Are you considering adopting a turtle? Turtles are both cute and interactive, and can make great pets! However, before ‘shelling out’ money for one, you’ll need to do some research. A Scottsdale, AZ vet discusses some pros and cons of owning turtles below.


Have you ever wondered about the difference between turtles and tortoises? The biggest distinction is that tortoises—which are in fact a type of turtle—live on land, while other turtles live in—or at least near—water. Both can be kept as pets, though they have different care needs. Do plenty of research, and choose a turtle that is right for you. Some popular types are box turtles, red-eared sliders, and Russian tortoises. Male painted turtles and U.S. mud and musk turtles are also good options.


The size and type of habitat your pet needs will depend on what type of turtle you have. Some need to live in water, while others can live on dry ground. However, even turtles that live on land need filtered pools of water for soaking and drinking. In some cases, you may need to provide an outdoor enclosure. And, no matter what type of turtle you have, it will need lots of space to explore (slowly).


Baby turtles are quite small, but can eventually get quite large. (Note: in many cases, females get larger than males, so you may want to adopt a boy.)


Longevity is also something to consider. Turtles can live 80 years, or even longer! In fact, some turtles have been passed down from generation to generation as family pets. That’s a great idea, but in this day and age, it may not be logical.


Did you know that all turtles carry salmonella? You’ll need to wash your hands every time you touch your turtle or anything he’s had contact with. This can also be a serious problem with little kids. You don’t want your child touching a turtle, and then sucking their thumb!


Feeding turtles is more complex than pouring kibble into a bowl or popping open a can of wet food. Most turtles eat fresh veggies and/or things like worms and crickets. Consider the time, cost, and ‘squick factor’ of your pet’s food.

Please contact us, your local Scottsdale, AZ vet clinic, for more tips on turtle care. We’re here to help!