Why Does My Turtle Stay In One Corner?

Turtles make really fascinating pets, especially if you spend time getting to their their routines and characteristics.

Turtles often communicate by their actions, so it is well worth getting to know them well enough to understand what is normal for them.

If you notice that they are behaving a little differently, try to understand why so that you can resolve the problem speedily – you will soon be rewarded with a much happier turtle. 

Here’s one question turtle parents ask..

Why Does My Turtle Keep Going In The Corner?

If your turtle is not feeling confident or comfortable, he will probably head for a quiet corner so that he does not feel vulnerable.

There are a number of reasons why he might want to keep out of view –

Your Turtle Is Feeling Stressed

If your turtle is hiding in a corner of his tank, he could be feeling stressed.

Surprisingly, turtles do get stressed quite easily. Noise will certainly bother him – especially loud music.

Turtles have excellent hearing.

He might be bothered because your cat or dog has been peering into his tank or you could be handling him too frequently or too roughly.

He Feels It Is a Dangerous Environment

If your turtle is feeling threatened, he may well prefer to ‘lie low’ for a while.

If you have another turtle, he could be bullying the first turtle.

The only way to successfully solve the problem is to keep them in separate tanks.  

You Have Him On a Poor Diet

If you are not feeding your turtle a good diet, he may well not be feeling in top health and this will make him feel vulnerable.

Although the basic essential food is pellets, turtles need much more variety than this and their diet should include live prey, meat, fruit and vegetables too as this will ensure that your turtle is getting all the vitamins and other nutrients that he needs.

Adjusting his diet is relatively easy to put right.  

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Low Water Temperature

This may sound strange but is important because your turtle is a cold-blooded reptile and does not generate any body heat himself so he relies on his surroundings.

Each species of turtle requires a slightly different temperature so it is best to seek advice from your breeder or pet shop.

The average temperature required is 24- 27 ºC.

It is best to regularly check the temperature of the water and its cleanliness as turtles don’t like dirty water either.

The other important place to check the temperature is your turtle’s basking spot as it needs to be slightly warmer – about 29- 32ºC.

Once you have the temperatures all well-balanced, your turtle will be out swimming happily around again.  


If you have a female turtle, she could be hiding away as she is pregnant and feeling vulnerable.

It is important to remember that even if you do not have a male turtle in the tank, the female can still lay eggs – but they will not be fertilised- but the eggs will never hatch.

If this is the situation, just give her a good varied diet and plenty of attention and the situation will resolve itself.

Confused And Scared

If your turtle is new, he will be feeling uncomfortable in his new surroundings and will be hiding away until he is confident of the new sounds and smells.

In the early days he will be even scared of you – his loving human.

If he is a young turtle, he could be totally baffled by the glass of the tank because he can see through it, but cannot swim through it no matter how hard he tries.

In both cases, give your turtle time and give him a few edible treats each day – especially freeze dried insects- and he will soon gain his confidence. 

Why Is My Turtle Hiding?

Turtles usually hide when they think there is a predator around – and especially if they are in a new tank in a new environment.

Turtles can see you – their loving human- but they can smell and hear you much better so they have to learn your scent and the  noise pattern of your footsteps.

Try and help him settle in by talking gently to him and not making any sudden noises or playing loud music.

Hand feed him some edible treats each day too as this will boost his confidence.  

Related article – Why is my turtle hiding in his shell?

Why Is My Turtle Not Active?

Your turtle may not be moving because he is too cold , so check the water temperature.

He may be really hungry, so try him with some food too.

If these actions do not resolve things, take a good look at your turtle, can you see any discharge?

When he swims, is he listing to one side or trying to breathe with his mouth open?

These are indications that he is unwell so best to get him to your Vet as soon as possible. 

How Can You Tell If a Turtle Is Unhappy?

If your turtle is not eager to eat or spends plenty of time hiding or in a corner, he could be unhappy.

Check the temperature and cleanliness of the water and check that the tank is not over-crowded.

Try and give your turtle regular foodie treats and some attention.

Very soon he should respond positively, be filled with confidence and happy to swim around and eat from your hand.

If he doesn’t respond, it is best to get him checked out by your Vet.       

Related article – Why does my turtle like the dark?

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