4 Smallest Turtle Breeds Guaranteed To Stay Adorable Forever!

Small turtles are the cutest, but are they right for you?


There are many benefits to small breeds of turtles: you may need less space (though not necessarily), you may not have to feed them as much, and you could keep more of them in a single turtle tank.


Turtles That Stay Small


small turtles

Source: Tiniest turtles


When people are setting up a turtle terrarium for the first time, we hear the same concern again and again. Beginners are often worried that their turtle will outgrow their enclosure quickly. To make matters worse, some unethical turtle dealers claim that any breed will adapt to the size of the enclosure.


Nothing could be further from the truth. Healthy turtles will always grow to full size as long as they’re provided with proper care. So, to clear things up, we decide to write this article. We’ll present 4 of the smallest turtles that will stay small throughout their lives.


Mud Turtles



Known for their characteristic yellow heads and eyes, Mud turtles will undoubtedly win your heart at first glance. They generally grow to around 3-4 inches, but some might grow for an additional inch.


Despite being cute, Mud turtles might not always be docile. They can use their curved beaks to bite your fingers if they feel stressed or provoked.


Although they were named after mud, this breed doesn’t like to spend much time on land. Therefore, you’ll need to use at least a 40 or 50-gallon tank. Also, you should place a sensible amount of gravel at the bottom to provide your turtles with easy hideouts.


Musk Turtles



Musk turtles are probably the first breed that most of us have ever owned. In addition to their small size (3-4 inches), they’re valued for their relative ease of care.


They come with distinctive black, highly-domed shells. Their heads are also black, but you might see a clear yellow stripe starting from the nose and running all over the neck. After they exceed 20-30 years of age, these peculiar characters will probably fade away.


Fun fact, Musk turtles are named so as a reference to the foul odor they release when a predator approaches. That’s why they’re also known as Stinkpots!


Spotted Turtles



Moving up the size ladder, Spotted turtles are usually capped at 5-6 inches.


As their name implies, their dark-blue shells sparkle with lots of yellowish spots, much like the Starry Night, Van Gogh’s masterpiece! This yellowish pattern also extends into their heads, legs, and necks; but it varies considerably between individual turtles.


In terms of care, the Spotted turtles aren’t that hard, but they’re not beginner-friendly either. Unlike the previous two breeds, these ones prefer shallow water where they can reach out for the surface while resting their feet on the ground.


Box Turtles



Between the breeds featured on this list, Box turtles are the most interesting. Their 7-inch shells are usually colored in deep brown with varying patterns of yellow and orange.


Unfortunately, this turtle breed is more difficult to care for. Box turtles have a lot of subtypes that noticeably vary in their setup requirements. Some prefer high humidity, others thrive in moderate temperatures, while some prefer brackish water.


Small Turtles


In the end, we wanted to stress the fact that being small doesn’t necessarily correlate with being easy. In fact, the smallest turtle breeds can be more sensitive to sudden changes in the setup, diet, or overall routine.


Keeping informed is the best way forward:



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