If you ask the average person how long turtles live, Its a sure bet you get an extreme variety of answers.
If you ask people who have kept very small turtles as pets, they might say a few years at most.
But if you ask the same question to someone who has read a bit about turtle biology, they might say that turtles have some amazingly long lives, as much as hundreds of years!
So who's actually right? Well, heres the truth..
You might be surprised that even the typical turtles you would keep as a pet (terrapins & box turtles) will easily live to 30.
If your pet is kept healthy, and is given its proper needs and nutrients, you can even expect it to even live up to its 40's.
These pets can be lifelong companions for a lot of us!
The answer lies in the middle if you are talking about averages, although even then, few people may realize that a turtle’s average life span is actually similar to the average life span of an adult human female.
Nowadays, scientists say that human males live about 76 years and human females live about 81 years. (Of course, this is just in general, humans can live for a much shorter or much longer time, just like turtles!)
If you were to take the average of all sea turtle life spans, the sea turtle would live up to about 80 years as well.
So, why do people give such varied answers when asked?
One is that some species of smaller turtle that are often kept as pets just don’t have long life spans.
Also, turtles kept in captivity may not live as long as those in nature, possibly due to improper care.
Turtles that are larger may have longer life spans and those kept in ideal captive environments or allowed to live out a natural life without interference can live a very long time.
Some species of turtles are primarily land-dwellers, these are called tortoises.
Galápagos tortoises are known to live over 150 years old.
The Aldabra giant tortoise is one of the largest tortoise species in the world. An Aldabra giant named Adwaita could very possibly have been the longest living turtle at an estimated 255 years old.
Tortoises that live in isolation and are unaffected by threats from humans or disease brought from outside have been thought to live 400 or 500 years. This has been difficult for anyone to confirm because it would take up to 5 centuries to get the true answer.