Turtle vs Tortoise As a Pet

Turtle vs Tortoise As a Pet: Which One To Choose and Why?

Turtles and tortoises are almost the same to look at. Most people can not recognize them by their appearance. So, while buying one, they easily get confused about which one is suitable for them.

So, Turtle vs Tortoise as a pet: Which one to choose and why? Turtles mostly live in the water and are not so friendly. Their maintenance cost is high. But you need not to think more about their food as they eat both plants and animals. Alternatively, the tortoise remains in the ground and is more friendly. But you need to be careful about their bath and drinking.

This is only a gist of the article. You will get more differences between these two animals. Stay with this article to know the advantages and disadvantages of having one.

Turtle vs Tortoise As a Pet: Which One To Choose and Why?: Short Comparison


Choosing a perfect pet is always difficult. The following table will help you to get quick ideas about both of the pets.

Requirement of waterMost of the dayLess time in the water
Lifespan60 to 70 yearsAbout 100 years
Size36 to 48 inch4 to 30 inch
Eating habitOmnivorousHerbivorous
BehaviorTakes more time to be free with humans.Takes less time to get free with humans.
Price$20 to $200 or more$50 to $300 or more

If you are in a hurry, this table will help you. Take a look at the detailed discussion if you have enough time.

Turtle vs Tortoise As a Pet – A Detailed Comparison

Both the advantages and disadvantages are discussed below in the points. The following discussion will help you to choose the perfect one for you.

Turtle vs Tortoise As a Pet

Requirement of Water

Both the turtle and tortoise are reptiles, but their requirements are different. Turtles need to stay in the water almost all day. But the tortoise does not need to stay as much as a turtle. Turtles rarely stay out of water.

While having a tortoise you have to be careful about their daily water intake. The turtle gets enough water to drink. But as tortoises live out of water, you need to give it water timely for drinking.

Changing the water of your turtle is important. Because dirty water invites many bacteria and fungi into the water, which causes shell rot in turtles. Also, if you have a tortoise, keep an eye on its cleanliness. Give it a bath once a week.

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You can take help from this video to bathe your tortoise.


A pet owner always wants to stay with their pet till death. Turtles can live around 60 to 70 years. On the other hand, a tortoise can live about 80 to 100 years. As a pet their lifespan can increase because of proper food and less risk of predators. However, if you want a pet with a long lifespan, tortoises can go well.

Turtle Lifespan


While having a pet, you have to ensure their maintenance also. The turtle stays most of the time in water. So, you need to give your turtle a false underwater setup.

You have to ensure false plants, rocks, UV light, a basking spot, and a heat lamp. UV light has an effect on turtle’s behavior and their growth.

Whereas for refreshment, you can allow your tortoise to walk in an open yard full of grass.

Tortoise Maintenance


Never built an enclosure, seeing these two pets small size. They gradually increase in size and take more place in adulthood. Try to build a big enclosure while buying.

An adult turtle is about 36 to 48 inches. For one inch of the turtle, it needs a place that can carry 10 to 15 gallons. 

A tortoise can be 4 to 30 inches. It varies as tortoises are of different types. Whenever you buy one, be careful about its type.

Tortoise Size

Eating Habit

The turtle is omnivorous, whereas the tortoise is herbivorous. But they prefer animal origin more.

The young turtles need more food as that is their growing period. So, you must ensure proper calcium and magnesium. Insects, worms, and small pieces of fish will work well for them. But the adult turtle can live on only plant origin.

Turtle Eating Habit

On the other hand, the tortoise only eats plant origin. You can give lettuce, pieces of carrots, dandelion, and other green leafy veggies.

Turtles give the owners more options for feeding than the tortoise. In many countries, veggies are highly expensive. Having a pet like a turtle will be the best option for the people belonging to these countries. The tortoise will be best for those countries where veggies are less expensive.

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Turtles are aquatic animals. They are harmless and shy. Also, as they are aquatic, they always have a fear of predators. They need more time to get free with their owners.

On the other hand, the tortoises are earthbound. They meet more land-bound animals than turtles. So, while living with humans, they take less time to get friendly. After buying a turtle or tortoise, make sure it is free from bacteria. Both free-living turtles and tortoises carry salmonella. Close contact can affect you.

Tortoise Behavior


Price can both motivate and demotivate a buyer. You can buy a turtle at $20 to $200. If you live in a country where turtles are rare, then the amount can fluctuate and increase.

On the other hand, you can buy a tortoise for $50 to $300. But the rare type of tortoise can cost more.

Hope the discussion will help you to pick the right pet for you.

Turtle Price


These are some commonly asked questions by people about turtles and tortoises.

Q. What is the price of a rare tortoise?

The Price of a rare tortoise can be up to 1.5 million. Aldabra giant tortoises can cost this much. It is a rare tortoise and can live up to 180 years.

Q. How often should I give food to my pet turtle?

The frequency and amount of food depend on what type of turtle you have. However, you should give calcium and magnesium-rich food two times a day to the young turtle. For the adult, once daily will be good. Give twice if previously given a small amount.

Q. Which veggies and fruits should not be given to the tortoise?

Oxalic acid-containing food should not be given to the tortoise. Avoid veggies like broccoli, daffodils, spinach, and cauliflower. You should not give your pet citrus fruits, strawberries, bananas, and melons.


To choose between a turtle vs tortoise as a pet, you need to go through several factors. Their enclosure, diet, maintenance, lifespan, and price are all important. Buy the one which can meet more demands of yours. The turtle will eat whatever you give them. It will not disturb you if you do not give it time.

On the other hand, you can get many varieties while buying a tortoise. Having a vegetarian pet will be best for the vegetarian people as well. Also, it is a friendly animal with a long lifespan. Think about your priorities before buying!

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