Do You Think a Turtle Is Safe as a Pet

Updated on September 08, 2007
F.F. asks from Houston, TX
10 answers

I am seeking advice about a turtle as a pet. Today my son recieve a turtle from his grandparents. I really wasn't sure about the turtle as a pet but the only reason I said yes is because he is our only child and he really wants a dog. So if anyone can help with a little advice I would be very thankful.

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answers from Houston on

Turtles carry Salmonella, so it isn't exactly safe for children to handle them. I wouldn't recommend it. If you do decide to keep it, you should have strict rules about hand-washing after the child has handled the turtle. Here is a link to the CDC's website that explains more. I hope this helps!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from McAllen on

I think you should check up on this in the internet...I recently heard that its connected somewhat to salmonella...a disease usually found in chickens...thanks



answers from New York on

I would get him the dog instead.. :)
I had my son in the hospital for two weeks due to samonella poisoning thru a little chick. And then after that, we did have a turtle, but we kept it in the tank. We've gone thru many pets, and now we just have two puppies, and fish tank. That's perfect now.

If you do keep it, let him know that if he wants to handle it, then he must do it when you are around to watch, etc. And also to make sure that he washes his hands, etc.
If anything, I would say keep the turtle in the tank.. and not handle it..

It's a tough call, but it was a gift, and well I see no harm in keeping it, as long as there are strict rules on either not handling it, or handling it with an adult, etc.

Good luck,



answers from Houston on

My old roomie in college had a turtle. It was pretty harmless and very little upkeep. They tend to live a really long time, so that also makes for a good pet. You won't have to explain losing the pet early on (hopefully). Plus, I even learned to love it!



answers from McAllen on

Hi Ferrah,

Turtles have tons of bacteria and other... STUFF. Not to safe for any child unless the parents keep a careful eye. No touching!!

I don't recommend it.




answers from Houston on

the only concerns are:

turtles are very dirty/nasty animals.

they are hard to feed.

they carry diseases and should be handled frequently depending on what type they are.

please find out as much info as you can about exactly what kind he is so that you know how to care for him.

good luck,



answers from Houston on

yes, my kids (2 and 4) have one and they love it.




answers from Houston on

I have had 2 little turtles and a soft shell turtle before. They are fun at first, but they are very messy and stink if you keep them indoors, like in a shallow aquarium. I also found out after I had my turtles that if they are under 4 inchs, they can carry salmonela, so if your little boy is small I dont recomend him keeping it. But if you do decide to keep it make sure he washes his hands every time after he plays with it. I hope this advice helps some. Good Luck, K.



answers from Houston on


Turtles can be great pets if some important factors are addressed: If the child is old enough to learn how to properly hold the turtle, and if the animal is housed properly *and his cage is kept clean, and if the animal is fed properly, a turtle can be a great pet. It also makes a difference as to what kind of turtle your son was given. The small half-dollar sized red-ear sliders can potentially carry salmonella (as can many other amphibians & reptiles). As long as the child washes his hands after playing with the turtle, (and the turtle is kept healthy with proper housing, cleanliness and nutrition), you shouldn't have any problems. My advice would be to find out all you can about what type of turtle you have and the proper housing and general care the specific turtle needs and then determine whether you want to dedicate that much time & effort to the animal. If you give me more details on the turtle, I can give you general info on the care required, but if you can find a reptile operation/reputable pet shop (and talk with someone who has a clue and is helpful) that can give you some professional advice, that would be best. Good luck!

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