Thinking of getting a pet turtle? It could outlive you


A turtlie is for life: yours and your next-of-kin. Tortoises can live up to 100 years and will need far more long-term planning than you’d expect. — dpa

With people spending more time at home then ever before, it seems like the perfect time to bring home a pet. If a dog or a cat seem like too much work, you might have considered a turtle.

But these require much more care then what you might think. Turtles are not nearly as sturdy as their tough shell would suggest and are relatively sensitive pets.

This means their needs often end up being neglected, which is why animal welfare specialists say you should never bring one home until you’ve made careful, long-term considerations.

Many species, such as red-eared and yellow-bellied sliders, will be sold at an age when they’re still very small. What you may not know is that they can grow to up to 35cm and therefore no longer fit into the standard-sized aquarium you bought. You also need to be prepared for this pet to potentially outlive you. These animals have a long life expectancy and some water turtles live up to 50 years, tortoises up to 100 years.

This can mean a lifetime of considerations and plenty of long-term planning for pet owners.

The sad outcome for many turtles bought as an impulse purchase, is that they are abandoned somewhere in the woods or a park after they grow out of their aquarium or terrarium, the German Animal Welfare Association says.

Being released into the wild is usually a death sentence. The majority die within a few years from malnutrition, pneumonia or liver and kidney damage. Turtles can make wonderful life-long pets, but only for dedicated, caring and reliable pet owners. – dpa

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