Skip to Content

Why Is My Turtle Not Moving? (6 Possible Reasons)

Why Is My Turtle Not Moving? (6 Possible 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.

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

Pet turtles are very popular in certain circles. If you’ve recently started caring for a pet turtle, then you’re likely discovering just how fun they can be.

It’s interesting to watch turtles and caring for them can be very rewarding. As a turtle owner, you want to do everything that you can to ensure that they are happy and healthy.

You’re going to be very worried if you notice that your turtle doesn’t appear to be moving, though. If you’re looking at your turtle and it appears to be motionless, you might be worried about the turtle dying.

Continue reading to learn about several reasons why a turtle will stop moving. This should help you to figure out what’s going on as well as what you might need to do to remedy the situation.

1 – Lack of Appetite Could Be to Blame

Sometimes turtles will stop moving much when they don’t have an appetite. This could be bad, but it might also be nothing to worry about.

It depends on what is causing the turtle to have a lack of appetite. When a turtle stops eating much due to illness, it’s going to be important to get the help of a veterinarian.

You don’t want the turtle to continue to not eat properly. It might be necessary to figure out what illness your turtle has so that you can take the right steps to make it better.

Turtles will sometimes lack an appetite when they don’t like the food that they’re being given, too. Perhaps your turtle is just being picky, and you might have better luck if you try switching up the food that you’re giving it.

It could be that your turtle will perk right up when it gets some new food options. If that doesn’t do the trick, then it might be that you’re dealing with something else.

It should also be known that pregnant turtles will sometimes experience a lack of appetite. If you’re wondering whether your turtle is pregnant, then you might want to ask your veterinarian about signs.

Of course, a veterinarian will be able to easily tell you if a turtle is pregnant by examining it. If you know that you’re caring for a single male turtle, then you won’t need to worry about this.

2 – Some Turtles Are Just Lazy

This might sound weird at first, but it’s possible that your turtle is just being lazy. There are turtles out there that have a tendency to be lazy at certain times.

Turtles probably won’t be lazy all the time, but they can become a bit lazy when they’re bored. This isn’t a prevalent issue, but it’s more likely to occur if your turtle is in a tank by itself.

Your turtle might be a bit bored due to spending so much time alone. If it stops moving, then it might just be bored and lazy due to not having a friend.

This is why some turtle enthusiasts recommend caring for at least two turtles in one tank. You’d need to have a tank that’s big enough to comfortably house two turtles, and it’d also be necessary to get two turtles of the same species to keep everything as safe as possible.

If you’re at all worried that your turtle is bored, then it might be worthwhile to give your turtle a friend. You can rule out the other potential reasons why your turtle isn’t moving first, of course.

3 – Infection Issues

Sometimes when turtles are experiencing infection issues, they will stop moving. A turtle might choose to stay in one place when it’s infected or experiencing some other type of health problem.

Turtles actually experience certain types of infections commonly. Internal infections such as eye swelling, ear swelling, and shell swelling will be common enough that you should consider them a potential reason why your turtle is not moving.

To check your turtle, you can look for any signs of abnormal growth. Look at different parts of the turtle’s body to see if there are any wounds or cuts.

You’ll also want to examine the turtle to see if it has any holes in its shell. If you see reddish skin on the lower side of the turtle’s body, then that could also be a sign of infection.

Infection issues can be quite dangerous, and they could negatively impact the health of your turtle. You’ll want to contact a veterinarian to get help as soon as possible.

You can work with the veterinarian to treat the turtle and clear up any infection issues. After some time has passed, you should notice the turtle returning to normal levels of activity.

4 – Issues with Feces

Have you noticed anything unusual about your turtle’s feces as of late? Sometimes things will go wrong that will change the appearance of your turtle’s droppings.

A turtle not moving could easily be connected to the issues with its feces. For example, the turtle could be dealing with some type of parasitic infection.

You might even notice parasites in the feces. If this occurs, then you’ll want to contact a veterinarian right away.

If your turtle has bloody stools or diarrhea, then this could also be a sign of some type of illness. Any unusual symptoms with the turtle’s stool should be monitored and taken seriously.

Veterinarians can examine your turtle and test its stool to figure out exactly what is happening. They should be able to come up with a treatment plan that will help the turtle to feel better.

Eventually, the turtle might start moving normally, and it’ll be a lot more active. The turtle could have just been sick or uncomfortable due to some type of infection or illness.

5 – Issues with Bubbling and Discharge

Another thing that you should watch out for will be discharge. Ill turtles will sometimes discharge a pus-like substance from their eyes.

The discharge can be excruciatingly painful for the turtle. When this occurs, it can lead to issues such as eye swelling that will prevent the turtle from properly opening its eyes.

