Skip to Content

Best Pet Tortoises For Your Home or Yard – All Turtles

If you’re thinking about getting a pet at home but you don’t want a conventional one like a cat or a dog, you might want to consider getting a tortoise. There are a lot of benefits that come with having a tortoise as a pet.

Besides not shedding their fur all over your furniture, tortoises don’t require a lot of maintenance and they can be in your family for a long, long time.

However, you cannot just pick up a tortoise from the wild and bring it home. Some tortoises are not meant to be pets, and you don’t want to make the mistake of bringing a wild tortoise home, which can be harmful to both the tortoise and your family.

In this article, we outline the best pet tortoises you can get for yourself today.

Table of Contents

  1. Advantages
  2. List of Best Tortoises
    1. Red-Footed Tortoise
    2. Greek Tortoise
    3. Indian Star Tortoise
    4. Sulcata Tortoise
    5. Marginated Tortoise
    6. Hermann’s Tortoise
    7. Leopard Tortoise
    8. Egyptian Tortoise
    9. African Pancake Tortoise
    10. Russian Tortoise
    11. Burmese Mountain Tortoise
    12. Elongated Tortoise
    13. Yellow-Footed Tortoise
    14. Chaco Tortoise
  3. FAQ
  4. Conclusion

Advantages of Having a Pet Tortoise

As mentioned earlier, tortoises come with a lot of benefits. If you’re on the fence about getting one for yourself, these pros might help make your decision easier.

Space and Exercise

Tortoises don’t take up a lot of space, nor are they extremely active. If you get a dog, you might spend half your day getting them the right amount of exercise that they need to be healthy. This isn’t a problem with tortoises, as they’re slow and won’t wander off if you leave them alone.

Low Maintenance

While conventional pets, and even exotic ones, might need a lot of changes from your side to make them comfortable, tortoises are surprisingly low maintenance.

This is especially true in winter when most of them hibernate. You only have to set up the right conditions for them to do so, and you can virtually forget about them for a few months.

Cleanliness

Tortoises are very clean. They don’t shed fur everywhere, they don’t smell, and grooming isn’t an issue with these animals.

If you’re a busy person and you need a clean pet around the house that you only have to feed once a day, a tortoise is an excellent option. There’s also no chance that they’ll mess up your furniture and pillows.

Age

If you get a dog or a cat, you know that you’ll have to say goodbye to them in a few years.

However, with tortoises, you get a friend for life, as a lot of them live for around 50 to 70 years, depending on the breed.

Best Pet Tortoises

Tortoises are wonderful pets, especially for reptile lovers. Of course, tortoises are very different from other pets such as cats and dogs. While these mammals can be easily interacted with, most tortoises are best left alone.

However, these magnificent creatures have their perks. They are generally exotic looking and make great display pets.

Here are the best pet tortoises in the world. These are easy to care for and are loved by millions all over the world.

1. Red-Footed Tortoise

Red-footed Tortoise (Chelonoidis carbonaria) on small pebbles and grass in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil
A Red-footed Tortoise (Chelonoidis carbonaria) on small pebbles and grass in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. – Source

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Testudinidae
  • Scientific Name: Chelonoidis carbonarius
  • Common Names: Red-footed tortoise
  • Average Adult Size: 11 to 14 inches
  • Lifespan: 50 years+
  • Average Price Range: $100 to $150

Quick Care Requirements

  • Food: Vegetables, fruits, and insects
  • UVB Lighting: Needed
  • Temperature Range: 60 – 86F
  • Basking Spot Temperature: 90 F

These tortoises are very easy to keep and interesting looking. They are moderately sized with an average carapace length of 12 inches.

The red spots on the feet of the species give it its common name. Although native to South America, they have been successfully bred on a large scale in North America.

These lovely tortoises are best housed outdoors. The species is most active in warm environments with a temperature range of 81 to 86 F. When kept indoors, a basking lamp with temperatures of 88 to 90 F must be installed.

The enclosure needs to be slightly humid. They need UVB radiation which helps the tortoise to metabolize calcium and helps regulate the pineal gland.

These pets eat plant matter and insects such as grub, earthworms, mealworms, and superworms.

