Types of Pet Turtles That Stay Small

Turtles are one of the perennial animals, and they can grow to a large size, depending on the varieties. If you are planning to pet turtle, you should go for the types that stay small over time. The smaller the turtle is, the easier to manage it. More so, the tiny varieties require less space, and you will not need to change aquarium in the long run.

Govt. has banned most of the tiny turtles because of various reasons. However, there are still a good number of varieties available that you can select. Below, we will brief some types of pet turtles that stay small and easier to pet.

Types of Pet Turtles That Stay Small

Common Musk Turtle

The Common Musk Turtle, also known as “stinkpot” is one of the smallest types of turtle that stays pretty small. The size of the turtle can vary from around 2 inches to 4.5 inches. Usually, the female common musk turtle stays slightly smaller than the males. These turtles are famous for their climbing ability; they can even climb trees. You will need to be a little bit careful if planning to pet it as they can climb out of the aquarium. 

The common musk turtles are habitat in eastern North America mostly. As like most varieties of turtles, they don’t like salty water. They love to spend the winter by creating mud holes. As the turtle is smaller in size, it doesn’t require a big aquarium. Around 18 inches of water depth is enough for the varieties of the turtle. They can live up to 50 years while being about 2 to 4.5 inches in length.

The common musk turtle also doesn’t require any particular foods. They usually eat snails, mollusks, and other small invertebrates in the wild. As a pet, you can feed them worms, cut up fish, and crickets. Another impressive thing about the common musk turtle is they don’t bask much when compared to the other varieties. However, you will still need to provide an appropriate basking area on 90-degree Fahrenheit.

Bog Turtle

The Bog Turtle is one of the tiniest and cutest turtle variations that you can consider taking as a pet. The incredibly popular turtle is the tiniest variation found in the United States. You will be amazed to know that the bigger bog turtle recorded ever is 4.5 inches long. The size of the turtle can vary from 3 inches to 4 inches. If the size of the turtle and its appearance are the main factors for you, then the Bog turtle can be an excellent choice for you.

The Bog Turtle is found in different areas in the United States. However, the population of bog turtle is considered as threatened as they are sold in the black market on a big scale. So, try to purchase from a reputable breeder. The bog turtles are pretty tolerant, and the habitat is also very easy. However, you may require housing the male turtle separately as they often become territorial. You can even breed the turtle in captivity.

The bog turtle can eat different types of food, including animals and vegetables. It is recommended to offer them both kinds of food to ensure adequate protein supply. You can pet one or two of these turtles in a 40-gallon tank. Make sure to clean the water regularly and maintain the appropriate heat around 65 to 75-degree Fahrenheit. They also require a basking area with 85-degree Fahrenheit to 90-degree Fahrenheit.

Mississippi Mud Turtle (4 inches)

The Mississippi Mud Turtle is another popular variation of the mud turtles that is very small in size. Though the turtle can reach up to 8 inches in length, the average size varies around 3.5 to 4 inches. They are usually one inch during hatchling and slowly grow till they become an adult. Despite the name, the Mississippi Mud Turtle is mostly found in eastern Oklahoma and Southern Missouri. The color of the pet varies from black to brown.

The variation of the mud turtle usually includes one or multiple yellow stripes near the head that makes the turtle identical when compared with the other varieties. You need to be a little cautious while captivating the turtle as you need to mimics the natural habitat. Typically, you will need a 40-gallon aquarium for small adults. But we will suggest you go for 50 gallons to 100 gallons aquarium for a better fit.

It is better to go for a tall aquarium rather than tall as the pet loves to travel. Besides, the aquarium should be bare or covered by large rocks. There must be a water cleaning system and heating system to maintain a temperature between 74 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit. It usually consumes mussels, crayfish, and insects in the wild. You can also offer them worm, soft plants, smaller feeder fish, insects, and appropriate commercial turtle diets.

Michigan Spotted Turtles

Michigan spotted turtle is another impressively cute and small turtle that you can select for petting. The size of the turtle can vary from one inch to five inches. However, the average size varies mostly around three to four inches. There are polka dots on its back, which become yellow as they become adults. However, what makes the turtle attractive is its red-colored lower body. As the name suggests, the turtle is often found in Michigan, along with other Eastern Coast areas.

The Michigan Spotted Turtle can quickly adapt to the environment in captivity, which makes them a perfect suit for the beginners. They usually require a giant aquarium with some land area for moving around. The water needs to be around 3 to 6 inches deep, and temperature must be controlled about 75-degree to 85-degree Fahrenheit. They will require a basking area with 88 degrees Fahrenheit temperature.

If you are confused, prepare an environment with 50% water and 50% land along with a basking spot. You can go for at least 20 gallons and up to 55-gallon tank for the pet. The sported turtles can consume a variety of foods, which makes it easier to keep for the novices. They can eat live or frozen fish, killed mice, worms, crickets, pink or baby mice, and commercial turtle diet foods.

Diamondback Terrapins

The size of the Diamondback Terrapins can vary on a large scale depending on their sex. Most of the male Diamondback Terrapins are around 5 inches when the female can grow up to 9 inches. So, if you want to pet the turtle, you better go for the male variety. They live in Southern and Eastern coastal areas of the United States. They arrive with a unique appearance, which makes them more famous.

A 40 gallons long aquarium is suitable for one or two of the turtles. As like most of the turtles, they require clean water and maintain a temperature around 76 to 78-degree Fahrenheit and basking spot of 80 to 90-degree Fahrenheit. You can feed them commercially available food or mimic their wild food habits like shrimps and other natural foods.

We discussed some of the most popular types of turtle that stay small even when they are fully adult. We hope that you can find the appropriate turtle for petting from the above list.

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