In this article you’re going to discover – Do turtles have feelings?
Turtles are the most laid-back animals on Earth.
They sleep up to 20 hours per day, eat whatever falls in front of them or gets stuck underneath them, and generally don’t seem too bothered about anything at all.
But it turns out that even though turtles may not experience much emotional as we understand it (i.e., sadness) – there’s no reason why they can’t be affectionate towards others.
It seems unlikely but true – turtles actually show signs of affection.
In fact, one study has shown that female green sea turtles will kiss each other during mating season.
It might just be time for your pet turtle to start showing some more human traits!
Here’s everything you need to know about how turtles interact with humans…
Do turtles get attached to their owners?
Well, yes and no.
On average, pets bond well with their caregivers because they’ve been raised around people from an early age.
However, unlike dogs who become dependent upon us, turtles aren’t particularly needy creatures.
If left alone, they’ll live peacefully without any real interaction with humans whatsoever.
Still, while it isn’t uncommon to see turtles living free among rocks and shells near ponds, it does happen occasionally for these reptiles to become ‘domesticated’ by certain individuals.
This usually happens when someone takes pity on a lonely turtle and decides to keep him/her as a pet rather than letting him go back into nature.
Unfortunately, many turtles end up being kept illegally due to poor conditions where they were found.
Many species of wild turtles also suffer from habitat loss caused by over fishing, pollution, introduced predators, etc.
However, since turtles are self-sufficient creatures and are often housed individually, it shouldn’t come as such a surprise that they rarely form strong bonds with humans.
Do turtles feel love?
While it may sound like a silly question, research shows that turtles do possess basic forms of social behaviors.
A recent study showed that male green sea turtles will court females using specific sounds called “stratospheres,” which researchers believe could serve as courtship signals between males.
Another study showed that captive red eared sliders display jealousy behavior after seeing another individual getting food.
These studies suggest that although turtles aren’t capable of forming complex relationships with humans, they still exhibit cognitive functions similar to those seen in higher vertebrates.
Are turtles affectionate?
If you think your pet turtle doesn’t deserve any special treatment, then consider this: scientists recently discovered that adult female sea turtles use body contact, head shaking, and tail wagging gestures as communication tools to convey moods.
The same type of movements have also been observed in juvenile turtles.
Researchers say that these displays are used by the turtles to communicate what they want through these actions, instead of vocalization or visual cues.
On top of this, two separate studies suggest that both male and female turtles respond positively to playback experiments involving emotional stimuli.
For example, if a male turtle hears his own song, he becomes aggressive.
When exposed to the calls of other males, however, he responds favorably.
Similarly, female turtles prefer the songs of males over the songs of other females.
How do you make your turtle love you
Feeding your pet turtles regularly is essential to their health and happiness.
They should eat at least once per week.
Feeding time should occur after dark, since light affects their circadian rhythm.
Turtles do better if fed a diet high in protein.
Make sure to provide fresh water at all times.
Your pet turtles love to swim, but never allow them to drown (of course)
Check out my article – Do turtles get tired of swimming?
Provide plenty of hiding places for them to hide during the heat of the day.
Be aware of any potential dangers around your house.
Keep your pets inside until temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
Turtles love treats too.
Between meals, you can sneak a tasty morsel into your pet’s dish.
This will definitely encourage him to like you.
Turtles enjoy being outside and appreciate having time to explore.
They don’t like confinement, but they do enjoy playing with toys.
To encourage your pet turtle to interact with you, remove him/her from its tank and place him/her in another room. Make sure no other animals are nearby.
Let your turtle wander freely around the new environment.
He/she may begin exploring the room, following you closely.
Turtles are sensitive creatures, and they don’t appreciate being disturbed by noisy humans.
Make sure you’re quiet whenever you’re near a turtle’s habitat.
Also, try to avoid disturbing the turtle at night; it might wake up during the night and become startled.
How do you know if a turtle is sad?
You probably already knew that turtles react negatively to threats.
What you may not be aware of is that turtles can also appear depressed and lethargic when faced with a stressful situation.
To test whether a turtle is sad, first determine whether your pet turtle faces any significant stressors, such as overcrowding, lack of water, limited space, disease, injury, hunger, dehydration, isolation, etc.
Stressful situations in captivity tend to trigger negative reactions in turtles so try to avoid putting undue pressure on your reptile friend.
Next, observe your pet regularly for behavioral changes.
You should notice things like increased lethargy, reduced eating, less playtime, slower movement, decreased activity level, slow growth rate, etc.
These symptoms indicate that your turtle is stressed.
If you witness a sudden change in your pet’s normal habits, immediately seek help from your vet.
Even better, take your turtle to a veterinarian whenever possible.
Signs of depression include frequent urination, diarrhea, excessive salivation, weight gain, listlessness, sluggishness, unresponsiveness, and weakness.
Don’t worry – none of these symptoms pose serious health risks.
Just make sure your turtle receives proper care and attention by a professional.
To sum it up, yes, turtles can sense distress and loneliness.
Although they typically hide away when under threat, they won’t hesitate to approach a friendly face once again.
Turtles can recognize familiar voices and distinguish different tones, making them sensitive observers.
So next time you pet your little buddy, you’d best remember to treat him/er with kindness.
After all, turtles are among the oldest land dwelling animals on earth, having survived millions of years longer than mammals and birds.
Now that’s something worth appreciating.