Turtles have been in existence for over 200 million years, which technically means they’ve outlived dinosaurs. And yes, they are still anywhere in all of the continents, except in Antarctica.
A turtle’s sex may be determined by the sound it makes. Interestingly, the females can lay eggs without a male to fertilize them. These infertile eggs, however, just won’t hatch.
Despite the turtle’s shell looking like a hard metal, it’s actually made up of over 50 bones including its ribcage and spine. And contrary to popular belief, it can’t come out of it.
The Main Costs of Having Turtles
Compared to cats and dogs, common pet turtles are relatively inexpensive; prices may vary from $4.99 to $29.99. There are expensive turtles, on the other hand, of which prices may be as high as $5,000 for those incredibly hard to find.
You can also try to adopt instead of shopping straight from pet stores. You may save money if you acquire them from shelters since they just typically collect adoption fees that range from $15 each turtle and a bonded pair for $25.
PetSmart sells a Red Ear Slider (Pseudemys scripta elegans) at $14.99, Mississippi Map Turtle at $29.99, and African Sideneck Turtle also at $29.99 all at a discounted price. These are only available in-stores.
Meanwhile, there are also online shops that market turtles and tortoises including the rarest species that are unlikely to be found at neighborhood shops and shelters. Their prices have a wide variety from a $20 Guatemalan Slider to a $5,000 Fraser Island Broad Shelled Long Neck Turtle. Some prices they listed are per pair.
Lastly, UndergroundReptiles.com also sells hatchlings at remarkably low prices. Baby turtles cost from a $4.99 baby Cumberland Slider to an $899.99 baby Caramel Pink Albino Red Ear Slider.
Some other upfront costs associated with owning a turtle are shared below:
- Transporting Cost
A transport box such as storage or a container with holes in it for ventilation purposes would be good enough. You may recycle whatever box you have around or purchase one at $8.95.
- Shelter Cost
Providing your turtles the right habitat is a key factor in their well-being since they can be so sensitive to temperature changes. Remember they are cold-blooded creatures.
eBay sells quite a variety of reptile aquariums with different prices ranging from $12.92 to $28.69. These tanks usually come with a thermometer in order to monitor the tank’s temperature.
A turtle’s aquarium should also have a filter which may cost $25.99. Make sure the turtles cannot be harmed through the holes and openings of the filter so better check them beforehand.
To keep the water warm, use a heating pad under the tank or a submersible heater that may cost $15.50. The tank should also have a water conditioner to help control disease-causing organisms which may cost $2.78. Just make sure the water in the tank is not chlorinated.
Don’t forget to include a basking area by using a 60-watt lamp which you may have an extra in the house or a custom-made available at the price of $8.54 to $9.49.
You may also add live vegetation but make sure none of it is poisonous to the turtles. This may cost from $8.99 to $15.99.
- License and Permits
Before taking costs into consideration, research first on the laws and regulations concerning turtle pets especially in your place.
Since the eight multistate outbreaks of turtle-associated salmonellosis in the United States and Puerto Rico, laws have been implemented in order to control or stop this salmonella spread.
Some states like California and Colorado implemented the “four-inch rule” whereas North Carolina and South Dakota take it to turtle pets sale prohibition.
Turtles and Freebies
Inclusions are very limited in turtle pets’ purchase. However, PetSmart, for one, has gone the extra mile to have designed its program called Vet Assured that means a 14-day satisfaction guarantee.
Private breeders and shelters may include food suggestions or experts’ guidelines in keeping turtle pets. Most of the time, however, these items are sold separately.
Recurring Cost of Owning Turtles
- Food Costs
Turtle pets are mostly omnivores; they eat insects like grasshoppers, spiders, crickets, and flies. They may also enjoy eating vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, and beets.
Pellet food, on the other hand, should consist 25% of your pet’s diet, according to experts. This can be bought at prices ranging from $3.32 to $42.41 with net weights varying from 1.94 oz to 38.04 oz. An average aquatic turtle only needs to be fed with a pellet once every two days; therefore, supplies typically last for months.
Please take note that there are certain turtles that can only eat plants and veggies. You must take the responsibility which one is yours.
- Hygiene Costs
The rule of thumb in hygiene maintenance of a turtle tank is to avoid harmful chemicals that may result in the pet’s illness or worse, death. Some chemicals linger even after being washed, so pay enough attention to details.
Distilled white vinegar is good enough to break down algae forming in the tank, filter or heater. This only costs around $9.99 to $25.05 for 1 gallon. But if you like a solution specially made for cleaning tanks; you may purchase it at $7.25 (8 ounces).
To avoid health complications, avoid using the same vinegar for kitchen use and for cleaning turtle tanks.
- Medical Costs
An annual exotic animal veterinarian visit is recommended in order to ensure your turtle pet’s entire well-being. A regular visit basically costs $54 which includes full physical exam done by a doctor and a thorough review of husbandry/diet/care recommendations.
Emergency fee within business hours is $108 while $160 for hours beyond. These figures already include office visit. Any necessary diagnostic tests or medications come at an additional cost.
Live insects and tadpoles can be a good source of both physical and mental exercise for your pet. At least 10 pieces of tadpoles (Leopard frog) cost $49 while 1000 pieces of live vita crickets cost $35.99.
Factors That Can Affect Pet Turtle Price
Turtles’ species come from a wide variety which greatly affects their availability as well as their prices. Aside from that, prices also differ in terms of turtle’s sex, size, and age.
For example, the Chinese Golden Coin Turtle is said to be the most expensive species as of now. A hatchling can already cost approximately $2,995 each while a small size one-year-old Chinese Golden Coin Turtle costs up to $3,495 each. A large male costs $5,995 while a breeding size female can cost $6,995 to $9,995.
If you are living in North America, most of the common species are easier to find. The sliders, for example, are quite ordinary. Therefore, prices ranging from $5 to $25 will not likely go to up drastically.
The source too, is a big factor in turtles’ play of prices. There’s a reason why pet shops have these turtles available only in-stores. There are just some species that are harder to own in some places than in other locations.
Online websites have a colossal range of prices due to their wide variety of choices, of which, availability is nonetheless affected by season. Shelters will obviously cost you cheaper because these rescued turtles are not actually for sale, rather for adoption.
Tips in Buying Pet Turtles
- Strongly consider buying your turtle from a shelter or at the very least, from a reputable breeder. What matters most is the quality of turtle you are going to live with.
- Buy only captive-bred turtles or else, remember that marketing wildlife turtles are illegal.
- Take time to think which species you really want considering the factors that may affect it. Some turtles grow to be bigger than what you expected and you might end up in trouble with the tank size you have prepared.
- Eye for a turtle with clear eyes. Swollen or cloudy eyes could mean illness. So look closer. A healthy one, also, is responsive and reasonably active.
- Do not miss out the turtle’s sex as there can still be misconceptions even in turtle suppliers.
- Start with one, especially for a beginner. Remember turtles can live 20-40 years and that’s quite miles to go. You don’t want your turtle to end up in a shelter, after all.
- Lastly, do not even think of buying one out of impulse just because you find these creatures cute and entertaining. This is a commitment of 20-40 years. Think again.