Adopt a Terrapin

Terrapins are a species of turtle that normally lives in freshwater streams or brackish ponds, in waterways, or even in larger river systems. There are many different sub-species of terrapins from across the world, but all of the variations of terrapins are just related types of turtles.

Some are known as “red-eared sliders” or “painted terrapins” or “diamondback terrapins” and are all related species. Terrapins can be found in many parts of the world, some native inhabitants, and some have been introduced, but are native to the east coast areas of the United States, some parts of Asia, as well as some populations in the United Kingdom.

It can be rather difficult to find terrapins in the wild. We mostly see them in national aquariums or environment centres, and pet stores, and of course they are popularly kept as pets at home. Terrapins are usually kept as pets because they are very cute, and also quite easy to look after.

But you need to be aware of which type of terrapin you would like to look after, some sub-species are quite small and don’t grow much more than 100 mm, whereas some types of terrapins can grow to more than 50 cm!

Please consider before you buy a terrapin…img-terrapin-illness

They can even be adopted by an individual when someone can no longer look after their pet terrapin.

Buying is another way to acquire this creature for personal possession, but we recommend that there may be a better and even cheaper way that you can get your pet terrapin – for free!

They are easily available in England but that depends upon their sex and particular species or size as pet terrapins are generally bought as hatchlings.

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You might be able to get a pet terrapin for free!

Sometimes due to inadequate experience, small aquariums, and lack of interest, some people can be forced to re-home their pet terrapin after purchasing them.

Terrapins are likely to be available in the shops dealing with reptiles or aquatic creatures but we do not recommend that you purchase them from dealers, when there are many possibilities to adopt a pre-loved pet terrapin.

Almost every day there are opportunities to adopt a terrapin!  Many pet stores and veterinary services are handed terrapins that are no longer wanted by their owners, or people who are unable to look after them any longer.

And then there are the poor creatures that are unwittingly released into the wild, only to be picked up by passers-by when they are sick or unable to survive in the wild.

Before you set out to buy a terrapin, make sure to check in with your local pet store, veterinary clinic, or even reptile keepers club, as it may be cheaper than you think to acquire your next terrapin for a pet.  Better still – click here to review our Notice Board for terrapins needing a new home!

Make sure you are properly set up to look after a pet TerrapinTerrapin Tank Setup

Before getting your own terrapin, make sure that you have made proper and adequate arrangements for them such as a nice large aquarium, or even a dedicated, spacious terrapinarium with UV lighting, a water filtration system, and temperature controlling device.

All of these elements may be required, depending on your location and prevailing temperature conditions.  All turtles need to be kept relatively warm through winter which is the primary requirement for looking after them and keeping them happy.

Although illegal trading of terrapins is not allowed, they are sold in markets around the world, and unfortunately, not all dealers are reputable in their dealings with terrapins, and likewise, not all buyers know how to look after these cute little pets properly.

The reason that unscrupulous traders can operate is that in some countries, the trade of native and non-native reptiles is illegal, so as a buyer of pet terrapins, we need to make sure that we do not encourage the illegal trade of helpless little animals.

