While turtles might seem like the perfect pet – less work than dogs and cats, more interactive than fish – there are a few things to keep in mind before buying one.
Never take a wild turtle as a pet.
Chances are they won’t do well in captivity. Look into adopting a turtle from your local turtle society or www.petfinder.com before buying one. And if you do buy, make absolutely sure it’s been born in captivity.
Because many turtles carry salmonella, young children, the elderly, pregnant women and others at risk should avoid contact with turtles. Wash hands thoroughly after touching turtles, their cages or their feces, and do not touch your face, other people, or any surface until your hands have been washed. Connected to this risk, federal law prohibits selling turtles less than 4 inches in size because of the risk of children putting them in their mouths.
Pick right variety.
Some turtles that start out small can grow to the size of a garbage can lid, so do your homework ahead of time when selecting a type and gender of turtle to call your own. In many species, females grow to be much larger than their male counterparts
Caring for it
Turtles require a varied and sometime messy diet, room to roam in an aquarium and strict temperature control. Their habitat needs to be cleaned more often than many people realize, although water turtles require less maintenance than box turtle or other varieties.