Can Turtles And Tortoises Live Together?

Can Turtles And Tortoises Live Together

Turtles and tortoises share the same appearance, so people usually misinterpret their behaviour. There are a lot of differences between these two. From their behaviour to their diet, turtles and tortoises are far from each other.

Curious pet owners often come across the thought of pairing them in the same enclosure. Both of these creatures are similar in many aspects, so it is obvious to ask if it is possible to keep turtles and tortoises together?

In this article, we will discuss if turtles and tortoises can live together or not. We will talk about their requirements and behaviour to find out the answer. So let’s get into this.

Related Article: Do Turtles Fight Each Other?

Can turtles and tortoises live together?

No, turtles and tortoises can not live together. Both of these animals have different requirements for living. While turtles are aquatic or semi-aquatic, tortoises are terrestrial animals. Keeping them together could also pass diseases that they are not immune to. 

Do turtles and tortoises fight?

Tortoises are not aggressive, but turtles are. Keeping both of them together could lead you to a lot of problems. Turtles don’t like to share their habitat. It’s all about dominance for them. When you keep a turtle and tortoise together, chances are very high that the turtle will start fighting with the tortoise. 

Can box turtles and tortoises live together?

No, they can not live together. Although box turtles and tortoises both are cold-blooded animals, they don’t have anything in common. Box turtles are semi-aquatic, while tortoises are land-dwelling reptiles. Apart from that, tortoises are herbivorous, while box turtles are omnivorous. They will start fighting and get stressed if kept together.

Why should turtles and tortoises not be kept together?

Turtles and tortoises might look similar, but they are not. They both have different environmental requirements. Turtles are aquatic or semi-aquatic, while tortoises live on land. They can easily drown even in shallow water. Turtles and tortoises have very different dietary requirements too. The former is omnivorous, while the latter is herbivorous.

Below are some reasons why you should not keep turtle and tortoise together.

1. Both need different environmental conditions to survive.

Turtles are evolved such that they spend most of their time underwater. They have webbed feet, which helps them swim. On the other hand, tortoises live on land and can easily drown even in shallow water.

Turtles can survive on land, but still, they need water for other purposes. Being cold-blooded animals, they need water for mainly two reasons, i.e. for maintaining their body temperature and swallowing their food.

Turtles maintain their body temperature by spending time on land and water. They require a basking spot for drying and warming themselves. They keep going in and out of the water to balance their body temperature.

Turtles don’t have salivary glands, so they need to be in the water to swallow food.

Tortoises, on the other hand, can not survive in water. Their feet do not help them swim. Tortoises have a much harder shell than turtles, making it easier to survive on land.

2. Their diet is different.

Turtles are tortoises and have two different diet requirements. Turtles are omnivorous, while tortoises are herbivorous. Turtles would need worms, shrimps, snails, fish, green vegetables, and flowers in a well-balanced diet. On the other hand, tortoises need green vegetables and flowers in a well-balanced diet.

Related Article: Do Turtles Eat Worms?

3. Both have different levels of immunity.

In the wild, turtles and tortoises never cross each other. Turtles are found in water bodies while tortoises live on land. Due to their different habitats, they don’t have immunity against bacteria or viruses found in their respective habitat. In this situation, keeping both of them together could affect their health. They can pass the illness to each other, which they don’t have immunity towards.

4. They get aggressive toward each other.

Turtles and tortoises engage in fights when kept together. They fight to show their dominance. The probability of them fighting is even more if both are male. Turtles will try to dominate tortoises over basking spots, food and space. Different species of turtles show different levels of aggression, and accordingly, they can seriously injure each other.


It is not a good idea to put turtles and tortoises in the same enclosure. They both have different requirements for habitat and food. Keeping them together would lead to serious health complications. They can even pass dangerous bacterias and viruses to each other. Turtles are meant to live underwater. With their webbed feet, it is convenient for them to swim. However, tortoises can’t swim; they can easily drown even in shallow water.