Do Turtles Eat Their Own Poop?

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

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It’s not necessary to take the turtle out for two daily walks to prevent it from defecating on the new carpet as it is with our four-legged buddies. It might mean disaster if you aren’t familiar with the aspects of turtles and their feces. Stop worrying. Let me give you the rundown on this.

Wild turtles, in particular, eat their own poo for the beneficial bacteria it contains and to supplement their diet. While it is typically not harmful, some people who have pet turtles may want to keep them from doing it.

On the other hand, the practice of animals eating their own waste is surprisingly frequent in the animal kingdom. In point of fact, turtles are among those that are capable of displaying this specific behavior. To rephrase, it’s very usual for turtles to consume their own feces.

Are you curious to learn more about the behavior that leads to a turtle having its feces regularly consumed? Keep reading, and I’ll fill you in on all the specifics you need to know about this turtle habit.

read all our guides on turtle feeding behavior!

Why Does My Turtle Eat Their Own Poop?

Humans have a tendency to see feces as something dirty and revolting. Obviously, humans can’t have our waste consumed, but a turtle wouldn’t look at its waste in that way.

Reasons, why turtles could eat their own waste, why turtles could eat their own waste are discussed below.

1. Coprophagy

Coprophagy refers to the practice of eating one’s own feces in order to facilitate the second round of digestion.

The greatest benefit for the turtle comes from the beneficial bacteria that may still be found in the waste.

What this means is that turtles engage in a process called coprophagy, which enables them to reap the nutritional benefits of food that they missed the first time around.

 To get these life-saving germs, young turtles often consume the waste of their elders.

Although it may seem revolting to humans, this is really rather typical among many different species of animals.

When you think about it, they’re not too unlike rabbits in this regard. Rabbits are a well-known example of an animal species that engage in coprophagy.

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2. Sustaining Life

Coprophagy is a behavior that is practiced by certain turtles, but there are other species of turtles that need to swallow their own waste in order to survive.

This is a regular occurrence for wild turtles, particularly when they are trapped in dangerous conditions.

A trapped turtle is unlikely to be able to find its regular food supply. Therefore, when they are unable to find any other sustenance, they will have no alternative but to stuff their mouths with their own waste.

We may confidently state that turtles possess formidable instincts for surviving.

The majority of the time, turtles who are bred and nurtured in captivity do not display this tendency. However, if you don’t want this to happen, keep a tight eye on your companion when it is defecating.

Is It Safe For The Turtle To Eat Poop?

There’s no denying that the body’s attempt to cleanse itself of metabolic byproducts results in the form of feces. In that case, do turtles face any negative outcomes if they eat their own feces?

Turtles eat their own waste with no ill effects. When a pet turtle starts eating its very own waste, it may be a sign that it isn’t getting the nourishment it needs, which is a severe problem that turtle owners should investigate right away.

If your turtle often consumes its own waste, it may be an indication that it is lacking essential nutrients including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, salt, potassium, and iron.

All animals need these nutrients to thrive and flourish. A pet turtle that consumes its own waste may develop more slowly than other turtles.

Because of this, you should factor in a long time for your pet to grow. A shortage of calcium in the diet may lead to metabolic bone illness in turtles.

Therefore knowing this may help you prevent the condition. If this condition is not addressed, it may have devastating effects, including deaths.

For this reason, if you are worried about the well-being of your turtle pets, you should make an appointment with your neighborhood veterinarian right away.

Do Turtles Eat The Poop of Other Turtles?

Perhaps you’ve wondered whether turtles have particular tastes in regard to the feces they eat.

Well… Not only do turtles, particularly juveniles, like eating their own waste, but they also enjoy eating the waste of elder turtles.

In point of fact, younger turtles will often choose the feces that has been produced by older turtles when given the choice.

This isn’t simply a quirk of their nature, though. juvenile turtles need the beneficial bacteria found in the excrement of adult turtles in order to survive in the environment.

It is possible to draw the conclusion that the excrement of older turtles may be used as a supplementary for baby turtles when taking into account all that has been said.

Is It Okay If Turtles Eat The Poop Of Other Turtles?

You already knew that your pet turtles could handle eating their own feces. Assuming there are no harmful pathogens in the other turtle’s waste, your pet turtles should be OK.

