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Want to get a pet, but still thinking about it – but not sure if the traditional dog or cat may be your thing? Maybe get something a little more “exotic”, but not a “Joe Exotic” type of pet that would break your bank account? Well, maybe a turtle will do!

But why a turtle?

Turtles – at least not the endangered ones – are fascinating creatures. They’re quiet enough to not be a nuisance to neighbors and are not too demanding of your time in your work-play-sleep balanced lifestyle as long as you know what you’re getting into when getting one. Or two. Or four. But they’re not for everyone though as they’re not as interactive, or cuddly as canines and felines that usually top the most “wanted” pet lists.

But first things first; always do your research in what type of turtle you want, and go from there. One of the more important things you’d want to be aware of would be WHERE they will live – and depending on the type of turtle you get, may need a large “enclosure” to compensate for their size as they grow older. They’re one of the few pets – that if you take good care of them – will almost always live longer than their owners.

That’s IF you really take good care of them. Turtles are one of those “lifetime commitment” pets with longer than average lifespans on some breeds. Some will need lots of space, sometimes indoors, sometimes outdoors, especially those that may grow larger than 10 inches. Again, researching the breed you want, is key.

People thinking of getting a turtle should also be aware that they’re not generally a good choice to get for children who haven’t yet learned how to be responsible. Most kids love horsing around and pet turtles may get stressed, or aggressive if handled improperly. Also know that some aquatic pets like turtles can carry the salmonella bacteria, and may be transferred to your kids if they aren’t extra careful.

Plus, there’s always a chance that kids might get it into their heads to “introduce” their pet turtles to strange radioactive goo in the off chance of making mutant turtles like Donatello, Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Raphael.

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No, just no. You’d still have to find a rat to mutate with them as well, then have them learn the honorable art of ninjutsu. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Here’s a list of a few of the more popular turtles that people have enjoyed having as pets:

Red Eared Sliders: this is one of the most popular breeds out there. You can easily find them at reputable pet shops. They’re mostly indoor pets, but need a decent-sized tank (as in large) as their habitat that needs to be cleaned regularly as they’re “messy”. They can grow at least up to 16 inches in length.

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Mississippi Map Turtles: they’re sometimes nicknamed “Sawback” due to their distinctive top shell that looks like rigid fins that take a saw-like shape. They don’t grow as big and aren’t as messy as the Red Eared Sliders. Males can grow up to 5 inches, females can grow larger up to 10 inches.

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Musk Turtles: aka Common Musk Turtles, aka “STINKSPOT”. They’re basically the turtle version of a skunk. If they somehow feel threatened, they’ll release a foul stench as a defensive mechanism. As for their size, they can be housed indoors and in small to medium tanks, as they grow up to at least 5 inches long – basically great to have if you live in a small apartment. Just be mindful of their stink, though.

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Spotted Turtles: this species is one of the smallest allowable “legal” pet turtles ever, and can live to 100 years of age! Like the Common Musk Turtles – but without being stinky – don’t grow really large and are quite at home in small enclosures. This species can grow from 3 inches to 4.7 inches.

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Wood Turtles: this species may or may not be illegal in some states/countries, so check your area and make sure you’re getting them from a reputable source. This is the only outdoors-y turtle I can recommend on this list for people with a well-enclosed backyard – or at least with enough space for them to roam without being able to escape into the wild. They can grow up to a little over 9 inches in length. One of the reasons why I have them on this list is because they are very sociable, they’re probably one of the friendliest pet turtles on this list.

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