How Much Does It Cost to Keep A Turtle? Budget for Food, Medical Costs, Other Supplies

There are many factors that interact with each other when you are planning to bring home a turtle. One of the major considerations is asking.. how much does it cost to keep a turtle?

And the answer to that question depends on these urgent factors. Where do you plan on getting a turtle from?

Adopting a turtle costs less than buying a turtle from a breeder. You can also get a turtle for free from shelters if you’re looking to save a turtle’s life.

As long as you are aware of the initial and continual costs of a turtle, you can make an informed decision about keeping a turtle and your budget for it.

How Much Does It Cost to Buy A Turtle?

The cost of adopting a turtle from a local pet store or shelter can cost anywhere from $10 to $40.

You may also find pet shops or shelters that do not charge anything for adopting a turtle. But you can pay what you like out of kindness for non-profit organizations that take care of animals.

You can also donate pet food and supplies if you don’t want to pay in cash.

The only drawback to adopting a turtle is that you don’t have a wide selection of turtles to choose from. You bring home a turtle that is in need of a home. Any personal preference goes out the window.

For people who have a specific request of a turtle species in mind, a breeder is another option. The cost is higher depending on the turtle breed and breeder you opt for.

But the average range for buying a turtle from a breeder is anywhere from $10 to $100.

The most expensive breed of turtle is the Common Wood Turtle. Some cost as much as $100 while other breeds, Painted Turtle, Box Turtle, and Red-Eared Slider are not so expensive.

Turtle breeders often charge more than shelters and local pet shops because they offer a variety of turtle species. The cost of maintenance and supplies are often factored into the final cost of the turtle.

How Much Does It Cost to Keep A Turtle?

1. Supplies

This section includes the cost of supplies, medical care, and other essential costs that go into taking care of a turtle at home.

Starting with supplies, which is the first thing you’ll need when you bring a turtle home. Remember with high-quality supplies, these are one-time investments that don’t cost a lot of money.

Except for food, supplies like the cage and bedding often last as long as a turtle does – a turtle, in captivity, can live anywhere from 10 – 60 years (average). Some turtles live for longer than 60 years in captivity if they are healthy and not suffering from any severe, life-threatening diseases.

Supplies include a cage, bedding, tank, food, and toys. The total cost of supplies for keeping a turtle is going to be from $200 to $700. Here’s a quick breakdown of what the cost includes.

A sturdy and spacious cage for a turtle is from $50 to $300. You can custom-make a cage as well which is probably going to cost you more. But since we’ve already established that it can last for a turtle’s lifetime, the high cost should not bother you.

Bedding, toys, carrier, and tank supplies all combined cost $100 to $350. Tank equipment and supplies cost more than bedding and toys put together. But again, just like the cage, it is fated to be a one-time investment.

2. Medical

This includes the cost of monthly to annual vet clinic visits. An annual vet check-up, for example, costs not more than $100.

Unlike other pets, turtles do not require yearly vaccinations or microchips or spaying/neutering. Probably the only time you have to take a turtle to the vet is when you first bring them home.

A vet will tell you to watch out for signs of distress or any other common illness among turtles. Turtles may suffer from worms or parasites such as tapeworms or flukes. The vet will prescribe some medication to treat it effectively.

Note: When a turtle is sick, any minor illness can quickly become life-threatening if not treated well. So make sure you take your turtle to the vet to get a thorough check-up every once a year.

But besides that, there is nothing a vet can do. Vaccinations are not necessary for reptiles as they are not yet available.

3. Food

How much does feeding a turtle cost? Different turtles have varied diets. But, overall, turtles are omnivores. And they eat insects and leafy greens and fruits.

Turtle feed is available in any pet store or if you don’t find any in your local pet store, you can also order it online. A bag of turtle food mixed with insects (earthworms or snails) along with nutritious fruits and leafy greens costs anywhere from $240 to $480 per year.

You don’t have to prepare the food especially. Just add the feed mix to a food bowl and place it next to your turtle’s bed or water bowl. It’s very rarely that turtles overeat. But you do have to limit the consumption of sweet fruits and give them as treats every once in a while. Turtles love them!

Can You Keep A Turtle On A Budget – Final Say

Taking care of a pet can’t get any cheaper than keeping a turtle! Turtles are low-maintenance pets and they do not demand much with regard to medical expenses, food expenses, and other costs.

But if you do want to cut back on some of the expenses I’ve talked about above, you can stick to a budget of $20 to $35 (monthly) for keeping a turtle healthy!

This doesn’t give you the license to cut back on supplies such as a sturdy cage, comfortable bedding, and nutritious food. Those are the things you have to pay for because it significantly impacts the turtle’s well-being and health.

You can choose to opt for a turtle to save breeder costs. Look for a local vet or an animal hospital that takes less than $10 for annual check-ups. Aside from these minor changes, keeping a turtle will cost you at least $400 or more annually.

Lisa Thompson

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