You’re at a pet store looking for a small pet to purchase when you spot the turtles and tortoises. At first glance, they appear to be an easy pet to have in your home. There are, however, important things to consider before purchasing a pet turtle or tortoise.

1. The initial cost of purchasing a turtle or tortoise is the smallest expense you will have. To properly care for your turtle or tortoise, you will have to provide appropriate housing, food, bedding, humidity, and veterinary care.

2.  Turtles and tortoises live for a very long time. Are you willing to keep this pet for its entire life?

3. Are you prepared to provide clean water, food, and fresh bedding every day for your turtle or tortoise? Will you be able to provide care for your pet when you travel and are not at home?

4. Most turtles and tortoises hibernate for 10 to 20 weeks. You will need to provide the proper hibernating environment for your pet.

5. Turtles and tortoises do not interact with humans very well.

6. Turtles and tortoises are not recommended as pets for children because of the risk of certain diseases that they can transmit.

Did you know that turtles have been on the earth for more than 200 million years, that serveral species of turtles can live to be over 100 years, and that turtles live on every continent except Antartica?

If you are ready to become a responsible turtle or tortoise owner, come look at the books the Library has in the Pets Neighborhood. They can inform you about the care and feeding of pet turtles and tortoises.

Marta Miles

My name is Marta Miles, and I have been a reference librarian at TSCPL for 32 years. I'm a life-long animal lover and owner. I've owned guinea pigs, hamsters, fish, dogs, rabbits, and birds. I currently share my abode with a Bernese Mountain Dog named Boomer and a cockatiel named Piper. Come see me if you have questions about the Pets Neighborhood. You can also contact me if you have questions about books in our Home Neighborhood.


  1. I want to encourage people to keep turtles or tortoises. while it is true they do not “interact” with humans they ARE interested in eating so feeding them vegetation and meal worms, etc.is an interesting activity. My brother had a Maine Wood Turtle when we were in out teens. (Unfortunately, Maine now “… lists the wood turtle as a “special concern” because of over-harvesting by trappers for sale on the pet market.”)
    My brother constructed a maze which our turtle learned to navigate – they’re smarter than you might think! Sadly, our turtle escaped in the summer. We left him outside in his cement block enclosure and the neighborhood friend who was looking after him left one of the upper blocks down and he climbed out. He lived for many years by the rock wall of my Mother’s rock garden. We would occassionally see him but he hid before we could catch him. We lived in the Pacific Northwest in a Rain Forest environment. We believed he hibernated in the rock wall during the cold and snow of our winters. In any case, our winters were milder than in his native Maine and there were plenty of greenery and bugs for him to eat.

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