Why Is My Turtle Not Basking?

why is my turtle not basking

To regulate their body temperature, the turtles must bask. They absorb heat and vitamin D3 through basking, which is very beneficial to their body. Wild turtles can be seen basking on the barks, shore, branches, logs and so on. Sea turtles usually prefer basking in the water.

The heat gained from basking allows the turtle to regulate its body’s metabolism. When the turtle is too warm by basking, it returns to the water to cool itself off. It is very important to check that the basking area provided to the pet turtles are warm enough for them.

Some turtles prefer basking in the water, while some prefer basking on land. But what happens if the turtle stops basking? Is it bad for their health? Or is it ok for them not to bask? Let’s find out in this article.

Related Article: How To Keep A Turtle Warm Without A Heat Lamp?

Why is my turtle not basking?

The reason why the turtle won’t bask is if:

  • The basking area temperature is too high or low.
  • The basking area is not easily accessible.
  • Turtle is suffering from some health issues, stress or pregnancy.

There is also a possibility that the turtle is basking when you are not around and not looking at it.

Now let’s go into detail and understand why the turtle is not basking.

1. Basking area temperature is too high or low

The basking area temperature needs to be maintained between 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit that is 29 to 32 degrees Celsius. If the temperature is very hot, there is a possibility that the turtle can get burnt, and due to that, they will avoid basking.

You can fix this issue by keeping the heat bulb slightly away from the turtle and not very near to it. But don’t keep it very far because it can work opposite and the turtle won’t get enough heat. If the temperature is too cold, the turtle will still bask, but it will not be of any benefit for it, so it will be the same as not basking.

2. Inaccessible basking area

Some turtle owners do not provide a good basking area for the turtle. If the basking area is too high or doesn’t have a good grip on it turtle will not prefer to climb on it, as it is too uncomfortable and difficult for the turtle. You can use artificial grass or plastic bars that help the turtle get a grip and easily climb on the basking area.

If you do not have a good basking area for your turtle, you can try getting a new one because the basking area is very important for the turtle. Below are some of our recommended basking area for your turtle which you can try.

Image Product Price Purchase Link
LaBrinx-Designs-Narrow-Hanging-Turtle-Ramp LaBrinx Designs Narrow Hanging Turtle Basking Platform $49.99 Buy on Amazon
Floating-Turtle-Pier-Basking-Platform Penn-Plax Floating Turtle Basking Platform $23.55 Buy on Amazon
Floating-Basking-Platform-Ramp-Ladder-Tank Floating Basking Platform Ramp Ladder Tank $18.59 Buy on Amazon
Small-Turtle-Basking-Platform Turtle Basking Platform (7.87×4.72×1.57 Inch) $12.59 Buy on Amazon

3. Health Issues

There is a possibility that the turtle is not well and cannot move, due to which it is not basking. Possible diseases can be respiratory illness, shell rot, low bone density, bone deformity, etc. When the turtle is not well, it prefers to rest and does not move. So, this is also a major reason why it is not basking. You need to check if the turtle is facing any such disease and consult a veterinarian.

4. Stress

The turtles sometimes don’t bask if they are stressed. Especially when they are placed in a new habitat or environment. Turtles even get stressed due to loud noises, improper handling, etc. If this happens, they stop doing their activities and prefer staying alone, and they stop basking and eating particularly.

You need to keep them in a place where there is not much noise and also you should avoid touching or lifting them. You should make them feel comfortable in the environment you keep them in.

5. Pregnancy

If the turtle is pregnant, it will always be in a dilemma of where to lay its eggs. It will search for the area to lay eggs, and it is possible to stop basking and eating. They also start behaving differently than usual during pregnancy. You need to check your turtle’s gender if you want to know whether it’s pregnant and avoid basking.

If your turtle is pregnant, you cannot do much to solve the basking problem, and you will need to wait until your turtle lays its eggs.

6. Turtle is basking when you are not around

The turtle can bask when you are not around. This is possible when the turtle is scared. If the turtle is scared to bask on the land, it will try to bask when nobody is around or during the nighttime if the heat lights in the basking area are on. You cannot do much about it, and as time passes, they will adjust to the environment and feel comfortable basking even if you are around. But if you want to know whether they are basking in your absence, you can use cameras in your home to track them.

Why does turtle bask?

Turtles bask to absorb heat from the sun and the substrate they bask on. They can also bask under the heat and UVB lamps you provide them in the tank, but the temperature needs to be correct.

They absorb heat to regulate their body temperature and UVB lights to produce Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is required to absorb and utilize calcium. Lack of Vitamin D3 can result in turtles’ health issues, such as metabolic bone disease.

Related Article: Can I Use A Regular Light Bulb For My Turtle?

Why is my Red-eared slider turtle not basking?

The Red-eared slider turtle doesn’t prefer to bask if the basking area is not proper, if the basking temperature is too hot or too cold or if it faces health complications.

If the basking area is not dry enough and not accessible to your red-eared slider turtle, it will avoid basking. Make sure the basking area is accessible and easy to climb. You can put a ramp with your basking area to help the red-eared slider climb on the basking area. 

Keep the basking area temperature 10-15 degrees higher than the temperature of the water. Ensure the UVB lights are placed at the top of the basking area. Keep the basking area in a very peaceful place because red-eared sliders do not like to be disturbed while they are basking. If they get discouraged, they will start avoiding basking. Do not try to force your turtle to bask and let them do it on their own.

Why is my turtle always basking?

Turtles usually bask for 2 to 8 hours each day. If your turtle basks too much, it can dehydrate the turtle. It can also be an early symptom of health issues.

Try to place the turtle in water if it basks too much. If the turtle cannot swim after you put it into water or get out of it, again and again, it is a matter of concern. If the turtle does not prefer going in the water and always prefers to bask, it might suffer from a respiratory infection. You also need to check for the water temperature if it is too low. If everything is fine and still your turtle does not prefer swimming in the water and always basking, you need to consult a veterinarian.


The turtle doesn’t prefer to bask when the temperature of the basking area is too low or too high, the basking area is inaccessible, the turtle is pregnant, stressed, or facing some health issues. There is a possibility that the turtle basks when you are not around and not watching them. The turtles bask to regulate their body’s metabolism by absorbing heat and vitamin D3. It also helps their shell to become stronger. Lack of Vitamin D3 can lead to health issues in them. If your turtle does not prefer basking even after all the conditions are fine, you need to consult a veterinarian.