Do Turtles Get Depressed? How To Deal With It!

Do Turtles Get Depressed How to Deal With it!
Written by Emma Watson

Turtles are getting very popular these days. However, owing to their long lifespan and busy personal routines, they are usually neglected. Therefore, most people come to think of this point. Do turtles get depressed? Do they actually have the feeling of pain?

As far a general fact, all the living things have feelings! I am not establishing anything in a scientific way. But as far as my years of experience with pets and plants, I can say that all the living beings are connected to their owner and things around. Like if you talk about life and happiness in front of your flowers and love them, they will flourish more. If the situation is another way round, they will start wilting for no detectable reason.

Having given my personal opinion, let’s talk about all the facts related to turtle happiness and depression scientifically.

Yes, turtles do get depressed. The reason can be anything from a change or poor quality in diet, housing, or the presence of large animals around. Moreover, it can also be due to any medical reason.

Scientifically, turtles do not have such neurons and hormones that develop emotions. Yet, there are times when they seem gloomy.  However, turtles love to be alone. So, they know how to enjoy their own company.

Turtles have pretty fragile skin. They do not want to get touched or moved from one place to another. Also, in the wild, turtles are not habitual of living in groups. So, you can say they are not much of a social creature.

A perk of this feature is that you can keep your pet alone without having to keep a group of turtles to make a perfect home.

However, there are times when your turtle seems gloomy or uninterested in anything. Then how do you explain it? Do you need to worry about it, or will it be okay with time? Let’s discuss it.

How To Tell If Your Turtle Is Depressed?

Following are the most common signs that show a turtle is depressed:

  1. Lethargy
  2. Aggressive behavior
  3. Loss/ decreased appetite
  4. Decreased appetite

So, you see, turtles can get depressed, and when they get this, it is pretty much obvious. What to do when your turtle is sad or depressed? Before working into the solutions, let us work into the major reasons behind this depression.

Reasons For Turtles Depression:

Following are the major reasons that can evoke constant stress and ultimately depression in turtles.

Depression Caused By Large Animals:

Turtles are naturally afraid of animals that are larger than their size. They will consider them predators. So, this will send them in continuous worry, and they will try to hide all the time. Among these animals can be the one approaching their housing in your absence—for example, a cat, or a pet dog, etc. Moreover, the sounds of animals like foxes, eagles, etc., can also scare them and aggravate their fight response.

 Another possible situation can be that your turtle is scared of you if it is new to your home. Moreover, the child reaching it all the time and handling it can also aggravate it.

Over Stress

Turtles do not like a change in their environment. Therefore they are easily affected by the environment if anything is not right in it. Multiple things like vibrations, loud noises, pungent smells, etc., can become a stress factor.


Pregnancy can be very stressful for turtles. Different turtles behave very strangely during their pregnancy and also adopt odd habits and behaviors. However, some also do stay the same. Some mother turtles become very violent and aggressive during the pregnancy. Also, they become very restless, especially when they cannot find a proper safe place to lay the eggs.

So, if your female turtle seems oddly restless without any obvious reason behind it, check for the pregnancy. Remember, a turtle can get pregnant even if there is no male around. The eggs then laid will be asexual and will bear no babies. However, the female will have the same mood changes and behaviors as with the fertilized eggs.

No/ Poor Basking Area

If you are new to turtles or you do not have enough space, some consider missing the basking spot. The turtles were living in an environment where there was no basking platform or when they could not get enough UVB light get malnourished (lacking vitamins and essential elements needed for their normal living). Moreover, turtles are so much habitual of their basking areas that studies showed that removing them from their housing can result in instant aggression and restlessness.

Most importantly, make sure the basking area temperature is between 85 to 90°C (can vary according to turtles species). Anything below or very high can be disturbing for your pet.

Poor Food

Tortoise and turtles are real food beggars. They are always in their survival mode and ready to eat. So, if you are negligent about the proper diet of your turtle, you can cause serious health losses in them, including mental effects.

Bad Water Temperature

Turtles are cold-blooded animals. They get all the heat from their surroundings to keep their body temperature normal. So, if your water is too cold, your turtle will immediately try to get out of it and roam here and there in search of the right temperature. When it can’t find a suitable environment, it will ultimately get stressed and ill.

How Do You Cheer Up A Turtle?

For cheering up a turtle, you need to address the issues it is facing. Following are the things you can consider to relieve the stress of your pet:

  1. Check for the large animals around your pet turtle. Look for other pets around, even if they mean no harm to them. Notice if the place receives voices from the nearby house. Make sure you manage all these sources.
  2. Check for the loud noises and vibrations leading to your turtle’s tank. Make sure the environment in which your turtle is living is serene.
  3. If your children are handling your turtle too much, it can be a problem. Turtles have sensitive skin. Therefore, they can get hurt by overhandling. Moreover, they also do not want to be bothered much as they love to be secluded.
  4. Try to provide a comfortable environment for a pregnant turtle. Make sure it receives good food. Also, give it a proper, safe hide spot to lay eggs.
  5. Never think to omit the basking spot in your turtle’s tank. Also, if you are keeping your pets indoors, make sure it is getting enough UV light.
  6. Give your pet a well-balanced diet. The diet must have fruits and other plant matter along with insects and worms.
  7. The water temperature in which your turtle is swimming should be optimal to suppress the stress due to extreme cold or hot weather.


So, if you ask turtles to get depressed, my answer is Yes. Depression is not particularly associated with loneliness but with stress due to multiple factors. This can be managed by addressing the issues by close monitoring the environment and space in which the pet is living.

I hope this article helped you answer the query. In case of ny other questions, comment below or email us. We would be happy to help.