
So, how long can turtles live?
Let’s find out!
1. Red-Eared Slider Lifespan: 25 – 35 Years
The Red-Eared Slider is the most common pet turtle breed out there.
They are often also found abandoned in lakes and ponds once a family has grown tired of them.
They are aquatic turtles that need special care and attention.
You’ll need to get a proper tank, heating lamps, and a turtle basking dock.
As the turtle grows, you may need to upgrade the tank since these turtles will outgrow small housing.
We recommend starting off with at least a 55-gallon tank, but a 75-gallon aquarium would be even better.
While most animals in captivity tend to live for longer, Red Eared Sliders are a bit different in this regard. It is believed that they actually live longer in the wild.
Nevertheless, you can expect your slider to live for between 25 and 35 years!
2. Box Turtle Lifespan: 20 – 30 Years
Box Turtles come in 3 different varieties:
- Ornate Box Turtle
- Three-toed Turtle
- Eastern Turtle
Each type requires different living conditions.
However, they all live on land and can be happily kept as pets in the right homes.
They don’t need a water-filled tank as aquatic turtles need (learn about turtle drowning here), but could even be kept in a good tortoise enclosure.
One of the main factors affecting this turtle’s longevity is its sensitivity to stress.
Stressful surroundings significantly affect their overall health. That’s why it’s not advisable to have Box Turtles as kids’ pets.
Another critical factor that affects the turtle’s lifespan is the weather conditions. They shouldn’t live in a temperature below 50 F. Moreover, they should have the freedom to be exposed to light and stay in the shade whenever they want.
You can expect your box turtle to live between 20 and 30 years under the right conditions.
3. Painted Turtles Lifespan: 25 – 30 Years
Painted Turtles are also very popular pets.
Their bright and colorful patterns make them a favorite pet for many.
They come in 4 different species:
- Midland Painted Turtle
- Eastern Painted Turtle
- Western Painted Turtle
- Southern Painted Turtle
However, these turtles are challenging to care for. They need plants to hide in, water to live around, and daily light to stay in good health.
The tank’s temperature is also crucial for their survival. It should be around 80 F.
When looked after well, you can expect your painted turtle to live 25 – 30 years.
4. Map Turtle Lifespan: 15 – 25 Years
Map Turtles are aquatic and they come in 14 different species, varying in color and back patterns. However, they all share a ridge on their back.
When keeping a Map turtle as a pet, it’s essential that you provide an environment that mimics its natural habitat. That includes water to swim in, sunlight, and appropriate food.
All Map Turtles are omnivorous, which means that their diet must include leaves and other organisms. You can feed them shrimps, insects, and snails.
These variations are crucial for their well-being and longer lifespan.
Map turtles aren’t particularly social, and they don’t like to be held a lot. They like routine, and during winter, they enter into a dormancy phase.
How Long Do Turtle Live As Pets?
How long do pet turtles live?
Turtles may live up to 100 years, especially the larger breeds. However, smaller species that are more likely to be taken in as pets can live for several decades.
Pay attention to your pet’s overall environment and well-being to keep it healthy for as long as possible.
That includes taking your turtle for checkups, ensuring its environment is stress-free, and keeping it on a healthy diet. Some turtle toys will help their mind to stay active and give them something to do.
Let us know if you have any questions in the comment section down below. We’ll add some more turtle breed lifespans to this guide in the future, including Mud Turtles, Musk Turtles, and African Sideneck Turtles.
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