Turtles are great beginner pets, and taking care of one is such a rewarding experience. However, before you even consider buying a turtle, you need to know how much turtles cost. And not only the cost of the turtle itself, but the additional cost of equipment and food to sustain its lifestyle.
Turtles are not expensive pets per se, but the additional cost of building an enclosure and the daily food requirements quickly adds up. So, what’s the conundrum?
How much do turtles cost? Turtles are inexpensive pets, ranging from $5 to $50, depends on the species. Rare species of turtles can go up to $1000. An additional cost for aquarium, equipment, and food quickly adds up.
That was the short answer to the question.
Now, let’s look at the complete breakdown of the cost of every item, and explain what’s a must-have when it comes to keeping a turtle as a pet.
Basic Cost of Owning a Pet Turtle
Before you buy a pet, you need to know what are its basic requirements, plus the ongoing costs of taking care of that particular animal. Turtles are no exception!
The price of the turtle itself is not that high. It’s probably the reason why turtles are so popular beginner pets. Here is an example of the cost of the most common pet turtle species.
Red-eared sliders cost between $5 to $50.
Snapping turtles cost between $20 to $60.
Musk turtles cost between $20 to $40.
Note: The prices of the turtles mentioned above are approximate. Every breeder has its own price and criteria what the turtle price should be. In general, turtles in pet stores cost less than buying from a reputable breeder. Make a good research before purchasing a turtle. These prices are for the most common species. Rare specimens oftentimes exceed those numbers by at least 10th fold.
As you have seen buying a turtle won’t cost you a fortune. However, that’s the common problem among people that buy turtles. They buy a turtle, but they don’t invest in equipment further on.
If you can’t afford to provide an appropriate environment and the needed living conditions for a turtle, then you shouldn’t buy one. People think that these animals are simple and that they can live in poor conditions. However, that’s so far from the truth. Turtles can survive without food for a long time, they can survive in tanks with inappropriate size, but that’s not a way of living. They deserve better!
So, what’s the basic cost of the equipment needed to maintain the lifestyle of one turtle?
Cost of Aquarium
Turtles are aquatic animals and they require an aquarium or a pond, depends on the size of the species. The cost of an aquarium will mainly depend on its size. What size of tank do turtles need?
Well, that’s a topic on its own. In general, tanks vary from $100 to $200. The more you pay, the more quality you’ll get. If you spend more money upfront, and buy a bigger tank, you won’t need to spend on a new tank in a foreseeable future.
What about additional accessories?
Turtles are messy animals. They need a proper filtration system in their tanks. You don’t want to clean your turtle tank on a frequent basis. It’s one of the most daunting tasks. Don’t get me wrong! You’ll still need to made water changes, and occasionally cleaning the gravel, however, with a filter in the tank everything is easier.
Turtles need a much more powerful filter than it’s commonly needed for that particular size of a tank. Let me explain!
If you have a 55-gallon turtle tank, you should probably purchase filters made for a 110-gallon tank. Good filters in that range are pricey and go between $200 to $400. If you are interested to learn more, check out our article on that topic: Best Filters for Turtle Tanks.
Turtles regulate their body temperature according to the temperature of the environment. If you want to avoid any health issues in the future, you should provide a constant temperature in your turtle tank. A water heater and a UV lamp are all you need. An average heater and a lamp usually go for 30 dollars. You can find it cheaper or more expensive, depends on the quality and brand.
Cost of Feeding a Turtle
Juvenile turtles should eat daily, possibly two times a day. An adult turtle should be fed once in two days. For a beginner turtle owner, I would recommend feeding the turtle with commercial pellets. They are fairly inexpensive, going up to $10.
In addition, you can feed your turtle with meat, fruits, and vegetables. However, that should be done only on rare occasions, and not by replacing their main diet. Check these two articles to find out more about their food requirements.
Don’t forget the cost of vets
You should treat turtles like any other pet. That means going to a veterinarian not only when it’s required, but on regular yearly examinations, as well. Think about it! You wouldn’t take your puppy to a veterinarian once in its lifetime. Turtles should be treated as family members as any other pet in your household.
Luckily for you, turtles are low maintenance pets. All they need is a clean tank and regular feedings. They are hardy animals which means that they don’t get sick quite often. Most of the time the reason why they get sick lays in the poor conditions they live in. Make sure you have everything in order before you purchase a turtle.
And don’t wait until something is wrong to take your turtle to a veterinarian. As soon as your turtle arrives at your home, you should take it to a veterinarian. It’s the best way to ensure that your turtle is in great health condition.
When it comes to the cost of veterinarians, there are several things you should know. Every veterinarian has its own price. Make a call before you schedule an appointment to see if their rate is in your price range.
Always look for reputable vets that are good in their jobs. And, remember! The upfront cost of taking your turtle to a vet can save you a lot of money long-term.
Now, you are probably wondering does the cost worth owning a turtle as a pet?
Yes, it’s worth it. It may seem like a lot of costs when you combine the living expenses, the food, and the turtle itself, but believe me, it’s not that much. Turtles are inexpensive pets unless you are into rare breeds. The tank and all other accessories should be bought once, and the food turtles eat is pretty cheap.
If you really think about it, the ongoing costs are not big at all. The only thing that costs is the upfront setup. From there, everything is easier.
Now, I’d like to hear from you! Did the cost of turtles scare you off? Or, not?
Let me know in the comments below!