Turtles outlive most other creatures. Certain elements contribute to their ability to live for a long time. As a pet owner, you should be aware of how long your turtle will live.

What is the average lifespan of a pet turtle? Pet turtles can live for 20 to 40 years on average if properly cared for. Some pet turtle species can live for 100 years or more!

Due to predation and other issues, wild turtles often do not live as long. Knowing how to properly care for your pet turtle can ensure that they have a long and happy life.

Continue reading to find out how long pet turtles live and how you can ensure they live as long as possible.

What is the average lifespan of a pet turtle?

A pet turtle’s lifespan is determined by the species it belongs to, the type of care it receives, the food it is fed, and its living conditions.

Although it is impossible to predict a pet turtle’s exact lifespan, you can be confident that if you give your turtle the attention it needs, it will live longer. The majority of turtles can live for more than two or three decades.

Many can live for 100 years or more, and if you are the owner, they may outlive you.

If a turtle survives its first few years, you can bet it will live far longer than you thought. Here are some of the most common pet turtles, as well as their approximate life spans.

  • Red-Eared Slider — 25–35 years.
  • Painted Turtle — 25–30 years.
  • Leopard Tortoise — 100 years or more Greek Tortoise — 100 years or more
  • Russian Tortoise — at least 40 years.
  • African Sideneck Turtles – around for 50 years.
  • Eastern Box Turtle — at least 50 years.
  • Reeve’s Turtle – around for 20 years.
  • Wood Turtle – 40-55 years.
  • Musk Turtles – about 30 to 50 years.
  • Map Turtle – about 15 to 25 years.
  • Mud Turtles live for 15 to 20 years.

The Red-Eared Slider is the most common pet turtle in the United States and many other nations. So, if you choose a Red-Eared Slider like many others, you may expect the turtle to live for 25 to 35 years.

The Western Painted Turtle, Eastern Box Turtle, Wood Turtle, and Mud Turtle are prominent turtle species.

Larger tortoises and turtles can live for hundreds of years. Smaller species, such as those often classified as pets, have shorter lifespans.

Others giant tortoises have survived for about 200 years, and some have lived for considerably longer.

According to records, the longest-living Tortoise is Adwaita, an Aldabra giant tortoise. This turtle was a resident of an Indian Zoo.

According to zoo statistics, Adwaita lived for up to 255 years before dying. Regrettably, the dates listed in the record cannot be validated.

Aside from Adwaita, there are additional long-lived tortoises. Tu’i Malila, a radiated tortoise, lived for up to 188 years; Jonathan, a Seychelles giant tortoise, lived for up to 187 years; Harriet, a Galapagos giant tortoise, lived for up to 175 years; and Timothy, who lived for up to 160 years.

Pet turtle lifespans might vary because a lot depends on how well their owners care for them. However, provided the pet owner provides some care and upkeep for their pet, their pet turtle will live considerably longer than other pets such as dogs, cats, birds, and fish.

Common Dangers

Be aware of the common diseases that harm your turtle’s species. This will assist you in determining how to avoid them or detect signs early.

In pet turtles, abscesses, shell diseases, respiratory illnesses, and parasites are all very frequent. 

Abscesses and lung infections are frequently caused by a Vitamin A deficiency, whereas shell infections are typically caused by poor water quality or an injury.

Unless your veterinarian does regular fecal testing on your pet, you’re unlikely to spot parasites.

Turtles in outdoor ponds or tortoises in the backyard are more vulnerable to predation and the elements than their indoor counterparts.

The everyday dangers for an outdoor turtle are substantially higher than those for an indoor turtle, so make sure your pond or environment is secure from predators and has enough weather protection. 

Other pets and wildlife may consume or harass an outside pet turtle. Make certain your pet cannot escape the environment by tunneling under the fencing.

Keep wild animals away from your pet as they may carry diseases.

How to keep your pet turtle healthy for as long as possible

You are the key to your pet turtle’s long existence. Don’t think that just because your pet can live a long time means it doesn’t require much attention from you.

