Guide For Leaving Your Turtle At Home Alone!

Copyright: mozakim

Do you have an upcoming trip or vacation and are wondering how to leave the turtle home alone for a week or two? It can be a challenge knowing that the turtle will be lonely. The truth is that turtles are solitary creatures and will do fine if you leave them alone, as long as you ensure their basic needs are taken care of. Still, there are some risks, and you might need to address this first before leaving, especially if you’re leaving for more than a week.

Should You Leave Your Turtle Alone?

Although turtles are very self-sufficient and solitary, you should leave them alone for more than two weeks. Contrary to what most turtle keepers assume, turtles are rarely self-maintaining pets and will require close attention and love to survive and thrive.

If your vacation is going to take longer than that, you could consider placing the turtle in the care of a friend or other family member. You could also hire a pet sitter to check on them for the time being.

Can Turtles Stay Alone?

There comes the point where every turtle owner wants to leave their hard-shelled friend alone for a weekend or two. The fact that turtles require lots of space and are anti-social means it’s a bad idea to them with you on the trip.

On the brighter side, they can live alone without company for an extended period. All you need to do is consider what makes them happy and comfortable, and you’ll be good to head off. Of course, we are talking about adult turtles – baby turtles would require constant care and should be fed more than adults. The same case goes for a sick or pregnant turtle because, in your absence, they could develop issues.

Do Turtles Get Bored?

Turtles can get bored if they are constrained to the same spot for too long. When they are bored, they will try to climb out of the tank, dig around, or engage in other interesting activities. Turtles raised in solitary should have items to play with and keep themselves entertained. This can include obstacle mazes with the turtle’s favorite treat at the end of the maze.

If the turtle’s aquarium is large enough, you can add empty shells and rafts for the turtle to push around. You can also add plants and sticks to the turtle’s play area to keep them busy. Keep in mind that your turtle’s health and safety are paramount, so inspect every decoration and toy for any loose parts or presence of chemicals that might be harmful to your pet. You can also teach your turtle new tricks to keep them from getting boreKeepeep in mind that this is often a slow learning process, and you should be patient with your turtle and keep track of the treats to avoid overfeeding them.

How Long Can Turtles Live Without Food?

Suppose you may be heading away for a few days or weeks. You could be asking this question. Fortunately, turtles do not need to be fed all the time, nor water all day. However, there’s a limit. A healthy adult turtle could survive for up to 4 months without food. The disadvantage to staying hungry for that long is they could develop severe illnesses and lose weight due to inadequate nutrition. Baby turtles will survive a considerably shorter time with no food and water.

Various factors will determine how long a turtle can survive without food. Well, if your turtle has been adequately fed up to now, it may be able to manage a few more weeks without food. However, the survival rate will decrease if it does not access clean swimming and drinking water.

Also, the turtle species will determine survival as some species do better than others. Precisely, you need to be informed about your turtle species requirements in your care.

Will My Turtle Be Ok If I Leave It Alone for A Week or Two?

Well, your turtle should be fine if left alone for two weeks. However, you should address a few things like food, water and a basking area. Let’s look at this in detail.


The first thing to remember is that turtles can survive for quite a long time without food. They can spend up to 3 weeks without eating anything in the wild. This does not mean you should just leave for vacation without catering to food needs, but if you’re leaving for just a weekend, there’s should be no problem.

If you’re just leaving for a week, the turtle may handle it, but it could leave you feeling like it’s a bit too much for the turtle. If you know someone who can come over once or twice during the week to provide food, better. But if you can’t find anybody to help, there are still other solutions.

Aquatic Plants

If your turtle is an omnivore, providing some aquatic plants should be enough for a couple of weeks. Aquatic plants are readily available in most local shops and can stay in the pond for a long time. Fortunately, almost all omnivorous turtles like aquatic plants and will eat them even before the regular food. You can use as many plants are you want inside the tank but make sure they don’t occupy all the space there is for the turtle. Besides, putting too much in the water will make the water dirty. Even if someone is coming over to feed the turtle, it’s vital that you still provide a couple of plants on the tank so that the turtle will have an option if they are not fed properly. The disadvantage of using these plants is that the water gets dirty faster. In fact, when turtles cut them, small plants float all over the water, which is inevitable. As much as aquatic plants can be an excellent food source for the turtle, you should not rely on them entirely and should combine them with other foods.