One of the reasons for their popularity is the curious nature of the species. Generally, they do not shy away from human contact. The red-footed tortoise can live to be over 50 years.

Check out the Red-Footed Tortoise Care Guide for more!

2. Greek Tortoise

Greek Tortoise (Testudo graeca) walking through grass in Souss - Massa - Draa, Morocco
A Greek Tortoise (Testudo graeca) walking through grass in Souss – Massa – Draa, Morocco. – Source

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Testudinidae
  • Scientific Name: Testudo graeca
  • Common Names: Spur-thighed tortoise, Greek tortoise, and Mediterranean spur-thighed tortoise
  • Adult Size: 5 to 8 inches
  • Lifespan: 125 years
  • Average Price Range: $125 to $150

Quick Care Requirements

  • Food: Weeds, herbs, and greens
  • UVB Lighting: Needed
  • Temperature Range: 65 to 90 F
  • Basking Spot Temperature: 95 to 100 F

These relatively small tortoises are long-lived and have a lifespan of 125 years. As most Greek tortoises would outlive their keepers, you can adopt a Greek tortoise instead of paying for one.

As with the other tortoises in this article, they are best housed outdoors. As a Mediterranean species, they do well in dry warm enclosures.

Greek tortoises tolerate night temperatures of 65 F. During the day, they are most comfortable in temperatures of 75 to 85 F.

The Greek tortoise grows to a modest size of just 5 to 8 inches. As herbivores, they generally feed on weeds, and edible grass. You can supplement their diet with commercial tortoise food if you want them to gain weight.

These curious tortoises love to interact with their human keepers and explore their enclosure. They are particularly active during the day when they graze.

Their small size and active nature make them excellent pets for both novice and experienced keepers alike. Since they are long-lived, adopting one requires a long-term commitment.

Check out the Greek Tortoise Care Guide for more!

3. Indian Star Tortoise

Indian Star Tortoise (Geochelone elegans) walking through fresh grass in Matale, Sri Lanka
An Indian Star Tortoise (Geochelone elegans) walking through fresh grass in Matale, Sri Lanka. – Source

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Testudinidae
  • Scientific Name: Geochelone elegans
  • Common Names: Star Tortoise, Indian Star Tortoise
  • Adult Size: 6 to 15 inches
  • Lifespan: 30 to 80 years
  • Average Price Range: $300 to $600

Quick Care Requirements

  • Food: Grass, greens, and vegetables
  • UVB Lighting: Needed
  • Temperature Range: 80 to 90 F
  • Basking Spot Temperature: 90 F

As a protected species, ensure that you acquire a captive-bred star tortoise if you wish to acquire one. Their conservation status, according to the IUCN Red List, is vulnerable.

While many of these gorgeous tortoises are illegally collected and sold as pets, they are successfully captive bred in the States. As such, there is no reason to acquire a wild specimen.

These gorgeous tortoises have interesting star markings on their shell which is where they get their common names. As herbivores, they generally graze on grass and vegetation.

You can include greens, vegetables, and succulents in their diet. The tortoises are best housed outdoors. The pen needs to be at least 6 sq. ft. in size.

These tortoises are generally shy and do not appreciate being handled. While some keepers have had trouble caring for the species, their care is simple and straightforward. It just takes time for the Indian star tortoise to warm up to you.

Check out the Indian Star tortoise Care Guide for more!

4. Sulcata Tortoise / African Spurred Tortoise

African Spurred Tortoise also known as the Sulcata Tortoise(Geochelone (Centrochelys)
African Spurred Tortoise also known as the Sulcata Tortoise(Geochelone (Centrochelys)

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Testudinidae
  • Scientific Name: Centrochelys sulcata
  • Common Names: African spurred tortoise, sulcata tortoise, African spur thigh tortoise, and spurred tortoise
  • Adult Size: 33 inches
  • Lifespan: 70 years +
  • Average Price Range: US$50 to US$500

Quick Care Requirements

  • Food: Grass, weeds, and flowers
  • UVB Lighting: Needed (Sunlight is best)
  • Temperature Range: 50 to 100 F
  • Basking Spot Temperature: 100 F

The African spurred tortoise is probably the most popular tortoise kept as pets in North America. Although native to sub-Saharan Africa, this tortoise is surprisingly adaptive.

