Why Is My Turtle Not Moving

Okay, time to get serious. If your turtle is not moving, you are probably concerned and have a lot of questions. Is your turtle just tired, or is there something wrong with them? You might even be worried that they might die.

If you are searching for the answer to “why is my turtle not moving,” you are in the right place.

Having a turtle as a pet requires basic healthcare issues and safety tips to keep them alive and kicking. It is also important as a turtle owner to know all the reasons why your turtle might not be moving.

Why is my turtle not moving?

The main reason your turtle is not moving is due to a lack of appetite, laziness, infections, discharge, respiratory illness and feces.

Lack of Appetite

A turtle that is experiencing a lack of appetite will likely not move a lot. They will probably just stay in their basking spot and refuse to swim. Your turtle might lose their appetite due to illness, or they might just not like the food you give them. If you think this is the case you should try mixing up your turtle’s diet with one of these pellets:

Tetra Tetrafauna Pro Turtle Food

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Aquatic Turtle Medley Food - Freeze Dried Shrimp & Mealworms for Aquatic Turtle

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Fluker’s Buffet Blend Turtle Food

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Additionally, a pregnant turtle will sometimes experience a lack of appetite. To learn more, you should check out my article on how to tell if my turtle is pregnant.


While its not as common in turtles, they do sometimes experience laziness. This can be a result of boredom, and is more common in tanks with only one turtle.

As you probably already know, exercise is very important for both your turtle’s mental and physical health. Therefore, if you suspect your turtle is not moving due to laziness, you should consider buying another turtle to help keep them entertained. You might also want to get them some toys. To learn more, you should check out my article on the best turtle toys.


Many health conditions cause your turtle to stay in one place. Internal infections like swelling in the ear, eye, or shell region or abscess are the most common skin problems in turtles.

One thing you can do is to check for any abnormal growth on different parts of the body, holes in the shell, wounds, cuts, or reddish skin on the lower side of their body. Any of the above listed conditions can be very dangerous to your turtles health. Additionally, your turtle might be suffering from a respiratory infection, as seen in the turtle below.

These problems can be painful for a turtle and might cause them to stop moving all together. The best course of action is to take your turtle to the vet if you can’t diagnose the problem.

Discharge and Bubbling

If your turtle is ill, you may notice a pus-like, viscous discharge from the eyes or nasal cavity. These discharges can be very painful as they result in swelling of the eyes or eyelids. Discharging is usually an indication that your turtle is short of vitamin A.

You may observe bubbles coming out of its mouth, especially when sick. Bubbling is due to the respiratory infection that forces mucus to expel out of the oral cavity in the shape of bubbles.

Hence, bubbling and discharging are strong contenders to why your turtle is not moving at all. To learn more, check out my article on pet turtle diseases.

Pneumonia being at the top of the chart, breathing problems are widespread in marine pets. And when it comes to turtles, gasping, wheezing, and sneezing, it also might be an indication of respiratory problems.

Turtles also yawn with their wide mouths open, known as gaping. While they stay still, turtles do move the neck to grasp more air bubbles into their bodies.


The question, why my turtle is not moving can also be connected to excretion problems. Symptoms like parasites in the feces, bloody stool, or diarrhea can be life-threatening for turtles.

Severe infections can cause organ failure, so they need immediate medical care as well. No feces or feces with blood can also be an indication that your turtle has an issue with their digestive tract. These issues can be terribly painful, forcing your title to remain inactive and not move.

Turtle not moving or eating: Is my turtle dying?

Like other pets, turtles undergo health conditions that can significantly reduce their energy levels and movement. If your turtle has not moved or eaten for a couple days, they might be suffering from diet deficiencies, parasites, respiratory illness, or similar problems.

For starters, you should try to offer your turtle a different type of food. If that still doesn’t work, you might need to take them to the vet.

Turtles sometimes hide their symptoms when they are sick. This can make it hard to realize your turtle is suffering from a health related issued.

Bottom Line

As you have read above, there are plenty of reasons for why your turtle stops moving. From diet deficiencies to health issues and even stress, there is a wide range of causes. The best advice I can give is to always maintain a clean and healthy tank. Make sure you have a high powered turtle filter and a big enough aquarium. You should also try switching out your turtles food if they are not eating. You may also need to make a quick visit to a veterinarian if you can’t solve the problem by yourself at home.

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