If you’re in the market for a delightfully tiny pet, you might have set your sights on miniature turtles. However, it’s crucial to note that small-sized baby turtles can eventually grow larger – and ‘how much larger’ largely depends on the species. So, let’s embark on an informative journey to understand which turtles stay relatively small and are, hence, ideal as pets.
Tiny Turtles: Expectation vs. Reality
While there are indeed little turtles that exist, most won’t exceed a length of 5 or 6 inches. Now, bear in mind, these lovely creatures are by no means considered ‘miniature.’ Those marketed as such are typically baby red-eared sliders. These are not that large, but they do grow wider over time, up to an average of a foot! So, if true miniatures are what you desire, consider three possible species.
Little Turtles That Stay Small
All the turtles we’re going to examine remain under the 5-inch length even upon becoming adults, hence making them manageable from the enclosure standpoint. And if you can manage to get a male turtle, even better, as the males typically remain smaller than the females. Let’s dive in:
Miniature Turtles: Preferred Species
1. Reeve’s Turtle
A delight for any pet owner is the ever-active, quirky character of delightful Reeve’s turtles. Being omnivores, they eat a wide variety of foods, making them low-maintenance creatures. This semi-aquatic species needs a combination of swimming and dry land for basking in a heated environment. The suitable enclosure for a Reeve’s is a 30-40 gallon aquarium tank, offering it plenty of space to roam and swim.
2. Musk Turtle
When discussing small turtles, Musk turtles, along with mud turtles, are the ones closest to miniature sizes. Males commonly grow up to 5 inches, but 3 inches is also pretty standard. Most interestingly, with proper care, your mini-musk can even live up to a staggering 50 years! being more aquatic, it loves roaming in water, but it still needs a dry region for sunbathing. However, be wary of one little drawback – if disturbed, they can emit an unpleasant scent.
- Diet: Mostly carnivorous but does well with commercial turtle foods.
- Water quality: An absolute must, use a filtration system for top-notch water cleanliness.
3. Diamondback Terrapin
Last in our trio of small turtles is the Diamondback Terrapin – The University of Maryland’s famous mascot! Males generally stay up to 5 inches, though females can be larger. Living in brackish waters along the east coast, Terrapins display a beautiful diamond pattern on their shells. Like the types mentioned before, they too enjoy a balanced ecosystem with both dry land and water.
Now equipped with your newfound knowledge, ‘miniature’ will no longer misguide you into choices you might regret. While staying small, any of these three species will provide you with a delightful and manageable pet experience, without falling short on the cuteness quotient.