While hatchlings are extremely tiny about 1.5 to 2 inches in length, adults are massive attain carapace lengths of 33 inches, and weigh as much as 200 pounds.

These gorgeous tortoises are best housed outdoors in a big yard where it can explore. As massive reptiles, housing them indoors is not advisable.

The walls around their enclosure should be at least 2 ft. tall and 2 ft deep so they don’t burrow underneath the walls. Don’t use see-through mesh fences or walls, as the tortoise will try to go through the wall.

This can lead to injuries. Hides, shrubs, and cover should be provided. Also, the tortoise should have access to sunlight. These African tortoises are known to survive temperature drops as low as 20 F.

Although with temperatures below 45 F check on the tortoise regularly or better still bring them indoors until the temperature rises again.

While they may not be as long-lived as other turtles, expect them to live to 33 years. Make sure you are ready to care for a turtle before getting one. Additionally, if you must abandon one ensure you find a suitable home for it.

Tortoises are long-lived so unless a species have been popular as pets for at least a century, it is hard to determine their lifespan. They can easily live to be over 70 years though.

Check out the Sulcata Tortoise Care Guide for more!

5. Marginated Tortoise

Marginated Tortoise (Testudo marginata marginata) walking in straw in Athens, Greece
A Marginated Tortoise (Testudo marginata marginata) walking in straw in Athens, Greece . – Source

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginners
  • Family: Testudinidae
  • Scientific Name: Testudo marginata
  • Common Names: Marginated tortoise
  • Adult Size: 12 to 15 inches
  • Lifespan: 100 to 140 years
  • Average Price Range: $150 to $400

Quick Care Requirements

  • Food: Commercial diet and leafy greens
  • UVB Lighting: Needed
  • Temperature Range: 65 to 80 F
  • Basking Spot Temperature: 95 to 100 F

These precious tortoises are native to Italy, Sardinia, and Greece. Their moderate size and docile nature make them excellent pets for many.

As a species that likes to roam over large areas, a large outdoor enclosure is perfect.

If you have a large backyard and the temperatures are right, you can let this curious tortoise explore.

While these tortoises prefer to live outside, you can provide a suitable indoor enclosure especially if your locality is too cold. As far as night temperatures don’t fall below 60 F, the tortoise will be fine outside.

This tortoise eats commercially produced diets as well as leafy greens. For added roughage, you can include cacti in their diet.

To prevent hybridization, house Marginated tortoises only with their kind. These long-lived tortoises can live to be 100 to 140 years. Their activeness and small size make them excellent pets for many.

Check out the Marginated tortoise Care Guide for more!

6. Hermann’s Tortoise

Hermann's Tortoise (Testudo hermanni) in grass, leaves, and sand in Islas Baleares, Spain
A Hermann’s Tortoise (Testudo hermanni) in grass, leaves, and sand in Islas Baleares, Spain. – Source

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Testudinidae
  • Scientific Name: Testudo hermanni
  • Common Names: Hermann’s tortoise
  • Adult Size: 5 to 7 inches
  • Lifespan: 50 years
  • Average Price Range:

Quick Care Requirements

  • Food: Weeds and greens
  • UVB Lighting: Needed
  • Temperature Range: 75 to 85 F
  • Basking Spot Temperature: 95 to 100 F

If you want a low-maintenance pet, then Hermann’s tortoise is one for you. This species is very similar to other Mediterranean tortoises such as the marginated tortoise and the Mediterranean spur-thighed tortoise. (Both of which are included in this article.)

Hermann’s tortoise is quite an attractive tortoise. It has a colorful yellow and brown carapace that has made it a popular pet tortoise species.

As with most tortoises, Hermann’s tortoise thrives best in an outdoor setup. Since the species are best housed in a large enclosure, try to build an enclosure with a minimum length of 16 feet and a minimum width of 8 feet.

Hatchlings and juveniles can be kept indoors. Feed your Hermann’s tortoise a diet high in fiber, and calcium, and low in protein. Feed them a lot of weeds such as mulberry leaves, catsear, plantain, clover, and dandelion.

