Do Turtles Feel Pain? (Signs Of Pain In Turtles)

Image of a turtle swimming

Turtles do feel pain. Just like humans, turtles have pain receptors in their body. They feel pain when their shell is severely damaged or fractured, they are given an injection shot, and when they have shell rot. When in pain, turtles become inactive, depressed, or suffer from loss of appetite.

All animals feel pain, including turtles. But, exactly when do turtles feel pain?

When Do Turtles Feel Pain?

Turtles feel pain when they are physically injured. As mentioned earlier, turtles can feel pain if their shell is cracked or has any injury.

Apart from this, your turtle will feel pain if you try to drill or paint its shell.

The paints that you use may contain chemicals that are harmful to your turtle’s shell.

Even when you change the water of the aquarium, your turtle can feel pain in its eyes.

This is because of the presence of chlorine in the water that irritates its eyes.

Besides, your turtle can feel pain while an injection shot is given to it.

Your turtle might jump when the syringe is injected into its body.

Also, while you are treating your pet turtle for shell rot, it might feel pain and jump if you touch any of its sensitive spots.

Okay! Now that you know turtles can feel pain, let’s understand the change in turtle’s behavior when it is in pain.

Behavioral Response When Turtles Feel Pain

The behavior of turtles changes when they are in pain.

You can detect when a turtle is in pain by observing the change in its behavior closely.

You can monitor the physical activity of your turtle to determine if it is in pain.

When in pain, your turtle will refuse to eat, be lethargic, aggressive, and can even display signs of imbalanced posture.

If your turtle’s limbs have an injury, it will retract its limbs into the shell.

Most likely, it will turn its head away from its body. Also, you may notice some change in its skin color.

Besides, if turtles have been part of some laboratory experiments, they will show signs of pain by avoiding the laboratory.

They might also distance themselves from the burning heat in the laboratory in anticipation of pain.

Do Turtles Cry If They Are Hurt?

Turtles do not cry if they are hurt. They indeed feel pain when they are hurt, but you will not see them screaming in pain.

However, turtles do cry for some other reason.

Turtles cry to balance the amount of salt in their body. Most of the time, turtles are in the water.

So the salt content in their body is high. Excess salt is harmful to their well-being.

That is why they must throw the salt out of their body.

Turtles do not sweat like humans. Instead, they have tear glands near their eyes.

They cry to pump out the excess salt from their body by crying.

When on land, you will find turtles crying to keep their eyes wet.

Also, crying helps them get rid of dust or sand particles that may have gone in their eyes.

In the wild, turtles are mostly found in water. However, they do come on land to lay eggs.

If you notice closely, you can see turtles crying while laying eggs.

Now, you might never see pet turtles crying because they are usually kept in freshwater, which doesn’t have salt in it.

Alright! Now let’s talk about signs of pain in turtles.

Signs Of Pain In Turtles

Unlike humans, turtles cannot speak to tell that they are in pain. Therefore, it is very challenging to figure out if they are in pain.

Given below are some specific signs that you can look out for to determine if your turtle is in pain:

  • Immobility: If your turtle is in acute pain, it will not be able to move from one place to another. You will see it stay still at a particular place for longer durations.
  • Loss of Appetite: Unlike humans, a turtle will not starve itself without any reason. Loss of appetite is a common indication that it is in pain.
  • Body Imbalance: When your turtle is in pain, you will find an imbalance in its body posture. It will not be able to move freely and efficiently all over the place.
  • Behavioral Differences: There will be a difference in the normal behavior of your turtle when it is in pain. You may find it not very active as usual, or it might not come out in the sunlight for basking. It might also look sluggish most of the time.

Does A Turtle Feel Pain If Its Shell Is Injured Or Forcefully Removed?

The shell of a turtle is its body part. The shell consists of numerous bones and skin and is a part of its skeleton.

Imagine that you have a broken or fractured arm. You will feel immense pain.

Similarly, if your turtle’s shell is broken or forcefully removed, it will feel tremendous pain.

Just because turtles do not display any emotions, it does not mean that they do not feel pain when hurt.

Also, if the turtle’s shell is injured, it takes a lot of time to heal completely. So, you need to be extra careful with your little pet.

Does It Harm A Turtle If You Paint Its Shell?

Yes, the turtle will be harmed if its shell is painted. The turtle’s shell is its body part.

Your turtle can feel the sensation when you touch or pat its back.

So, if you paint the turtle’s shell to make it look attractive, the outcome will be disastrous.

The toxic chemicals present in the paint can get absorbed in the turtle’s blood through its shell.

This can make your turtle sick and, at times, can be deadly as well.

Besides, a turtle needs to absorb sunlight for its growth.

If you paint its shell, it will not be able to absorb the UVB light from the sun.

The turtle’s body converts the UVB light absorbed through the shell into Vitamin D3.

Vitamin D3 is a necessity for any turtle’s growth. The deficiency of vitamin D3 can lead to Metabolic Bone Disease, which can be fatal.

Apart from the health issues, a turtle’s shell is designed to camouflage the turtle in the wild.

This allows the turtle to hide from its predators. If you paint the turtle’s shell, then it will be easily visible to all predators.

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