Turtles are famous for their sluggish endeavor and other queer activities that stimulate people’s curiosity and make them contemplate questions like, “do turtles eat their own poop?”, What do you think?
The short answer to the question is yes. Turtles consume their own feces. Sometimes these reptiles feed on other turtles’ poop too. And some even devour fish droppings as well. However, this behavior could vary from turtle to turtle. But, in general, most turtle species are used to this act.
But why do turtles perform this stomach-churning chore? Do all turtles accomplish this unpleasant job? We will answer all these questions in this content. Let’s continue.
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Do All Turtles Eat Their Own Poop?
Yes, almost all turtle species consume their own poop in order to gain nutrients that they may have missed the first time around. Actually, they enjoy performing this revolting activity as it helps them survive.
Turtles receive adequate nutrition by having their own or other turtles’ droppings.
However, as we mentioned before, not all turtles act similarly. Some turtles will actually consume their own feces as part of their normal digestive process, while others will avoid it at all costs.
Why Do Turtles Eat Their Own Poop?
How disgusting it is to see your own turtle eating its poop. So, even though this feels like an awful thing to do, have you ever wondered why turtles perform this revolting chore? Let’s read for the answer.
The disgusting act in which animals consume their own feces is known as coprophagy. The significant reason why turtles practice coprophagy is to have healthy bacteria that present in their poop and to digest their food.
Turtles utilize the bacteria to digest nutrients they haven’t ingested during their first digestion. In short, coprophagy helps turtles digest food and gain energy.
The other reason why turtles devour their poop is to stay alive. Turtles perform this emetic job when trapped in the wild or harsh environments.
Trapped turtles can’t access food sources, so they are left with no option other than consuming their own feces to survive. So you can say turtles boast a strong survival instinct, making them eat their own poop.
Therefore, these are two prominent causes why turtles gobble their own excrement.
Do Red-Eared Sliders Eat Their Poop Too?
Indeed, red-eared sliders are known for devouring their poop. Primarily young turtles accomplish this job to obtain healthy bacteria for digestion purposes.
Young red-eared sliders gain symbiotic bacteria from old turtles’ feces and utilize them to digest nutrients they failed to receive during the first ingestion.
Is It Ok That My Turtle Is Eating His Own Poop?
As we have mentioned before, although we humans find the act of consuming feces emetic, it’s typical for turtles. These reptiles sometimes gobble their own droppings and eat fish poop too.
Hence, if you notice your turtle occasionally feeds on feces, it’s ok. But if your pet frequently eats them, you need to understand that there is something wrong with it, and you should take the necessary actions to solve it (we covered that later).
So, what happens when your turtle eats its own poop?
If your turtles feed on their own poop for a prolonged period, they will grow slower compared to other turtles of their age. This is because these reptiles don’t get enough nutrients from their daily food, such as calcium, phosphorus, iron, and more.
And this is also the reason turtles start consuming their own feces to get nutrition. Therefore, you should feed those reptiles leafy vegetables and other nutrient-rich, turtle-friendly foods to help them thrive.
Can Turtles Fall Sick By Eating Their Poop?
Although droppings contain harmful metabolic waste, turtles won’t fall sick by consuming their own feces. But a turtle’s poop-eating behavior can indicate some health issues.
And if your pet frequently consumes poop, there is a high chance it lacks adequate nutrition (mentioned before). If turtles don’t get proper nutrition through food, they will be prone to health problems like a metabolic bone disease.
So, you should bring your turtle to a local vet right after noticing that your turtle abnormally consumes its own feces.
Do Turtles Eat The Poop of Other Turtles?
Yes, as we told you before, turtles can eat the feces of other turtles alongside devouring their own. This peculiar behavior can be seen in the turtle community.
Moreover, young turtles feed on older turtles’ poop as their feces feature symbiotic bacteria for young turtles’ survival. That’s why you can often see young turtles opt for consuming the excrement of older turtles.
In short, the feces of old turtles is quintessential for young turtles’ survival in the wild.
Can Turtles Face Any Health Problems By Eating Other Turtles’ Poop?
