How Much Do Pet Turtles Cost? [Full Cost Breakdown]

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If you are thinking of buying a turtle, you have come to the right place. I have met many owners who get a turtle without financial planning. Remember, buying and raising a turtle requires a minimum amount of money. If you do not do the maths properly, you have to give up the pet after a few years.

So, how much do pet turtles cost?

Generally, the common turtles are available in the price range of $10 – $100. For some species, you need a budget of up to $500. Again, the exotic turtles cost up to $10000.

In the following article, I have listed the prices of different turtle species. Also, I have added the annual maintenance cost breakdown of these turtles. So, read this article to the end before buying the pet.

How Much Do Pet Turtles Cost?

You can get a turtle at as low as $6 – $7. But yes, not every species is available at this price range. On average, you need a budget of $10 – $100 to get your dream turtle. But yes, if you want an exotic species, get ready to pay in hundreds.

Here is an average price range of different turtle species for your convenience,

Turtle SpeciesPrice
Common Snapping Turtle$50 – $100
Alligator Snapping Turtle$250 – $350
Common Musk Turtle$20 – $100
Loggerhead Musk Turtle$100 – $250
Stripe Neck Musk Turtle$125
Eastern Mud Turtle$30 – $200
Yellow Mud Turtle$35 – $300
Striped Mud Turtle$75 – $450
Florida Mud Turtle$100 – $300
Mississippi Mud Turtle$35 – $100
Three Striped Mud Turtle$60 – $120
Spotted Turtle$75 – $100
Eastern Box Turtle$100 – $500
Ornate Box Turtle$130 – $500
Desert Box Turtle$300 – $400
Three Toed Box Turtle$130 – $450
Florida Box Turtle$270 –  $500
Gulf Coast Box Turtle$120 – $450
Diamondback Terrapin$270 – $600
Northern Diamondback Terrapin$370 – $550
Texas Diamondback Terrapin$250 – $300
Eastern River Cooter$20 – $600
Missouri River Cooter$20 -$100
Rio Grande River Cooter$70 – $130
Texas River Cooter$20 – $50
Northern Cooter Turtle$30 – $170
Florida Cooter Turtle$20 – $50
Florida Red Bellied Cooter$19 – $200
Peninsula Cooter$25 – $50
Eastern Red Bellied Cooter$20 – $170
Common Map Turtle$20 – $150
Cagle’s Map Turtle$100 -$300
Mississippi Map Turtle$15 – $200
Ouachita MapTurtle$40 – $100
Sabine Map Turtle$15 – $230
Texas Map Turtle$30 – $150
False Map Turtle$6 – $50
Yellow Blotched Map Turtle$390 – $1000
Black Knobbed Map Turtle$100 – $200
Northern Black Knobbed Map Turtle$170 – $300
Southern Black Knobbed Map Turtle$270 – $400
Calico Map Turtle$70 – $100
Pearl River Map Turtle$170 – $230
Leusistic Map Turtle$2000+
Yellow Bellied Slider$10 – $100
Red Eared Slider$15 – $120
Cumberland Slider$17 – $170
Painted Turtle$20 – $150
Eastern Painted Turtle$80 – $250
Southern Painted Turtle$70 – $200
Western Painted Turtle$30 – $130
Blanding’s Turtle$300 – $500
Eastern Chicken Turtle$120 – $300
Florida Chicken Turtle$150+
Pond Turtle$500+
Spiny Softshell Turtle$50 – $280
Florida Softshell Turtle$50 – $200
Dulf Coast Softshell Turtle$40 – $60
Midland Smooth Softshell Turtle$50 – $150
Eastern Soiny Softshell Turtle$70 – $270
Sulf Coast Spiny Softshell Turtle$70 – $300

N.B. This chart includes the average price range of turtles. The rate can go up or down depending on a turtle’s demand, size, gender, and health.

Get more information on the native turtles from this article. Also, give this write-up a read if you make a mistake identifying a turtle.

How Much Does a Pet Turtle Maintaining Cost?

You need proper planning to bring a turtle home. Though turtles seem like low-maintenance pets, it takes quite a lot of money to start the journey. For example, you have to invest in enclosures, food, vaccination, treatment, etc.

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Let’s break down the total cost.

