The Most Expensive Turtle Breed In The World

It's a tired trope, but classic: a stunning heiress socialite enters the club, adorned in diamonds and pearls. A troop of fawning admirers flocks to her, taking her floor length mink coat. One lights her cigarette. Another is handed her prized pet turtle. The crowd is buried beneath a blanket of their own whispers: "Love that turtle." "Where did she get that turtle?" "I simply must get a new turtle for myself."

Sadly for the aspiring upper crust, they will likely never have the money necessary to own a terrapin of the same exquisite breeding as the ones owned by the truly affluent. In the pantheon of shelled reptiles, there is only one turtle truly fit for royalty. It is the most expensive turtle in the world. And it isn't even a ninja.

Lo, the most expensive turtle on earth

Your eyes do not deceive you. You look now upon the most expensive breed of turtle on earth, the Yunnan box turtle. What makes it so expensive? Is it heartier? More delicious? Is it markedly easier to bedazzle than its less desirable counterparts? 

As per the concept of supply and demand, it's more about supply and demand. The Yunnan box turtle is a rare beast, having been officially labeled as extinct in the mid-20th century. But then, in 2006, they started to appear again, poking their proverbial heads out of the shell of obscurity like a newly confident high school nerd who just got a makeover. 

And so, the physically unremarkable but traditionally lucky turtle returned, sort of, and according to The History Reader, became a black market exotic pet phenomenon. In China, they're said to go for $15,000. Stateside, the figure bumps up to as much as $200,000. Sadly, that puts it well outside of the price range of most of us plebeians, forcing us to stick to pedestrian animals like dogs and cats that actually react when we come home from work.