How To Know If Your Turtle Is Happy?

how to know if your turtle is happy

Being an inexpressive pet, the turtle doesn’t show their emotions often. It isn’t easy to know what the turtle feels like. Have you seen your pet dog anytime? You make a gesture, and he responds immediately. You can tell he is happy or not by how he responds to you.

Similarly, if your dog is in pain, he goes and sits in a corner as if to show you that he is angry with you. You can feel the emotions by looking at him because he is very expressive. On the contrary, pet turtles are very different from all other pets.

Although turtles are the cutest pet you can have, they don’t express themselves very clearly, so how do you know whether they are happy in the environment you provide them? Let’s find out.

Related Article: Do Turtles Have Feelings?

How to know if your turtle is happy?

There are a few instances on which you can assume that your turtle is happy. A happy turtle basks regularly, asks for food, hunts for the prey, eats properly, splashes water, and often explores their tank.

Let us understand more in detail about a happy turtle.

Happy turtles bask regularly

When the turtle is healthy, it will be happy. Vitamin D3 is essential for turtles. They receive it through the basking process. They can obtain vitamin D3 through UV rays, which metabolizes the calcium present in their body, strengthening the shells and bones.

Usually, when the turtle is happy, it will never skip the basking process. It will stretch its neck and legs to gain the maximum UV rays possible. Instead of sunlight, you can also use UVB lights and heat lamps for them. Read more about which light to use for your turtle.

Asks for food

Turtles are most happy when they get their favourite food to eat. Now, turtles don’t talk, so certainly, they won’t ask you for food directly. They tap on the tank for you to know they are hungry or even make chirping sounds.

When your turtle doesn’t eat or is not excited when you give them their favourite food, he is probably not happy. There can be other reasons like the food you provide it, is not its favourite food and it didn’t like the food.

Hunts for the prey

You will notice that when the turtle is energetic, it will go and hunt for the prey. Even if you provide it with live food like earthworms, crustaceans, feeder fish, it will happily eat it. By turtle’s this behaviour you can make out that it is happy.

Eats Properly

A proactive turtle eats regularly and does not leave any leftovers in the water tank. The baby turtles are voracious and consume the food greedily. This shows their happy nature.

Splashes water

If the turtle is happy, it will splash water when you feed it. They get happy to see when you provide the food, so they splash water out of excitement. They do this, especially when they are extremely happy.

Explores often

Turtles love to explore around. When the turtle is happy, it will keep moving around, exploring the place they are kept in, searching for hiding spots and different things.

Turtles happiness or unhappiness also depends on the way you treat them. Many turtle owners can easily make out when their pet turtle does not behave a certain way. With time turtles start recognizing their owner and get happy when they find their owner in front of them. There is a possibility that they find their owner as a food source.

As you are the one that gets the food, they develop trust in you. So some of these signs that mean the turtle is happy can also mean that they start associating you with something that fulfils their food needs.

How to know if your turtle is not happy?

There are many signs that you can tell your beloved pet turtle is not happy.

If your turtle is unhealthy, then it will appear unhappy. You need to keep an eye on your turtle to know if it is healthy and happy. If your turtle is ill or in pain, it will appear unhappy. It will stop having food and sit in a corner alone.

If the turtle faces some health issues, it will not roam around as it does. It will prefer staying at one place bearing all the pain. Sometimes it makes noise, but it perhaps is not audible to us. Hence we must keep an eye on them. Especially when it’s a baby or juvenile turtle, it will prefer moving around when it’s healthy, so you will easily be able to notice the difference.

How to make a turtle happy?

There are many ways to keep your turtle happy. Make sure to provide a healthy diet to your turtle. Because if a turtle is healthy from within, it will always appear happy to you. Give them their favourite food. Check if they are feeling ok and check if there is any sign of illness. See if there is any sign of shell pyramiding. Shell pyramiding results due to excess protein in their diet.

Make sure you provide them with clean water to swim. Turtles like it when their surrounding is clean. Ensure they have enough space to swim. Check if the water temperature is correct. Provide them with some hiding spots in the tank. Use appropriate lights for basking. An unclean or unhygienic tank can result in several diseases.

Check if their eyes are clear and there is no mucus discharge. See if they have easy breathing. Also, check if the turtle is eating regularly and growing normally. If you find any sign of illness in your turtle, consult a veterinarian.

Some turtles enjoy playing. Try proving them with empty shells that they slide across the floor or place a small toy raft in their water that they can push along for fun. You can provide cuttlebone or fish on top of the water and let your turtle hunt these things. Your turtle’s efforts to hunt these things are a good source of exercise that can keep them happy.


It’s not very easy to identify if your turtle is happy or not. These creatures are not very expressive. By watching them over time, you can tell if they are not feeling well. They love eating food, and that’s what makes them the happiest. You can assume that your turtle is happy if they do regular basking, splashes water, explore their tank, eat food regularly, ask for food and so on. If the turtle is not moving often, sitting in one place, and not eating properly, it symbolizes that it is not happy. You can provide them with their favourite food and a clean environment to make them happy. If you find any signs of illness in your turtle, consult a veterinarian.