Tortoise Neck Skin Peeling

Raising tortoises can be a very interesting experience, yes watching your pet grow can be fun, but seeing them get sick can be a frightening experience especially if you’re new to caring for reptiles.

It could mean that your tortoise has been sunbathing too much or maybe he/she was just bitten by another animal but if you notice that your tortoise’s neck skin is peeling then you would be correct to become concerned.

Tortoise neck skin peeling (Possible reasons)

If your tortoise’s neck skin is peeling, then there must be something wrong with your tortoise.

The most likely reason why your tortoise neck is peeling could be one of the following reasons


Reptiles of all kinds shed their skin.

This helps them grow out of their rough, dry, scaly, and inelastic skin.

Unlike many other reptiles, tortoises do not shed their skin in one go; rather, they shed their skin in small patches over time.

If the skin on the neck of your pet tortoise is peeling, this may indicate that the animal is just shedding its skin.

This is completely normal so you got nothing to worry about

It’s perfectly normal for tortoises to shed skin

Tortoises shed naturally in the wild and can do this in captivity without any assistance.

If you want to help your furry friend, you can bathe him or her in warm water.

This will help the animal’s skin shed off easier.

Dead, peeling skin will come off much easier exposing the fresher new skin beneath.

Maintaining proper humidity levels in the tortoise’s enclosure will also help with the shedding of hair.

Don’t attempt to peel, rub or remove the skin in any way, as this can cause pain for your pet.

Additionally, try not to pull off any part of your pet’s fur because this can cause wounds that can get infected.


One of the main reasons why your tortoise’s skin may peel or flake off is due to dehydration.

Tortoises are land animals, but they do benefit from having access to water on a regular basis.

Water helps to keep their skin moist.

If your tortoise is dehydrated, the skin on its neck may start to peel.

Other signs of dehydration include loose skin, dried feces, weight loss, depression, lethargy, and thick, ropey mucus.

Here’s what you should do if your tortoise is dehydrated 

Feed your pets more foods that contain lots of water, like lettuce and cucumbers, to ensure they get enough hydration.

You can also combat your pets’ dehydration by increasing the humidity levels in their enclosures and ensuring that they bathe often.

You should try to keep your pet away from food that increases urination

Dandelions for example are a food that increases urination

If your tortoise is losing its skin, showing other symptoms of illness, or just looks sickly, then you should have your pet examined by a veterinarian, or even better yet, a reptile vet.

Tortoises will try to hide signs of illness but if you notice any symptoms of illness in your tortoise, it is likely very advanced and serious.

How do you moisturize a tortoise skin?

To ensure your tortoise stays happy and healthy, you must provide him/her with plenty of fresh water, keep the air humidity at the right level, and soak the tortoise periodically.

This will keep the skin cells healthy and hydrated.

Can I put Vaseline on my tortoise?

Shells need to breath or absorb moisture, so never apply oils or lotions.

Oils and lotions can trap germs against the shell, or act as breeding media for them.

The oil or lotion collects dirt, which is bad for the turtle.

The oils or lotions contain chemicals that the turtle will absorb and be injured by.

Can I rub coconut oil on my tortoise?

Coconut Oil is a natural remedy for improving your nails.

It supposedly makes them stronger and fights anti-fungal infections.

As a tortoise shell consists of keratin it therefore follows that a shell could be improved by coconut oil to make it stronger and to fight local fungis.

Always seek advice from a veterinarian if you want to apply anything on your turtle  

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