Can turtles live with other pets? A Guide to Turtle Safety | turtle owner (2023)

Turtles tend to age quickly, which is why many people think it's a good idea to give their pet some company. These companions range from other turtles to other reptiles and pets of various species such as dogs and cats. But is it a good idea?

Can turtles live with other animals?Most of the time the answer is yes, turtles can safely live with other animals. However, any animal can become aggressive, playful, curious and sometimes sick. In these scenarios, problems can arise between turtles and other animals.

In this article, we look at the best conditions for keeping a turtle with other pets. In addition, we will cover some species and how they typically interact with turtles.

Do turtles like each other as companions?

As we discussed in this article"Are turtles better in pairs?"Many people have the impulse to give turtles a mate, thinking that otherwise their pet will be left alone. This is not required. In fact, turtles are solitary in nature from an early age. They just don't want company.

Of course it is also possible that as a pet owner you would like to have several turtles in your home. This isn't a problem in itself, but you have to be careful how you approach it. Not all turtles are well matched.

What to look out for with multiple turtles?

In a perfect world, you would want all of your turtles to get along if they live together. However, this is not always the case. Turtles, especially males, can be dominant and even aggressive towards one another.

Consider these points to minimize the risk:

  • Make sure the turtles are of the same species. This prevents the transmission of diseases or parasites that could cause problems if transmitted to animals of other species.
  • Make sure your enclosure is big enough - to accommodate an extra turtle, make sure it isn't overly cluttered.
  • Never put two males together; In many cases, this leads to dominant and even aggressive behavior. Most likely they are trying to hurt each other.
  • Avoid only mating a male to a female: the male may exhibit dominant or aggressive behavior towards only one female. A male with several females or two or more females together is usually not a problem.
  • Pair of similarly sized tortoises; if this is not the case, dominance problems can arise. The larger turtle will dominate the smaller one.

Even if you have considered all of this, it is important to pay attention to whether turtles are a good match, especially in the beginning. If you are unsure, it is probably best not to put the animals in the same enclosure. Turtles are territorial animals and this instinct can lead to aggression.

In the wild, these animals seek out another territory if necessary. In a closed environment this is obviously not possible. Remember, whether they like it or not, you've forced them into the same area. They created these circumstances, so keep an eye on your behavior around them and be ready to deal with any problems that arise.

Can you have turtles with other pets?

There's a good chance you'll have more than one pet if you decide to own a turtle. Some people plan on keeping multiple pets under one roof but have a skewed idea of ​​how different species can interact with each other. Turtles are not naturally good company for other animals. The reality of putting multiple pets in the same room is often vastly different from what Walt Disney has been trying to instill in our brains for decades.

Pets we think are cute can actually:

  • hurting or fighting each other
  • eat each other
  • Pass diseases on to each other
  • scare each other
  • annoy each other

A little warning:there are always exceptions to a rule. Sometimes cute pet videos go viral on social media, but just because this turtle is a dog's best friend doesn't mean ALL dogs get along with ALL turtles.

Let's look at some common pets and how they get along with turtles.

Do turtles get along with dogs?

If you keep your tortoise in an enclosure where it can't reach the dog and vice versa, you won't have any problems for obvious reasons. However, it's a different matter when they can physically interact with each other.

If you have a dog that is dependable and friendly, I would recommend introducing them carefully, but always with an eye on the situation. If your dog is prone to aggression at times, you should probably avoid contact.

No matter how long you have known animals or what character your dog has, there is always a risk. Dogs may happily eat your turtle or mistake it for a toy and chew on it. While some dogs do well with almost any species you introduce them to, many dogs do not.

The shape and movement of your shelled reptile can trigger instincts in a dog that can do bad things to your turtle. It's not your dog's fault. The animal only reacts to what it knows.

On the other hand, it is also possible for a turtle to harm a dog. Be especially careful if you have a small breed dog. Most reptiles have a surprisingly powerful bite that can cause serious harm to these breeds. Don't underestimate it.