It is vital to keep an eye on your turtle so that he or she can be your buddy for many years. Here are some tips to help you keep your pet turtle alive for as long as possible.

It is expected of you to purchase a terrarium in which to keep your pet turtle(s). This will be their home, where they will be safe from the elements and other animals.

The smallest terrarium you should get is 29 gallons. It should be 18 inches tall, 18 inches broad, and 4 feet long at the very least.

Fill the terrarium with the appropriate amount of dirt, tiny stones, and water. The water should be neither too deep nor too shallow.

If the turtles are still young, they may drown if the water becomes too deep. They’re still figuring out how to swim.

Inside the terrarium, make sure the turtles have constant access to land and water. Maintain a steady temperature of about 86°F or 30°C for the air and water inside the terrarium.

Installing a tank filter will save you from having to change the water every day. You simply need to change the water in a tank filter every two or three days.

Give your pet turtles food twice a day. Keep an eye on the physical conditions or characteristics of your pet turtles.

Any change in their typical physical condition could indicate an illness. Look for puffy eyes, shell discoloration, not eating their food, and so on.

If you detect any of these symptoms in your pet turtles, contact a veterinarian. The vet will know just what to do.

The appropriate food will make a significant impact on the life of your pet turtle. When pet owners fail to feed their pets on a regular basis with the proper food, they develop health concerns.

Follow these guidelines to properly feed your pet turtle.

  • If your pet turtle is 6 months old, feed it veggies and protein daily. Consult your veterinarian to determine the appropriate amount of each.
  • If your pet turtle is 6 to 12 months old, feed it veggies daily and protein every other day.
  • If your pet turtle is over a year old, feed it veggies every day and protein three times a week.

Most turtles love romaine lettuce, bok choy, dandelion leaves, kale, collard greens, and mustard greens as vegetables.

They will eat feeder fish, daphnia, mealworms, cooked meat, earthworms, silkworms, shrimp, wax worms, krill, crickets, and snails for protein.

If pet turtle owners do not clean the terrarium on a regular basis, the turtles’ health problems will worsen.

The most common concerns in captive reptiles are calcium and Vitamin A deficits.

There are other pathogenic germs that can make pet turtles sick. Salmonella is a prevalent illness in captive turtles. Humans are also at risk because infected turtles might transmit it to them.

As a result, pet turtle owners must keep their terrariums clean to protect their creatures from developing this ailment.

Why do turtles have such long lives?

There are various theories that attempt to explain turtles’ long lifespans. You are aware that the life expectancy of your pet turtle is primarily determined by how well you care for it.

But, with that out of the way, three theories attempt to explain their longevity.

Metabolism at a Slow Rate

The pace of aging slows down with a slow metabolism. Disease transmission from other animals or the environment is also reduced.

Turtles can also go for lengthy periods without water or food because of their innate ability.

This is also the cause of their poor development rate. Turtles are slow, and they grow slowly as well. Because of their sluggishness, they age slowly.

Despite their modest growth pace, they continue to expand.

Slow Way of Life

Turtles lead calm, stress-free lives. They are extremely submissive. The largest and oldest of them only consume veggies and green foods that are low in cholesterol and fat.

They appear to have longer lives due to an excellent balance of healthy diet and healthy living.

Peaceful Way of Life

Turtles are recognized for their calm and unaffected way of living, even when the conditions aren’t ideal. There aren’t many animals that are as gentle and nice as turtles.

Their gentle nature aids them in avoiding confrontations with larger predators and even other turtles.

As a result, they will not be involved in many battles for most of their lives. It aids the turtle in remaining injury-free and living a long life.

Another aspect of the calm turtle’s life is its nutritious nutrition. Most turtles will consume green leaves and vegetables while avoiding cholesterol and fats.

To meet their nutrient requirements, they will occasionally consume live fish, shrimp, or worms. Turtles live a healthy and longer life because they avoid cholesterol and lipids in their diet.

Improved Reproduction

According to one view, their extended lifetimes give them an edge in their evolution. It increases their reproductive potential.

