Why Does My Turtle Try To Escape?

Turtles/ terrapins are popular pets and are certainly fascinating ones to have.

They will definitely find moving to a new home stressful be it a tank or pond which is why your turtle may want to escape

There are many ways in which you can make their new home as close to ideal as possible, but tanks just cannot replicate what life in nature is like and also turtles are not meant to have a life in captivity.

Let’s look at some possible ways of making sure your turtle is settled and also how to stop them from escaping

How Do I Stop My Turtle From Escaping?

The key to success is to really look at your turtle tank or pond and assess whether you have made it as ideal as possible for your new pet, so that he won’t want to escape. 

Check Your Tank Is Large Enough

The most important factor is space.

Your turtle needs to feel that he has plenty of space for exploring and being on his own (turtles are not particularly sociable).

If your turtle is in a tank, measure the length of his shell (carapace) and allow 10 gallons of water for each inch of shell – this is the ‘rule of thumb’ that breeders use.

This is the most common problem of all because many turtle owners buy tanks that are too small for their pet.

If the tank is a good size for your turtle at the moment, as he grows, you may well have to invest in a larger tank.

Are There Places To Bask And Hide?

Having checked the space, the next question is whether the environment is attractive and stimulating for your turtle as it would be in the wild.

They need large stones for basking – and this is a really important requirement.

They also need lots of places to hide and different types of weed too.

This will take a great deal of effort to achieve in a tank as it is difficult to replicate nature. 

If you do make the tank interesting and challenging, with places to hide when your turtle is feeling scared, you will find that he is less likely to try and escape.

If he is scared and has no hiding places, he will definitely try to escape.

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Do You Keep The Tank Clean Enough?

Turtles need quality water in their tank/ pond as they do take oxygen from the water.

It is important to filter the water efficiently and to regularly test the water using a water testing kit.

As well as keeping the water clean do you also take good care of the glass and keep it well cleaned too? 

Most often, turtles are trying to escape because they are unhappy with their environment, but if you address all the above aspects of tank hygiene and give your turtle a variety of different foods and some company, your turtle should feel comfortable. 

How Do You Tell If a Turtle Is Stressed?

The usual indicators that your turtle is stressed is lethargy and loss of appetite.

Stress can be caused by the poor quality of water, poor diet, water at the wrong temperature and loud noise and vibrations as turtles have very sensitive hearing.

How Do You Calm a Turtle Down?

The ideal way to calm your turtle down when he is feeling stressed is by feeding him.

Patiently try feeding him with some lettuce held out about 10cm from him.

Better still, feed him some freeze-dried crickets or some live food as your turtle will find these hard to resist and will forget he was stressed. 

Make a point of spending some time with him to hand-feed him some snacks several times during the day and make sure that you give him his main meals at the same time each day.

Why Does My Turtle Keep Running Away?

If you have taken your turtle out of the water so that he can explore, but find that he keeps running away, it is a sign that he is feeling scared.

Some turtles love time out of their tank/ pond, but not all turtles. In an attempt to get him feeling more comfortable, it is worth spending some more time each day handling and petting him so that he  gains in confidence. 




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