Do Turtles Eat Each Other

Turtles are unique pets. They can live up to 80 years, and they come in many different shapes and sizes, but some of them have an appetite for their species!

When two turtles are in a confined space, they fight for whatever territory is available.

Turtles eat one another out of desperation and will only do so if there’s already been an altercation between the two.

Do Turtles Eat Each Other

Yes, turtles can eat other. The main reason do to so is lack of food. 

It’s not common, but it does happen from time to time. The most important thing to do is keep your turtle well-fed to don’t feel the need to snack on their companions. 

Here is video of snapping turtle eating other turtle. Viewers discretion is advised.

Reasons Why Do Turtles Eat and Bite Each Other?

While they may look cute at first glance, turtles can have violent Here are some reasons why:

Also Read-> Do Red Eared Sliders Bite?

Territorial Issues

Turtles are territorial by nature. When they sense a threat, such as an alligator intruding on their home turf, the turtles will try to fight back with either biting or fighting tactics.


While this is a rare occurrence, cannibalism occurs due to food shortages. If an adult turtle is hungry and cannot find food, it will attack a younger turtle to fulfill its hunger.

To avoid this, make sure you feed your turtles regularly.

By providing them a proper diet of leafy vegetables, meats, and fruits, you’ll reduce the amount of violence between your pet turtles.

Claws Embedded in Their Skin

When turtles bite each other, their sharp claws can become embedded in the turtle’s skin.

The turtle won’t be able to remove the claw without hurting themselves even more.

So they end up biting another turtle exclusively to remove another animal’s claws from their skin.

Social Status and Dominance

Turtles will assert their dominance by biting or shaking their claws at weaker turtles.

This is commonly seen in turtles who live with humans.

Due to a lack of predators, turtles tend to be more territorial and aggressive towards other companion turtles.

Mating and Claw Fluttering

Place a female turtle in one tank with two males and observe what happens.

This is the precursor step before noticing the turtles’ claw fluttering with each other.

While this may look cute to us humans, it can be deadly serious business; think of it as their equivalent of challenging each other to a duel!

Turtles flutter their claws to show that they want to mate with females or fight against males. In the wild, the weaker male will flutter his claws as a reaction.

If they don’t flutter their claws, the more submissive turtle will swim away from the mightier turtle.

In an aquarium or a tank, the weaker turtle does not have a choice in the matter.

To prevent this, we suggest having a tank with plenty of room for the turtles to escape.

Which Turtles Are Most at Risk for Fighting and Eating Each Other?

As turtles age, they fight to keep the younger ones in their place.

In order for a turtle’s species to survive and thrive as long as possible, all of them must be in total health and able-bodied.

The older generation has been around much longer than the youngsters – making them more cunning when it comes time for battles with other members of their kind.

Because of this, you’ll notice an older one bullying or attacking any younger ones who come close enough.

How To Prevent Turtles From Eating Each Other

As a turtle owner, it is your job to maintain a safe tank environment for your pets. Here are some ways to prevent your turtles from eating each other:

Proper Feeding

Ensure that all of your turtles are fed properly, so they do not starve. If a turtle is hungry and cannot find food, they will start to eat each other.

The best way to prevent this is by feeding your turtles a balanced diet with the proper amount of vitamins and minerals.

Enrichment Activities

Enrichment activities help stimulate activity in your turtles, so they do not get bored.

Enrichment for turtles can include digging, moving objects around their environment, and adding plants and rocks within the tank.

Some people might find it annoying to plan out their tank environment before having multiple pet turtles, but they should know that by doing so, you’ll reduce the risk of them fighting.

Avoid Placing Multiple Male Turtles in a Single Tank

Male turtles have a tendency to bite and fight each other. When turtles fight, they will use their claws and sometimes bite at each other.

Removing turtles from the tank is an excellent way to reduce stress; however, it is best not to place multiple male turtles in the same aquarium.

Water Quality

You may not know this, but turtles are quite territorial. It’s only natural that they’ll fight when their territory is invaded by filth and grime! So be sure to keep your turtle tank clean so you don’t have a bunch of cranky little buddies who can’t get along with one another in there.

Create Barriers

If you have a dominant turtle in your tank, they will start to chase less prevalent turtles out of their area, and they could resort to fighting them in order to show who’s boss.

Make sure you have plenty of barriers so that turtles can determine which ones are theirs and decide for themselves if they want to fight or not.

If the tank is larger than 20 gallons, you may want to place turtle tank dividers inside your tank so they can remain separate.

If it is a smaller tank, you may want to get another tank to keep the turtles separated if they are unwilling to get along.


If you want to ensure that your turtles can thrive in a safe aquatic environment, make sure they have the proper food and clean water.

You’ll also need to provide them with enough space so that there is no fighting over territory or resources.

These are all essential considerations for turtle owners who care about their pets’ well-being and safety.

Also read

Do Turtles eat Lizards – Can They Live Together

Do Snapping Turtles Eat Ducks

Do Turtles Eat Koi Fish – Can They Live Together

Can Turtles Eat Neon Tetra

Do Turtles Eat Mice


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