Do Turtles Die With Their Eyes Open

In this article we’re going to answer the question – Do Turtles Die With Their Eyes Open?

It’s a question that has perplexed people for centuries.

When a human dies, does the person close his or her eyes before death?

Or are we meant to keep our eyes closed during life and then open them after death?

If you’re like most of us, your answer will be “of course” because it makes since — but why do turtles die differently than humans?

The truth is, most animals don’t have eyelids (and turtles aren’t an exception).

This means that when a turtle dies its eye lids stay shut all day long until eventually they fall off.

But what happens if a turtle loses consciousness while it’s still alive?

Will it continue breathing, or will it stop completely?

And how can we tell whether a turtle is actually dead or just sleeping?

Here’s some more information about turtles’ unique ways of dying.

We’ll start by examining what happens to a turtle’s body as it nears death.

Then we’ll take a closer look at what may be causing your pet turtle to seem lifeless.

Finally, we’ll discuss how to help your turtle make it through tough times.

How do turtles look when they die?

As mentioned earlier, when a turtle dies, the upper and lower lid on each eye socket fold over onto themselves.

The result creates a tent-like structure around both eyeballs.

After the lids detach from the cornea and sclera, the eye sockets become empty spaces.

Once these areas fill up with fluid, the entire eyeball dissolves away into nothingness.

In other words, there’s no way to see inside either eye once the lids seal over them.

Unlike many mammals, reptiles also possess extra skin covering their heads, which helps protect their brains from overheating should the creature’s metabolism slow down significantly.

If a turtle’s brain temperature rises too much, the animal could literally cook itself from within.

Since turtles cannot blink to dissipate heat, the excess heat builds up in the head region and causes damage to the reptile’s nervous system and even burns the skin

So let’s say your turtle isn’t acting normally one morning.

Should you consider taking him or her to the vet?

While being sick certainly doesn’t mean your turtle is going to die any time soon, sometimes things happen that might necessitate professional medical attention.

For example, if you notice something wrong with your turtle’s behavior or appearance, follow your instincts.

It would probably be best to consult with a veterinarian anyway.

In addition to looking different after death, turtles also smell very bad.

Their bodies begin rotting rapidly after losing consciousness because bacteria multiply faster in warm water.

As a general rule, it takes anywhere between 24 hours and three days for a turtle to fully decompose.

During this period, the stench emitted by decaying turtles can be unbearable.

So please avoid placing your deceased pet in direct sunlight or near a window where passersby can easily detect the odor.

Also remember to thoroughly wash your hands or use hand sanitizer whenever you handle your pet.

Don’t worry though — unless you live in New York City, chances are nobody outside your house will ever know anything was amiss.

Why do turtles die so quickly?

While turtles usually live up to 100 years, their lifespan varies depending on species.

Tortoise species typically reach maturity sooner than their counterparts belonging to other groups.

Young turtles generally grow faster than adults thanks to higher metabolic rates and greater activity levels.

Of course, genetics play a major role as well.

Certain breeds of freshwater turtles tend to live longer than their marine cousins.

Likewise, female turtles enjoy better longevity than males.

Aside from aging, factors including environmental conditions, disease and injury contribute to turtles’ rapid demise.

One common reason for turtle deaths is drowning, particularly among younger individuals.

Turtles that frequent rivers or swamps face increased risks.

Rivers contain dangerous predators like crocodiles and large fish that prey on hatchlings and youngsters.

Other dangers include fishing hooks, nets and boat propellers.

Additionally, aquatic vegetation provides cover for hungry underwater creatures that attack turtles.

Another significant contributor to turtle mortality is habitat loss.

Humans destroy natural wetlands and waterways through construction projects, agriculture and pollution.

Habitat destruction leads to fragmented habitats, forcing native turtles to travel farther distances to access resources.

Deforestation caused by logging and mining activities results in fewer trees providing shade and shelter for turtles.

Finally, invasive species pose a serious threat to vulnerable populations.

Asian Carp, American Bullfrogs and Burmese Pythons are examples of nonnative species that threaten turtles and other wildlife.

Alligators and raccoons are two popular Florida residents that prey on turtles.

Invasive species compete with native inhabitants for food and space, preventing smaller animals from accessing important nesting sites.

Fortunately, efforts aimed at controlling these threats have resulted in positive improvements.

