If you’re an animal lover, you might be thinking about the next pet to add to your family. Maybe you are looking for an easy-to-care-for pet for your children to enjoy. Or perhaps you just love unique animals and are looking for something other than a typical cat or dog. For example, turtles and frogs make interesting pets -but which one should you have as a pet?
Both frogs and turtles make great pets – for the right person. Which pet is right for you depends on how often you can feed and care for your pet, the amount of space you are able to give them, and which pet you like better! Both frogs and turtles have special care requirements but are fun to watch and observe.
In this article, we’ll talk about whether you should get a turtle or a frog as a pet. We’ll go over the pros and cons of each one and show the differences between the two. Lastly, we’ll give you our thoughts on whether you should have a turtle or a frog as your next pet. Let’s get started!
The Difference Between Frogs and Turtles
First of all, frogs are amphibians, while turtles are reptiles. Both types of animals are cold-blooded vertebrates, which means they both have spines and can’t regulate their body temperature without a heat source. However, reptiles are born with lungs and have dry scales, while amphibians are born with gills, eventually grow lungs, and have wet, smooth skin.
Some examples of reptiles are:
On the other hand, some examples of amphibians are:
So while these animals may seem similar, they have some different requirements that may affect your decision of which pet is better for you. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each.
Pros and Cons of Keeping a Turtle as a Pet
Pros of Keeping a Pet Turtle
Turtles are unique
Turtles are a fun and different type of pet. If you don’t want, or can’t have, the typical dog, cat, or guinea pig, you might love having a pet turtle.
Turtle allergies are rare
People are commonly allergic to cats and dogs, but true turtle allergies are rare! And since turtles aren’t handled frequently like a cat or dog, your chances of having a problem are much lower.
Turtles are quiet
There’s no barking at the doorbell or incessant meowing for food. Turtles are very quiet and probably won’t wake you up at night.
Turtles don’t need to be fed every day
Although juvenile turtles do need to feed daily, most adult turtles don’t have to eat every day. According to VCA animal hospitals, adult aquatic turtles only need to be fed every two to three days.
Turtles will get to know their owners
If you consistently feed your turtle and treat them well, they’ll associate you with food and will get to know you as the bringer of good things. This will help them get attached to – and even love – you.
Turtles can be trained
According to turtleholic.com, turtles can be trained, especially with an incentive such as food.
Cons of Keeping Pet Turtles
Turtles need a large water enclosure
Your turtle needs a lot of space to swim and some room to bask out of the water. Some experts say your turtle will need 10 gallons of space per inch of shell, while others say the smallest turtles will need a minimum of 30 gallons of tank space, with bigger turtles needing up to 125 gallons. Frogs need much less space.
Turtles are messy
Turtles make a lot of mess. First of all, they’re messy eaters and leave lots of leftovers that can spoil and muddy up the water. Second, they make a lot of waste! You’ll need a good filtration system to keep their water nice and clean.
Turtles don’t like to be handled
Your turtle probably doesn’t want to sit on your lap and watch Netflix with you. They’d rather bask in their enclosure than snuggle on the sofa because they just don’t love to be handled as other pets do.
Turtles can bite
Some turtles can give nasty bites, especially large ones. Always watch your fingers! Or choose a frog, which doesn’t bite (unless you’re a mosquito).
Turtles have long life spans
Yes, they can live 30 to 70 years, according to petkeen.com. This is a huge commitment. If you don’t want a pet for that long, you might consider a pet hamster instead.
Turtles need a varied diet
So you’ll feed them a mix of fruits and vegetables, pellets, and live insects, such as crickets. Without the right balance of foods, your turtle can get sick and die.
Turtles need heat lamps
Since turtles are cold-blooded, they’ll need a heat lamp to bask in to get warm. Make sure your heat lamp is set up safely for your turtle’s enclosure.
Pros and Cons of Keeping a Frog as a Pet
Pros of Keeping Pet Frogs
Frogs don’t need as much as space as a cat or dog
Likewise, your frog doesn’t need a lot of room to roam – they just need a glass aquarium. For example, you can house up to 5 tree frogs in a 20-gallon aquarium – they require less room than a turtle, cat, or dog!
Frogs are low maintenance
No housetraining, no trips to the dog park, and no litterbox to worry about. Therefore, frogs are a lower-maintenance type of pet. They require less maintenance than a turtle.
Frogs can be left unsupervised for a couple of days
It’s ok to take a long weekend without a pet sitter if you have a frog for a pet, which you couldn’t do with a dog. As long as your frog is healthy and fully-grown, it should be ok.
You don’t need to housetrain your frog
You don’t need to teach your frog how to be housetrained. No walking it in the freezing cold or rain, either- your frog will happily stay in its enclosure, as would a turtle.
Frogs are small
Most of your pet frogs are only 2 – 5.5 inches in size, although bullfrogs can get much bigger. Most of them are smaller than your pet turtle, though, and don’t need as much room.
Cons of Keeping a Frog as a Pet
Frogs are nocturnal. Most frogs are nocturnal, which means they sleep during the day and are awake at night. Unfortunately, when they sleep, they often burrow down into the substrate of their enclosure, so you might not ever see your pet frog.
Frogs can live 5 to 15 years
Frogs, when taken care of, can live up to 15 years! This is a long time for a small pet, although turtles can live much longer. This is a commitment, no matter which pet you get.