1. Investment In A Turtle: One Time

Of course, the first thing you need to start your journey as a keeper is a turtle. If you are a beginner, go for the turtles that are easier to handle. Then, you can select those critical maintenance turtles once you earn experience in this field.

Now, you already have ideas about the pricing of turtles. It depends on the species, its condition, age, and other factors. Though people often buy turtles from pet stores, there are different ways of collecting these creatures too.

No, not from the wild. You can get turtles legally in the following ways,

Re-home for Free

Keeping a turtle definitely needs financial support. Besides, bringing this pet home is a commitment for many years. Now, when someone buys a turtle, in most cases, he does not think this through. As a result, he looks to rehome his turtle.

Generally, if someone is rehoming the turtle, the chances are he does not charge. All he wants is to have his pet a lovely, little home. So, you can always open your house doors as a rehome for turtles.

However, in the case of expensive and exotic turtles, the owners might charge a little money.

Adoption Is Better

Most turtle enthusiasts encourage adopting turtles instead of buying them. It reduces the negative pressure and the turtle population imbalance.

Now, you can adopt a turtle in different ways. Generally, the rescue centers and shelters circular adoption posts from time to time. So you can always apply to those programs.

But remember. Adoption is not free. You have to pay a bare minimum amount ($10 – $50) to the welfare of the shelter. Only this way can the center bring in more turtles that need help.

While adopting turtles, you need to go through proper screening. First, you have to fill out the forms, and then a member from the shelter catches up with you to check your eligibility. Here is how you can adopt a turtle.

I know adopting a turtle does not excite everyone. You may have a specific species in mind that is unavailable at the center. But remember this. When you bring a rescued turtle home, another creature will get the chance to enjoy the privilege of being pampered.

Pet Store/ Breeder

The third option to get a turtle is to go to a pet store and buy it. You can have a rough idea about the price of different turtle species from the previous section.

However, when buying a turtle, ensure the pet store or breeder has a legal trading and breeding license. Otherwise, the state can take action against you.

2. Supplies And Equipment: Quality Serves A Long Time

Bringing a turtle home is not the end of your responsibility. Instead, the journey begins with it. Now you have to set up a quality habitat for your turtle. Otherwise, the pet will suffer.

You can first consider indoor and outdoor enclosures for your turtle. These creatures thrive in their natural habitat as they feel close to home. But of course, many factors will play a significant role in your decision.

For example, do you have enough space in your backyard? Can you afford tight security? How is the weather in your region?

Building an outside turtle enclosure obviously cuts off many costs. For instance, you do not have to install a heating and UV lamp. But then again, such habitat has additional requirements, like fencing and securing. Furthermore, you can not keep the turtles outdoors in rough weather.

Compared to those issues, indoor habitats are more convenient for the owners but cost a little more.

Here I will state the price of the standard turtle supplies. So, let’s start.

Aquarium

Turtle aquariums come in different qualities and different sizes. The price of the tank generally varies according to its size. For example, a 20-gallon turtle aquarium costs around $50, while you have to pay $250 for a 75-gallon one. The price will go up as you increase the water capacity of the enclosure.

If you build an outdoor pool for your turtle, you must dig a small pond. Later, you can lay bricks at the bottom and around the sides of the pool. Also, you have to cover the top of the pond with chicken wire to protect the pets from predators. Here the costing depends on your building materials and their qualities.

See also  What Do Newborn Turtles Eat?

UV Light Arrangements

UV rays are mandatory for turtles. It is because the UVA exposures stimulate the mental peace and stability of the turtles. At the same time, the UVB rays aid vitamin D production and calcium absorption. As a result, these exposures help the turtles in their digestion, mental relief, immunity, and strength.

Lacking UV rays lead to metabolic bone diseases, low immunity, pyramiding, and other severe diseases. You need no artificial UV light if you raise your pet turtle in an outdoor enclosure. The sun is enough to radiate UV exposure.

But for an indoor habitat, UV lights are mandatory. Depending on the quality and power, the UV lights are available from $20 – $50.

Go through this article to get more detail on UV lamp significance and the best UV light deals.

Basking Light

Basking lights or heating lights are equally important for turtles. As you know, these reptiles are cold-blooded and rely upon the environmental heat to warm up their bodies. Therefore, turtles can not generate enough warmth and catch colds without a heating light.