Recommended Equipment

CIANO : Turtle Aquarium: Glass, 34.4L
180 Reviews
CIANO : Turtle Aquarium: Glass, 34.4L
  • Tartarium 60 Turtle Terrapin Reptile Glass Tank with Ramp
  • The tartarium 60, terrarium glass, is equipped with supports and dry zone in high quality white plastic with high gloss finish and a clear plastic lid for the rest of your turtle and for optimal exposure to heat, essential to their well-being and growth. Plastic supports; Plastic RAMP; Lid with clear plastic to prevent the turtle jump. Lid above ramp only, full lid not included or supplied.
  • Aquarium Dimensions L60 x W29.6x H19.5 cm RAMP Dimensions L22.5 x W13 x H15.7 cm Black on ramp & decor is for illustration purposes only.
Fluval Mini Underwater Filter, 200 Litre Per Hour
591 Reviews
Fluval Mini Underwater Filter, 200 Litre Per Hour
  • Fluval U Mini Underwater Filter provides simple yet efficient filtration that helps create excellent aquarium water quality.
  • The filter's small size makes it ideal for application in small fresh or tropical aquariums up to 45 L.
  • The filter's small size makes it ideal for application in small fresh or tropical aquariums up to 45 L.
HITOP Adjustable Aquarium Heater with Protective Cover, 30W 50W 120W Turtle and Fish Tank Heater for 5L to 120L Fresh Water and Seawater water Thermostat (50W)
1,715 Reviews
HITOP Adjustable Aquarium Heater with Protective Cover, 30W 50W 120W Turtle and Fish Tank Heater for 5L to 120L Fresh Water and Seawater water Thermostat (50W)
  • Safe and Durable: We adopt 2mm thickened explosion-proof glass, 33% thicker than normal aquarium heaters, more durable, much safer for both human and animals.
  • Double protection: Protective cover wrapping the heater tube, and the triangular streamline design of this fish tank heater is full of modern sense, achieving both safety and space-saving, and looks beautiful in your aquarium.
  • Easy to Set Temperature: After set the temp you want, due to the automatic switch device and temperature detection system, this aquarium heater will turn off automatically when its temp reaches your pre-set, also will turn on when lower than it, safe and easy adjustment.
LEDGLE 50W/75W Heat Lamp with Lampshade, UVA/UVB E27 Heat Lamp Bulb, for Reptile Turtle Chicken Coop Lizard Snake
149 Reviews
LEDGLE 50W/75W Heat Lamp with Lampshade, UVA/UVB E27 Heat Lamp Bulb, for Reptile Turtle Chicken Coop Lizard Snake
  • 【 Safety Protections】This reptile heat lamp with metal anti-scalding net, can prevent your lovely pets from scalding efficiently, and avoid injuries or electric shocks if the light bulb ages and breaks.
  • 【 Easy to Place】You have two options for hanging the heating light. The hook at the top of lampshade is convenient for hanging on pet cage, and the hook rope 6.56ft in length is convenient to fix and adjust the high, preferably 20-30 cm away from the animal. This will prevent animals from being scalded by excessive temperatures.
  • 【E26 Lamp Base & Double Bulbs】 Equipped with 2 PACK E27 50W and 75W heat lamp bulbs, which can be changed as needed. Provides essential UVB and UVA rays for your reptiles pet. UV rays can effectively increase pet appetite, help digest food and promote balanced growth of nutrients, which is essential for healthy bone growth and prevention of metabolic diseases.
Zoo Med WC-4 Repti Safe, 125 ml
1,607 Reviews
Zoo Med WC-4 Repti Safe, 125 ml
  • water treatment
  • reptiles, turtle, lizard, arachnids
  • Water conditioner


Beware of cruel terrapin traders

In the United States, the breeding or exportation of these hapless creatures is legal and flourishing. Sometimes cool temperature terrapins are shipped in which hundreds of hatchlings are loaded in small containers. Many of them die during the transportation to their destination.  This same practice occurs around the world, and should not be allowed to continue!

Become a carer for a Terrapin in need!

As buyers, we should avoid these cruel and illegal traders, and instead of buying your pet terrapin, I encourage you to look for opportunities to re-home a pre-loved pet, and give a good home to a creature who might otherwise be disposed of or killed due to being unwanted.

You can provide an excellent home to a pre-loved pet, and look after them properly so that they can live a long and happy life – click here to review our Notice Board for terrapins needing a new home!

For more advice about where to get a pet terrapin, please refer to our links to the terrapin rescue and re-homing organisations in the United Kingdom – click here.

Veterinary Advice

If you need veterinary advice in regards to your pet terrapin, please click here to learn how to find expert veterinary services.

Would you love to adopt a terrapin?

If you would love to give a good home to a poor unwanted pet terrapin, we have provided a complete handbook on everything you need to know about looking after your very own pet terrapin – please check out the complete terrapin guide.