Do Tortoises Get Bored & Lonely? (& How to Fix It)

Tortoises have different personalities which make them distinct from one other.

Some are shy and introverted while some are very active and outgoing. Some things that they have in common are their quietness and solitary behavior.

They are naturally reserved which can make you wonder if they are really satisfied with their lives.

As solitary animals, you might wonder if they are getting bored or lonely. They are used to living alone so is there a chance that they are feeling these emotions too?

Do Tortoises Get Bored?

Yes. Tortoises do get bored. Though they are solitary creatures and not that vulgar of their feelings, they are prone to experience boredom as they are highly intrusive and explorative.

Tortoises are one of the top choices if you are looking for an exotic pet to be a part of your household.

They are simply quiet, uncomplicated, and easy to maintain as they are independent. This creates a presumption to some people that they are very content with their daily routines inside their home no matter what.

Though in reality, tortoises highly require their owners’ attention in ensuring that they are living the best time of their lives while in their enclosure.

The pet parents of these gentle reptiles should regularly monitor their activities to make certain that they are not having lengthy dull moments which can negatively affect their behavior.

Tortoises are slow – it is certain. Nevertheless, they are the type of animals that are highly engrossed in their surroundings. They simply love to explore and are looking forward to interesting stuff that can add colors to their lives!

Do Russian Tortoises Get Bored?

Yes. Russian tortoises can get bored because they have a quirky and energetic character that will not permit an unstimulating lifestyle.

If you are planning to get a tortoise but do not have a pretty huge place, the Russian tortoise is the perfect match for you!

This is a small kind of tortoise that is quite popular and not difficult to find if you want to purchase one.

This tortoise species is also ideal for those who are first-time reptile parents given their tamable personality, undemanding nature, and vigorous health.

Like other tortoise species, Russian tortoises do get bored. They are known for their vibrant personalities and love to keep themselves busy at all times.

You can usually see them munching on grass or digging in the dirt.

Times will come that they will get bored with the digging activity so it is important to always add something new to their enclosure to boost its mood.

How Do You Know If Your Tortoises Are Bored?

Your tortoises are bored if they start showing destructive behavior such as turning their food and water containers upside down, scratching parts of their enclosure, shoveling shrubs, or frantically attempting to escape their cages. 

Your bored tortoises will display unusual behavior that you might find fascinating at first. But sooner you will realize that they are not enjoying what they do and are becoming unruly.

Tortoises’ way of releasing their apathy is by doing something different to break their tiresome routine. This is where destroying actions take place.

Your torts may turn their cages into messy and disorganized ones by overturning their food bowls. They like to dig up but when they start to concentrate their energy on digging up plants that aren’t supposed to be plowed, then you might consider the thought of boredom.

When you see your tortoise scratching or attempting to flee from their enclosure, then they are showing signs that they are not stimulated anymore.

Reasons Why Your Tortoise Is Bored

Your tortoise is bored because its environment is not suitable enough for its needs and lacks stimulation.

There are various reasons why your torts suddenly become unfavorably moody. Common factors are poor living conditions and the absence of objects that will arouse the tortoises’ curiosity and activeness.

Poor environment conditions include living in a little cage, lack of substrate, and offering similar kinds of foods.

The type of lifestyle that you should offer your tortoise must be very similar to what it can experience in the wild.

A tiny enclosure will definitely not resemble the kind of environment it can roam in the wild. This will make your tortoise feel trapped, helpless, and lethargic.

The substrate is also important in the home setting of your tortoise. A sufficient amount of substrate is needed, enough for your tort to burrow itself down into it.

Your tortoise can be very picky eaters as well. Similar food looks like a sad meal that will not only lose its appetite but will make it feel less vigorous.

Lastly, a plain enclosure will not make your tortoise feel excited. An ordinary cage with just food and water bowls will not nurture the inquisitive mind of your tort.

How To Prevent Your Tortoises From Becoming Bored?

To prevent your tortoises from becoming bored, you should keep their cages suitable and interesting based on their needs.

As pet parents, you are responsible for securing that your tortoises are living comfortably and enjoying being part of your household.

