Turtles are such a great pet. They’re easy to care for, cute as a button, and each turtle has a little bit of personality. This personality combined with the fact that many of those that have a pet turtle only have a single pet turtle has led to an interesting question, do turtles get lonely, depressed, or bored?
The general answer is that turtles do not get lonely as they are a lone wolf type of animal in nature – turtles are not a pack animal. Additionally, turtles do not get depressed nor do they really have feelings as the depth of their consciousness does not appear to go that deep.
Humans have a tendency to anthropromorphize their pets, which is sometimes true. But generally the emotions that humans project onto pets are emotions found in humans more than the pets.
Anyway, this article will go into detail about the emotional depth of turtles.
Do Turtles Get Lonely?
The most common question related to the emotional health of turtles, in my experience, pertains to whether or not turtles get lonely.
As mentioned previously, turtles don’t get lonely. Turtles are not a social creature like many aquatic animals (ie. small baitfish). Turtles don’t hangout in groups for the vast majority of their life. In fact, a turtle will spend the majority of its life alone.
So no, turtles don’t get lonely. The loner nature of turtles begs the opposite question…
Can Turtles Live With Other Turtles?
Turtles can live with other turtles if they have enough space. However, you can expect to see fights over territory if you have multiple turtles living in the same small space. This is especially true of red eared slider turtles.
Red eared slider turtles greatly prefer being alone and have a tendency to fight other turtles in a tank. They are a more aggressive breed of turtles.
Personally, I don’t recommend multiple turtles living together in an aquarium unless it’s a truly massive aquarium… like something you’d find at a zoo. If you have a decent sized pond, then you can have multiple turtles in it and they should be ok.
Do Turtles Get Bored?
Another question is if turtles get bored. Now, I would not necessarily classify turtle emotions as bored in the same way that humans get bored.
But yes, turtles do need to have something to do to get rid of all the energy they have pent up in their system. Remember, in nature a turtle will do quite a bit of swimming and hunting on a daily basis. With that in mind, here are some ways to help your turtle release all that pent up energy.
How To Prevent Your Turtle From Getting Bored
These are some quick tips to prevent your turtle from getting too bored. My recommendation is to give your turtle plenty of room to roam – that’s simply the best way to prevent boredom as it best simulates the infinite expanse of nature. However, if that isn’t an option, then these ways will at least give them something to do.
- Give them sticks to play with. The turtle will like pushing the sticks around to burn off energy.
- Hide food in the tank for the turtle to find. My recommendation is to bury grapes in the sand or under debris – it will at least simulate the turtle finding food in nature.
- Give the turtle a log to rest on if you don’t already have one – turtles spend a lot of time in nature sitting on logs.
Do Turtles Get Depressed?
In the above video a turtle owner deals with a depressed turtle… he claims it’s not from the environment, but in my opinion the habitat is a little too small and confined for a turtle.
The final point in the anthropromorphization of turtles is whether or not these animals get depressed.
I don’t believe a turtle has the brainpower to even feel depression – their brains are too small and they rely solely on instinct for decisions. It’s hard to get depressed when everything is instinct.
Of course, this does not mean your turtle can’t get stressed out. Now, your turtle doesn’t have a 9-5 job to stress about, but it will get stressed from sudden changes in it’s habitat, sickness, improper living conditions, and a dirty aquarium.
Other than those fairly simple things, a turtle does not really have anything to be depressed about.
Well, that covers it for whether turtles get lonely. Turtles don’t get lonely – these are loner animals. Your turtle will likely get more stressed out having other turtles in the tank, especially a red eared slider turtle.
As for depression and boredom?
Turtles don’t really get depressed or bored, but they do get stressed out. Just give them plenty of room to roam, simulate nature as best as possible, and keep their living space clean and your turtle will live a happy life.