12 Turtles That Stay Small

The calm steadiness, distinct appearance, and fascinating habits of turtles have captivated mankind for generations. Some turtles reach amazing sizes, but there is a charming group that stays very little no matter how long they live.

These small terrapins give people who love turtles the chance to experience that love without having to devote a lot of space or effort to their maintenance. This article delves into 12 Turtles That Stay Small, discussing their unique characteristics and highlighting the many reasons why they should be considered by turtle enthusiasts.

List of 12 Turtles That Stay Small

1. Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina)

Size: 4.5 to 6 inches (11 to 15 cm)

The Eastern Box Turtle is a popular type of tiny turtle because of its unique hinged shell. Their shells can have a wide variety of designs, some of them feature vibrant yellow, orange, and brown colors. Common habitats for these turtles are grassy meadows, gardens, and woodland areas. Some Eastern Box Turtles have lived for over a century, adding to their already impressive longevity.

2. Three-Toed Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis)

Size: 4 to 5 inches (10 to 13 cm)

Similarly small and terrestrial to the Eastern Box Turtle is the Three-Toed Box Turtle.The term suggests that they have three toes on their hind feet, which sets them apart from their eastern counterparts. Dark brown and black patterns can be found on their shells. These turtles have made a name for themselves as sociable creatures in their native southern United States.

3. Hermann’s Tortoise (Testudo hermanni)

Size: 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 cm)

The little European land tortoise known as the Hermann’s Tortoise is endemic to the continent. The bright yellow and dark black patterns on their shells and bodies are instantly recognizable. Because of their low maintenance requirements, these tortoises are frequently chosen as pets by those interested in reptiles. They are peaceful creatures who do best in outdoor enclosures with lots of natural light.

4. Russian Tortoise (Agrionemys horsfieldii)

Size: 5 to 8 inches (13 to 20 cm)

The Russian Tortoise, also called the Horsfield’s Tortoise, is an endangered species that was formerly native to Central Asia. They prefer arid environments and have distinctive dome-shaped shells. Russian Tortoises, due to their innate curiosity, can make intriguing pets if provided with the correct environment and care.

5. Musk Turtle (Sternotherus spp.)

Size: 3 to 5 inches (7 to 13 cm)

Turtles That Stay Small

Musk Turtles are little aquatic turtles that use their distinctive musky odor as a deterrent. They stand out from the crowd thanks to their unusual flattened shell and chin barbels. Throughout North America, you can find these turtles in slow-moving bodies of water thanks to their prowess as swimmers.

6. Razor-Back Musk Turtle (Sternotherus carinatus)

Size: 4 to 5 inches (10 to 13 cm)

The razor-like look of the Razor-Back Musk Turtle gets its name from the broad keel or ridge on its shell. They are prevalent in freshwater settings across their native southeastern United States. The razor-back musk turtle is a species of musk turtle notable for its aggressive nature and unique appearance.

7. Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)

Size: 4 to 7 inches (10 to 18 cm)

North American Painted Turtles are small, brightly colored aquatic turtles. Their shells are marked with bright colors like red, yellow, and green that resemble brush strokes on a black backdrop, hence their name. You may usually spot one of these turtles in a pond, lake, or slow-moving river. They frequently sun themselves on rocks and logs, earning them the name “baskers.”

8. Reeves’ Turtle (Mauremys reevesii)

Size: 4.5 to 7 inches (11 to 18 cm)

Small and native to East Asia, the Reeves’ Turtle is also known as the Chinese Pond Turtle. They have a dark shell with no patterns and bright orange and yellow coloring on their body and head, making them easy to see. These turtles thrive in outdoor ponds because their habitat needs to have both water and land.

9. Stinkpot Turtle (Sternotherus odoratus)

Size: 4 to 5 inches (10 to 13 cm)

The Stinkpot Turtle, or Musk Turtle as it is more commonly known, is a small aquatic reptile that is native to North America. Their offensive odor when threatened has earned them the name “defensive odor.” Stinkpot Turtles may not look like much, but they provide a lot of good for aquatic turtle ecosystems.

10. Japanese Pond Turtle (Mauremys japonica)

Size: 4 to 7 inches (10 to 18 cm)

The Japanese Pond Turtle is an endemism of Japan and neighboring countries, and it is a small, semi-aquatic turtle. Their beautiful black shells are decorated with bright yellow patterns. These reptiles are well-known for their tolerance of a wide temperature range and their preference for aquatic habitats.

11. Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata)

Size: 3.5 to 4.5 inches (9 to 11 cm)

Little, semiaquatic, and native to eastern North America is the spotted turtle. They are easily recognizable thanks to their beautiful black shells with bright yellow patterns. These turtles are well-known not just for their unique appearance and lovable personalities, but also for their affinity for quiet bodies of water.

12. Asian Leaf Turtle (Cyclemys dentata)

Size: 4 to 5 inches (10 to 13 cm)

The Asian Leaf Turtle is a small, semiaquatic reptile endemic to Southeast Asia. The common name of these creatures stems from the resemblance of the serrated edges of their shell to the dried leaf edges, hence the name. These turtles are fascinating to herp lovers but are not commonly maintained as pets.

In light of what we’ve discovered about these 12 minuscule reptiles, it’s important to emphasize that taking care of a turtle of any size is a major commitment. Before adopting a turtle into your home, make sure you understand its specific needs in terms of diet, housing, and other environmental factors. It’s important to research local regulations, as some areas prohibit keeping specific species of turtles as pets.

A Table of Turtles Facts

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A Summary of 12 Turtles That Stay Small

For those interested in reptiles but hesitant to devote a lot of time or money to the hobby, keeping a little turtle is a fantastic compromise. Each of the twelve little turtles covered here brings something unique to the hobby of turtle keeping.

However, keep in mind that caring for a pet turtle is a long-term commitment that requires constant attention to the turtle’s surroundings and nourishment.

We have explored “12 Turtles That Stay Small” and their distinctive traits, as well as why turtle aficionados should consider them. I hope you like it.

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