How Long Does It Take For a Turtle to Grow?

Maybe you just got a new turtle, and you are wondering how long it will take for them to reach their full size. You may also want to know how to tell the age of a turtle. We will cover both of these questions in this article.

How Long Does It Take For a Turtle to Grow?

While it depends on the species of turtle and their living conditions, most turtles reach their full size between the age of 5 and 8 years.

The growth of a turtle is not necessarily linear. This means that a turtle will achieve the most growth in the first 4 years of life. After they are 4 years old, they will continue to grow for a couple more years, but at a much slower rate. Just about every pet turtle species will reach their full size by the time they are 10 years old.

It is very important that you get a big enough turtle tank. A general rule of thumb is to have a tank that has 10 gallons for each inch of a turtle’s shell. One of the biggest mistakes that turtle owners make is getting a tank that is too small. Since turtle’s can continue to grow until they are 8 years old, it is important to make sure you have a tank that gives the turtle enough space.

While it can be costly, I strongly recommend getting a new tank if your turtle starts to grow out of the current one.

Factors That Affects a Turtle’s Growth Rate

Healthy Diet

It’s impossible to overestimate the value of a well-balanced diet. You must feed your turtle appropriately if you want it to develop at the proper pace.

(Species/Subspecies) Genetics

Different species and subspecies have different rates of development. Similarly, two turtles of the same sex and subspecies that are fed the same diet and held in the same environment can develop at different rates.

Conditions in the Environment

UV visibility, water quality and quantity, enclosure space, hiding spots, basking spots, and temperature are all important factors in effective development.

How to tell the age of a turtle?

If you have bought a pet turtle from a store or adopted an adult pet, determining its exact age can be challenging (if not impossible.)

There are, however, accurate methods for determining your turtle’s age. Counting the rings on the back of a turtle’s shell is perhaps the oldest practice. However, since these rings can dull over time, this may not be a precise process. If you combine this technique with additional detail, you can get pretty close to figuring out how old your turtle is.
To use this method of ring counting, you must first determine if your turtle is a hard-shelled type or a soft-shelled type, as soft-shelled turtles do not shape these lines.

Examine the scale-like segments or scutes that make up your turtle’s carapace until you’ve decided that it’s a hard-shelled turtle. As turtles mature, they produce a layer of these lines.

It’s also worth noting that turtles kept in a good environment in captivity, with a plentiful supply of nutritious food, can grow faster and thus produces more than one ring per year.

The age of a turtle can also be measured by the darkness of its shell in certain classes or species. The shells of Red-Eared Turtles and Reeves Turtles, for example, darken as they get older. Another factor to consider when deciding age is that the lines on the shells of younger turtles are usually more distinct or pronounced. Owing to daily wear and tear, the scutes of older turtles may appear faint or dissipated, and their shells may appear stressed, with scratches and pits, and even be chipped off.


Another step in determining a turtle’s age is to decide its size or weight. Compare the turtle’s statistics to the average for the genus. It’s likely that your turtle is a young one if it’s tiny. Female turtles are typically larger than male turtles, regardless of their age. These critical data can be used to calculate the age of a turtle.
Despite the fact that these animals can live for over a century, the threats they face have put many of them on globally endangered species lists, with many varieties on the verge of extinction. Man has profoundly affected the life expectancy of all of these magnificent animals. It is the duty of the pet owner to ensure that the turtle’s food, shelter, and other needs are met so that it can live to its full potential.

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