Costopedia / Pets / How Much Does a Turtle Cost?

How Much Does a Turtle Cost?

$ Primary Expenses: $100 - $600 $ $ Continuous Expenses: $370 - $830

Turtles are fascinating creatures that belong to the Testudines order, which is one of the most ancient reptile groups that still inhabit the Earth.

The most distinctive characteristic of turtles is their shell, which is their main defensive mechanism against predators.

These shells are part of the turtle’s skeleton and body, which makes it impossible for them to live without it.

There are over 350 species of turtles living in diverse environments, some living on land (commonly known as tortoises) while others are aquatic and can live in either freshwater or saltwater.

If you have been thinking about getting a turtle as a pet, there are a few things you should know about them first.

Is A Turtle The Right Pet For Me?

In some states or cities, it’s illegal to have turtles as pets because they can become a threat to local animals if they’re released to nature.

Check local laws before getting an exotic pet.

Most turtle species can live between 20 and 30 years, but some can live for 80 or even 100 years, so they are the true definition of a long-term commitment!

Although turtles can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, even the small ones need to be in a large and adequate habitat to stay healthy.

Turtles are not social animals, so you don’t need to have more than one at a time.

They are not recommended for small children because of their vulnerable size and because they can transmit Salmonella if they are not handled properly.

Good hygiene habits are fundamental when handling exotic pets, and turtles are no exception.

Primary Expenses

In this section, you will find the basic expenses you’ll have to make when first getting a turtle.

Adopting Or Buying A Turtle

Turtles can be found either in local shelters or on online rescue groups, and the price will vary according to the age, species, and what is included in the adoption fee.

Adopting a turtle can cost from $10 to $75.

If you prefer to buy a turtle, you can find different options in pet stores and professional breeders.

The average price range is from $20 to $100, depending on the species and age.

Avoid buying turtles or any other animal from street vendors in touristic areas.

These animals mostly come from the illegal trade, which affects animals and the environment.

Tank Or Habitat

The species of your turtle will determine the specific requirements its habitat should have.

Most turtles will need a combination of water and land, so it’s recommended to have a large glass tank that can be adapted to have both elements in the same space.

A tank usually costs between $30 and $250, whereas terrariums can be found from $80 to $350.


Some turtle species will need to have specific temperature and humidity levels, so it’s advised to buy a thermometer-hygrometer, which tends to cost from $5 to $15.

If your turtle spends most of its time in the water, it could need a water heater to maintain a suitable water temperature.

These cost between $4 and $50.

Turtles also need to get direct sunlight, but if this is not an option, you can get UV lamps for turtles that generally cost between $20 and $30.

A water filter is important to keep their environment in healthy conditions.

Water filters for turtles can cost from $20 to $50.

Continuous Expenses

Here you will find the most common things you’ll have to buy monthly or annually for your turtle.


In the wild, turtles can eat a great variety of food depending on their species and habitat.

Turtles in captivity can be fed with special food that comes in pellets and with dried shrimps or dried fruits and vegetables, for land turtles.

Feeding your turtle can cost between $240 and $480 per year.


Although it’s not necessary for aquariums, it can prove beneficial to add a natural substrate to the bottom of the tank.

This will allow the aquarium to feel more natural and authentic, so your turtle will adapt better.

Natural substrate can cost annually between $80 and $250.

Vet Visits

Turtles usually don’t need much medical attention if you keep them in the right environment and with a proper diet, but it’s still important to find a veterinarian that can check these exotic pets from time to time.

Annual check-ups can cost between $50 and $100.

Alessandra Spaziani Lara
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