Skip to Content

Why Is My Tortoise Not Pooping?

Why Is My Tortoise Not Pooping?

The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.--

Tortoises are truly starting to become more popular as pets. These animals can be really interesting companions overall.

If you want to have a pet that is relatively quiet, then getting a pet tortoise makes a lot of sense. As with any pet, you’re going to need to learn how to take care of them properly.

There are many things you’ll want to learn about tortoises to care for them to the best of your ability. You’ll also want to try to be an observant pet owner.

If you’ve noticed that your pet tortoise hasn’t been pooping as of late, then you might be quite concerned. Is this indicative of some type of medical issue?

Keep reading to get more information about tortoises not pooping. You’ll learn a bit about why this might occur as well as what you can do to help the tortoise feel better.

There Likely Isn’t Anything Wrong

Tortoise eating regular but still not pooping

Don’t get too concerned because there’s a good chance that nothing is wrong at all. You see, tortoises can eat quite a bit of food and still not poop for several days.

It isn’t uncommon for tortoises to eat regularly and still not poop as often as you would expect them to. You might be expecting a large amount of poop to accompany a big meal, but this just isn’t always the case.

If you don’t see the tortoise pooping for four or five days at a time, then you probably don’t need to worry. When the tortoise doesn’t poop for longer than that, then you might need to worry a bit.

It’s just fairly normal for tortoises not to poop a whole lot. Sometimes they’ll also have much smaller bowel movements than you would expect.

Predicting the bowel movements of turtles is actually rather tough. They don’t always urinate as much as you would expect them to either.

Often, turtles will urinate and poop at the same time, though. Hopefully, it’ll help to set your mind at ease knowing that turtles don’t always poop very often.

What if the behavior of the turtle isn’t normal? If something appears to be off, then you should consider whether something else is happening.

Gut Obstructions

There’s a possibility that your tortoise could be dealing with some sort of gut obstruction. If it has been quite some time since the tortoise has had a bowel movement, then this could be the case.

However, you need to try to observe the tortoise to see how it’s doing before jumping to conclusions. You might not always notice tortoises pooping, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening.

Is the tortoise acting normally and doing the things that it normally does? If the tortoise appears to be fine, then there’s a good chance that nothing is wrong.

If the tortoise appears to be more sluggish than usual, then there could be something amiss. When a tortoise stops eating properly, it’s a big red flag that things aren’t normal.

In this situation, it’s going to be best to call a veterinarian. The veterinarian can come out to check your tortoise and see what’s going on.

They should be able to help out with gut obstruction so that your tortoise can feel better. If a veterinarian can handle this problem for you, then the tortoise should be able to return to acting like itself again soon enough.

Sometimes Tortoises Eat Their Own Poop

Have you considered the idea that the tortoise might be pooping when you aren’t around? It’s very unlikely that you’re observing your pet tortoise every waking moment.

Sometimes tortoises will poop at odd times, and they might not leave any evidence of the fact that they pooped behind. You’ll check on your tortoise in its enclosure the next day and you won’t see any poop at all.

This causes you to assume that the tortoise hasn’t been pooping like normal. You start worrying because it has been a while since you’ve actually seen the tortoise produce any droppings whatsoever.

Then you wind up discovering one day that the tortoise has been eating its own poop. This might disturb you a little bit because most people don’t like to think about their pets eating feces.

Just understand that this isn’t all that unusual for tortoises. Many animals will eat their own poop and tortoises are no exception.

If you can’t seem to find anything wrong with your tortoise, then it might just be eating its feces. This is fairly normal behavior and you don’t really have to worry about it.

Sometimes It’s Hard to Distinguish Between Tortoise Poop and Pee

Many new tortoise owners will have a difficult time distinguishing tortoise poop and pee. This might sound ludicrous at first, but it’s true.

Tortoise pee is actually a type of white and pasty substance. Many people wind up thinking that this is tortoise poop, but it’s actually made up of urates.

