For aquatic and semi-aquatic turtles, basking is necessary for their survival. As a turtle owner, it is important that you recognize how important it is that you have an adequate basking setup for your turtle. This article will help explain some of the main reasons why your turtle is not basking. .
Turtles need to bask in order to absorb UV-A and UV-B light. UV-A light helps a turtle regulate their moods, promote digestion, and also helps regulate their body temperature. The UV-B light is important because it helps turtles intake Vitamin D3, which is essential for their bone and shell health.
Therefore, if your turtle is not basking, it is certainly a cause for concern. Let’s solve the problem by finding out the reasons of why a turtle chooses not to bask:
Reasons Why Your Turtle is Not Basking
The main reason a turlte isn’t basking is because of a new environment, specific preferences, wrong temperature, and physical barriers. Additionally, your turtle might actually be basking when you aren’t looking at the tank.
You can explore all of the reasons why your turtle isn’t basking in my video below.
1. The Environment Is New to Them:
Most new turtle owners face the problem of their turtle not basking, especially when a turtle is new to a tank. It may take a while for a turtle to get adjust and feel comfortable in their new environment, so they may leave their usual practice of basking for some days before settling into the tank.
You should know that your turtle will most likely be fine if they only skip basking for a couple of days.
If they go longer than 3-4 weeks without basking, you should try out a new platform. You can also try to make a diy turtle basking area.
2. You don’t have a strong enough heat lamp
If you don’t have a new turtle, the most common reason your turtle is not basking is because you don’t have an adequate basking light. Most of the time, the basking light is not strong enough. My personal favorite basking heat lamp is the Zoo Med Heat Lamp.
3. You aren’t aware of your turtle’s basking preferences:
Here’s an interesting fact about turtles, they can bask in two ways. Either they choose to bask on top of the water, or they bask outside water. There is a possibility that you don’t know which type of basking environment your turtle needs.
While most pet aquatic turtles prefer to bask on a solid land structure, your turtle might want to bask on something floating on the water.
If you think your turtle prefers to bask on a solid structure or land, I suggest you try out the Penn-Plax Basking Platform.
If your turtle isn’t basking on land, you should try putting a basking platform directly above the water. A great option is the Flushbay Turtle Floating Basking Platform. It simulates a floating log.
4. The Basking Temperature is too Hot Or Too Cold:
The optimum temperature for a turtle to bask is between 90-95 degree Fahrenheit. If you’re not able to maintain this temperature, your turtle may behave sluggish and not take interest in basking.
The water temperature should be around 78 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and the basking spot temperature should be between 90 to 95 degrees. If there’s no difference between the two temperatures, your turtle might not bask.
To learn more, check out my article on what temperature should a turtle tank be?
One of the key reasons for turtles basking is to maintain their body temperature. Since they are cold-blooded animals, they need to control their body temperature through an outward source. If you fail to provide this temperature difference to them, they will not bask.
This is why I always recommend that you keep a thermometer in your turtle tank.
5. The Basking Area is Not in Reach:
Some turtle owners do not realize the importance of accessibility of the basking platform. They set it too high or too inclined in the tank so that the turtle can’t get on the basking dock.
The inaccessibility can be the main reason your turtle doesn’t bask (after all turtles do not believe in working too hard). A common mistake I see is people using an unstable object, such as a log or driftwood for a turtle’s basking spot.
If you are still deciding on a basking platform, you should check out my article on turtle basking platform ideas.
6. You May Have Missed Your Turtle Basking:
In rare cases, a turtle owner may miss the chance of seeing the turtle bask. It is most likely to happen when you’re away to run errands and your turtle decides to warm itself under the UV light. Your turtle might also bask while you sleep at night.
If this is the case, there’s a fair chance that you will see your turtle basking some day.
What Can Go Wrong If My Turtle Quits Basking?
Basking is essential for your turtle’s health. If your turtle stops basking due to any reason stated above, it can face problems such as:
- Bone deformity
- Shell rot
- Shell distortion
- Low bone density
- Digestive issues since the UV-A light helps in digestion.
To learn more, check out my article on common pet turtle diseases.
If your turtle has stopped basking, you should check out my article on how long can a turtle go without basking?
How Long Should My Turtle Bask?
The basking time for your turtle depends on the species to which it belongs, the age of the turtle, and the temperature and humidity of the basking platform.
Turtles need basking to regulate their bodily functions. If they do not bask, they may suffer and experience deteriorating health conditions. As a turtle owner, it is your responsibility to provide your turtle with a secure basking platform that is easily accessible for them.
One of the most common mistakes I see from first time turtle owners is that they don’t know how to properly set up a basking area in their tank
If you are searching for lights for your tank, you should check out my article on UVB lights for turtle.
As a last precaution, keep in mind that a basking platform should be made of a material that doesn’t disturb the aquatic environment of your pet.