how to remove mold in tortoise enclosure

Mold in tortoise enclosures is typical, especially among first-time tortoise owners. Mold thrives in moist environments. Since most turtle enclosures are kept humid for your turtle’s needs, mold can grow and become harmful to your reptilian friend. In this article, we’ll talk about why mold grows in tortoise enclosures and how you can prevent it from happening.

What to do if there is mold in a tortoise enclosure?

Since mold can grow fast, it is important to immediately clean your enclosure. You should regularly clean the enclosure to prevent mold from forming.

If you don’t get rid of the mold fast, it can cause wheezing and other respiratory issues.


Cleaning both the turtle and its enclosure at least twice a month is good practice to prevent mold growth, especially if the enclosure is moist. Before you clean, remove everything from your tortoise’s enclosure, including the food and water bowls, as well as any leftover food or waste.

If you don’t clean regularaly, your tortoise might stop coming out of its shell.

Clean with water and salt

You can try the water and salt method to clean. Use a cloth or spray bottle to apply a tablespoon of salt and a cup of warm water to the enclosure, then wipe off any remaining residue. A cage cleaner or disinfectant explicitly designed for tortoise enclosures can also be used. You should avoid using soap or detergent because they can be toxic to tortoises.

Mold on your tortoise

If you find mold on your tortoise’s shell, you should give it a bath. Allow your tortoise to soak for a few minutes, and then gently scrub it with a soft brush. Make sure to get into all the tight spaces, but do not hold them upside down as this will stress them out.

You can also use a wet cotton ball to gently rub the delicate areas of the tortoise as well as along the neck and crown of the head. When you’re finished, pat your tortoise dry with a towel and let them air dry. When bathing a tortoise, you should never leave it unattended. If your turtle is large, wash it outside in a large tub and scrub it with a larger brush or cloth.

In addition to cleaning your tortoise enclosure once a month or so, you should also maintain it regularly by keeping the water clean, picking up feces, and keeping the temperature stable.

What causes mold in tortoise enclosure?

Mold growth in a tortoise enclosure can be caused by a variety of factors, including moisture, the decorations and substrate you use, and the frequency with which you clean your tortoise and its enclosure.


As you may know, proper humidity levels in a tortoise enclosure are critical for their health and well-being. Tortoises can get respiratory infections or shell rot if their enclosure isn’t humid enough, but too much humidity can also cause illnesses, respiratory problems, and shell rot.

A hygrometer is recommended, as this will help you monitor the humidity level in your enclosure. You should also take into account the species of tortoise you have, as some require more humidity than others. If you need to increase humidity, you should look into a tortoise humidifier.

You should regularly measure your tortoise enclosure’s humidity level to prevent mold growth. Furthermore, opening the enclosure allows moisture to escape, so if you believe the humidity levels are too high, you can open the enclosure slightly to allow it to escape. Just make sure you have a net or some type of barrier to prevent your tortoise from attempting to escape. Finally, you can add a heat lamp to your tortoise enclosure to encourage evaporation and avoid mold growth.


Sometimes, mold can be brought into a tortoise enclosure from decorations. For example, you might put a stick or rock in the enclosure that already has mold on it. This mold can then spread to other areas of the enclosure. For this reason, it is very important that you inspect closely any decoration that you put in your tortoise enclosure.


The substrate in your tortoise enclosure can make or break it. Using the proper substrate for your tortoise is critical for keeping the conditions in their enclosure stable. If the substrate is too wet, your tortoise may develop shell rot, respiratory infections, and other health issues.

There are several types of substrates available in the market, including soil, coconut husk, moss, wood chips, mulch, etc. Each of these substrates has its own advantages and disadvantages, and some are better suited to specific turtle species.

In a tortoise enclosure, Sphagnum moss, cypress mulch, and coconut coir are the best substrates for increasing humidity. Adding sphagnum moss to your tortoise’s enclosure, for example, is one way to prevent mold because it will act like a sponge that will absorb the moisture in the air and hold it in place. Cork tiles, bark, and flat pieces of rock or slate can also be added to the substrate.

It is worth remembering that too much moisture can possibly lead to mold growth, so if you want to avoid this, look for substrates that can combat it.


As you’ve probably guessed, keeping a tortoise enclosure clean and preventing mold growth can be difficult. Hopefully, this article helped inform you why mold occurs and how to avoid it. I am confident that your tortoise will be living in a healthy and safe environment with regular cleanings and the proper moisture-absorbing substrate. Good luck!

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