This is a byproduct of protein digestion that you’ll find in urine. Tortoises store it in their bladders and then release it.

As you get used to caring for your tortoise, it’ll become easier to learn what is going on. You’ll soon become very knowledgeable about tortoise droppings and pee.

Can You Help Tortoises to Poop?

Warm bath may help tortoise to poop

There are some ways that you can try to help tortoises poop if they seem to be having a tough time. In fact, sometimes it’s necessary to help tortoises get as much fecal matter out as possible.

You might wish to hibernate your tortoise if it’s healthy enough to do so. Many tortoise owners choose to allow their pets to hibernate since it’s a natural behavior that they have to do in the wild.

Allowing a tortoise to hibernate with a full gut is a very poor idea. The contents of the tortoise’s gut could rot and make the turtle sick.

Generally, you’re supposed to fast a tortoise for two to six weeks before hibernation. Then you’re supposed to give the tortoise warm baths each day to help it pass out the remaining fecal matter from its gut.

This means that giving a tortoise a warm bath is a great way to help it poop. If you’re at all concerned that your tortoise is having issues with pooping, then giving it a warm bath might help it to pass stool more regularly.

Another option is to feed the tortoise foods that help it to poop. Sometimes giving a tortoise some lettuce will be enough to make it poop.

Tortoise owners have also mentioned having tortoises eat pure canned pumpkin. The pumpkin should have no preservatives if you’re going to give it to your tortoise.

It would seem that canned pumpkin acts like a turtle laxative. Many say it’s very effective when it comes to getting tortoises to poop.

There are also tortoise owners who say that their pets have turned their noses up at the canned pumpkin. So just keep in mind that your results may vary.

You Can Examine Tortoise Stools to Determine If It’s Dehydrated

You can examine tortoise poop to determine if dehydrated

Did you know that you can tell if a tortoise is dehydrated or not by looking at its stools? If you can start getting the tortoise to poop a bit more regularly, then you can check its stools to make sure that it’s getting enough water.

When a tortoise is dehydrated, its stools might appear to be very dry. Sometimes the stools will be crumbly and they won’t be able to hold together at all.

Hydration is very important when you’re trying to keep your tortoise healthy. If your tortoise isn’t getting enough water, then it can lead to many problems.

Eventually, your tortoise might start acting sluggish if it doesn’t get enough water. You might even notice pyramiding issues if the tortoise has been neglected for quite some time.

Ensure that your tortoise has access to fresh water so that it can drink as much as it needs to. You’ll also want to give your tortoise fresh vegetation since this will encourage it to drink more water.

Soaking your tortoise in a shallow bath semi-regularly can also be helpful. During baths, tortoises will take on water in their mouths and also their cloacas.

Final Thoughts

When your tortoise doesn’t seem to be pooping like normal, it’s going to be easy to get worried. You might be concerned that your tortoise has a gut obstruction or some other type of health problem.

While it is possible that a gut obstruction will prevent tortoises from pooping, it’s usually the case that you won’t have anything to worry about. Often, tortoises will not poop as often as their owners expect them to.

If you haven’t noticed your tortoise pooping for four or five days, then there’s still a good chance that everything is just fine. Even if you don’t see stools in the tortoise enclosure after this amount of time has passed, it still isn’t necessary to jump to conclusions.

Many tortoises eat their own stools, and this means that the poop might disappear before you get the chance to notice it. You can’t observe your tortoise at all times, and this means that it’s hard to say whether this is happening or not.

You should observe your tortoise to see if anything is wrong, though. If the tortoise appears to be sluggish or if it stops eating like it normally does, then it’s a sign that something is wrong.

At this time, it’s going to be necessary to call a veterinarian. They will be able to help with any gut obstruction issues that are keeping your tortoise from being able to poop.

If you’re someone who observes your tortoise and pays attention, then you should be able to catch an issue like this before it gets worse. Never hesitate to call a veterinarian if you’re worried about your tortoise since it’s going to be the safest course of action.