They will have more opportunities to mate and reproduce as they live longer. Their thick and robust shells also provide them with great protection from predators.

This allows them to relax and take their time with reproduction.

The strong shell:

Turtles have one of the most durable shells in the animal kingdom. Turtles’ tough shells protect them from predators and natural disasters. As a result, it significantly increases turtles’ life span.

How long can pet turtles go without eating?

If you are gone from home for an extended period of time, like on a vacation abroad, you must consider your turtle’s diet. Is it possible for your pet turtle to go that long without food and water?

If your adult pet turtle is relatively robust and healthy, it can go for months without food or water. So, if you’re going away for a month or two, you won’t have to worry about a dead pet turtle.

In fact, hibernating turtles go months without food or water.

Turtles will hibernate in the wild when the temperature drops below 50°F (10°C). Their metabolism slows dramatically while they are hibernating.

It slows to almost a standstill in terms of activity. This is when they can go for months without eating or drinking.

Turtles kept as pets or in captivity do not hibernate for the following reasons:

  • The temperature in their tanks or terrariums does not fluctuate dramatically throughout the year. This ailment discourages them from hibernating.
  • Their food supply is consistent. Pet turtles do not need to hibernate because food and water are always available.
  • UVB rays are regularly emitted in their tanks, which helps to suppress pathogenic organisms. This, however, discourages them from hibernating.

When they are left with nothing to eat, such as when you are on vacation, they will still be alive when you return. There is a story about a man who thought he had lost his pet turtle.

He found his turtle two years later, and it is still alive, albeit malnourished. The turtle had fallen beneath the house’s foundation.

The turtle survived for two years by eating bugs and small creatures.

How long can a Turtle survive without water?

It varies by species, but most aquatic turtle species can survive for weeks out of water in a damp or humid environment. Though it is not suggested that an aquatic turtle be deprived of water, the turtle can tolerate being out of the water if necessary.

If you need to relocate your turtle to another location, it will survive for a few days without water. It is preferable if the transport box can be kept damp.

To make the cargo box more humid, I like spilling water inside it.

Pet turtles: Can they survive in the wild?

Pet turtles will not survive in the wild. It is never a good idea to release a pet turtle into the wild. Turtles raised in captivity as pets cannot adjust to the harsh wild environment.

There is also the possibility that the pet turtle is not native to your area and hence cannot interbreed with the wild turtle species.

There have also been reports of pet turtles carrying diseases that could threaten the wild turtle population. You should never let your pet turtle free in the wild.

If you cannot commit to the obligation, you must locate another responsible owner for your turtle.

If your pet turtle is also infected with an illness, it is even more inappropriate to release it into the wild. It may spread the disease to the local turtle population with which it will come into contact in the wild.

If you need assistance, check for a local herpetology society in your area. There are also numerous wildlife websites where you can receive assistance.

How long can you keep a turtle as a pet?

This is a question you must answer before purchasing a pet turtle. You should be able to commit to it once you get it home from the pet shop now that you know how long pet turtles can live.

It is simple to obtain a pet turtle. You will be able to purchase a pet turtle if you have enough money to buy the turtle, its food, living quarters, and accessories.

The most critical factor, though, is your dedication to the turtle.

Are you committed to feeding them on a regular basis? You should also commit to cleaning their tank on a regular basis. This will not be a problem if you are a serious turtle enthusiast.

However, if you are simply inspired by a craze, reconsider. Fads come and go, but the turtle will always be there because it can live a long time.


So, how long can you expect a pet turtle to live? Pet turtles, such as the most common species, the Red-Eared Slider, have a lifespan of 30 to 40 years.

They can survive this long if you provide them with all they require, such as food, water, housing, and TLC. Other pet turtle species can live much longer, up to 100 years or more.

Owning and caring for a pet turtle can provide numerous advantages. The easygoing nature of a turtle might rub off on you, especially if you are stressed out.

Its slow and relaxed movements might teach you key survival lessons. You may be unaware that it is also taking care of you while you are taking care of it.