How Long Do Turtles Live? (And How To Keep Yours Healthy And Happy)

Keep your turtle thriving 🐢

While you can’t predict exactly how long any one turtle will live for, you can get a general idea based on a couple of factors.

We reached out to Dr. Megan Conrad, a veterinarian working with Hello Ralphie, to find the answer to the question: How long do turtles live?

How long do turtles live on average?


A turtle can potentially live anywhere from 20 to 50 years, and it’s estimated that some wild sea turtles could possibly live to the age of 100!

These are some average pet turtle lifespans:

Red-eared sliders: Up to 40 years
Painted turtles: Up to 40 years
African sideneck turtles: Approximately 25 years
Map turtles: Approximately 25 years

“Pet turtles in the past didn’t tend to have this longevity due to not getting proper care, and this care is still necessary for pets to live for decades,” Dr. Conrad told The Dodo. So if you want your turtle to live a long, happy life, you’ll want to make sure you’re taking proper care of her.

How to keep your turtle healthy

Adriana Iacob/

Keeping your turtle healthy isn’t the hardest thing in the world, but it does take some strategy and the right supplies.

The ideal turtle environment

“Aquatic and semi-aquatic turtles, which are the most common pet turtles, need an environment with water that’s kept clean (generally via a filtration system and water changes) and at the correct temperature,” Dr. Conrad said.

Turtles also need an area to spend time out of the water, and this area must be maintained at a certain temperature range. “Turtles need a source of UVB and UVA light, as this provides them with vitamin D3 they need to prevent specific health problems,” Dr. Conrad said.

Light sources specifically made for reptiles are available, but make sure you’re getting one that’s made for turtles, specifically, since some reptile lights are made for other kinds of reptiles, like desert lizards.

Like this Lucky Herb UVA UVB Reptile Light from Amazon for $18

In general, your turtle tank should be kept at three separate temperatures, depending on the area.

The water: 72–77 degrees Fahrenheit
The wet side of the tank: 75–85 degrees Fahrenheit
The dry side of the tank (with a lamp): 85–90 degrees Fahrenheit

A proper diet

Diet is an important factor in keeping a turtle in good health. “Pet turtles are usually omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals,” Dr. Conrad said.

Commercial reptile food can be a good diet for your turtle, supplemented with greens (like kale and mustard greens) and insects (that you can get from your local pet store).

Potential dangers to avoid


The main dangers to your turtle’s health involve not following the tips above, so always make sure your turtle is living in the right environment, kept at the right temperatures and eating a proper diet.

“If you want to spruce up your enclosure, avoid decor that is painted so your turtle doesn’t eat the paint if it chips off,” Dr. Conrad said.

Also, never just leave your turtle out of her tank as she can get lost or accidentally stepped on.

So, in general, turtles have a wide range of years they can possibly live. The best thing you can do is make sure yours is properly taken care of so she’s happy and safe at home.

We independently pick all the products we recommend because we love them and think you will too. If you buy a product from a link on our site, we may earn a commission.