Why Is My Turtle Hiccuping

If your turtle looks like it’s hiccuping this is not the case

Turtles cannot hiccup


A hiccup is caused from a muscle spasm in the diaphragm

Here’s the thing

Reptiles don’t have diaphragms

So if you’re thinking –¬†Why Is My Turtle Hiccuping

They’re not

It could be something else

You need to make sure your turtle is okay and does not have  something stuck in their throat

This can cause your turtle to choke which leads me to my next point

Can turtles choke to death?


They can.

And they often do.

There are several reasons why this happens.

One of the most common causes is when an animal gets into something that becomes lodged in their throat or nose.

This could be some kind of object (like a plastic bag), string, hook, wire, etc.).

The other reason is internal blockages caused by tumors, stones, foreign objects, infections, parasites, and diseases.

If left untreated, these problems can cause serious health issues for your pet including respiratory distress, breathing difficulties, loss of appetite, weight loss, weakness, paralysis, coma, and eventually death.

So it’s important to have them checked out at least once per year by a vet.

What does it mean if my turtle looks like she/he is choking?

While turtles don’t actually “choke” as we understand it, there are times where they will try to swallow things that become stuck in their throats or noses.

These may include bits of food, strings, hooks, wires, pieces of shells, plastics bags, rope, netting, and more.

When this occurs, your pet will attempt to cough up whatever was caught but won’t always succeed because turtles lack saliva production which means they aren’t producing enough moisture to wash away any debris.

As such, animals typically need medical attention from a veterinarian right away.

Some telltale signs of choking are coughing, nasal discharge, drooling, lethargy, gasping breaths, rapid heart rate, reluctance to eat or drink water, excessive salivation, straining to breathe, blue gums, red tongue with white coating around mouth, swollen belly, dark-colored feces, and convulsions.

Related article – Do turtles throw up?

How do I know if my turtle is choking?

If your turtle appears to be having difficulty swallowing anything then chances are they’re trying to get something stuck in their throat or nose.

A vet can determine whether this problem exists through x-rays, endoscopy, ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI scans.

Your vet also might recommend using sedatives to relax your turtle while getting an exam done.

After determining the severity of the issue, treatment options will vary depending on how severe the case is.

Some treatments may require surgery but others may not. It all depends on the specific diagnosis and condition of the individual turtle.

How do you help a choking turtle?

The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure nothing else is causing the choking so as to avoid further complications.

Next step would be to get your turtle to a doctor immediately if possible.

You should take him/her to see someone who specializes in exotic pets rather than just any regular vet since they’re trained specifically for treating reptiles and amphibians.

Also, keep tabs on your turtle throughout his life by taking him/her to the vet regularly.

Make sure to let the vet know about any changes you notice including size, behavior, eating habits, symptoms, etc.

Once diagnosed, the vet will start giving your turtle medication and possibly perform emergency procedures as needed.

Why is my tortoise hiccuping?

This is called hiccupping and it normally only lasts between 5 seconds and 3 minutes.

Turtle hiccups occur due to many different factors.

Sometimes they happen because of stress or fear.

Other times they can be triggered by temperature extremes or sudden movements.

In addition, sometimes they come from bacterial infection within the digestive system.

Hiccups are usually accompanied by head shaking, flapping of fins, turning over onto one side, and paddling motion with feet.

To stop the hiccupping, place your hand over the shell near the turtle’s nostrils and press down firmly until the hiccup stops completely.

Do this every time the turtle starts hiccing again.

Why is my turtle spasming?

Your turtle is likely experiencing seizures. Seizures are essentially uncontrollable fits brought on by disease or injury.

Most commonly seen in freshwater turtles, they can affect both young and adult turtles alike.

Symptoms associated with seizures include trembling, stiffness, twitching, rolling, swimming without moving forward, eye bulging, convulsions, urinating, defecating, foaming at the mouth, collapse, and drowning.

Seizures can be stopped quickly by placing a towel underneath the turtle to soak up excess urine and preventing it from being able to roll back over.

Keep your turtle calm and cool during the seizure by keeping its body covered and holding its tail gently behind it.

Don’t give it anything to bite on or chew on.

Try to put ice cubes wrapped in wet towels against her sides if necessary.

Never leave your turtle alone during a seizure.

If the turtle doesn’t recover after 30 minutes, call your vet.

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