Why Does My Turtle Try To Bite Me?

Turtles (terrapins) do make fascinating pets and certainly can build a relationship with their owner.

It is true to say that some species of turtle are slightly more aggressive than others but it is usually for the same reason – they feel threatened.

If your turtle tries to bite you it is probably because he is feeling scared.

Let’s get into more detail

Carry on reading..

Why Is My Turtle Trying To Bite Me? (Possible Reasons In Detail)

Your turtle will certainly try and bite you in self defence if he feels threatened or frightened.

If you have just brought him home from the breeders or pet shop he will certainly be feeling very unsure of his new environment.

Turtles can see but they have two other senses and incredibly sensitive senses – hearing and smell.

To feel comfortable, they need to become familiar with the sight, sounds and smell of their new abode.

Then they can relax and at that stage, they will be getting to know you as their favorite human! 

How Do You Stop a Turtle From Biting?

The key to success in stopping your turtle from trying to bite you is to help him to settle into his new environment.

Feeding your turtle regularly with small treats will help him to recognize your sight, smell and sound and you should spend some time with him, talking to him in a soothing voice and not making any loud or sudden noises near him.

You will be able to see the change in him as he relaxes and grows in confidence and it will be at this stage that you can try patting him very gently on his head or stroking his shell (carapace).

Once this has happened and your turtle is feeling more settled, if he does try to bite you, it will be an accident because he cannot see your finger among the food you are holding for him or you are wearing red nail varnish which he has mistaken for some tomato!   

What Happens If a Turtle Bites You?

If your turtle does succeed in biting you he will not actually hurt you.

The sensation is similar to a strong close peg being snapped onto your finger.

The larger the turtle, the stronger the bite, of course. 

Why Does My Turtle Bite The Water?

If your turtle is healthy, you will see him occasionally ‘biting the water’

Why does he do this?

Well, he does this to get some extra oxygen inside him, or he may have seen a tiny particle of food in the water which was not visible to you. 

When a turtle seems to be biting the water frequently, this usually shows that he is having problems breathing and is trying to get more oxygen into his body.

If you notice that at the same time, he is listing to one side as he swims, he could well have an infection and it is best to get him checked out by your vet.  

Why Is My Turtle Trying To Bite Me Through The Tank?

If you run your finger down the glass of the tank, your turtle may well try and bite it through the glass and this is just him having a little game.

Do Turtles Bite Each Other?

Yes, they certainly do when they are trying to show dominance in a group of turtles especially when they are establishing their territories.

If you have too many turtles in your tank or pond, you may find that the turtles start biting each other because they feel threatened by the lack of space. 

When a male turtle wants to mate with a female, he often touches her and to reject his advances, she will try to bite him. 

Turtles also bite each other when they are mating – the male will gently bite the female, but softly so as not to injure her.  

Turtles are actually surprisingly complex characters and each species of turtle has its own unique traits.

They are solitary reptiles who prefer not to live in groups and certainly do not seek companionship.

Because of these factors, if you try and get several different species to live together, you may well find that you are unsuccessful and in this case, you may well find that they are biting each other. 



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