Do Tortoises Eat Their Own Poop?

Tortoises often pooped a lot, and while this was not 100% true, they do poop.

While cleaning out their enclosure, you may not see all this poop people were talking about in their enclosures.

It may have you scratching your head first and leaving you with one bugging question: Do tortoises eat their own poop?

And if they are eating their own poop, I mean is that okay and normal for them to do?

Tortoises often consume their own feces as many other animals do.

However, this behavior is usually considered normal and does not indicate a lack of nutrition in the animal’s diet.

Sounds a bit weird right? But that’s animals for you!

We’ll cover more of the issues that you can face with a tortoise eating its own poop and some ways of stopping it from happening.

Carry on reading!

Do Tortoises normally eat their own feces?

You might have seen it out of the corner of your eye, but you can’t be too sure.

Did you notice your beloved pet tortoise chowing down on its own poo?

This is a common occurrence that has bothered pet owners for years.

Is it harmful to pets?

If so, what does it do to them?

Turtles and tortoises have been known to eat their own feces.

This is typical behavior among many animals.

Tortoises are incredibly non-selective about what they eat.

They will eat anything they come across, regardless of whether it tastes good or bad.

There is no social stigma attached to this behavior, and tortoises aren’t concerned about how others view them.

If you see your tortoise eating its own feces, this is completely normal behavior and won’t harm your tortoise unless he/she is ill.

If your tortoise appears lethargic or uninterested in feeding, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Related article – Is tortoise poop good fertilizer?

Coprophagia prevention tips

If you want to avoid this behavior, there are several things you can do.

Coprophagia is the act of consuming feces, and it is seen in everything from tortoises to dogs and more.

Animals produce manure that contains excess nutrients and microbes that some animals may find beneficial.

To prevent this behavior completely, follow these simple steps.

1. Feed your tortoise daily so they’re not hungry 

Give your tortoise enough food so that he does not get hungry during the day.

If a tortoise feels hungry and they got nothing to do, you know what they’ll do?

Eat their own poop!

A tortoise with a full stomach will stop them eating their own poop

Tortoises love eating green leafy vegetables, especially lettuce, kale, collard greens, spinach, and arugula.

If you don’t feed your tortoise the right amount of food they’ll resort to eating their own poop

To avoid this scenario, give your pet enough food so they are not hungry

2. Ensure it receives adequate nutrition 

Tortoises love to munch on grasses and leaves, but sometimes they won’t get enough vitamins and minerals in their diets.

If this happens, they may try to “cheat” by eating feces.

This is called coprophagy.

If you think your tortoise needs better nutrition, try adding some supplements or nutrients to their food.

If a tortoise has complete nutrition without any gaps, they will be much less likely to eat their own feces.

3. Clean Up

Finally, if nothing else seems to be working, you may simply need to clean out their habitat more frequently.

They cannot eat a lot of poop if there is no poop to eat.

While this may be additional work for you, it’s got to be done because it is a simple way to reduce coprophagia.

No poop means no ability to eat poop.


Be sure to sweep out or dump out the substrate regularly to ensure that all of the droppings are being removed from the environment.

Does a tortoise eat other tortoises poop?

Tortoises do not have a set schedule for elimination, and they do not differentiate between their own waste and that of others.

They all appear the same to them.

Tortoises often eat each others’ poops.

If you have multiple tortoises together, there is a good chance they are eating each other’s feces.

As long as the population is healthy, there is little risk to this behavior other than being gross.

However, if the population is not healthy, then eating each other’s poops can be dangerous

If a tortoise eats the poop of another reptile that has been infected with worm or parasite then this spread the infestation to other healthy tortoises of the population very quickly

Cross contamination prevention

The easiest way to prevent cross contamination is to keep animals separated from each other.

If you have a hungry turtle that keeps eating poo, you might not want to put it in with other turtles and tortoises.

Eating its own poop is much safer than eating a wide variety of different animal poop as you don’t know if they have any infections or disease

Quarantine is a good option for those looking to prevent zoonotic diseases from spreading through their populations.

If you don’t want to separate your population, quarantine is the next best step.

You can observe them and spot any signs of illness or parasitic infections.

If you notice any signs of illness within one of the tortoises during quarantine, you have time to treat it before placing both animals together.

Lastly, make sure that you are not cramming your animals into a tiny space.

If each tortoise has enough room to have its own space and its own burrow, it will prevent poop from piling up too quickly and making it harder for the tortoises to eat one another’s waste.

If waste is accumulating rapidly or becoming noticeable, then you might need a bigger container, or you will need to clean more frequently in order to avoid contamination from occurring.

Do tortoises eat other animal poops?

Tortoises are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals.

They do not discriminate between what they eat; if they smell something good, they will eat it.

Turtles spend a large amount of their time near the bottom of lakes, rivers, ponds, and oceans, where the presence of other animals’ waste is quite common.

If they are hungry, they will eat it; otherwise, they won’t care.

Tortoises can get sick from eating feces, so you should try to keep them away from other animals and ensure that the area where they live is free of pest infestations and animal waste.

If there isn’t any poo around, there won’t be any poo for them to eat.

Wrapping Up

Tortoises are not picky eaters, and eating poop is not off limits.

Most tortoitse do not care what they eat, and they often just try to get more nutrition out of their food.

This behavior is completely natural in the animal kingdom.

However, watching your tortoise eat its food should provide clues that you may not be giving him the proper nutrition he requires.

If you notice any changes in his eating habits, then reexamine what you’ve been feeding him.

Some of the tips we’ve outlined in this article should help you minimize the problem and keep the health issues down.

Cross contamination is a big concern when it comes to turtles but with some simple steps, it’s easily overcome.

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