Greens to feed them, in case you have no access to edible weeds, include turnip greens, endive, radicchio, mustard greens, and collard greens.

The lifespan of these tortoises is hard to determine as information on the topic is scarce but we can safely assume that they will usually live to at least 50 years when taken care of properly.

Check out Hermann’s Tortoise Care Guide for more!

7. Leopard Tortoise

Leopard Tortoise (Psammobates pardalis)
Leopard Tortoise (Psammobates pardalis)

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Testudinidae
  • Scientific Name: Stigmochelys pardalis / Psammobates pardalis
  • Common Names: Leopard Tortoise, Tortuga leopardo (Spanish)
  • Average Adult Size: 12 to 27.5 inches (30 to 70 cm)
  • Lifespan: 50 to 100 years
  • Average Price Range: $200 to $450

Quick Care Requirements

  • Enclosure Size:  at least 24 ft² 
  • Food: Commercial diet, weeds, grass, hay, and leafy greens
  • UVB Lighting: Needed
  • Temperature Range: 65 °F at night; 80 to 90 °F during the day
  • Basking Spot Temperature: 90 °F

S. pardalis is a beautiful tortoise that is endemic to Subsaharan Africa – from South Sudan to South Africa.  This species has its carapace beautifully decorated with dark spots on a lightly colored background. This coloration and pattern look like what you would see on a leopard. This gives the species its common name.

There are two subspecies and these are S. p. pardalis and S. p. babcocki although this is heavily debated.

Offer your leopard tortoise a mix of leafy greens, flowers like dandelion & hibiscus, edible weeds, grasses, hay, and even a commercial diet such as Mazuri. The species also require a large enclosure. An enclosure with a size of 24 sq ft should be large enough for your turtle.

The species is relatively easy to acquire. As it is designated as a species of Least Concern by the IUCN, they are quite a thriving species. You should still ensure that you acquire the leopard tortoise legally.

As a relatively easy tortoise to keep, I recommend this tortoise to even beginners.

Check out the Leopard Tortoise Care Guide for more!

8. Egyptian Tortoise

Egyptian Tortoise (Testudo kleinmanni) on sand with black background
Egyptian Tortoise (Testudo kleinmanni) on sand with black background

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Testudinidae
  • Scientific Name: Testudo kleinmanni
  • Common Names: Egyptian tortoise, Negev tortoise, Kleinmann’s tortoise, and Leith’s tortoise
  • Average Adult Size: 5.7 inches (14.4 cm)
  • Lifespan: 50 years+
  • Average Price Range: $800 to $2000

Quick Care Requirements

  • Enclosure Size:  at least 6 ft² 
  • Food: Commercial diet, edible flowers like hibiscus, nestle, and dandelion, weeds, grass, hay, and leafy greens
  • UVB Lighting: Needed
  • Temperature Range: 73 to 77 °F at night and 98 to 105 °F during the day
  • Basking Spot Temperature: 100 to 105 °F

The Egyptian tortoise is endemic to Libya and Egypt although the species is probably extinct in Egypt which is ironic as the species is known as the Egyptian tortoise, the species is critically endangered. In the wild, the species is almost extinct. T. kleinmanni is considered the tiniest tortoise in the northern hemisphere. If you ever want to keep T. kleinmanni as a pet make sure that it is captive-bred.

The species is small and as such does not need a large enclosure. Just make sure that the enclosure is larger than 6 sqft. The turtle accepts commercial diets such as Mazuri. You should offer grasses, hays, weeds, edible flowers, and even leafy greens.

Overall T. kleinmanni is quite easy to care for and doesn’t require much room. However, the endangered nature of the turtle means that it is quite expensive.

Check out the Egyptian Tortoise Care Guide for more!

