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How Long Do Turtles Live In Captivity? How To Keep Your Pet Turtle Happy And Healthy For Longer!

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Turtles are reptiles that belong to the order Chelonia. They are found throughout the world and are known for their ability to survive in water.

The lifespan of a turtle varies depending on its species. Some species can live up to 100 years or even longer.

5 turtles on a rock

Turtle owners often wonder how long they should keep their pets captive. There are several factors that determine the length of time a turtle lives in captivity. These include age, size, health, environment, and nutrition.

Aquatic turtles live in freshwater environments and spend most of their life there. Most aquatic turtles have a shell that protects them from predators such as fish and other animals.

Aquatic turtles also need to be able to breathe air so they must come out of the water at some point during their lifetime.

Terrestrial turtles, meanwhile, live on land and are not fully dependent on water for survival. They may use it occasionally but usually prefer dry areas where they can hide. Terrestrial turtles tend to be larger than aquatic turtles because they have more room to grow.

Freshwater turtles live in freshwater lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers. Like aquatic turtles, these turtles need to be able to breathe air. However, unlike aquatic turtles, freshwater turtles don’t need to leave the water to get oxygen.

Freshwater turtles are generally smaller than terrestrial turtles due to their limited space. This is why many people choose to buy small turtles rather than large ones. Smaller turtles are easier to care for and less expensive.

The average lifespan of an aquatic turtle is about 20-30 years, while the average lifespan of a terrestrial turtle is around 40 years.

Although this number seems short compared to a human’s lifespan, it is actually much longer than most other animals. For example, a dog has a lifespan of about 10 years while a cat can live for 15 years. A turtle can live for 30 years or more if it is well cared for.

If you feed your pet turtle regularly, it will likely live for many years. If you stop feeding it, however, it will eventually die.

If you want to know how long a turtle should live in captivity, ask yourself: What kind of turtle am I keeping? Is it a freshwater turtle or a terrestrial one?

Aquatic Turtles VS Freshwater Turtles

If you choose to keep a freshwater turtle, then you should plan on buying a young adult turtle. Young adults are typically between 5-10 years old. You can expect your turtle to live for approximately 50 years.

If you choose to keep a terrestrial turtle, then you should purchase a mature adult turtle. Mature adults are typically older than 12 years old. You can anticipate your turtle living for 60+ years.

Keep in mind that the lifespan of a turtle depends on many things including the type of turtle you own, the environment it lives in, and its feeding habits. The best way to find out how long a turtle should last in captivity is by asking someone who keeps turtles.

What Are Some Common Problems That Turtles Can Have?

Red-eared slider turtle swimming

Turtles are reptiles and therefore they share many of the same problems that all reptiles face. One particular issue that most reptiles experience is constipation. Constipation occurs when the intestines become too full of waste products.

When this happens, the reptile cannot pass its waste through the digestive system. As a result, the waste builds up inside the body causing discomfort and possible infection. Another common issue that reptiles experience is overheating.

Reptiles like turtles must stay warm to survive. Unfortunately, as they age, they lose heat faster. Therefore, as turtles age, it becomes harder for them to regulate their temperature.

Overheating can lead to death in worst-case scenarios, but it can also cause serious health issues such as kidney failure.

What Are Some Common Diseases That Turtles Can Get?

There are several diseases that turtles can contract. These include bacterial infections, fungal infections, viral infections, and parasitic infestations.

Bacterial infections occur when bacteria enter the body through the mouth, nose, eyes, or skin. Fungal infections occur when mold grows in the body.

Viral infections occur when viruses enter the body through the eyes, nose, or mouth. Parasitic infestations occur when parasites enter the body through the skin.

How To Care For Your Turtle

Red eared turtle in an aquarium

Keeping a turtle requires patience and dedication. You need to be willing to spend time caring for your turtle. A good rule of thumb is to care for your turtle every day. However, if you have an active lifestyle, you may only be able to give your turtle some attention once per week.

Turtles require specific types of foods to thrive. They also require water to drink. You should provide these items to your turtle at least twice daily. Make sure that the tank has enough room so that your turtle can move around freely.

If your turtle does not have adequate space, it will likely get sick. Also, make sure that your turtle has access to fresh air. This is important because turtles breathe through their skin. If they do not have access to fresh air, they could suffocate.

Turtles should never be kept alone. They should always be kept in groups. If you want to keep more than one turtle, you should consider purchasing two or three turtles. This will allow each turtle to have plenty of space to roam around.

If you plan on breeding your turtle, you should first determine what kind of shell your turtle has. If you intend on keeping the hatchlings, you should choose a species that produces hard shells.

Hard shells protect the baby from predators. Soft-shelled turtles are easier to handle and tend to live longer.

A good way to prevent disease in your turtle is by providing a clean environment. If you have an aquatic turtle, cleaning out the aquarium regularly will help to remove any unwanted debris that could harbor harmful bacteria.

Also, make sure that the water is changed frequently. Change the water every other day. Using distilled water is best since it contains no minerals.

You should buy a pair of gloves before handling your turtle. Gloves will protect your hands from being scratched or bitten. Also, wear rubber boots when working with your turtle. Rubber boots will protect your feet from getting wet.

When raising turtles, you should feed them small amounts of food throughout the day. Feeding a large amount of food at once will cause your turtle’s stomach to expand.

This can lead to fatal complications such as ruptured intestines. Smaller meals will ensure that your turtle gets all of its nutrients without becoming overweight.

When buying a turtle, look for healthy specimens. Healthy turtles will be bright-colored and alert. Look for turtles that are moving around freely and eating well. Avoid turtles that appear lethargic or sluggish.

There are many different varieties of turtles available today. The most popular ones include Red-eared slider, common snapping turtle, painted turtle, box turtle, black tortoise, Chinese softshell turtle, Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, loggerhead sea turtle, green sea turtle, hawksbill sea turtle, Olive Ridley sea turtle, Pacific leatherback sea turtle, and yellow-bellied slider.

Final Thoughts

While turtles can live up to 100 years in the wild, their lifespan is considerably shorter in captivity. But when compared to the lifespan of other pets such as cats and dogs, pet turtles can live for a considerably long time!

Aquatic turtles can live for 20-30 years in captivity, while terrestrial turtles can live for up to 40 years.

So with the proper care, your turtle will stick around for many years to come!

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About the author


Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners.Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.