Since they would spend the majority of their lives inside their enclosures, you must make sure that these places are big enough. These must be 4 feet by 2 feet in minimum. Of course, it would be better if you can provide a bigger one than this measurement.

Tortoises need a lot of space to roam around and satisfy their curiosity.

As torts love to dig, you should consider the amount of substrate in their cage.

The combination of various types of soil, sand, moss, plant fiber, and other materials must fully overlay the area of the floor or ground to a depth of 5 centimeters.

As a fussy eater, it is important to make an extra effort in offering different food variations to excite the taste buds of your tort.

Tortoises get bored if they have nothing exciting to do inside their cages.

In the wild, they may travel miles which makes it important for tort owners to know the value of exercise for their pets while under their guardianship.

You must make its cage spurring enough to keep them busy and satisfied.

You should put some toys, shells, and plants. You can add objects that they can walk over and down such as ramps. Adding a maze is another great activity that can physically and mentally exercise tortoises.

Do Tortoises Get Lonely?

No. Tortoises do not get lonely as they are solitary creatures that can live on their own and do not require companionship.

Your tortoises are not the typical pets that would come running and jumping to you while rubbing their body on or licking you once you get home.

They are simply not affectionate creatures that would show their emotions bluntly. It is quite hard, in fact, to tell the emotions of torts as they are not sociable.

It is innate for them to live on their own. They can survive without any companionship in the wild as long as they have food, shelter, and can actively and freely do the things that they want.

Having said all these, you can tell that your tortoise does not get lonely.

Loneliness is the feeling of being sad because of the absence of company or friendship.

In the wild, baby tortoises can even live and survive on their own. They are not like other baby animals that would be needing the care of their mothers until they reach a certain age.

A male tortoise would be looking for a mating partner, but will not stick around and leave soon.

Tortoises can still live with other tortoises, of course. But not all torts are fine sharing their space with others.

Male torts can be aggressive with each other as they are territorial compared to female ones. It is recommended to do extensive research first before putting torts together in one confinement.

Tortoises are, by nature, not sociable animals and prefer to be isolated from others.

You might think that your tortoise is getting lonely whenever you leave it at home.

Yes, your tort can recognize you but they are usually not forming a deep attachment to anyone.

If your tort escaped and went missing, it will notice some gaps and changes with its life. But it will not feel lonely without your presence.

By instinct, it will continue with its life and look for new ways to survive alone.

Can I Leave My Tortoise Alone For A Week?

Yes. You can leave your tortoise on its own for a week provided that you are confident that you raised it well, it is healthy, there will be enough food and water, and proper lighting and heating are set accurately to manage the temperature inside the cage while you are away.

If you are a new tortoise owner, you might wonder if you can go on a quick vacation and leave your pet by itself for some days.

Well, you can actually do so if you can make sure that it will feel comfortable while you are away.

Likewise, you should not be the type who worries too much that can cause you too much anxiety. You will definitely not enjoy your vacation!

Tortoises are distinguished to be one of the resilient exotic pets that are low maintenance given that you have provided all of their basic needs.

With its well-disposed behavior, it is one tough reptile that can survive in harsh and diverse environments. From storms, wildfires, and even droughts, tortoises can successfully withstand any challenge that will come their way.

Tortoises are simply survivors that can actually live for 6 months and even for a couple of years with only the smallest portion to no food at all!

If you have no one to look after your tortoise, you have no choice but to leave it on its own.

You have nothing to fret about if you know your tort is active and healthy.

 Of course, you need to leave ample food and water for one week’s consumption. Lighting and heating are essential for your tortoise so make sure you set them based on the preference of your pet.

If you are still reluctant, you can install a camera on your tortoise’s cage to monitor its activity whenever you want to. This will lessen your worries, especially during an emergency. If you have a kind neighbor friend, you can ask for a favor to go to your home and check your tort if possible.


Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. (2021). Tortoise adoption program – FAQ. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, AZ – Zoo, Botanical Garden and Art Gallery.

British Pet Insurance. (2020, November 10). Tortoise behaviour and the reasons behind it.