9. African Pancake Tortoise

Pancake Tortoise (Malacochersus tornieri) sitting on a rock in Samburu, Kenya
A Pancake Tortoise (Malacochersus tornieri) sitting on a rock in Samburu, Kenya. – Source

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Testudinidae
  • Scientific Name: Malacochersus tornieri
  • Common Names: Pancake tortoise, African pancake tortoise
  • Average Adult Size:  6 to 7 inches (15 to 18cm)
  • Lifespan: 35 years
  • Average Price Range: $450 to $1000

Quick Care Requirements

  • Enclosure Size: at least 6 ft² 
  • Food: Edible flowers like hibiscus, nestle, and dandelion, weeds, grass, hay, and leafy greens such as mustard, turnip, collard green, chicory, escarole, red and green leaf lettuce, endive, and romaine
  • UVB Lighting: Needed
  • Temperature Range: minimum of 65 °F at night and 75 to 85 °F during the day
  • Basking Spot Temperature: 85 to 90 F

Humidity level: 75%

Malacochersus tornieri is endemic to Zambia, Tanzania, and Kenya. This turtle is flattened so it’s about just an inch high.

This flattened appearance gives the species its common name. The flattened nature of the turtle actually makes it quite fast which is not surprising.

This turtle is sadly critically endangered and on the verge of extinction. This is down to the overcollection of the species for the international pet trade.

This makes keeping this turtle as a pet quite controversial. When getting a pancake tortoise, make sure it is captive-bred.

Caring for this turtle is very easy and is a suitable pet for even beginners.

Check out the Pancake Tortoise Care Guide for more!

10. Russian Tortoise

Russian Tortoise in eating Dandelions
Russian Tortoise in eating Dandelions

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Testudinidae
  • Scientific Name: Testudo horsfieldii / Agrionemys horsfieldii
  • Common Names: Horsfield’s tortoise, Russian tortoise
  • Average Adult Size: 5 to 10 inches (13 to 25 cm)
  • Lifespan: 50 years
  • Average Price Range: $150 to $500

Quick Care Requirements

  • Enclosure Size:  at least 10 ft² 
  • Food: Edible flowers like hibiscus, nestle, and dandelion, weeds, grass, hay, and leafy greens such as mustard, turnip, collard green, chicory, escarole, red and green leaf lettuce, endive, and romaine
  • UVB Lighting: Needed
  • Temperature Range: 70 to 95 F
  • Basking Spot Temperature: 95 to 100°F

Testudo horsfieldii is easy to care for and easy to find. Finding a specimen is also relatively easy. The enclosure size needed isn’t that demanding which is great.

An enclosure of about 10 sq ft should be good enough. The species require high temperatures during the day and cool temperatures during the night although never too cool.

The humidity levels should be around 60% or less. This isn’t a tortoise that thrives in high humidity. Luckily 60% is normal for most indoor and outdoor locations around the world.

This species is endemic to Russia as you can tell from the name. It is also endemic to Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Afghanistan, and China. 

The species is regarded as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. So ensure you acquire the turtle from a reputable source.

Check out the Russian Tortoise Care Guide for more!

11. Burmese Mountain Tortoise

Burmese Mountain Tortoise (Manouria emys) in green leaves in Sumatera Barat, Indonesia
A Burmese Mountain Tortoise (Manouria emys) in green leaves in Sumatera Barat, Indonesia. – Source

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Testudinidae
  • Scientific Name: Manouria emys
  • Common Names: Burmese black tortoise, brown tortoise, Asian giant tortoise
  • Average Adult Size: (50 to 60 cm)
  • Lifespan: 50 years+
  • Average Price Range: $500 to $1500

Quick Care Requirements

  • Food: Meat, fruit, edible flowers like hibiscus, nestle, and dandelion, weeds, grass, hay, and leafy greens such as mustard, turnip, collard green, chicory, escarole, red and green leaf lettuce, endive, and romaine 
  • UVB Lighting: Needed
  • Temperature Range: 50 to 80 F
  • Humidity Level: 80%

This turtle is relatively easy to care for although it can pose a number of challenges. The first is the lifespan of the species.

Since the turtle is new to the domestication scene, the lifespan is yet to be determined. As such these tortoises may live for decades and even close to a century. This tortoise is a lifelong companion if you wish to adopt one.

Since this chelonian is large, it needs a massive enclosure. You must have a yard in which the chelonian can roam. The pen outdoors should be higher than the chelonian. They do not usually burrow and they do not climb well. 

The temperatures need to cool and humidity needs to be high as they inhabit the cool humid mountainous forests of East Asia.

Although small as hatchlings, they get very huge.

Manouria emys is endemic to Bangladesh, northeastern India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Myanmar.