Now you know that young turtles gobble other old turtles’ poop. And we also know that eating its own feces isn’t harmful to turtles; rather, it’s beneficial. But do you know whether young turtles can suffer from diseases by consuming old turtles’ feces?
Usually, turtles won’t suffer from severe health problems by consuming other turtles’ excrement as long as there aren’t any lethal parasites in the feces.
That said, it may fall sick if your turtle devours other old turtles’ poop, containing deadly parasites. And FYI, older turtles’ feces often house harmful parasites.
That’s why we recommend you be incredibly cautious while introducing new and old turtles to your young pet turtles.
You must have the old turtle get a fecal exam and a check-up for parasites before introducing it to your pet turtle.
Should You Prevent Your Turtle From Eating Poop?
Normally, you shouldn’t prevent your turtles from consuming poop as this act is entirely normal for turtles and essential for them to survive. Although the act of munching poop might seem disgusting, turtles find it beneficial for them.
However, you should worry when your turtles start gobbling feces more frequently than usual, and at that time, you can try preventing them from eating poop. Below we have shared how you can perform this job.
How to Refrain Your Turtles From Eating Poop?
When you notice your turtles eat more poop than usual, you can take the steps mentioned below to prevent turtles from munching on excrement. Let’s read those methods.
01. Offer A Healthy & Balanced Diet:
Many pet turtle owners neglect the importance of offering nutrient-rich foods to their turtles. Consequently, turtles suffer from nutrition deficiency, and as a solution, they devour their own or other turtles’ droppings.
That said, you shouldn’t be such a pet owner; instead, you must provide your pet turtles with a balanced diet. You must offer them nutritious foods like leafy veggies.
Also, you can give those reptiles calcium supplements. In this way, you can keep your turtles healthy and prevent them from eating poop.
02. Clean Your Turtle Tank:
Turtles are prone to create a mess inside their tanks by dropping food everywhere and excreting in tank water. That’s why you can notice floating poop in turtles’ tanks and wonder, “how do you keep turtle poop clean?“.
Well, you can replace the tank water with fresh water to get rid of poop and other waste. You may need to replace water frequently if you tend to keep many turtles in one tank.
Alternatively, if you find replacing tank water a hassle, you can scoop up the poop using a net. You can use these two methods to resist turtles from consuming poop.
03. Mount A Water Filter:
You can’t always replace your tank water or scoop out the poop using a net, as these activities will require you to spend a lot of time. That’s why you should think of alternatives.
You may install a biological water filter to filter out all the water contaminants, including feces, and give your turtles a healthy environment.
Another benefit you will get by installing the best-quality water filter is that you don’t have to replace the tank water frequently.
So, these are all the techniques you can follow to refrain your pet turtles from eating poop.
Do Turtles Poop A Lot?
Generally, baby turtles defecate a lot more than adult turtles. That means if you have a hatchling, it will excrete more frequently, and you shouldn’t worry about it.
FYI, adult turtles don’t poop a lot unless they fall sick or their environment makes them defecate often. Under normal circumstances, turtles expel waste from their body every two to three days depending on their species.
So, how often does a turtle poop actually?
Generally, turtles defecate every day, but some species don’t follow the same pooping cycle. For instance, green sea turtles poop once every two days.
So, if you wonder, “how many times a day does a turtle poop?” the answer is that it entirely depends on the turtle species. Apart from the species, turtles’ age also contributes to varying the poop cycle of a turtle.
And if you are searching for an answer to the question, “how often do baby turtles poop?“
Well, as we have said, baby turtles excrete more frequently than adult turtles. The hatchlings can poop more than once a day, and once they age, they will defecate less often, approximately once every three to four days.
Anyway, alongside turtles’ species and age, turtles’ environment also affects their poop cycle.
Like, if the aquarium’s temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, turtles will stop their movement and defecate less frequently than usual.
Besides, if the turtle tank’s pH level remains too low, it can create ammonia and nitrite in the tank, causing disturbance to turtles and affecting the turtle’s poop schedule.
So, you need to take the necessary steps to address these issues. Now, let’s discuss how turtles’ poop cycle varies depending on their species.