In many cases, discharge like this is an indication that the turtle needs more vitamin A. A veterinarian might choose to give the turtle a vitamin A shot to help it get better.

Bubbles might come out of a turtle’s mouth sometimes, too. This can occur when a turtle is sick.

Bubbling happens due to respiratory infection issues. Mucus is forcefully expelled out of the turtle’s mouth in the form of bubbles.

There are many different respiratory conditions that could cause something such as this to happen. Pneumonia is a common concern, but you don’t need to guess since your veterinarian can give you an official diagnosis.

Whenever you notice problems such as this, it’s wise to call the veterinarian as soon as possible. A veterinarian can develop the right treatment plan to get your turtle feeling healthy again.

6 – Death

Of course, a turtle will stop moving entirely if it passes away. If you don’t see any signs that your turtle is breathing, then you might have to ask yourself whether the turtle has died.

There are signs that you can look for that will allow you to confirm that it is dead. If the turtle is not responsive to any type of stimulation, then it might have passed away.

You can try to interact with the turtle by poking it or wiggling its feet. If the turtle is alive, then it’ll surely respond in some way to what you’re doing.

Generally, you can expect a living turtle to move, close its shell, or even hiss at you. If the turtle does nothing, then there’s a good chance that it is dead.

The turtle being cold to the touch will be another sign that it is dead. The turtle might also have a bad odor if it has passed on.

You might see that the turtle’s legs will appear to be limp if it is no longer living. Its skin might be shriveled and sunken as well.

Some turtle owners have noted that turtles have sunken eyes when they pass away. Keep your eyes open for these signs so that you can react accordingly.

Hopefully, your turtle is alive and well, but it is good to know what to look out for when trying to determine if a turtle has died. This ensures that you won’t assume that the turtle is okay when it has really passed on.

Don’t Hesitate to Contact a Veterinarian

Don’t hesitate to contact a veterinarian if you’re concerned about your turtle. When you recognize that a turtle is acting unusual in some way, it’s better to call for help.

You aren’t trained to detect health problems in turtles. It’s true that you might pick up some knowledge by caring for turtles for a long period of time, but only a veterinarian has the necessary skills to help the turtle get better.

When a turtle stops moving, there’s a good chance that it’s sick in some way. Often, this occurs when a turtle is ill or experiencing some type of infection.

Veterinarians can examine your turtle and they’ll be able to run tests after taking samples. This gives them concrete information about what is wrong so that they can come up with a treatment plan.

You’ll only be able to guess about what’s going on if you don’t contact a professional. It’s best to call a local veterinarian so that you can have peace of mind.

While it’s true that veterinarians will charge you money, it’s imperative to get your turtle the healthcare that it needs. It’s just part of being a responsible pet owner.

Often, you’ll be able to work out some type of payment plan with veterinarians. Don’t wait to call for help when you know that your turtle is suffering in some way.

Final Thoughts

There are many different reasons why a turtle might stop moving. Some turtles will simply not move for a few days if they’re feeling a bit unwell.

It’s common for turtles to stop moving much if they’re sick or if they’re experiencing some type of infection. Your turtle could be dealing with issues such as parasites or any number of other things.

You can look for signs that your turtle might be experiencing an infection. Sometimes you’ll see turtles that have reddened skin, holes in their shells, or other negative signs.

A sick turtle might produce bubbles from its mouth, too. This could be a sign that your turtle has a respiratory illness such as pneumonia.

When a turtle is discharging a pus-like substance from its eyes, that can be very painful. It can cause its eyes to swell, and the sheer pain will keep the turtle immobile in some situations.

Of course, the turtle could just be a bit lazy as well. Lonely turtles that are a bit bored have been known to stop moving.

You might want to consider giving your turtle a friend if you have been raising it solo. The turtle might be bored or even a bit depressed about living in its tank all alone.

There have also been situations where turtles have stopped eating normally due to not liking the food that they’re being given. A lack of appetite could cause a turtle to stop moving for a period of time.

You can try giving the turtle different food to see if it starts eating more and if it will return to a normal level of activity. Varying the turtle’s diet a bit might have a positive impact.

Remember that you should always contact a veterinarian if you’re worried. The veterinarian can give you specific advice about how to care for your turtle, and you’ll be able to get to the bottom of any health problems that your pet might be experiencing.

Hopefully, you’ll be able to determine what is happening to your turtle. It’s likely that one of the situations above applies to your turtle, but you might need the help of a veterinarian to know for sure.

Just do your best to care for your turtle and you won’t have to worry too much. You’ll be able to get your turtle feeling better and it should start moving around and acting normal again.