a common snapping turtle

Turtles are low-maintenance pets, and if you want to own one, you need to consider how much they cost. They are relatively inexpensive pets but will require dedicated care.

PetSmart has two species of turtles: the Red Eared Slider Turtle and the African Sideneck Turtle. PetSmart has 1,650 pet stores operating in the United States, and the turtles are available in stores in most states.

What to Know When Owning a Turtle

Taking care of a pet turtle is more complex than you might think. Choosing a turtle as a pet requires careful consideration since they require special care and cleaning regularly.

Turtles require a 30-gallon aquarium with a screened top. Their habitat should consist primarily of water, with some land for basking. Depending on the species, they eat various vegetables, turtle food, and insects. They are best for kids 12 and up and can live up to 30 years or more.

Though fascinating to observe, the shy reptiles are not fond of physical affection and can become stressed if handled excessively. In some cases, they can bite you, but they are cute and fun to watch.

How to Take Care of a Turtle
Image courtesy of Shutterstock

How Much Does a Turtle Cost at PetSmart?

The price of turtles from PetSmart ranges from about $30 to $50.

Some pets are seasonal and unavailable in all stores, and the pet’s size, gender, and color may differ from store to store. PetSmart offers two different species of turtles, and when researching prices in different regions of the United States, the price didn’t change, but availability varied. The price of the turtles is:

Red Eared Slider Turtle: $29.99 with the option of four interest-free payments of $7.50 with afterpay.

African Sideneck Turtle: $44.99 with the option of four interest-free payments of $11.25 with afterpay.

The sale of turtles is banned in North Carolina and South Dakota.

North Carolina law states that “no turtle shall be sold, offered for sale, or bartered by any retail or wholesale establishment in North Carolina.” In South Dakota, “[a] person may not buy, sell, barter, or trade any species of turtle.”

Additional Costs to Anticipate

It is entirely up to you how much money you spend on items for your turtle’s enclosure. Most of the supplies you buy at the start will be a one-time investment in an animal that will live as long as you. Depending on your turtle’s size and how often you feed it, you can spend $20 to $40 per month.

You will need:

Item Price
An appropriately sized aquarium $239.99
UVB bulb and fixture $28.99
Aquarium heater $18.39
Thermometer $9.99
Canister filter $61.99
Water Conditioner $2.99
Sturdy turtle dock $16.99–$34.99
Branches and non- toxic plants from $6.99
Food $4.00–$12.00
Aqautic Turtle Kit $209.99
turtle on hand
Image courtesy of Pixabay

Does Pet Insurance Cover Turtles?

Insuring a turtle is uncommon because they are generally inexpensive pets. Taking out insurance to protect your turtle or your investment in them is a good idea because it can assist in paying for diagnostics, treatment, surgery, and various other costs associated with your pet’s illness or injury. Exotic pet health insurance works in the same way as regular pet health insurance. The plans’ specifics vary depending on a few factors, but in general, you pay a monthly premium, and the insurance company agrees to cover the cost of necessary veterinary medical care.

Turtle insurance typically costs around $4 per month but can cost well over $100 if your turtle species is quite rare. Nationwide is the largest provider of exotic pet insurance, covering everything from chameleons to iguanas to turtles. Reptiles and other “exotics” are also covered by smaller insurance companies such as Pet Assure and Prime Insurance.


The turtles available at PetSmart are relatively inexpensive. They cost $30–$50 with an option to pay in four monthly installments if the upfront cost doesn’t suit your budget. The startup costs may be a little steep, but once you are set up, caring for your turtle is not too costly. As long as you look after your turtle, they generally will not require much veterinary care.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock