Do Turtles Get Lonely, Bored, Depressed, Or Sad? Are Turtles Social Animals?

Do pet turtles get lonely and sad if they don’t have a companion?

Do turtles need friends?


The fact is that turtles will be totally fine on their own.

They don’t need to share a tank with another turtle to be happy and content, and you don’t need to worry about turtle loneliness!

Do Turtles Get Lonely?

can you keep two turtles in one tank
Turtles on top of each other

We all want the best for our turtles and want to know how we can improve their environment.

However, adding another turtle to your tank is not usually the answer.

No doubt you have heard from at least one person that a lone turtle will become miserable and depressed.

You’ll be happy to know that this isn’t true!

In the wild turtles do not have friends or companions. More often, they are competing for mates, territory, and food.

When you have two turtles together in a tank they are more likely to feel threatened.

Are turtles social?

There is little to no evidence that turtles live together in social communities. Rather, they are territorial animals that prefer their own space.

Turtles Fighting

More often than not turtles will end up fighting if they are kept in the same tank.

When turtles become aggressive and violent with each other they can really damage one another’s shells.

They also have sharp teeth and powerful jaws that can do major damage to limbs.

If you really want to keep multiple turtles together in the same tank you are best to find turtles that have been kept together with others from the beginning.

Make sure your turtle tank is the appropriate size.

The rule when keeping multiple turtles together is: 1.5 gallons of water per 1 inch of shell of the biggest turtle in the tank.

Keep in mind your turtles will grow so this may mean you need a 55-gallon aquarium or even a 75-gallon tank.

If after introducing 2 or more turtles into a tank and they do fight, you need to remove them asap.

Don’t let it continue if things start getting ugly, things rarely settle down over time and you are more likely to end up with an injured turtle.

Do Turtles Get Bored?

are turtles social


Turtles can appear bored in their tank, but it’s a bit like most pets…

Sometimes I wonder about our cats, chickens, and rabbits as well – my dog certainly gets bored and lonely and requires a ton of attention.

An empty tank with merely a docking platform will likely bring about a greater level of boredom for your turtle, and there are a few things you can do to get them going.

We have a whole post dedicated to the best toys for turtles that can be added to your tank.

Good toys include:

  • Live foods
  • Stones
  • Turtle chasers
  • Ping pong balls

You can’t go wrong by having a few items in your tank for your pet to interact with!

Two Turtles In One Tank

If you are thinking of keeping two turtles in a single tank, keep these risks in mind, and have a spare tank on hand.

For the most part, turtles do not need a companion or friend. They can live together, but they won’t get sad, lonely, bored, or depressed on their own.

Keeping more than one turtle in a tank can lead to fighting and other competitive behaviors. Most turtle breeds are not social, so you don’t need to wonder ‘is my turtle happy?’ in this regard.

Please let us know if you have any comments or questions down below, and we’d also love to hear about your experiences introducing two turtles into one tank!

Do turtles have feelings?

Let me know your thoughts!

5 thoughts on “Do Turtles Get Lonely, Bored, Depressed, Or Sad? Are Turtles Social Animals?”

  1. I have 3 yellow bellied sliders that I got together so they had never been apart. I didn’t have any aggression issues until they hit adulthood and the female got pregnant. She ended up biting one of the males and I didn’t know why. So I separated them. A few days later I found her first set of eggs. I have just kept them separate ever since.

  2. I beg to differ on the slider’s preferring to be alone. I have a male red eared slider and he was alone for about a year and a half before I got another one. When I placed the second turtle in the tank you would have thought I hung the moon. My first turtle was so excited to have the second one there he swam and swam with excitement. They are both males so eventually I had to separate them but now they both have females with them. If I had not seen my first turtles reaction to the second I would probably think they don’t care for company but I believe they prefer company when in captivity. At least mine do.

  3. I had 2 red eared sliders for 17 years, the male died about 4 months ago. I feel like the females normal behavior has changed from what seemed healthy, to being depressed. I’ve tried to make an honest assessment of her behavior by not assigning my human emotions to her loss; however, after observing her normal behavior for nearly 2 decades, I believe she’s not healthy. I don’t want to get another turtle for the wrong reasons. My question is, might she be lonely?


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