Once you realize your turtle is unconscious, how do you decide whether to euthanize or wait patiently for recovery?

Euthanasia involves putting the animal to sleep with drugs similar to anesthesia.

Often the procedure is done during surgery.

Before administering medication, however, it’s essential to evaluate your turtle’s overall health status.

Is the patient dehydrated? Has it eaten recently? Are its vital organs damaged? Have you noticed sudden weight gain or weight loss?

By knowing answers to questions like these, you can assess whether euthanasia is appropriate.

Otherwise, you run the risk of prolonging the painful ordeal unnecessarily.

For instance, if your turtle has sustained injuries inflicted by accident, neglect or violence, waiting for recovery is definitely preferable compared to ending its life prematurely.

Injuries like broken bones and crushed shells can permanently affect mobility and hinder movement.

Pain medications won’t work effectively against intense physical discomfort caused by severe trauma.

Even worse, these complications could worsen over time and potentially turn fatal.

Why is my turtle not moving? (5 possible reasons why)

1) He may have hit an iceberg!

This actually happens more often than you think and it’s called ‘iceberg syndrome’.

Turtles get stuck underneath logs or rocks where they cannot breathe properly and eventually die from suffocation.

The symptoms include slow movement/no movement, head pressed against substrate (this helps keep them warm), pale mucus membranes, flippers tucked into their shells and sometimes constipation due to lack of food intake.

To prevent this happening simply make sure there aren’t any large pieces of wood lying around your pond.

Sometimes even removing small plants such as reeds or rushes might help too.

Also try keeping water temperatures higher during cooler times of the year by adding heaters etc.

2) Your turtle could be sick

There are many illnesses that affect reptiles including turtles however most common diseases affecting turtles are usually caused by bacteria or fungi infections.

Symptoms include poor appetite, loss of interest in eating, lethargy, excessive salivation, sluggishness, discoloration of skin and scales, difficulty breathing, abnormal movements, weakness, paralysis, general unwell feeling and rapid weight loss.

You will need to take action straight away if these symptoms occur so call your vet straight away.

A lot of people don’t realize that turtles also carry round parasites inside their body cavity.

These can cause serious health problems especially if left untreated therefore always consult your vet before treating yourself.

3) Turtle Shell Disease

Another reason why turtles stop moving is because of Turtle Shell disease which is a fungal infection within the internal layer of their shell.

The fungus grows between layers of calcium carbonate causing damage to vital organs resulting in death.

Symptoms include cloudy eyes, droopy eyelids, bloated stomachs, loose stools, ruffled appearance, slowness, loss of coordination, listlessness, dragging legs, inability to close mouth completely, bleeding gums and nose bleeds, sneezing, coughing up blood, discharge under tail base, scaly patches, nasal discharges, dark coloured urine, swollen testes and ovaries.

Treatment includes anti-fungal medication and strong antibiotics to treat bacterial infections.

You should take your turtle to the vets

4) Tortoise Sickness

A virus similar to chicken pox infects tortoises.

Symptoms include severe pain around snout area followed by swelling, red spots appearing on ventral surface and heavy shedding of skin.

Call vet straight away and administer appropriate treatment.

5) Paralytic Stroke

In certain species of turtle such as Red Eared Sliders, females go through regular reproductive cycles every 6 months.

During each cycle female turtles release eggs and hatchlings.

While male turtles do not become sexually mature until later years in life, once they reach maturity males must stay near to the nest for several days whilst the females leave to hunt.

One way scientists explain how turtles manage this is by having two types of nerve cells, fast twitch fibres responsible for controlling voluntary actions and slower tonic neurons responsible for involuntary functions.

However, researchers found that in young turtles, only tonic nerves were affected following egg laying thus preventing the animal from leaving its nest.

As the turtles grow stronger the number of fast twitches increase enabling the animals to perform complex tasks independently.

Unfortunately, older individuals lose control of their muscles leading to paralysis, immobility and eventual death.

Scientists believe that a possible solution is to use electrical stimulation known as electroneurostimulation to stimulate the remaining tonic nerves back to full function enabling the turtles to live normally again.

Hopefully now you understand why your turtle is not moving and know to look out for signs of illness and seek professional advice.

Remember, turtles are sensitive creatures who thrive best being kept healthy and happy.

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