How Often Do Aquatic Turtles Poop?
Most aquatic turtles defecate around every two to three days. However, these reptiles don’t have fast digestion; thus, they take a day or two to digest their food before excreting them the other day.
How Often Do Box Turtles Poop?
Adult box turtles defecate every three to four days. If you notice your pet box turtles poop daily or excrete once a week, you should understand your turtles are suffering from health problems. Hence, you should contact a local vet to find a proper solution.
Why Is My Turtle Pooping So Much?
As you already know, if your turtle is a hatchling, it’s pretty normal for it to defecate more frequently than adult turtles. In that case, you have nothing to worry about.
But if you own adult turtles and notice that they excrete more often than usual, you need to understand that your pet turtle is suffering from health problems such as diarrhea.
Parasites can also be one of the causes of such a disturbance. However, once you find out your turtles’ poop a lot, you should consult with a vet.
Do Turtles Poop In Water?
Yes, turtles poop in water; these reptiles eat, drink, swim, excrete and urinate in the same water they live in. That’s why your turtle tank gets dirty so quickly.
Mostly, aquatic turtles poop in water as they remain in the water for an extended duration. However, other turtles prefer excreting on the land. That means pooping in water isn’t necessary for turtles.
Why Do Turtles Poop In Their Water?
No scientific research has been conducted on why turtles poop in the water. Still, some researchers believe that warm water helps turtles release feces easily.
According to another theory, turtles residing in the wild excrete in running water to hide the poop smell from predators. FYI, turtles don’t want predators to track them by smelling their poop’s scent.
Hence, these two theories can be possible causes of why turtles defecate in the water.
Is Turtle Poop Toxic?
Surprisingly, turtle poop can be harmful as turtle feces can contain salmonella germs. These germs can spread to turtles’ bodies, tank water, and habitats. Although salmonella remains harmless for turtles, these germs can make people fall sick.
Salmonella can cause severe and even life-threatening diseases in people. People can suffer from diarrhea, fever, stomach pain, nausea, and other conditions when infected.
Do You Have To Clean Up Turtle Poop?
Indeed, you must regularly clean up turtle poop from the turtle tank. Otherwise, your tank water will get dirty and develop algae over time. Consequently, these algae and ammonia, and nitrite build-ups may make your pet turtles fall sick.
That’s why you must clean the turtle aquarium at least once every week. Or, you can install the best-quality turtle tank filter to lessen the hassle of frequent tank cleaning.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do Turtles Eat Dog Poop?
Currently, there is no information on whether turtles eat dog poop or not. But tortoises devour dog poop, which is normal in the tortoise community.
If you wonder, “why do turtles eat dog poop? ” here you go: When they don’t get enough nutrients from their diet, they opt for eating dog feces, which is gross. So, if you notice such behavior in your tortoise or turtle, you should ask a local vet for advice.
2. How Do Turtles Poop?
Turtles defecate through their cloaca, located at the base of their tail. They utilize this organ for excretion, reproduction, urination, and breathing.
3. Do Turtle Poop Out Of Their Mouths?
Turtles can’t poop out of their mouths but can breathe through their butts. Specifically, turtles’ cloacas collect oxygen from the water and help these reptiles breathe underwater.
4. Why Do Turtles Eat Gravel?
Turtles sometimes eat gravel as they think they are consuming food. Turtles that regularly eat food pellets make this mistake. However, if your turtle feeds on rock mistakenly, you shouldn’t worry about the matter.
But if your pet turtles frequently gobble gravel, it can be a sign these reptiles lack nutrition, and you need to offer them nutritious food to prevent them from eating gravel.
Turtles consume varied foods to stay alive and healthy, but to survive, they can feed on various strange things, and poop is one of them. When these reptiles are in a harsh environment, they can gobble their own feces or other turtles, fish, and dogs’ droppings if necessary.
It’s their survival instinct making them accomplish this horrible job. However, now you know whether turtles eat feces and why they do it. We hope this article provides the information you were searching for. If it does, you may share this article and stay connected with us on Twitter, Facebook & Pinterest.
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