The basking light has other significance too. For example, turtles come to the basking station after an intensive swim to rest and dry their bodies. Without the heat, the risk of bacterial attack increases.

Outdoor turtles require no basking light, and the sun is enough. But in an indoor setup, you have to buy a lamp. It will cost you around $13 – $50. Click here to get a buyer guide on heating lamps for turtles.

Basking Station

Turtles can not swim all day. They need a place to rest and soak heat. Providing the turtles with a basking platform serves the issue.

If the enclosure has no basking station, the pets will stay in the water for long hours. It can make the pets sick.

Basking platforms come at different prices. The fancy ones cost around $70, while the basic ones cost about $8. So buying a commercial dock for your turtles is not always mandatory, and you can DIY one for the pets.

Go through the available basking station options for your turtles and what things to consider when building it from my previous article.

Tank Filter

Though turtles can live in harsh surroundings, they prefer cleanliness. As these creatures spend most of their time in the water, you need to focus more on maintaining their hygiene. Doing the cleaning manually takes a lot of time and energy. Instead, installing a tank filter always saves your labor and offers a quality service.

Tank filters are available in different quality and sizes. The cheap ones cost around $35 – $50, while the price of quality filters is about $300. Of course, you will have to pay even more when you choose a more powerful filter.

I have listed the top canister filters for turtles in this article.

Tank Heater

A tank heater is essential when your turtle is in a winter region. With the heating lamp, the land area gets warmed up. But what about the water?

Turtles swim for long hours, and a cold water area can make them hibernate. Hence, setting up a tank heater can save your turtles from trouble. However, buying a quality heater for the enclosure will cost up to $70. Find out the best turtle tank heaters from here.

Substrate

The substrate is only mandatory for turtles who prefer a muddy bottom. Otherwise, you should avoid layering up the bottom as it only makes the water hazy.

However, you have to use a substrate if you aim to decorate the enclosure with live plants. Usually, substrates cost around $7 – $18.

Decoration

Decorating your turtle tank is optional. It depends on your interest. Some people spend hundreds to make the terrarium look more beautiful and nature-like. But, again, some people just go for the basics.

Turtle Feeder

Automatic turtle feeders may sound like a luxury, but it is a lifesaver for many. This device gives you a hand on feeding the turtles in your hectic schedules. All you have to do is to set the diet quantity and the time. Then, the device will feed the turtles on its own.

Yes, a turtle can go days without food. But it simply does not mean you should starve your turtle. In fact, keeping the pet without food can degrade its physical health. So, if you can afford an automatic turtle feeder, you should absolutely go for it.

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3. Health Care

Turtles do not get sick easily. But if you constantly compromise their care, they can fall severely ill.

Unlike many pets, turtles exhibit signs of disease from a very early stage. If you keep these creatures in scheduled checkups and pick up those indications, the treatments get cheap. Otherwise, emergency health care will cost you hundreds.

Usually, the price range for a regular health checkup is around $45 – $75. If the vet diagnoses the pet with any disease, you have to pay for the medications. The medicines for turtles are available for $50 – $150 and even more. On the other hand, any emergency treatment costs over $100.

Though turtles do not require any vaccination or injection, you need to deworm your pets every 6 months or at least once a year. It is because turtles are prone to parasites, and the pets can even die in worse conditions. Generally, you have to pay about $15 – $150 to examine and deworm these creatures.

Furthermore, I have seen turtle owners do insurance for their turtles. It might seem unnecessary as turtles are cheap. But it is a wise decision if you have an exotic species or house multiple turtles at one. Turtle insurances are available at an affordable rate of $40 and can be as high as $1200 per year.

So, on a rough calculation, you have to spend $50 – $500 on the health care of your turtle.

4. Food Cost: How Much Does Turtle Food Cost?

Turtles are not picky eaters, well, in most cases. Their diet includes vegetables, plants, insects, worms, small fish, shrimp, pellets, and supplements. The monthly expense of these meals is roughly $25 – $30. But, of course, this cost can go up depending on the food preferences of the pet.

A turtle’s diet depends on its species. Again, while some turtles are herbivorous or carnivorous, many turtles prefer eating both types of meals. So, the food cost of these creatures will be according to their diet preferences.

Usually, most turtles are omnivorous, and you have to balance the meal with a proper portion of vegetable and animal protein. Moreover, pellets and additional supplements are mandatory as these back up the nutritional needs of the turtles.

