There is no definite answer to how long do pet turtles live. It depends on many types of factors such as species of the turtle, if it is getting proper care etc. if properly taken care, most pet turtles can live more than they would in the wild. On the contrary, with poor and improper care, their lifespans will get shorter than they would in the wild.
Pet turtles generally live 20 to 50 years in captivity. Wood turtles are known to live longer, around 60 years. Reeve’s turtle can live around 20 years.
Though it is not quite possible to exactly pin down the lifespan of an aquatic turtle, most owners should know that most of the aquatic turtle species can live for more than decades. When you are getting a pet turtle, you should keep in mind that it can be a lifelong family member.
In theory, species like red-eared slider and painted turtles can live for 40 years. Though we don’t have any record of them living longer than that, they can possibly live for a longer time than that.
Some other species like mud turtles and African Sideneck turtles can live for 25 to 30 years. Box turtles can live more than a century in wild. In captivity, their lifespan can be around 40 to 50 years.
These lifespans mostly depend on how well the turtle is taken care of. With a proper turtle tank setup, a turtle can live for more than its average lifespan in captivity or wild. On the other hand, your turtle may die within a few years if you are not properly taking care of her.
Generalized Lifespan of Pet Turtles:
Here is a generalized lifespan of some of the popular pet turtle species. Please note that these lifespans are only a generalized number. The actual lifespan will depend on many other factors mainly how well you are taking care of the turtle.
|Turtle Species||Lifespan in Captivity||Lifespan in Wild|
|Red Eared Slider||20-40 years||20 years|
|Painted Turtle||15-25 years||5-10 years|
|Box Turtle||50 years||50 years|
|Mud Turtles||15-20 years||15 years|
|Musk Turtles||30-50 years||30-50 years|
|Map Turtles||Up to 30 years||15-20 years|
|Wood Turtles||Around 60 years||40 years|
|African Sideneck Turtles||Around 50 years||Few Decades|
|Reeve’s Turtle||20 years||10-15 years|
Pet Turtle Lifespan & Size Chart
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Why Turtles live so long?
The very long lifespan of turtles is still a mystery to the biologists. However, the main reason behind their long lifespan is slow metabolism rate. Due to the slow metabolism rate, the rate of aging and disease in turtles are also slower than other animals. Also, turtles can live for a long period of time without any food or water due to this slow metabolism rate.
Turtles even have the ability to go into hibernation if the environment gets too rough. In the hibernation state, turtles can live for months underwater without any access to oxygen, food or water. Their anaerobic metabolism helps them to process different biological functions at a different rate than other animals.
How to Improve Lifespan of Pet turtles:
You can improve the lifespan of your pet turtle by giving him proper care. The first thing you need to provide is the correct temperature range for your turtle. Every species has its own ideal temperature range. You’ll need to check the range for your pet turtle species and keep your turtle enclosure at that temperature. For most aquatic turtle species, the temperature of the water should range between 78 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit with a basking temperature of 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Your turtle also needs a dry basking place with a heat lamp and a UVB lamp. UVB is crucial for healthy turtle growth as it aids in metabolism. The heat lamp keeps your turtle dry in the basking place. these two things are extremely important to keep your turtle healthy and stress-free.
The last thing you need to pay attention to is the diet of the turtle. the diet should consist of a mixture of commercial turtle food along with vegetables and other sources of protein. Vegetables such as dandelion leaves, Romanian lettuce are a great way to balance your turtle’s diet. For additional protein, you can use mealworms, insects, shrimps, chickens etc. The diet also varies on what species of turtle you are keeping.
You should only get a pet turtle if you can commit to it. A turtle can be a lifelong pet for you. So, if you are ready to take responsibility for it for your whole life, then go for it. You’ll also have to spend a smart amount of money to make a decent habitat for your turtle. You can either go for an indoor turtle setup or an outdoor turtle enclosure, whatever you wish.
Can Pet Turtles Survive in the Wild?
No, pet turtles can’t survive in the wild. You should never release a pet turtle into the wild. Turtles that are grown in captivity as pets can’t adapt to the rough wild environment. There are also possibilities that the pet turtle may not be native to your local area and can’t interbreed with the wild turtle species.
There are also cases where pet turtles carry certain types of diseases that may harm the wild turtle population. This is why you should never release your pet turtle into the wild. If you can’t commit to the responsibility, then you’ll have to find another responsible owner for your turtle.
If you want help, you can look for a local herpetology society around your area. There are also many wildlife websites from where you can get help.
Can Turtles Live up to 500 years?
Though scientists have not yet confirmed any turtle species living for 500 years, it is very possible that some endemic turtle species are living for 400-500 years, such as the Galapagos tortoise. Scientists couldn’t yet measure the age accurately as it takes 100s of years.
How long can a Turtle live out of water?
It generally varies on species, however, most aquatic turtle species can live weeks out of water in a damp or humid environment. Though it is not recommended to deprive an aquatic turtle of water, the turtle can survive being out of the water if the need arises.
If you need to transport your turtle to another home, it’ll do fine without any water for a few days. It is better if you can keep the transport box humid. I love to spray some water inside the transport box to make it more humid.
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