Do Turtles Make Friends? (With Other Related Facts!)


by Rob Byron


Are you planning to buy a friendly pet, and the pet you have in mind is a turtle? Wait! Before you get a pet turtle, let me tell you first if turtles can really make friends with you so that you won’t get disappointed with the turtle you bought when he/she didn’t act friendly as you assumed. 

Do turtles make friends? No. Turtles are incapable of making friends. They are solitary animals and not social species. Turtles react on instincts, not on their feelings. They don’t have a brain developed for emotions. However, they can still respond to people, especially to their owners.

Let’s take a look at the other facts about these unfriendly and solitary animals. I am going to answer various questions that are related to our topic. After finishing this article, you will realize that turtles are not for you if you are looking for a friendly pet.

Do Turtles Make Friends

Why Do Turtles Don’t Like To Make Friends?

Turtles do not make friends. For the most part, they are solitary animals and not social creatures. You will see them on Youtube gathering together. But this is not some friendship or whatever you think.

They only gather together for biological functions, like mating, arribadas, feeding, etc. Turtles react on instincts and not on emotions. 

Some people think that their pet turtle is acting friendly towards them when their turtles poke their heads out from their shells or if their turtles come to them when they approach their aquarium. But in reality, these are not friendly behaviors.

In captivity, the behavior of turtles changes, and they may act differently to humans. Many people will assume that these behaviors are friendly, which is really not. Turtles are capable of learning and adapting new things, but they will never develop human-like emotions, feelings, and friendliness. 

The reason why turtles can recognize their owners or keepers is solely instinctual. Turtles can recognize their owner as their food source or provider of their other biological needs, which is why they approach their owner when their owner comes close to them. When their owner approaches them, turtles think that it’s time to eat. 

It is not that they don’t like making friends. It is because they are not capable of making friends. Turtles are like John Wick or James Bond. They only focused on their missions in life, and they don’t let their emotions shift them away from their objectives. That mission is to survive!

Do Turtles Get Attached To Their Owners?

Turtles can get attached to their owners. They can recognize their owners and even the voice and scent of their owners. However, having a pet turtle is not like having a pet dog. Unlike dogs, turtles are solitary animals that react on instincts and not on their emotions. 

The attachment of turtles to their humans is not like what you think. They can be attached to their owners, but it is more of learned behavior than affection. Turtles get attached to humans that provides them food and other biological needs. 

Do Turtles Make Friends

Like I have mentioned above, it looks like turtles are friendly because they come to you when you approach them. But in reality, they only see you as their food source. They come over to you when you approach them because they think it’s feeding time. 

Most turtles don’t like to be touched as well. They are not dogs that will tolerate you touching them. This is also one fact that proves that turtles are not affectionate pets. However, this still depends on the personality of a certain turtle. Some turtles love to be touched, but most of them don’t 

If you want your turtles to be used to touching, you must train them like a dog. But keep in mind that handling can be very stressful for a turtle because, in the wild, predators are the only creature that picks them up. When you pick them up, they will bite you because they think you are a predator. 

Short, calm handling sessions are the best thing you can do so that your turtle will get used to touching. First, start with touching their shells first, and escalate to a more intense touching. Try handling them for a few minutes before you feed them. So that they will associate food with being held. 

The bottom line is that turtles can get attached to their owners, but the attachment is not because of affection. It’s because of learned behavior and instincts. Wild turtles most likely stay in a place where food is abundant. This is the same with domesticated turtles. 

Domesticated or pet turtles are most likely to stay with you not because they love you but because they sense that you are their food source. Yep, they may look like a user. But this is nature, and we can’t change this. 

If you decide to let your turtles go, they will never get sad. Instead, they will move on and will find other strategies to survive. 

Do Turtles Love To Socialize?

No. Turtles are not social creatures. They are solitary animals that love silence. Turtles typically don’t care if there are other turtles around them, and they won’t talk or socialize with the other turtles around them. 

When you see them gathering together, it is not because they are trying to be friendly to each other. Turtles gather together for biological functions like mating. Mating occurs in the spring, summer, and fall. When mating occurs, you will see lots of turtles gathering together. 

Even though they are not social animals, they can still speak to each other sometimes. If other turtles around them try to invade their personal space, they may get loud to tell the other turtle that their territory is not open to strangers. This is instinctual.

In simple words, turtles don’t love to socialize with other turtles and humans. But they are vocal to express what they want to say. 

Do Turtles Have Emotions?

Do Turtles Make Friends

Turtles do not feel the range of emotions humans and mammals do. They can fight with other turtles, but not because of hatred or anger. Turtles will fight other turtles that they think are competition for a mate, food, and territory. Again, it is instinctual, not emotional.

Turtles do not have human-like emotions. They can’t feel anger, love, or happiness, but they can feel pain, stress, and fear. Many people debate about this, and each of them has its own theory. However, it is already scientifically proven that turtles cannot feel emotions. 

The only thing that matters for turtles is their survival. They don’t have time to make friends. They will do anything to survive, and fighting another turtle is one of their ways to live. If you have a pet turtle and decide to throw them in a river, which I don’t suggest, they will never feel angry or sad. Instead, they will find another way to survive.  

But what does it mean when pet gurus tell you that you should make your pet turtles happy? Does it mean that your turtles have emotions? No. In reality, turtles are not capable of feeling happiness. I think these pet gurus mean when they say, you should make your turtles happy, is that you should ensure that your turtles are satisfied all the time. 

So if you have a pet turtle, make sure that you make everything comfortable for them. Because if not, your turtle might feel stressed or bored. Make sure that your pet turtle is satisfied with his/her home and with the food you give to them. 

Can Turtles Love Humans?

Turtles can show affection to humans, but they have different kinds of ways to do it. They show love by allowing you to hold and touch them, following you around the house. If your turtle already knows you, they will never hide from you when you are around.

Do Turtles Get Lonely?

Nope. Turtles never get lonely. Like I have mentioned all the time in this article, turtles are not social creatures. They are more likely a solitary species. Turtles prefer to be alone, and they don’t need a company to live a happy life. This is why you can keep a single turtle if you are planning to get one.

Should You Get Your Pet Turtle A Friend?

I would say no to this. Turtles are solitary animals, and they can live alone even if they don’t have some friends. However, if you want to get your pet turtle a friend, you have to make sure that you buy a turtle in the same size as your current turtle. 

Larger turtles will attack smaller turtles even if they have the same species. Also, make sure that your aquarium is big enough for two turtles because they might fight because of territory.

Why Does Your Pet Turtle Stare At You?

Your pet turtle is staring at you because they wonder what you are up to or interested in what you do. Turtles are curious animals that love to learn new things.

Final Verdict

Turtles do not make friends because they are solitary animals. They prefer to be alone rather than having a companion. Turtles act instinctively and not emotionally, which is why they can’t feel emotions like dogs do. 

Now that you know that pet turtles are not as affectionate as dogs, I hope you can decide before getting a pet turtle. Again, if you want a friendly pet, turtles are not for you. You should buy dogs or cats if you desire an affectionate pet. 

Rob Byron
Learning about and helping all kinds of animals has been in my blood as long as I can remember. I've been part of many different animal associations over the years so I decided to create this animal info blog with my family who are all involved with animal rescue in some capacity. Also, Because Animals Matter!
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