All tortoises are turtles, but not all turtles are tortoises. Why? “Turtle” is a term used to describe any reptile that has a shell. However, they are both very different. So which one makes a better pet in the turtle vs. tortoise debate?
Turtle vs. tortoise: habitat
One of the biggest differences between keeping a tortoise and a turtle is how you house your new pet. Tortoises spend all of their time on land and love to dig down into burrows. They typically only drink a few times a week, and sometimes just bathe in water as they absorb it through their shells. However, turtles spend all of their time in or near the water and usually only come onto land a handful of times.
Turtle vs. tortoise: diet
Most tortoises are herbivores, but their individual diets depend on the species of tortoise you buy. Some prefer wild weeds, while others need some fruit and vegetables in their life to get a balanced diet. Amazingly, some species eat live food every now and then. Turtles are omnivores. This means they eat both meat and fresh food, and typically have a much broader diet as a result.
Turtle vs. tortoise: behavior
All turtles and tortoises are different from one another, but both species have their own behavioral patterns. Many tortoises are friendly enough but might start to ram into people – especially males – at certain times of the year. Turtles are known to recognize their owners as many swim to the top of their tans when they hear their human is near. The more attention you give your turtle, the more social they are likely to be.
Turtle vs. tortoise: buying your pet
Both turtles and tortoises come with the risk that they have been caught in the wild and taken to a pet store. It’s essential to make sure that you are buying from a reputable breeder and that your new pet has been bred in captivity. Many turtles and tortoises are endangered. This means they need to be protected in the wild at all costs. It’s important never to take a wild one back home.
Turtle vs. tortoise: cost
One of the biggest factors that come with a new pet is learning the cost of your animal. So how do tortoises and turtles fair? They both have their own expenses. Tortoises need special lights to make sure they are getting all the right nutrients for healthy shell growth. Plus, buying fresh food out of season could soon become expensive. However, turtles need proper filtration to keep the water at optimum levels which can work out costly in the long run.
There are many pros and cons that come with both animals, but the turtle vs. tortoise debate might not be simple. It’s best to think about what type of animal you want to welcome to your home before rushing into a decision. Thankfully, many reptile breeders are usually more than happy to help.