10 Most Weird Things That Scare Turtles

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

Turtles are shy and harmless reptiles. They prefer spending time quietly away from other animals. They can get easily stressed and scared. You will be amazed to know what can scare a turtle. Too much stress can lead to many health problems in turtles. 

In this article, I will tell you about the weird things that scare turtles the most. So, continue reading to avoid doing these things around your pet turtle. 

What Are Some Weird Things That Can Scare a Turtle? 

Here is a list of ten things that can scare a turtle: 

1. Loud Noise

Turtles get startled when they hear sudden loud noises. You may notice your pet turtle gets into its shell or escapes to a hiding place when you turn on home appliances. Loud noises from hairdryers, vacuum cleaners, lawnmowers, and even dishwashers can scare a turtle. Turtles cannot associate the noise from machines with anything familiar. Hence, they become afraid. 

2. Bright Lights 

Turtles are ectothermic animals, which means they depend on the heat of their environment to regulate their body temperature. If you keep your pet turtle indoors, you must set up a basking light for them. UVA and UVB lamps are essential for turtles, but bright light can be stressful for them. 

If the lamps are too close to the turtle’s tank, the heat and light of the lamps can burn the turtles. So, the turtles look for hiding spots to protect themselves.

3. Thunder and Fireworks 

Thunder and fireworks are the biggest nightmares for some turtles. The flashing lights and booming sound from thunders can easily scare turtles living outside. Even fireworks can have the same effect on these docile creatures. 

4. Gunshot Sound

Like any other animals, turtles get afraid of hearing gunshots. In the wild, most animals are not loud. Besides, turtles prefer living in a calm and quiet area. So, a gunshot sound even far from a turtle’s habitat can startle it.  

5. Sneezing

Avoid sneezing while holding a turtle or standing too close to it. Some people sneeze really loud, which can disturb a turtle. Your pet turtle can get terrified of you and hide hearing you sneeze. It isn’t easy to regain a turtle’s trust. Therefore, you must try not to cough or sneeze in front of your turtle. 

6. Sudden Movements 

Turtles can also get scared by sudden movements. Turtles associate sudden movements with the acts of predators. So, if you suddenly come too close to a turtle, it thinks you will attack it. Turtles get into flight or fight mode because of fear. They feel threatened and may try running from you. Some species of turtles, like snapping turtles, may bite their threat when they are scared. 

7. Too Much Handling

It is understandable that you have to handle your turtle for regular check-ups for health problems and cleaning the tank. You may also want to touch your turtle and pet them. But turtles can get stressed when handled too much, especially newly adopted turtles. They can get scared of their owner and refuse to come out of their shells for a long time. 

8. Unfamiliar Surroundings

When turtles get accustomed to a certain environment, they do not want to live in their familiar place. Hence, turtles initially become frightened when placed in unfamiliar surroundings, like a new tank or enclosure. A scared turtle immediately looks for a hiding spot in a new habitat. 

9. Other Turtles

You may think your turtle feels lonely living alone in a tank. So, you may decide to bring a new turtle as a companion. But that is not a good idea. Different species of turtles cannot live harmoniously. Even the same species of turtles can cause distress to one another. 

Turtles are solitary animals. They only prefer the company of a female turtle during mating season. When you put multiple turtles in one enclosure, the small and weak turtles can get afraid of the dominant turtles. This is because the stronger turtles often intimidate the weaker turtles by biting and scratching. 

10. Black Color  

Now, here is the weird thing many people believe turtles get scared of. Do you know turtles can get scared of black objects? Turtles associate black with predators like crows, coyotes, raccoons, and snakes. Thus, they can get afraid of seeing a black thing near them. 

Remember that every turtle is different. While some get easily scared, others may not. Observing your turtle’s behavior is important to understand what scares it. You can provide the proper care and a safe environment.

How Can You Tell Your Turtle Is Scared?

It is important to understand when a turtle is scared. Turtles cannot handle too much stress. It can seriously affect their health. There are several signs that can tell your turtle is afraid:

1. Retracting In The Shell

Most turtles can pull their head and legs into their shell. When a turtle feels scared, it may retract its head and legs into the shell to protect itself from the threat. Turtles get inside their shell because they think their shell can save them. They also get inside the shell to look smaller and less noticeable to their threats.

2. Hiding

Turtles that cannot retract in their shells may try to escape when they get scared. They look for spots where they can hide until the threat is gone. If you find your turtle hiding, there is a high chance it is afraid of something. 

3. Aggressive Behavior

Turtles are peaceful reptiles. They rarely start a fight with others. But some turtles can become aggressive out of fear. A scared turtle might bite or strike their threats with their front claws. Never get too close to an aggravated, especially if it is a snapping turtle!

4. Rapid Breathing

A turtle’s breathing rate may increase after hearing a loud noise. Rapid breathing may also be a sign of respiratory diseases. Take your turtle to a vet if it continues to breathe rapidly for days. 

5. Lack Of Appetite

A new pet turtle takes time to adjust to its new habitat. It becomes stressed in a new environment. Stress and fear can cause a turtle to lose its appetite. Hence, your new pet turtle may refuse to eat for days. But don’t worry. Your turtle will start eating after adjusting to the new environment. 

What Can You Do to Help a Scared Turtle?

If you notice that your turtle is scared, there are several ways you can help your little friend. First, you must find out what scares your turtle so that you can solve the problem. 

Here is what you have to do:

  • Keep your pet turtle in a safe and comfortable environment. You should place an indoor turtle tank high from the ground. Children, other pets, or animals should not be able to get close to the tank. 
  • Make sure the size of the tank is appropriate for your turtle. There should be plenty of hiding spots for your turtle to escape. Your turtle will appreciate the privacy. 
  • Choose a stress-free spot to set up a turtle habitat. Minimize loud noises and sudden movements around your turtle’s enclosure. Avoid using home appliances that make loud noises near the turtle. 
  • Sometimes, you cannot control the loud noise coming from the outside. You can soundproof the room where you keep your turtle to minimize the noise from outside. 
  • Do not touch or handle a scared turtle. It will stress the turtle even more. Leave the turtle alone for a while. If you have to rescue the turtle from danger, handle it gently. 
  • Your pet turtle may hide and avoid eating in a new habitat for days. The behavior is typical of a scared turtle. Don’t provoke the turtle to come out of its hiding spot. Give it some time to adjust. 
  • Place the basking lamps far from your turtle. The light should not be too bright, and the heat should not be too hot for your turtle. 
  • You may keep turtles outdoors. Predators often attack turtles at night. So, you can bring your turtle indoors at night to keep it stress-free at night. 

The signs of a sacred turtle can vary as turtles have unique personalities. The best way to keep your turtle safe is to observe its behavior daily and provide support as it requires. Also, it is important to take your turtle to regular check-ups at the veterinary to ensure your little friend stays healthy. 

Before You Go

You probably never thought about how some of the simple things mentioned above can scare a turtle. For example, some turtles get scared and aggressive seeing black color objects! Learn more about turtles’ reaction to the black color from the following article: 

Do Turtles Hate Black Color?

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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