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do turtles get attached to their owners

Do Turtles Get Attached to Their Owners | Bonding with Turtles

Dog and cat owners know the immense joy the pet brings to them, especially when they cuddle or hug back them. It is a way of showing their affection and attachment to their owners. But is it the same with your turtles?

Do turtles get attached to their owners? Well, the question has been at the center of debate among turtle owners with varying levels of answers. But what’s the truth?

Do turtles have emotion? Will they ever get attached or feel for their owner?

I researched the topic and what I found startled me.

Yes, turtles get attached to their owners, start recognizing the owner after a period and especially, get really introduced to their voice. But all these happen differently compared to the bonding of humans to cats and dogs.

So, get deep into the findings.

Do Turtles Get Attached to Their Owners?

Many people have developed a misconception that turtles are sluggish and not playful. However, ask any turtle owners, and you will know that the truth is just on the opposite side. If you ever owned a turtle and allowed it to roam around in your garden, only then you will know how playful it is.

I have seen my box turtles enjoying the lush greenery on my lawn and exploring it at their fastest speed. Since they love roaming around you and getting food from your hand, it is most likely they get attached to you.

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Nonetheless, I have to be fair to admit that the attachment mostly comes from the turtles’ dependency on you. It happens as you are the only source of food and work as a security card to him since you will be cleaning the tank and entertaining the turtle.

Will Your Turtle Recognize You?

Let’s admit that the process of building a bond with you for the turtle will start from the turtle’s ability to recognize you. Just imagine your life- will you feel or get attached to someone you don’t know or remember?

The case is similar to a turtle as well.

And the good news is that, yes, turtles recognize their owners after a certain period of petting. They perceive owners through three primary senses-

  • Sight: Turtles have a similar vision to humans. So, when you stay close to the pet for a long time, it recognizes you with your shape and size.
  • Sound: Turtles can pick up low-frequency sounds. So, when you walk near the turtle, it can recognize the vibration created by your walking. Once, the turtle gets accustomed to the particular vibration you create, and slowly it starts perceiving you with the sound and vibration.
  • Smell: Turtles have a strong sense of smell. It identifies fish and shrimp smells from a distance, and the same way it recognizes the owner from the scent.

How Do Turtles Show Affection?

Now that we know turtles developed an affection for owners and also recognize them, it brings us to the next significant question. How will the turtle express its warmth towards the owner?

Obviously, you can’t expect the turtle to run towards you or jump on the lap and hug you likewise, the dogs and cats. So, what to expect from them?

Well, turtles are extraordinarily passionate and would probably stay close to you when it feels affectionate. It can remain for hours sitting next to you without any sign of boredom. However, if you ever observed your turtle stretching its neck towards you or what you are doing, you must feel happy and proud.

The stretching neck is a clear sign that the turtle is attached to you and is keen to see what you are doing; it also expresses its curious instinct.

Sometimes, they will express their excitement towards owners as they enter the room. The excitement comes mainly from two things-

  1. The turtle will walk to you when you enter the room; it hopes you have brought a tasty treat for him.
  2. Sometimes, it paces the enclosure and stretches the neck to draw your attention.

Lastly, when you walk around the garden or lawn, set your turtle free. It will stay only a few steps behind you and slowly follow your trail. Sometimes they may even bump against you to draw attention and get patted.

Does Turtle Know/Understand Its Name?

At this point, you might be very excited, and I thoroughly realize its validity. You might be thinking that since turtles get attached to their owners, they will also know their names.

I am ardently afraid that I will have to frustrate you with a sorrowful No. Yes, my mate, turtle won’t know their names; neither they respond when you call them by a particular name.

Nonetheless, a turtle is smart enough to understand when it needs to come to you, especially when it expects a treat or patting.

How to Develop Attachment with Turtles

The turtle’s ability to recognize and build bonding with owners, leads us to another critical question, “How to develop bonding with turtles?”

Well, the answer is straightforward; keep the turtle happy and hearty.

You can practice the following tricks to keep the turtle happy and develop an attachment with it-

  1. The first thing you can do is to give proper food to the turtle. Turtles love being fed with treats, and you can quickly get attached to them with some surprise treats.
  2. Also, maintain the tank water to keep the turtle fit and healthy.
  3. Another way to help the turtle increase attachment with you is to pat it slowly. However, you should know that turtles dislike being touched. So, handle it gently as you pet it.
  4. Sometimes, you can allow the turtle to walk around you in the lawn and garden. It really helps the animal pay back its affection for you by slowly walking behind you.
  5. You may even place the turtle next to you and permit it to observe you when you do something. It helps the turtle fulfill its immense curiosity.


So, here is a quick recap of the topic, “Do turtles get attached to their owners?”-

Yes, turtles get attached to their owners, but the affection thread is thinner than that of dogs or cats. Also, it expresses its excitement to owners by walking near to them or stretching its long neck and observing what the owner does.

Finally, you can always follow some proven tricks, such as giving a treat or walking around the turtle to create a lasting bond with your pet turtle.

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