Though it seems like many requirements, turtle foods do not cost that much. You have to pay around $25 – $30 per month. It means the annual expense for food is about $360.

Cost Summary

ParticularsCost Range
Turtle Price$10 – $100
Aquarium Cost$50 – $250
UV Light$20 – $50
Basking Lamp$13 – $50
Basking Station$8 – $73
Tank Filter$35 – $300
Tank Heater$10 – $70
Substrate$7 – $18
Decoration$20
Health Care$50 – $500
Food$200 – $360

What Is The Cheapest Pet Turtle?

Turtles are cheap as long as you do not aim for exotic ones. The popular and common turtles cost around $7 – $25. You can buy red eared sliders, yellow bellied sliders, box turtles, map turtles, musk turtles, mud turtles, wood turtles, chicken turtles, etc., in this price range.

But as you know, each species has several subspecies. While the common subspecies are cheap, the exotic and specially bred ones can cost you a sack of money.

Again, the price can vary depending on age, size, gender, etc. If you are lucky enough, you can get a demanding species on a budget by balancing these parameters. Here take a look at the factors that decide the price of a turtle,

Species

As turtle lovers, we are fond of all the species. But of course, each owner has his own preference. As you know, the red eared sliders or the common map turtles are cheap, but their subspecies are a bit expensive.

For example, the starting price of a common musk turtle is $20, while you have to pay a minimum of $100 to buy a loggerhead musk turtle. Similarly, the common snapping turtles are $50 – $100 and the alligator snapping turtles are $250 – $350.

Gender

The pet stores usually charge $5 – $10 extra if you want to buy a gender-specific turtle.

Size

The size of the turtle is another deciding factor. Usually, baby turtles are cheaper than adult ones. The logic is that the breeder has to raise the turtle to a particular stage, and the expense adds to the bill. But, if you buy an aged turtle, you may have to pay a little less.

Health Condition

It is obvious that healthy turtles are more expensive. Hence, the stores sell defective turtles at a discounted rate.

How Much Do Baby Turtles Cost In A Pet Store?

A turtle of less than 6 months is considered a baby. The hatchlings are not that expensive and are available at as cheap as $8 – $10. The average price of baby turtles ranges from $10 – $100. The cost will go up if you buy an exotic species.

Here take a look at the price chart of different baby turtle species,

Baby Turtle SpeciesPrice Range
Red Eared Slider$10 – $25
Yellow Bellied Slider$11 – $35
Eastern Painted Turtle$25 – $35
Western Painted Turtle$25 – $150
Eastern Box Turtle$25 – $50
Ornate Box Turtle$70 – $80
Map Turtle$20 – $50
Musk Turtle$25 – $70
 Mud Turtle$70
Cooter$25 – $35

N.B. This price is not permanent. You might get a better deal by comparing the stores. But always buy from a licensed store.

Can You Adopt A Sea Turtle?

Surprisingly, you can adopt a sea turtle. But no, not in the physical form. Confused? Let me explain.

Sea turtles are in a vulnerable state and need conservation. Different marine organizations have come forward to help balance the population of this rare species. They do research and rescuing of these turtles. But of course, they need funding.

By adopting a sea turtle, you fund these institutes and help conserve the species. See, thousands of sea turtles come to the beach each year and lay eggs after the breeding season. But just 1% of the eggs can make it to the sea.

It occurs because of the rough weather and the predatorial attacks. Therefore, the institutes take steps to ensure that the maximum of those eggs stay in a safe condition and the babies can make it out to the sea.

When you adopt a sea turtle, you get two options. You can fund a clutch or a single egg. The institute will take care of the egg and the baby with your money and update you on its health condition. Sometimes, they offer a tracking system, which lets you know where your adopted turtle is right now.

Though the adoption process of a sea turtle is more of a virtual program, it allows you to contribute to the preservation of the sea turtles. You can get an idea of the sea turtle adoption program from this article.

Moreover, if you want the taste of the sea turtle tracking system, go through my personal experience from this article.

Conclusion

Most turtles are available in the price range of $10 – $100. Of course, you may have to increase the budget depending on your requirements. But, raising turtles is also pricey and costs a minimum of $250 annually. So, before buying a turtle, do the maths carefully.

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About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.

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