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Likewise, if your pet turtle eats the parasitic feces of another turtle, it will certainly become sick.

To let you know, the feces of wild turtles have a far higher probability of harboring pathogens than the feces of captive turtles do.

Since you wouldn’t intend for anyone of your pet turtles to become ill, it is imperative that you constantly take additional safety measures if you are integrating another turtle into your existing population of turtles as a pet.

However, before adding a wild-caught turtle to your pet’s tank, it is imperative that you get the turtle examined for feces and for any signs of potentially lethal parasites.

Do You Need To Stop Your Turtles From Eating Poop?

There is a good chance that you are not completely persuaded that it is natural for your pet turtles to eat their own waste. To be clear, I agree that it is completely unpleasant.

It is not necessary for you to prevent your pet turtles from consuming their waste. They may continue to do so without any problems.

I’ve already noted that, excluding the presence of pathogens, it’s quite usual for turtles to eat their own feces and the feces of other turtles. So there is no need to stop them from doing so.

How To Stop Turtles From Consuming Poop?

Even though feeding your pet turtles their own waste is not harmful to them, I can understand why some of you would not want them to engage in this behavior although it does not do your pet turtles any damage

Therefore, in order to lessen the likelihood that your pet turtles may consume their waste, the following are some steps you can take.

1. Incorporate A Variety Of Foods Into Their Diet

Many owners of pet turtles take care to ensure that their pets get enough nutrition, yet some of these owners might well have overlooked how important it is to provide their turtles with an adequate amount of various nutrients.

In order to be healthy, turtles, like people, need to eat a variety of foods from each food group. Thus, it is strongly suggested that you feed your pet turtles healthy diets like fresh green vegetables.

If you have a little more money to spare, you may also want to consider purchasing calcium supplementation for your pet turtles.

Your pet turtles are more likely to avoid eating their own waste if they have access to an adequate quantity of nutrition.

2. Take Care To Keep Your Turtle’s Aquarium Clean

The tank a turtle calls home is where it goes about its daily routine. On top of that, they use the same body of water for everything: eating, drinking, swimming, and defecating. It’s thus inevitable that you’ll find feces in your turtles’ water.

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We would not anticipate that turtles would flush the toilet immediately after they have expelled any waste products, despite the fact that this behavior is relatively standard for humans.

The best thing that owners of pet turtles can do, then, is to make certain that the enclosure in which the turtles live is always maintained sanitary.

It is strongly recommended that you replenish the water in the turtle’s tank on a consistent basis in order to maintain a clean environment for your turtle pets.

If you have many pet turtles sharing a tank, you’ll need to clean it more often. Instead, you might use a net to physically sweep up the waste anytime you visit your pet turtles.

The fundamental idea behind this is rather straightforward. You do realize that when there aren’t any available feces around, your pet turtles won’t be able to eat the waste, right?

3. Optimize Your Water Filtration System

Since most turtle owners can’t be on hand 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it’s understandable that physically cleaning up turtle waste isn’t a sustainable option.

Consequently, if you are ready to spend a little more on your turtle pets, a more powerful water filter might be installed to remove most of the waste items that are excreted by your turtle pets.

If you have pet turtles, a higher-quality water filter may reduce the frequency of container refills.

However, remember to double-check that the filtration system you’re putting is appropriate for the size of your turtle’s habitat. In the long run, you and your pet turtles will benefit from a high-quality water filter.


As was noted before, turtles are known to consume their own waste. But it doesn’t imply you should ignore your pet turtle’s nutritional needs.

Adult turtles kept in captivity often void their bowels twice or thrice weekly. Young turtles have to go to the bathroom more often than adults do, at least once a day.

The regularity with which older turtles poop depends on factors such as their age, nutrition, weight, and sleep schedule.

Even while it may be revolting to humans, many animals, including turtles, actually thrive by eating their own waste. Although it is neither harmful nor unhealthy, it is not something that should happen to pet turtles.

Wild turtles are dependent on the good bacteria that may be found in their waste since this bacterium is essential to the proper functioning of their digestive systems.

A high-quality filter is essential for the health and sanitation of your pet turtle’s aquarium. A high-quality filter is recommended to clear the tank of waste and eliminate harmful chemicals.

Following these steps will ensure your turtle’s continued good health.

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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.


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