In this article you’re going to discover if you should force your turtle to bask
If your turtle is not basking there is a reason why they’re not basking
They won’t just stop for the sake of it
So why wouldn’t a turtle bask?
A turtle’s natural behavior is to bask in sunlight.
If this behavior is not occurring, then there must be some environmental factor causing the turtle to stop basking.
This could include a change in water quality, temperature, light levels, or even physical barriers.
Your turtle may also be basking when you aren’t looking at the tank.
So the question is..
Should I force my turtle to bask?
Your pet probably already knows that basking in natural conditions gives it more freedom and offers greater protection against predators.
Forced basking can result in overheating and death.
Plus, forcing your turtle to bask puts undue stress on its delicate organs and soft shell.
Turtle shells consist of thin layers of calcium carbonate plates that grow together to form a tough exterior.
Unfortunately, exposing these plates to sudden changes in temperature can weaken their structure and leave cracks susceptible to infection.
If you ever notice any abnormality or swelling in your pet’s mouth, neck or throat area, immediately seek medical attention.
Swelling in these locations indicates serious problems related to breathing.
What happens if my turtle doesn’t bask?
A lack of adequate basking heat will cause a slow metabolism which means less stored fat reserves, slower growth rate and lower overall health.
Turtles who are unable to bask due to injury or illness usually become thinner and weaker, suffer from hypothermia, lose coordination and eventually die within days.
The most common reason is severe dehydration caused by inadequate water intake.
Even if injured, a healthy turtle shouldn’t go longer than 24-48 hours without basking before its first meal, since it takes 3-4 hours to digest food after eating.
Can a turtle live without basking?
It depends on the type of turtle.
Most land tortoises cannot survive away from basking temperatures because unlike sea turtles they hibernate each year instead of migrating south.
Also, while most types of aquatic turtles can tolerate cold weather better than terrestrial ones, they won’t last very long away from water especially during winter months.
If you keep your pet in an aquarium, make sure you provide plenty of fresh water every day and check regularly for any signs of dehydration.
A sickly turtle needs extra care whenever it isn’t able to access basking areas properly.
You’ll want to keep the tank clean and free of algae, waste and debris.
Don’t forget to feed your turtle daily — avoid feeding it scraps from your table.
These foods contain lots of sugar which makes your turtle crave water and causes dehydration.
As soon as it becomes dehydrated, it stops drinking anything.
Do turtles need to bask everyday?
No! Some turtles prefer to bask once per day, others twice per day…but no matter what species you own, basking frequency decreases throughout the warmer seasons.
During spring and summertime, turtles mostly use basking periods to absorb minerals from sunlight rather than warming up bodies.
By fall and early winter, they begin using basking sessions to help prepare themselves for colder climates.
As far as duration goes, generally turtles take 10 minutes to 15 minutes to complete a full bask cycle.
Once they reach the desired warmth, they return to shelter or den.
After spending several hours soaking up sunlight, turtles often head back indoors to rest.
The best part about basking is that it provides essential nutrients for both male and female turtles alike.
Basking heats the blood, which increases heart rates and boosts testosterone levels in males.
Females benefit from higher estrogen levels produced by basking as well.
Both sexes produce eggs during warm season and basking promotes egg laying and incubation.
Do turtles know when to bask?
Like other reptiles, turtles experience seasonal cycles similar to ours.
Each month consists of two main phases – active phase and inactive phase.
Active phase begins when daylight reaches its peak around mid-day and lasts till late afternoon/early evening.
Inactive phase starts later in the afternoon and continues overnight.
When basking time falls during active phase turtles get excited and try to move around.
Since they aren’t used to being exposed to bright sunlight, they end up getting hurt.
To prevent this problem, owners must set aside certain parts of tanks where turtles can freely roam around safely.
How long should a turtle bask for?
Basking time for your turtle depends on the species to which it belongs, the age of the turtle, and the temperature and humidity of the basking platform.