Feeder Fish

The next option for providing the turtle with food when going out for weeks is some feeder fish. The kind of fish you’d typically use as pets in the aquarium, but now you want them to act as food for the turtle. If you visit any pet shop that sells fish, you could ask them to give you a good feeder fish for turtle, and they will know what to give you. In case they seem not to be sure what to provide, there are a few pointers you can use to get what you want.

A feeder fish needs to be small enough for your turtle to swallow and should hunt and trap them without a challenge. The fish should not be fat because it can cause health problems for your turtle. This is why you should avoid goldfish. Some few species to try as feeder fish for turtles include guppies, killifish, mosquitofish, bluegills, bass, platies, and crappies.

Once you get a few from the pet store, you could place them in the tank and watch to see if your turtle tries to catch them. Avoid getting too many fish for the turtle. Otherwise, the turtle will prioritize fish and meat and avoid eating other types of foods and pellets. Another problem with using too many fish is that they also create a mess in the tank, which the turtle ends up eating. As such, try combining feeder fish with other methods.

Automatic Food Dispenser

This is arguably the most straightforward option if you have no one to come over and feed the turtle. But you need to have it in the first place. A significant benefit of having a food dispenser is its convenience because you can even use it when you’re at home and busy and don’t have much time to look after the turtle. There are many automatic food dispenser models to invest in, and most can release food at least three times a day, which is actually more than what your turtle needs. Some food dispensers come with an app where you can get notified each time it dispenses food. However, if you will be leaving for over a month, most dispensers won’t hold enough food and might need someone to come and refill it. Ensure the dispenser does not release excess food because this dirties the water much faster. Instead, set it to release less than the turtle needs should there be any leftovers. If you decide to use this method to feed your turtle, it should work fine on its own, but there’s no harm if you combine it with other methods.

Basking Area

When it comes to a basking area, the big question to ask yourself is whether to leave the UVB lights on. The answer will depend on how long you will be away. If you are just going for the weekend, you can leave the lights on, and there will be no problem.

However, if you will be leaving for more than a week, it’s not advisable to leave it on the entire time because it’s not healthy for your turtle. Leaving your turtle without a basking area is also a bad idea because turtles rely on it for temperature. To achieve the balance, you need one thing: a timer.

A timer turns off the light at a specific time and turns it off, just like you’d do it. You just need to set the hours and leave the rest.


No matter what you do, make sure your turtle has clean water. Unfortunately, there’s no device we know of that can replace the water while you are away. So, you should change the water before you leave and make sure the water is adequate. Keep in mind that the water will evaporate, and your turtle may no longer be able to access the basking area. If you are back in less than a fortnight, your turtle should just do fine. The dirtiness will be tolerable, and the evaporation will be minimal. But if you will be away for longer than this, you need to have somebody who’ll come over and change or at least refill it.

If Someone Is Coming Over

The last thing to be aware of is how to direct somebody to take care of the pet when you are on your way. They are probably going to find it hard, the reason you should do everything you can and leave less work for them. For food, make sure you leave the exact measurements per day. You could pen down the instructions such as the number of pellets “feed the turtle 20 pellets.” You can tell them to use a spoon.

When possible, try to avoid another person changing the water because that takes time. However, if you will be away for too long, you should ensure you leave everything they’ll need and write the instructions on how to do it as well. Leaving the exact instructions makes the job a breeze for the other person.

There’s also a tip we found about using a sharpie to indicate water level. In case water evaporates, the person coming over to check the turtle will know that it needs to be refilled and to what level.

Wrap Up

That’s it! Our guide on how you can leave your turtle alone for some time. The good thing is turtles are pretty self-sufficient and won’t require any day-to-day care, so you should find it easy to leave them alone. If you are just leaving for a weekend, you are likely not going to do anything and can leave the turtle as is. Just ensure you feed it right before leaving.

If you are away for a week, you should find someone to come over once or twice and offer food to the turtle. Alternatively, you could use an automatic food dispenser along with other foods like feeder fish and aquatic plants. As for the UV light, you can use a timer plug to provide just enough heat to the basking area. If you are away for longer than a week or two, you need someone to come over and check the turtle from time to time.

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