Do Turtles Like Their Shell Scratched?

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

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Turtles are not known for their friendly nature. Experts often discourage keepers from petting these reptiles unnecessarily. Does it mean turtles do not like if someone touches their shell?

It depends. Some turtles absolutely hate any form of human touch. So, petting these turtles will only make them offensive and angry. On the contrary, many turtles love shell scratching. Experts suggest that turtle shells get itchy over time, and rubbing them will only relieve the pets from discomfort.

Can you scratch turtles’ bellies, too? Do they enjoy human touch? Know more about your turtle’s nature from below.

Key Takeaways

  • Turtle shells are connected to several nerve endings.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to scratch the turtle’s shell.
  • Belly rubs can be uncomfortable for the turtles.

Turtles Seem To Enjoy The Shell Scratching. But…

I am sure you are familiar with the hostile and aggressive nature of turtles. These creatures get defensive if someone comes into their territory.

In fact, turtles feel that their personal space has been violated when you touch them. So, do not be surprised if you get an angry response from the pet after scratching its back.

The turtle is acting that way because it has detected you as a threat. You will watch the pet hiss at you or try to bite you out of self-defense. Then, it will either run away or retract its body into the shell.

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Wooh! That is such a rude response. You do not have to make peace with the pet. Just leave it alone for some time, and that will do.

However, there is a 90% chance that you will not get this harsh reaction from your turtle. Of course, only if the pet knows you already.

I have seen videos where the turtle is literally dancing in response to the shell scratching.

Oh please! Turtles do not give back love like dogs. But the truth is that scratching helps the turtles ease. Why?

Turtle shells can get itchy because of the algae deposition or small scratches. When you scratch the shell, it seems to lessen the irritation and relieve the pet.

Do Turtles Like Their Belly Rubbed?

I have seen those videos of rubbing turtle bellies with a toothbrush. I am not sure whether the turtles are enjoying it or not. But I usually do not go for belly rubs.

Holding the turtles in a horizontal position for a long makes it uncomfortable, and so does keeping it flipped. Rubbing the belly as a form of petting in such situations will only irritate the turtles.

So, there is no pleasure.

We already know that turtles find breathing difficulty in such flipped positions. Therefore, never go for such belly rubs.

However, you can scratch the plastron with a toothbrush while bathing it. Scrubbing the belly will scrape out the algae and dirt.

But do not take long hours. Otherwise, the turtle will feel uncomfortable.

Can Turtles Feel Their Shells?

It is a myth that turtles can not feel their shells. People who believe this statement are just fools. They unnecessarily paint or pierce the shells.

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Hear me out.

The outer layer of the shells is made of keratin. It is the same element we find on our fingernails and hair.

Sure, there are no blood vessels or nerves running in the keratin stages. But the shell is connected to multiple nerve endings.

When you touch a turtle, the pet receives it as a form of vibration. It travels to the nerve endings and signals the brain. So, the pet really knows what is actually going on the surface.

Now that you know a turtle can feel its shell, will you go for that stupid paint or piercing?

Before You Go

Turtle shells are sensitive but strong. You will be surprised to know how much weight the shield can handle. Read the below article to find out some amazing facts on turtle shells.

How Much Weight Can A Turtle Shell Handle?

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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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