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how long does it take for a turtle to grow

How Long Does It Take For a Turtle to Grow | Turtle Growth Period

When it comes to speed and fast-growing rate, turtles aren’t famous for both causes. That is why most turtle owners wonder if ever his pet would grow up at all. Naturally, people fondle around for the answer to “How long does it take for a turtle to grow.”

I would be glad to give a straightforward answer- turtle attains maturity at 10 years and bla, bla, and bla. Sadly, I will have to go through a variety of facts and discussions.

For instance, turtle growth is mostly measured with SCL, mostly known as Straight Carapace Length. The other significant term to determine the growth rate comes from sexual maturity. All these differ from one species to another of turtles.

While I will be discussing all these, for turtle owners’ convenience, I will also point out the tips and tricks to boost the turtle growth rate.

So, take some time and grab this lifetime opportunity.

How Long Does It Take For A Turtle to Grow?

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There have been no studies on the growth rate of turtles that vary according to species. Hence, turtle owners often get confused with the pet growth rate.

But don’t worry.

I have sorted it out for you.

Turtle species have varying layers of growing ratio. For instance, the smallest turtle will grow around 4” for its entire lifetime. On the contrary, most pet turtle species will be 10” to 12” at their largest size. All these sizes are measured with SCL.

The growth rate is also linked with the hatchling and incubation period, as well as the expected lifetime.

Now, let’s see the time various turtle species need to attain physical maturity.

Turtle SpeciesExpected LifetimeIncubation PeriodMaturity Age
Red Eared Slider25-30 years58-112 days5-6 years
Yellow Bellied Slider25-30 years60-90 days5-8 years
Box Turtle50-60 years50-90 days5-10 years
Terrapin35-40 years60-100 days8-10 years
Painted Turtles30-50 years72-90 days7-9 years

The info table might help you understand the growth of the most popular pet turtles. Since the lifetime and maturity period has been measured in captivity, in the wilderness, it will reduce slowly. Also, note that turtles mostly grow between 4-15 inches, so you will need to be extremely careful to observe the physical growth length.

However, you can measure the turtle’s weight instead of the carapace length to determine how fast your turtle is growing. It is a more accessible alternative since turtles are weighty, so, you can differentiate between two measurements with ease.

Can You Determine Turtle Age?

As a pet owner, when you find the fastness or slowness of your turtle’s growth, you might also be keen on finding the exact age of your pet. It is vital since, for most parts, you will purchase a grown-up turtle from shops.

While people use multiple methods to count turtle age, I prefer the ‘scout counting method’ for the purpose. It is secure and reliable and also favorable to many owners.

  1. You will need to find the number of rings on the turtle scout for age determination. For this, you need to pick the scout first. Don’t know what a turtle scout is? A turtle scout is a hard external shell that prevents the animal from predators.
  2. On the scout, you will find two types of rings, larger and smaller circles. Larger rings signify a period of proper feeding and activity while the smaller ones represent scarcity and hibernation periods. Count both numbers of rings.
  3. Now, add up the number of larger and smaller rings. Then you need to divide the result by two.
  4. The result of the division is roughly the age of your turtles. However, it isn’t an exact date. So, expect one to two years of deviation in the process.

Once you know the turtle’s age, you can divide its length by its maturity to know how long it has grown each year. If you can manage to keep the record for a few years, you can actually build up a growth chart for the pet turtle linked with its age and shell or carapace size.

How to Boost Turtle Growth

Turtles are popular pet species mainly because of their natural caring and resilient physical characteristics. However, due to their slow growth rate, most turtle owners hardly notice when and how their pets attained maturity.

Hence, you might be interested in intensifying the turtle growth rate. If you wish so, the following tips are your best bets-

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Keeping The Record

The saying goes that better preparation brings satisfactory results. Thereby, the same is true for your pet turtle growth rate boosting. It would be best if you prepared for it.

The preparation here is the measurement of the turtle shell or carapace length and keeping it in a notebook. Over the next few months, ardently, you need to continuously record the measurement and compare it with the previous data.

Measuring The Tank Size

To help your turtle grow to its full potential, you should place it in a spacious tank. Ideally, a 20-gallon water tank is necessary for the small turtles. As they grow up, you might need to shift them into a larger tank. So, check if the container holds the proper amount of water or not.

Maintain Water Parameters

The turtle growth rate is linked directly with the optimal water parameters within the tank. For instance, turtles thrive at 75°F to 85°F water temperatures. So, twice a month, take the temperature measurement and see if anything needs to change.

Also, ensure proper mechanical and biological filtration in the tank.

Feeding and Basking

Turtle feeding includes a balanced diet between protein and veggies. It should be 50% protein and 50% non-protein vegetables with a grown-up turtle. However, for juveniles and young turtles, the protein portion will increase significantly.

You can sometimes use supplements to boost turtle feeding. Also, make sure your pet has enough basking area. Lack of basking will result in a UVB shortage. It further leads to Vitamin D (D3) deficiency that promptly stops the bone and shell growth of turtles.


As you see that the answer to how long it takes for a turtle to grow has no conclusive finding or result. It varies ardently from species to species and also depends on external affairs such as housing, food, and basking facility.

Once you can control these external factors, you may expect to intensify the turtle growth rate only slightly. Nonetheless, it would be best if you should record the length and weight increase weekly so that you can keep the records and use them later.

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