Small Turtles

Small turtles are cute and friendly. They are one of the best exotic pets. Get to know the different species, from this article.
Small turtles make wonderful pets. If you are fond of keeping turtles as pets, then bring home any species of small turtles mentioned in this article. Your kids will have a great time playing with the cute little turtles. However, you should know the different types, their characteristics and the conditions necessary for survival. This information is important because there are pet turtle species that are aggressive in nature while others are timid and friendly.

Types of Small Turtles

One of the main reasons why people are so fond of small turtles is its size. Unlike huge sea turtles, the small ones are much easier to rear at home. The size of the aquarium or the tank required to bring them up is also not huge. You can easily take it out from the tank during winter seasons for sun basks. Due to all these advantages, people prefer smaller turtles as pets.

Chicken Turtle
This species is a freshwater turtle found mostly in the South East of the U.S. Although the species is not so common, you can recognize it easily owing to the presence of yellow stripes on its legs. Their body is dark brown in color and so is the shell. This pear shaped turtle has a long neck and is omnivorous. They mostly feed on tadpoles, insects, fish and plant matters like plankton. They prefer the presence of vegetation and soggy mud during the hibernation period.

Map Turtle
They grow up to an average size of four and a half inches. These small pet turtles are named so because their shells resemble a geographical map, with pale yellow marks on every part of their body including the legs, neck and head. They are also known as Saw Back Turtle and are commonly found in South Canada, Mississippi and Eastern United Sates. Map turtle is one of the most timid of all turtle species getting easily nervous on touching and cuddling. Map turtles are freshwater species having an average life span of 15-20 years

Red-Eared Slider Turtle
This is one of the most common variety of small turtles that stay small when they are babies. They might gradually grow up to 8 inches. (I guess still it's quite small!) You can easily identify this turtle, as the name suggests. They come in different shades of green having characteristic red marks beside their ears. They are semi-aquatic and are omnivores. Try to maintain the temperature between 50-60 °F, because they stop eating if the temperature falls below 50 °F. They are widely spread across UK, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, the U.S., Spain and Mexico.

Mud Turtle
You can very well make out the character of a mud turtle from its name itself. They are completely mud friendly and love playing with mud, falling and rolling on them. Their average size is 5-10 inches. During winter seasons you have to sun bath them. You can recognize them by the presence of heavy brown shells with sand color stripes. Mud turtles also love to hibernate during winter time. They are also omnivorous, surviving on plants, tadpoles and fish. They are mainly natives of South America, North America and Africa.

Box Turtle
One of the cutest turtles is the box turtle, growing up to a size of 4-8 inches, found mainly in North America. Unlike mud turtles, the box variety prefers a flat or rocky habitat. It has a long life span (can survive for more than 100 years). The color of their shell is slightly greenish brown with prominent orange stripes, making them attractive pets. A few species have orange spots on their face as well. You can feed your pet box turtle yummy fruit mixtures, green leaves, vegetables, snails, frogs, eggs, snakes and worms. They are also fond of crushed chicken.

Painted Turtles
Painted turtles are adapted to slow moving water bodies like marshes, lakes and ponds. They are actually aquatic reptiles having wonderful color patterns on their shells, ranging from yellow, green and red. Painted turtles are basically found in North America, Mexico and Southern Canada. It's a pure carnivorous species that enjoys chicken flakes, worms, snails and beef extracts. It loves a rocky environment along with water for its surfing.

Those were the different types of small turtles. Make sure you are aware of its requirements before keeping it as your pet. I'm sure your kids will love playing with the cute little turtle.
By Saptakee Sengupta
Last Updated: 9/27/2011
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