Turtle age – do you know how old your pet turtle is? Did you know that the average lifespan of a turtle kept as a pet is forty years? A turtle can even live much longer than that – up to 100 years, probably longer than its original owner! The turtle's longevity also varies according to the type or class to which it belongs in the animal kingdom. It is astonishing to know that the oldest turtle on record lived to be two hundred and fifty years old!
Let's examine some interesting facts about the turtle, and see if we can figure out how old your new pet is!
Studies show that turtles first appeared on the earth over two million years ago. This remarkable fact makes them one of the oldest-known creatures on our planet. Turtles have been called living fossils, meaning there has been little change in the species since their first appearance on earth!
Turtle ownership has become more and more popular over the years. Here, it is now normal to have a pet turtle passed from one generation of a family to the next, so that, in some instances, the pet turtle can actually and amazingly outlive its original owners!
Determining the correct age of a turtle may not be definitive. For pet owners who have just acquired their turtles, their pets' ages can not be known for sure, especially if they were just captured from the wild.
In the past, people have theorized that counting the rings or lines on the turtle's shell is a way of determining its age. Unfortunately, this is not a reliable method. The turtle's shell may be damaged over time, making the number of rings unclear. Layers of the carapace will fall off during its lifetime, and the turtle may go through growth spurts, developing more than one ring per year. As turtles mature, the marks or lines on their shells also become less-defined, or may even deteriorate. This, in turn, would make counting the rings difficult and unreliable. Therefore, we should use this method of turtle age determination only as an estimate of years.
It is the responsibility of human beings to ensure turtles achieve long and healthy life spans in the wild by enacting and enforced laws to protect their natural habitats. In captivity, pet turtles can suffer from illnesses and die if their requirements for proper nutrition and habitat are not provided by their owners.
Turtles have also been counted among the animals that are in danger of becoming extinct. This is brought up by the loss of their natural habitat; whether by greedy poachers illegally removing them from the wild or by developers encroaching on their feral habitat.
The crucial fact to be considered, therefore, is not determining the turtle's exact age, but in ensuring that it will actually experience and enjoy a long life. This is where your task as a responsible pet owner comes in. With the proper nourishment and exercise, housing that comes as close to replicating the natural habitat of the turtle as possible, and protection from predators and improper handling, your pet turtle will be sure to live many years, and may even be inherited by the next generation in your family!