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Why Is My Turtle Not Growing? (6 Common Reasons)

Why Is My Turtle Not Growing? (6 Common Reasons)
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. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Keeping turtles as pets has the potential to be great. Getting to watch baby turtles grow and thrive under your care can be quite satisfying overall.

If you’re new to caring for turtles, then your turtle might be quite young still. You’ve probably heard that baby turtles are supposed to grow quite a bit.

This means that you’ll be a bit concerned if your turtle doesn’t appear to be growing much. If your baby turtle isn’t growing at all, then you might be worried about whether you’re doing something wrong.

Below, you’ll be able to read about reasons why baby turtles won’t grow properly. This might help you to determine what’s going on so that you can make changes that will facilitate better growth.

1 – Nutrition Issues

The most common reason why a baby turtle will stop growing normally has to do with nutrition. Generally, a lack of growth is an indication that nutritional needs aren’t being met.

Is your baby turtle eating enough food or is it not eating that often? It could be that your turtle simply isn’t getting enough food and that the lack of nutrition is keeping it from reaching its growth potential.

If your turtle is eating, then perhaps you aren’t feeding it the right stuff? Turtles need to eat a variety of different things to ensure that they’re getting the right nutrients.

You should be feeding your turtle meat, fish, vegetables, insects, worms, and aquatic plants. There are also turtle pellets that can be very good for baby turtles because they contain many nutrients.

Try to examine your turtle’s diet and see if there is something that you’ve been neglecting to feed it. Doing your best to give your turtle a balanced, nutritious diet should help it to grow.

2 – Ensure That Your Turtle Gets Enough Basking Time

A Red-Eared Slider Turtle Basking on a Log

You might not realize this, but basking time is actually very important for turtles. Turtles like basking and it’s something that they do quite a bit in the wild.

The reason why this matters so much is that it helps them to get vitamin D. Turtles soak up UVB rays while they’re basking, which produces vitamin D.

Your turtles will be able to use vitamin D to activate the calcium in their bodies. Calcium is essential for growth, and this is especially true when you’re talking about overall bone development.

You might need to check your basking light to ensure that it’s working properly. If your turtle isn’t growing as much as it should, then it could be that you’ll need to change the basking light or adjust the amount of heat that it’s giving out.

3 – Activity Issues

You should know that turtles are very active animals. They love swimming and walking around during the day.

If you have a particularly energetic turtle, then you might need to feed it more. You see, some of the calories that your turtle takes in should go toward growth, but it might be using all of its energy up to play around.

Increasing the caloric intake of active turtles might be the best way to fix this issue. A very active turtle might simply need more calories than one that only shows normal signs of activity.

4 – Water Temperature Issues

Putting a Turtle into a Pond

Water temperature issues have the potential to cause your turtle problems as well. You’re supposed to make sure that the temperature of the water in your turtle’s tank stays at 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

The temperature of the water should be 85 degrees Fahrenheit when it’s under the basking light. Sometimes people don’t pay close enough attention and they allow the water to become too cool.

Improper water temperature has the potential to stunt the growth of your turtle. Just to be on the safe side, you should check the temperature if you’re worried that your turtle’s growth is being stunted.

Luckily, you should be able to remedy this by making the necessary changes. Try to pay more attention to the temperature of the water in the future.

5 – Illness

Illness is something that you should look out for since it can stunt the growth of baby turtles as well. When a turtle is sick, it’s possible that it will stop growing.

Turtle owners should look out for signs of illness so that they can take action immediately. Your turtle might be sick if it has cloudy eyes, runny stools, facial swelling, or mucus around its nose or mouth.

Sick turtles will sometimes lack an appetite as well. They might also appear to be anxious or listless in certain ways.

If you suspect that your turtle is ill, then it’ll be best to seek the help of a veterinarian. Your local veterinarian will be able to get to the bottom of what’s going on with your turtle so that it can feel healthy again.

6 – Turtles Will Stop Growing Eventually

Old Turtle Walking

Keep in mind that turtles aren’t going to keep growing forever. Baby turtles are going to grow a lot, but the growth will slow down a bit as they age.

Most turtles are going to reach maturity and stop growing by the time they’re five years old, but some might grow until they’re eight years old. Younger turtles need to eat more protein than older ones because they’re still growing.

If your turtle is not a baby any longer, then it might simply have reached its maximum growth potential. This is normal and you don’t need to worry about turtles that stop growing when they’re five years old or older.

Final Thoughts

There are quite a few reasons why turtles might stop growing. Hopefully, you’ll be able to figure out what’s wrong with your baby turtle after reading through the information above.

Your turtle’s lack of normal growth could have to do with dietary issues. It’s also possible that illness could stunt the growth of your turtle.

Even normal basking is a necessary thing when you want your turtle to grow at a healthy pace. Try to keep everything in mind so that you can give your turtle the right environment and care so that it can grow strong.