Last Updated on December 27, 2020 by John B. Nelson
When you own a turtle for a long time, such as several years, you might find the turtle reciprocating slightly to your sounds and gestures. Hence, many people consider that turtles build bonding with the owner and conclude that their pet has feelings.
So, do turtles have feelings? Well, it is a complicated answer which we will investigate today. Also, we will look for possibilities of a turtle getting bored and depressed if kept alone. Our discussion will also include suggestions to remove the turtle loneliness and boredom, if there are any.
Do Turtles Have Feelings?
Most turtle owners opine that they have seen their pet exchanging a few emotions with them. At least, the pet is interacting with the gestures and sounds, especially when they bring food for the turtle. Naturally, people have the misconception that turtles have feelings.
But scientific researchers have found that turtles don’t have emotions and feelings. Unlike a human, turtles lack feelings of anxiety, happiness, or anger.
So, how do they interact or reciprocate with the human owner?
Well, they communicate with the owners through their natural instincts. When you offer them food regularly, they will consider you as a safe food source. Hence, they will run towards you, especially when you stretch your hands to them.
That’s why many people have reported that turtles have bitten their fingers while eating. It doesn’t precisely mean that the turtle is aggressive. Their stretching of the neck and running after you is pure because of instincts for food- nothing else.
Since turtles lack feelings and emotion, they don’t either feel lonely. But they will be depressed due to stress and anxieties.
Turtles are mostly solitary and don’t like social life. They will roam around the home happily without their partners. In fact, turtles are happier living alone than in a pack. It means you won’t have to be anxious about the loneliness or frustration of the turtle.
However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t find a few options to entertain the pet turtle.
Definitely, turtles don’t have feelings and loneliness, but do they get bored? Or do they have emotions?
Let’s check the facts elaborately.
How About Turtles Emotion?
Turtles don’t share humanlike emotions. So, they lack happiness or sadness. The part of the brain of the turtle that actually controls emotion and feeling, aka, the limbic system, isn’t present in the turtle. However, they will still sense danger and injuries.
Hence, you will see turtles interacting while a predator is attacking them or showing signs of fear. You will see the turtle hiding its neck inside the shell when struck by a predator or frightened.
Turtles will also engage in fighting. It happens mainly among the territorial turtles. When you put too many turtles in a confined tank, they get involved in brutal fights. That’s why it is better you kept the turtle alone.
However, if you crazily want to pet multiple turtles in the same tank, make sure it is large enough to accommodate several adult species.
So, we have already seen that turtles are not emotional and don’t feel lonely either. But do they get bored?
Do Turtles Really Feel Lonely and Get Bored?
It is surprising.
Yes, turtles get bored indeed.
Sometimes you might notice the turtle climbing up the terrarium or tank. Also, most likely, you will see them digging the tank substrate frequently. Both activities are symptoms that the turtle is indeed feeling bored.
So, the turtle is looking for some exciting and engaging activities to entertain itself. Thus, we recommend arranging some entertaining activities inside the turtle tank to engage the turtle and remove its boredom.
Luckily, preparing the turtle tank to entertain the pet is comfortable. You can follow these tips for them.
- You can arrange an obstacle maze inside the turtle tank. Then, place the turtle’s favorite food right at the end of the maze. It will be tempted to run across the mazy tunnel to get the treat. As the turtle smells the treat, it will find a way to pass through the tunnel. Hence, such mazy obstacles will entertain the pet.
- Rafts and empty shells are also alternatives to engage the turtle inside the tank. Most turtles will love playing with the empty shells.
- A planted aquarium is also ideal for removing the turtle boredom. Turtles will try climbing on the decorative plants. Alternatively, you can place some colorful sticks inside the tank and let your pet try its climbing skills.
- Occasionally, you can consider preparing a bigger water pool and transfer the turtle to it. Your pet will, undoubtedly, love swimming in the freshly built large pool. Make sure that the tap water you put inside the pool is de-chlorinated.
- Sometimes, changing the aquarium decoration will do wonders to entertain the turtle too. When you change the ornamental plants and a few orientations, the turtle will find it new and roam around the tank. They will show interest in exploring their new habitat. Changing the aquarium decoration once every 3-4 months will do in this regard.
Will Turtle Feel Depressed?
We have already mentioned that turtles become depressed and frustrated whenever they will feel stress and anxious. The strain mainly comes from the external fear and sudden change of the water parameters and environment.
So, we recommend that you don’t change the tank environment – especially the water parameters such as pH level, temperature, and nitrogen amount. Furthermore, an ill or injured turtle will get depressed as well. When a turtle becomes depressed, it will limit movement.
Therefore, you must maintain a clean environment inside the tank. Make sure the water parameters are also at the optimal level.
|Temperature||75°F to 78°F|
|pH level||6.00 to 8.00|
|Nitrate||Less than 40ppm|
|Nitrite||Less than 0.5ppm|
So, here’s the summary of our discussion on “Do turtles have feelings?”-
Turtles lack the emotion controlling brain part. So, they don’t have emotions and feelings. But they feel depressed and bored, especially when they are injured or ill. So, you should regularly check the turtle for sickness and injuries.
Furthermore, you can set up a few ornamental plants or climbing sticks inside the tank to remove the turtle boredom. It will entertain the pet and allow you to be anxiety-free.