Check out the Burmese Mountain Tortoise Care Guide for more!

12. Elongated Tortoise

Elongated Tortoise (Chelonoidis microphyes) walking on concrete by greenery in Chumphon, Thailand
A Elongated Tortoise (Chelonoidis microphyes) walking on concrete by greenery in Chumphon, Thailand. – Source

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Testudinidae
  • Scientific Name: Indotestudo elongata
  • Common Names: yellow tortoise, elongated tortoise
  • Average Adult Size: 12 inches (30 cm)
  • Lifespan: 50 years+
  • Average Price Range: $150 to $500

Quick Care Requirements

  • Food: Leafy greens – mustard, turnip, collard green, chicory, escarole, red and green leaf lettuce, endive, and romaine, fruits, low-fat animal protein such as rehydrated cat pellets or cat chow sprinkled onto their greens or even worms
  • UVB Lighting: Needed
  • Temperature Range: 70 – 85 °F during the day, minimum of 60 °F at night
  • Humidity Level: 80%

Indotestudo elongata is a moderately difficult turtle to care for. While they are not overly difficult to care for, they can be tough for the inexperienced. Interestingly, I. elongata can eat a high protein diet and not easily suffer from pyramiding which is a deformity that can be caused by feeding a tortoise a high protein diet.

The temperatures during the day needn’t be high as these species live in cold/cool mountainous forests in East Asia. The species typically avoid the bright noon sun and bask early in the morning. Ensure there are several shades in your enclosure. You can have a pen with overgrown vegetation, I. elongata seems to appreciate this.

I. elongata feed on high protein diets such as earthworms, leafy greens, and fruits. The leafy greens can be provided more often with about ten percent fruit. A high protein diet can be offered weekly. Make sure to supplement the diet with calcium and vitamin D3.

I. elongata can be found across Southeast and South Asia. They can be found in Cambodia, Myanmar, Bhutan, Bangladesh, eastern India, and Nepal, and in scattered populations in Viet Nam, and Lao PDR. They can also be found in northwestern Malaysia.

Check out the Elongated Tortoise Care Guide for more!

13. Yellow-Footed Tortoise

Closeup of Yellow footed tortoies (Chelonoidis denticulata) in outdoor enclosure
Closeup of Yellow footed tortoies (Chelonoidis denticulata) in outdoor enclosure

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Testudinidae
  • Scientific Name: Chelonoidis denticulata
  • Average Adult Size: 16  to 20 inches (40 cm to 50 cm) 
  • Lifespan: 50 years+
  • Average Price Range: $150 to $500

Quick Care Requirements

  • Enclosure Size:  at least 32 ft² 
  • Food: Commercial tortoise diets like Mazuri, leafy greens like clover, mustard, turnip, collard green, chicory, escarole, red and green leaf lettuce, endive, and romaine
  • UVB Lighting: Needed
  • Temperature Range: 60 – 86F
  • Basking Spot Temperature: 90 degrees

This chelonian is quite difficult to care for and is not recommended for beginners. C. denticulata looks very much like the red-footed tortoise.  The hatchlings can be kept on a tortoise table however, once they are large in size, you will have to move them to a larger enclosure such as one which is 8 by 4 feet.

The enclosure should be quite warm with a temperature range of 60 degrees to 86 degrees. The basking area should have a temperature of about 90 degrees. This should allow the species to keep warm.

C. denticulata also needs UV radiation. This can be acquired from sunlight or UV light although sunlight is the best source of UV radiation.

An outdoor enclosure is recommended although you need to make sure that it is predator-proof. Even animals like dogs and raccoons can attack the turtle. There should be a lot of coverage such as sunblocking plants within the enclosure.

The species is endemic to South America in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, and Venezuela to name a few.

C. denticulata is regarded as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. As such, ensure you acquire the turtle from a reputable source.

Check out the Yellow Footed Tortoise Care Guide for more!

