Rio Grande Turtle & Tortoise Club

Hatchling, juvenile or adult?

Hatchlings are very delicate and have a high mortality rate - at least 90% in the wild die from predation, starvation, dehydration, and other causes. Even with optimal care, a significant number of captive-bred hatchlings also will not survive their first year. With less-than-optimal care, the hatchlings that don't die will very likely become sickly or deformed. It is also a violation of federal law to sell any turtle with a shell length of less than four inches. The hardier, older, legal-sized juveniles (those with a shell length of four inches or more), and adults are a much better choice.