So they get along well overall? That's hard to say in advance as it's more a matter of trial and error. I would check that on a case-by-case basis and see how that plays out. They're not natural enemies, but they probably don't know what to think of each other.

Do turtles get along with cats?

There are many similarities between mating dogs and cats with turtles. While many of the same principles apply, such as B. getting to know each other and moving on, I would also like to point out a key difference.

Cats are very agile compared to dogs. If you wish, you can enter many turtle enclosures. This can be very stressful or scary for a tortoise, even if your cat is just curious, as she often is.

So in general I would support the recommendations for dogs, with the addition that you should be much more careful about keeping your cat out of the turtle's enclosure. This measure primarily benefits smaller tortoises, but in some cases it can also protect your cat.

We have two cats at home. As kittens, they wanted to play with almost anything that moved! So they were very curious about our turtles: they climbed up to sniff them, touched their shells and even tried to nudge them a little.

Luckily this was always under supervision and the turtles were already growing. Now that our cats are older and our tortoises are bigger, they are used to each other and just ignore each other most of the time. Sometimes a cat enjoys watching them eat, but it stops there.

From this experience, my most sincere advice is:

  • Never allow a cat to approach a baby turtle unsupervised.
  • Never leave a kitten unattended near a turtle.
  • Never allow a cat and a turtle to be together when they are strangers to each other.
  • Once the cats and turtles are grown and used to each other, they will likely ignore each other and no one will be harmed.
  • If a cat is particularly playful or a tortoise is particularly aggressive, constant supervision is recommended. Disconnect them when you're not at home!

Can turtles live with chickens?

We've never had chickens, but I've never heard of any problems between the two species either. My past experience suggests that they generally lack any interest in the presence of the other. It's probably a good thing if you want to know if they're going to try to harm themselves.

Well, when it comes to chickens, there is one caveat. If you have a farm and the chickens or eggs are for consumption, remember that turtles often get salmonella. This means you should always keep turtles away from places where food is being prepared or eaten. Otherwise you risk transferring salmonella to your food and in turn infecting people with it.

So while turtles and chickens are likely to get along well, turtles should be kept away from anything food-related.

Can bearded dragons live with turtles?

Keeping a bearded dragon and a tortoise in the same home is usually not a problem. In fact, they may even get along well in the same tank since they have so much space to live.

Both species are generally solitary and not naturally aggressive towards other animals. This is especially true when there is a clear situation of non-predators in the same environment. It's probably best to keep them in separate tanks just to be safe, and always keep an eye on them when they interact.

Can turtles live with lizards?

In most cases, turtles are harmless to lizards and vice versa when it comes to aggression. You should get along. However, one of the reasons this works well is that most turtles are herbivores and therefore have no interest in eating or attacking other animals.

However, there are also carnivorous turtles. If you put a small lizard in a tank with one of these guys, you risk your little friend getting eaten. So keep this in mind if you want your pets to live under one roof.

As we've mentioned again below, it's generally not a good idea to place different types of reptiles together. Even if they don't intentionally hurt themselves, they can transmit harmful bacteria. Better safe than sorry when it comes to pet health!

Can turtles live with geckos?

While these reptiles are not typically aggressive, there is always a chance that the animals will eventually become territorial. They can get hurt as they fight each other for more space in their environment. If you place turtles with geckos, you should be concerned about damage to your gecko.

As with other lizards, turtles and geckos can transmit harmful bacteria or viruses to each other. Still, it's generally not a good idea to put them in the same room. If they have a separate tank but you want them to interact every now and then, keep an eye on them so nothing goes wrong.


In general, turtles tend to be peaceful creatures, so they get along well with most other pets. Always be aware of the various warnings we have mentioned so that all your animals can live happily and safely together.

If any of your pets are young or very old, it's probably best to separate them and only allow interactions under supervision. And the same goes if your pets are new to each other. If you suspect one of your pets may be ill, separate them immediately and see your veterinarian.

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