If you’re considering buying a pet turtle, you might be wondering how big your new pet will get. Well, how big a turtle gets can vary greatly depending on its species. So, with so many different types of turtles, there is no average size. That being said, there is usually a big difference between the size of sea turtles and land turtles.
Largest Turtles Ever
- Largest sea turtle: The largest sea turtle species, both in length and body mass, is the leatherback turtle. The leatherback is the largest living marine turtle. They weigh between 550 and 2,000 lbs with lengths of up to 6 feet. They feed primarily on jellyfish.
- Largest land turtle: The largest living giant tortoise live on the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific and Seychelles in the Indian Ocean. The straight-line length of their high-domed shells approaches 4 feet. Some of these giant tortoises weigh more than 400 pounds.
How Big do Turtles Get?
The size of a turtle is dependent on what type of species the turtle is. Most pet turtle species reach a size of 4 to 12 inches.
Here are some common turtle species and the size they usually reach:
- Western painted turtles: Painted turtles range in size from 4 to 10 inches.
- Red-eared sliders: These common aquatic turtles can range in size from 5 to 12 inches. Female red-eared turtles are typically larger than males. Red-eared sliders can live up to 30 years.
- Eastern box turtles: Eastern box turtles range in size from 4 to 8 inches. In the wild, Eastern box turtles can live up to 100 years.
- Texas map turtles: Texas map turtles range in size from 2.75 to 8.5 inches.
- Wood turtles: Wood turtles can grow up to 9 inches.
- Musk turtles: Musk turtles can range in size from 5 and 7 inches in length, and can weigh between 2 and 3 pounds.
The size and the weight of a turtle can drastically differ from individual to individual. The most important factors that impact their size are age, diet, gender, habitat, and UV light. To learn more, check out my article on turtle lighting requirements.
It is important that you anticipate how big your turtle will be so that you get the right turtle tank size. You should plan on getting tank that has at least 10 gallons of water for every 1 inch of length. Therefore, if you get a red eared slider, you should try to get a tank that is at least 120 gallons since adult red eared sliders can get up to 12 inches long.
What is the biggest turtle ever?
Archelon is an extinct giant sea turtle that lived roughly 80 to 66 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period. It is the largest known turtle ever to live on the planet. It grew to sizes roughly 13 feet in length with the biggest specimen measuring 15 feet from head to tail and 2,200 kg (4,900 lb) in weight.
The largest living turtle of all is undoubtedly the leatherback sea turtle. The largest leatherback turtle ever recorded was 2,56 m (8.4 feet) long and weighed 916 kg (2,019 lbs).
What is the lifespan of turtles?
Turtles are known to live longer lives as compared to other pets. A common pet turtle can live between 10 to 50 years or so. Some species of large tortoises such as the desert tortoise can easily live from 80 to 100 years. Larger sea turtles typically live about 80 years. Some accounts and documents show that they could live for more than 200 years! However, these reports are not confirmed.
Quick fact: In general pet turtles tend to be bigger than wild turtles. The reason is that they have access to better diet and living conditions. They also usually live longer than turtles in the wild.
Difference Between Male and Female Turtle size
In general, female turtles tend to be bigger than their male counterparts. The size difference is not always very significant. Usually, female turtles around around 1 inch bigger than male turtles, but this number can vary.
You should expect slow growth
Many pet owners want their baby turtles to grow large quickly. However, this is not a realistic expectation. Turtles are designed to grow very slowly. Factors that can affect the size of a turtle include its diet, amount of UV light it receives, temperature and living conditions.
To accelerate the growth rate of turtles, you need to give them a healthy and balanced diet. Also, provide them with an ideal environment to develop and grow at a healthy rate. You should ensure that the temperature and humidity of the enclosure are desirable for the box turtle.
You can learn more in my article on what temperature should a turtle tank be?
Wrapping It Up
If you are considering adding a turtle as a pet in the family, you must know how big that turtle species can grow. Depending on species, a pet turtle can grow to nearly a foot long. Make sure your pet turtle has room to grow and require correspondingly large enclosures.
This is especially true for aquatic turtle species, as they will definitely need plenty of room to swim around and stay active.
Always remember that pet turtles have a greater chance of growing bigger than most wild turtles.