14. Chaco Tortoise

Chaco Tortoise (Chelonoidis chilensis) in enclosure on wood chip substrate
Chaco Tortoise (Chelonoidis chilensis) in its enclosure on wood chip substrate

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Testudinidae
  • Scientific Name: Chelonoidis chilensis
  • Other Names: Testudo Chilensis
  • Average Adult Size: 8 inches (20 cm)
  • Average Price Range: $700 to $1500

Quick Care Requirements

  • Enclosure Size:  at least 16 ft² 
  • Food: Weeds, grass, Leafy greens like clover, mustard, turnip, collard green, chicory, escarole, red and green leaf lettuce, endive, and romaine
  • UVB Lighting: Needed
  • Temperature Range: 60 – 86F
  • Basking Spot Temperature: 90 degrees

This turtle is quite difficult to come across and can be expensive to acquire. The care of this turtle is however similar to that of other South American turtles such as the red-footed tortoise and the yellow-footed tortoise.

Chelonoidis chilensis needs a low humidity enclosure. Hatchlings can be kept in turtle tables but adults need a pen with a size of at least 4 by 4 ft.

This chelonian can be found in the Chaco region of Paraguay and Argentina. The species gets its common name from this region. This region is semi-arid and has high biodiversity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I keep an American tortoise as a pet?

It is essential to know that tortoises endemic to the United States cannot be kept as pets and these include captive breeds. This is because it is illegal to keep an endangered/threatened species as pets and all turtles native to the United States are considered endangered. Because of this, the turtles on this list aren’t endemic to the United States.

For more information check this governmental site.

Apart from American tortoises, even the ones listed on this list can be illegal to keep as pets. This is dependent on the CITES status and the chelonian’s conservation status of your locale.

What is the easiest tortoise to keep?

Some of the easiest tortoises to keep as pets include the marginated tortoise, the sulcata tortoise, Hermann’s tortoise, and the pancake tortoise. The pancake tortoise is tiny and as such doesn’t need a lot of space which can be convenient for people with little space.

Why should you keep a tortoise as a pet?

Tortoises are lifelong pets. Most tortoises will live past 50 years. As such they are lifelong companions. They are easy to care for compared to other exotic pets. Tortoises require little attention and are hardy. Because of this even beginners can care for most pet tortoise species.

Why you shouldn’t keep a tortoise as a pet?

While having a tortoise as a pet can be great, there are things you need to consider before getting one. Here are some of the reasons why you shouldn’t get a turtle. They require special care. The diet and expert care for these animals can be tricky to come by as they are not as popular as pets such as dogs and cats.

Conclusion

Tortoises are among the best and most popular pet choices for many all over the world. These docile creatures usually grow to be over 100 years and as such require commitment.

As with any pet, it is always best to acquire a captive-bred instead of a wild tortoise. When getting a tortoise, try to get one that matches your personality as well as your lifestyle.

You have many species to choose from. We created this best pet tortoises list with the aim of simplifying the selection process. If you have any comments or information regarding tortoises, kindly leave a comment.

In this article, we’ve mentioned the best pet tortoises that you can get for yourself today. If you’re a potential owner of one of these adorable creatures, check out our other informative articles about pet tortoises and turtles before you go!

Click to rate this post!
[Total: 14 Average: 4.4]

Sharing is caring!

Liz C.

Sunday 19th of September 2021

Hello, I just got a baby Sulcata Tortoise. She is just 3 weeks old. I've noticed the edges of her shell are spiked and rugged. All the pictures of Sulcata have a smooth line. Is this something I need to be concerned about? Thanks, Liz

Leila Love Godinez

Monday 24th of May 2021

Opps sorry I’m looking for the Green turtle

Helen

Friday 28th of August 2020

I am looking to get 2 tortoises as pets to have in my fenced yard.

Gene Olson

Tuesday 18th of August 2020

What are the tortosis species found in the desert?. I have had a tortosis I found in the city and have had for 65 plus years (female). She is being passed down to each generation of my children who want her and have the space (large yard) to keep her. Recently laid an egg and we never seen this before, just figure maybe she has laid eggs and we never found them. How long can she keep laying eggs? Lives in California and eats all kinds of fruits and veggies and flowers. She does hibernate.

jacqueline

Friday 29th of May 2020

My tortoise needs help.

Carla Curran

Friday 4th of December 2020

@Carla Curran, What is wrong with your tortoise? You don't give very much explanation

Carla Curran

Friday 4th of December 2020

@jacqueline,