Learning About Rodent Pets

Want A Pet Turtle? Look For These Species

by Neil Turner

Turtles are truly unique creatures, and they actually make great pets. However, there are many different kinds of turtles to be seen in pet shops and through private sellers. If you are looking for a turtle, here are a couple of top species to consider.

Red-Eared Sliders

These turtles are, not surprisingly, named for their appearance. They have red ears, and they are shaped like hockey pucks. What makes them good pets, however, is their personalities. As long as they are raised well when young, they can be very friendly with people. They are also quite active, so you can enjoy watching them dart about their enclosures. Red-eared sliders do need UV lamps to keep their tanks warm, and they need a spacious tank to accommodate their high activity levels. You can expect them to live for at least 20 years, so make sure you are ready for a commitment before you buy.

Eastern Box Turtles

The most intriguing thing about eastern box turtles is their colorful shells. They have a brown or dark gray base color with bright, red-orange patterns on their shells. Eastern box turtles are shy but gentle. They can even live outdoors in a mild climate. If you keep them indoors, they will need a good UV lamp and a source of moisture. These turtles live for about 30 years, and sometimes much longer with the right care.

Mississippi Map Turtle

This turtle species is very plain and unassuming. Their shells are plain brown, and their faces are very round, giving them a pudgy look. Female Mississippi map turtles can grow quite large — up to 10 inches across — but males tend to be a lot smaller at about 5 inches. These turtles are fun to watch as they are quite active, but too much handling may stress them out. They live for about 30 years.

Stinkpot Turtle

Stinkpot turtles are named for the musky odor that they emit when threatened. However, if you keep these turtles in a quiet environment where they do not feel threatened, you should rarely notice an odor. Stinkpot turtles are tiny; some are only 3 inches wide when mature. They have plain, green-brown shells, need UV lamps to thrive, and prefer shallow water in their enclosures.

Visit a store that offers reptiles for sale, and check out some of these turtle species. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.