The 4 Largest Turtle Breeds You Can Own as Pets

What are the largest turtle breeds?


Savvy reptile owners often like to step up their game by relocating their indoor terrarium to an outdoor backyard enclosure. But as you can tell, it’d be absurd to place small turtle breeds, like Spotted or Mud turtles, in such vast setups.


In this article, we’ll recommend 4 of the largest types of turtle that you can nurture in your backyards. Let’s get going!


Biggest Turtle


biggest snapping turtle


Pet turtles do not tend to get as large as those out in the wild – especially when you consider the size of the largest snapping turtle at 120 pounds! However, there are some decent sized turtles (or tortoises) that you can keep at home.


Sulcata Tortoise



For our top pick, we couldn’t find anything better (or bigger!) than the Sulcatas. Adults usually reach a size of 30 inches with an average weight of 100 pounds.


Surely, Sulcatas need an outdoor setup spacious enough for them to walk around. They also need a sturdy fence that’s at least 2 feet high. The fence should also extend 1 foot into the ground since Sulcatas can be skillful burrowers.


Pond Sliders



Instead of describing a certain species, people use the name ‘pond sliders’ to refer to the Cumberland and Red-Eared sliders. Both species look quite similar, each having highly-domed green shells and yellow patterns spread all over the body.


Pond sliders typically grow to be 6 inches long. But they can also exceed 10 inches when provided with the right care. Taking care of pond sliders isn’t that hard. You’ll only need to keep tabs on the water quality to make sure it lies within the optimal range.


African Sideneck Turtles



With a maximum size of 11 inches, the African Sideneck turtles will need 75-gallon aquariums, to say the least. They can’t be placed inside an outdoor setup since they belong to the fully aquatic species.


Since their bodies are a bit larger than their shells, those turtles tuck their heads to the side instead of retracting them completely inside; and that’s the main reason behind their name.


Like most aquatic turtles, the Sidenecks usually freak out when handled. They’ll mostly tuck their head away, but they can also bite. And believe us, you don’t want to be bitten with the strong necks of theirs!


Eastern Box Turtles



The last breed on our list lies a bit over the small extreme. Typically, most of the Box turtles don’t grow bigger than 5 inches. However, the species found across the Eastern United States usually mature to 7 or 8 inches at max.


Just like pond sliders, the Eastern Box turtles can be your best bet if you’re still exploring the reptile world. You won’t hassle with the ordeal of frequent water changing since they’re not aquatic. In other words, they’ll thrive in shallow water sitting beside a wide basking area.


There’s an important thing to notice, though. Eastern Box turtles tend to be quite timid. If you’ll flood them with frequent handling, they’ll be more likely to sink into their shells whenever you approach.


Big Turtles


If there’s one thing you should know about turtles, it’s the long-term commitment.


Most breeds live for up to 20 years. It’s pretty common to find owners ditching their turtles beside a nearby pond of lake after 5 years or less. And as you might know, pets that grow in captivity will find it super hard to cope with the wilderness.


Make sure you know what you’re in for before getting your pet turtle!



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Comments 2

  1. Gareth September 10, 2020
    • petnpatblog October 4, 2020

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