Most frogs can’t be handled often
This is because frogs have very delicate skin and holding them too much can cause injury. However, there are some species, such as a White’s tree frog, that can be handled more often. Turtles can be handled more frequently without injury, but they also prefer to be left alone.
Large frogs tend to be more sedentary
Larger species of frogs can be sort of boring. Even when they’re awake, they don’t move around very much, so they might not be that interesting to watch. Turtles spend more time swimming and hunting than frogs do.
Some species of frogs are very loud
Frogs really can make a lot of noise! This is because they use their calls to communicate with each other and attract a mate. Unfortunately, since frogs are nocturnal, they make all this noise at night when you are trying to sleep.
Some frogs need water, land, or a mix of both
You’ll need to research your specific frog’s needs. They may need a tank of water – if they’re an aquatic species, or they may need both land and water since even land frogs absorb moisture through their skin. A tree frog will need a taller enclosure so it can climb. And all terrariums need a good lid, so your pet doesn’t escape.
Some frogs are poisonous
Not every frog makes a good pet. Some frogs are even toxic to humans and animals, so be careful what species you choose for a pet. Ask your pet store or local breeder for their recommendation.
Frogs have some special requirements
You’ll need to keep your frog’s environment at the right temperature and humidity setting. Unfortunately, it can be a little bit tricky to get your frog’s environment just right. According to Petsmart, your frog needs a temperature of 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 65 to 75 degrees at night. They also need a humidity level of 50 to 80%. You may need a heat lamp, tank heater, or a hydrometer to keep an eye on the temperature and humidity in the tank.
Frogs like live food. Your frog is an avid hunter and you’ll need to provide it with live food, such as crickets.
Frog and Turtle Comparison Chart
|Lifespan||5 to 15 years||30 – 70 years|
|Cage Size||20 gallons or more||30 – 125 gallons|
|Diet||Live insects||Fruits and vegetables, pellets, and live insects|
|Feeding Frequency||Every 2 to 3 days (for adults)||Every 2 to 3 days (for adults)|
|Temperature||75 to 85 degrees during the day and 65 to 75 degrees at night||65 to 75 degrees at night, 72 – 77 degree water temperature, and 90 – 95 for basking|
|Humidity||50 to 80 percent||60 to 80 percent|
|Likes Being Handled||No||No|
|Can be trained||No||Yes|
|Can carry Salmonella||Yes||Yes|
|Harmful to humans||No, unless poisonous||Not usually, but it can bite|
|Noisy||Yes, at night||No|
|Cost to buy from pet store||$10 – $50||$10 – $100|
So Which is Better, a Turtle or a Frog, for a Pet?
If you want a unique pet, a turtle or a frog may be the right choice for you if you understand their needs.
- First of all, both pets need live insects to meet their protein needs. But turtles also need additional food. So if you don’t like feeding live insects, you might want to consider a different pet altogether.
- Turtles typically need more space than frogs, so if space is an issue, you might prefer a frog.
- Most typical pet turtles and frogs are not harmful to humans at all, although some frogs can be poisonous, and some turtles can bite. However, either species can carry Salmonella, so you need to wash your hands after you handle them.
- Both species have temperature needs, although a frog’s needs are a little simpler than a turtle’s.
- Neither species likes to be handled all that much, although turtles can be trained to do easy tricks.
- Frogs can be noisy at night, while turtles are very quiet. So if you’re a light sleeper, then you might prefer a turtle for a pet.
- Frogs are nocturnal and bury in the substrate to sleep, which means you might never actually see them! On the other hand, turtles are often out and about during the morning and evening, so you’ll be more likely to see them doing something interesting.
Final Thoughts on Keeping Frogs and Turtles as Pets
Both animals make great pets that are relatively low maintenance (at least compared to cats and dogs). And while you do need to get their conditions and diets right, they’re otherwise easy to take care of and can be left alone for a couple of days without a petsitter.
Which one is right for you, though, is a different story. A turtle’s care is a little bit more complicated, but frogs can be a lot noisier. Turtles can learn a few tricks, while frogs may sleep when you’re awake. If you can’t decide which one to get, why not have both?
Can a turtle and a frog live together?
It isn’t a good idea to keep turtles and frogs in the same enclosure. Most likely, the turtle would see the frog as its prey and eat it for dinner! On the other hand, some frogs can be poisonous to turtles, which would also kill the turtle.
Since their habitat needs are slightly different and they both need plenty of room, the easiest way to keep both turtles and frogs as pets is to keep them in separate tanks.
Do Turtles and Frogs eat the same foods?
Both turtles and frogs eat live insects, such as crickets. However, turtles also need a balanced diet of fresh fruits and vegetables and commercial turtle pellets.
Do both animals carry Salmonella?
Yes, all amphibians and reptiles can carry Salmonella. Make sure you thoroughly wash your hands every time your handle your pet.
Can you keep a wild frog or turtle as a pet?
It might be tempting to bring home that cute little frog or turtle you found in the woods, but it isn’t a good idea. Taking an animal from its natural environment can threaten its survival rates in the woods. On the other hand, it can also be dangerous to people because these animals can bite or spread disease. So if you are going to have a frog or turtle as a pet, make sure you get one from a reputable breeder or pet store.
Can you release a pet turtle or frog into the wild?
No. If you need help with a pet you can no longer care for, call your local humane society or animal shelter for guidance. Releasing a pet into the wild is bad for the animal because it may not have the skills to survive on its own after being dependent on people. In addition, some species of turtles have become an invasive species and are a threat to the natural wildlife.