Why Is My Turtle Hiding Under Rocks?

Why Is My Turtle Hiding Under Rocks

If you have just bought a turtle, then you may often see him hiding under rocks or in a corner. This is actually pretty common for new turtles. The most common reason is the turtle is new to the tank and it is afraid. So, hiding in a corner or under a rock makes the turtle more comfortable. There is no need to worry.

Here I am explaining in details:


  • The most common reason for turtles hiding under a rock is, it is afraid. It happens mostly with new turtles. For the first few days, the turtle feels uncomfortable in the new tank. Think of it from your turtle’s perspective. Suddenly it is being transferred from one place to a completely new place, new environment. You are unknown, potentially a ‘predator’ to him. So, it is pretty normal to get afraid and hide under a rock or something. Just give the turtle enough time. He’ll eventually come out.
  • If it is more than a couple of weeks and the turtle is still showing timid behavior, look for anything unusual in the tank. Ensure that the tank has everything a turtle needs such as a powerful filter, basking place, UVB light, heat lamp, and proper diet.
  • Check the water parameters. In most of the cases, something wrong with the turtle is caused by misbalanced water parameters. Ensure that the nitrate, ammonia etc. is at 0 level. I use this water test kit to check my water parameters.
  • If the water quality is poor, you need to take immediate steps. First, invest in a powerful canister filter that can cope up with the load of the tank. My favorite one is Aquatop CF500UV. I got a good result from it. Along with a good filter, you may also need to use a water conditioner depending on the chlorine level of the water.

What Should You Do?

  • If the turtle is new to the tank, there is nothing you need to do. Just give it enough time to get used to the new tank, new tank mates. Do not force the turtle to get out. It will automatically come out of the hiding place after it gets comfortable.
  • Even after a couple of weeks if the turtle is not coming out, check if the turtle is in any way physically injured. It is better to do a general check-up by a HERP vet. The check will reveal if anything is wrong with the turtle.
  • Pay close attention to the water parameters and take necessary steps if something is off the balance.
  • Ensure the turtle has everything it needs in the tank for leading a good life.


So, this is my answer to the question why is my turtle hiding under rocks. In 95% of cases, it is just because the turtle is new to your tank and feeling uncomfortable. Just be patient and give him enough time. Eventually, he’ll come out and explore.


Muntaseer Rahman

I have been keeping turtles as a pet for many years now. I’ve fallen in love with these cute pets from the moment I saw them. That’s why I am writing articles to share my turtle keeping knowledge with you.

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