Do Painted Turtle Like To Be Held?


The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Sharing is caring!

Being a popular pet animal, many wonders if painted turtles are comfortable while touching with hand or being held. In this article, I am going to explain do Painted turtle like to be held or not.

No, painted turtles don’t like to be held. Painted turtles are not very affectionate or friendly,  they mostly preferred to be untouched or touched a little. So, if you need to carry around your painted turtle, you have to follow some ways.

Turtles are many things such as cute, interesting but friendly is not one of them. It is sad as people especially children are very attracted to them. The way they slowly pop out their head out of the shell, its really something to admire. But unfortunately painted turtles love to be alone. They don’t like crowd, even worse they don’t like to be held at all. They hate to be touched.

So what to do if you really need to hold them?

First of all, try to avoid handling for no reason. If it is unnecessary, do not pick them up or touch them or hold them.

But, you might feel the need to hold a painted turtle for many reasons. You may want to carry it from one room to another while cleaning the tank, you may need to clean it or simply you just want to fondle for no such reason. I understand that!

First of all, you have to be strategic. Holding a painted turtle needs care and caution. Let’s see how to hold or cuddle a turtle step by step:

  • Always Start From The Front: Never approach from the back. If it can not see you it might get scared and bite you. Turtle bite is very painful and it must be avoided. So always start from the front so that they can see you.
  • Hold With Caution: painted turtles can feel the touch through the shell. The shell is a sensitive part. So hold with caution. For smaller painted turtles place your thumb in the middle of the shell and other fingers on the belly. If the painted turtle is larger then use two hands.
  • Lift With Care: Try lifting up it from the back. Because if you pick it up from the front it might get a chance and bite you. Gently hold and pick it up from the back.
  • Away From The Legs: while holding make sure the legs are away from your hands. They might push the legs to be free as they don’t like to be held.
  • Do Not Hold Too Tight: Painted turtles are sensitive animals. Holding too tight might end up hurting them.

Now carefully carry to wherever you want. You can put the painted turtle in a box full of tank water and then carry. This will be less exhausting for the turtle. This way you can carry the turtle from one room to another easily and keep out of its cage for a longer time. You can even keep it near you while watching tv!

Remember, do not hold for long. You can hold and carry from one room to another at most.

What If You Want To Hold A Painted Turtle Just To Cuddle?

This is a fair question. When you have a pet, you definitely want to cuddle or fondle. Although I already told you in this article that painted turtles are not friendly at all and so not like to be held but if you can not hold your emotion back you can cuddle with a painted turtle with care.

  • Again remember to approach from the front to avoid biting.
  • Place in a flat surface and avoid any high or edgy place. Painted turtles are not very aware of the atmosphere around and might fall from edge.
  • Pet the head from the top. With one finger touch the head and pet slowly. Be careful and have patience. Any hurry can scare the turtle.
  • Pet the chin from below. Follow the strategy of touching the head.
  • Pet the shell. As you already know they feel through the shell, gently rub the shell in a circular motion in a straight manner.
  • In a most unlikely case if you need to hold a painted turtle on your lap, put a piece of a towel on your lap first. Otherwise, they can urinate on your body. Stay still so that they don’t get scared.


Holding a painted turtle can be injurious to both you and your pet. Careless handling can hurt the turtle as well as you.

Moreover, painted turtles are infamous salmonella carrier. Holding them, even touching them a little can cause health hazards like diarrhea, abdominal pain even can be fatal for toddlers.

Turtle bites are awfully painful. Any discomfort can trigger them to bite.

So while handling a painted turtle follow the following cautions:

  • Wash your hand after holding a turtle. Salmonella cannot be washed out or cleaned off from a painted turtle. So, wash tour hands properly after holding turtle, even after just touching it.
  • Use gloves before touching or holding a painted turtle if needed.
  • Wash and scrub any surfaces the turtles have been on.
  • Never let children hold a painted turtle.

If you ask for my opinion, I’ll suggest holding the painted turtles as less as possible. If they don’t like to be held, you shouldn’t bother them. But if you must hold them, take proper cautions for the betterment of you and your pet both.



Sharing is caring!

About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.


This site is owned and operated by Muntaseer Rahman. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.