Do Tortoises Attract Bugs

Do Tortoises Attract Bugs? The Truth and Solutions

When it comes to caring for a tortoise, you will face many obstacles that you need to overcome. Tortoises are a relatively easy animal to care for once you have their lighting and food nailed down. However, their enclosure can become home to not just your tortoise, and no one wants this to happen, especially when they are flies and other little bugs, which can become a real pain. What causes these problems? Your tortoise or is it something else causing the files. 

Tortoises themselves don’t attract bugs; however, their indoor tortoise may attract bugs as the enclosures are warm, humid, and have a moist substrate. Mixing in the fecal material and foods combine to be the perfect breeding ground for bugs like flies, ants including less common bugs, fungus gnats, and springtails.

All that may sound a little scary and make you want to think twice before purchasing a tortoise. If you develop a strategy to care for the enclosure, we can keep these bugs to a minimum to non at all. Keeping some of these bugs out will also keep your tortoise healthier, as some can cause health problems. 

Why Is It Tortoises Attract Bugs?

Ok, as we know, tortoise can’t and don’t clean up after themselves as we do, but there is nothing dirty about the tortoise themselves that attract bugs. When outside, tortoises will not attract any bugs to your yard than what is already there. 

Outside is one thing, but moving indoors, we keep our tortoise in vivariums and other types of enclosures, which can become a breeding ground if not maintained properly to a wide array of different bugs we don’t want in our home. 

Many things cause this, which we will tackle a little later in the article but first, we will cover the route causes. 

The perfect breeding ground for bugs

Warmth is the first problem the environment we need to give our tortoises is the perfect environment for insects eggs to hatch. Without this warmth, the bugs wouldn’t lay and hatch eggs, so they are drawn to the enclosure’s heat. However, our tortoise would become ill, so there is not a lot we can do there.

Once drawn to our enclosure’s warm air, we then offer the bugs another perfect solution for egg-laying. Humidity, poop and, substrate a combination we may never have thought we would think about, but the bugs love. The humidity keeps the poop and substrate moist and decaying to keep the eggs living and the perfect breeding ground for them.

The decaying poop and food in the substrate are a big attraction to flies, and when you have flies, you have spiders. Ants are also partial to a meal of flies, so that they will be your next guest. Ants are more of a problem to your tortoise as some can cause your tortoise health problems.

We have other bugs attracted to these conditions and ones you may never hear of, and you sure don’t want them in your home. Fungus gnats and springtails are two familiar visitors to tortoise enclosures if not adequately maintained. We will cover more on these bugs later in the article. 

While the above may put you off a pet tortoise, just hold on a second before making any rash decisions. As we alluded to above, these are easy to overcome and even never happen if you maintain your enclosures correctly. 

Tortoise enclosures don’t attract any more bugs than your home would typically attract. But I’m sure you will want to know how to stop the above description from ever becoming a problem. 

How To Keep Bugs Out Of A Tortoise Enclosure

We don’t want bugs in our tortoise enclosures, so following some simple tips and procedures will significantly help keep bugs out.

Sanitation is one of the critical components of keeping bugs out. Removing poop from the tortoise enclosure whenever you see it and not leaving uneaten food within the closer will reduce its decomposing and causing a perfect home for bugs. Changing the substrate regularly, so we make sure we clear all poop and decomposing foods. It will make your enclosure less attractive to bugs. It will not completely eradicate the problem but will go a long way. 

Bug traps can be an excellent tool in your armory of keeping out the bugs. Sticky flies traps handing above the tortoise house will attract the flies before they get into the house. Stopping the flies from landing on the poop and substrate will not allow them to lay eggs. Keeping the sticky flypaper up high so your tortoise doesn’t come into contact will keep them safe. 

Netting, you can cover your housing with a netting something like you fit in a window so flies can’t get into your tortoise table. You do have to be careful with any covers as they can trap heat into the enclosure and make it too hot for your tortoise. 

Most of the methods aim to keep flies out as they are the most significant cause of bugs. 

It is essential to point out that you should never use pesticides to remove or keep out the bugs. Even with the fly traps, you need to keep them well away from your tortoise as they can cause illness if eaten. There is little to no research been carried out on pesticides and the effect they have on reptiles. So the safest course of action would be never to use them.

Tortoise Enclosure Becomes Infested With Insects Or Pests Heres What To Do

The first point is that if you have an infestation, it is most likely down to a lack of cleaning, so you will need to up the cleaning once the problem is sorted. Also, in the event of an infestation of insects and bugs, it will be very difficult to remove them from your enclosure. 

There will only be one solution to solve an infestation problem, which is to remove everything out of the enclosure. Dishes, hides, and substrate the lot will be needed to be removed and cleaned. 

I have known people within the tortoise community bake their substrate if it’s a soil type to kill all eggs within it. I feel this method is a little extreme and not perfect as some eggs may survive, and you are back where you began. 

The whole tortoise enclosure is the perfect breeding ground for bugs and for them to live. Following some of the above tips will keep them to a minimum. However, we have to put up with a few bugs, but they should not be causing a problem to you or your tortoise.

What Pests Can Tortoises Enclosures Get?

We have found that a tortoise house indoors is the perfect habitat not only for your tortoise but bugs. Let us look at some of the common and not so common bugs that you may find and the effects they may have on your tortoise health.

Fungus Gnats

The fungus gnat is not something you may have heard about before; they are very tiny flies. They are very dark in color and consist of many different stages of their lives. Start as larva, then turning into flies. The larva is useful in the wild as it helps break down decaying plant matter. 

When in their fly state, they don’t live very long but, as their name suggests, produce and spread a fungus. They love hot damp areas, so they will love your tortoise enclosure and will lay larva in your substrate. 

The name sounds scary, but they will cause your tortoise no harm. However, if you have plants in your room, then they can cause them damage. 


The springtails are also called snow fleas; they are very small and hard to spot at just 6mm. You possibly could see them hopping around your substrate as these feed on your decaying organic matter and do an excellent job at breaking it down. They are one of the most common macroscopic animals in the world that live in the soil. 

The word fleas may fill you with dread. However, they are entirely harmless to you and your tortoise; in fact, tortoises can’t catch fleas. It is one bug that many tortoise owners learn to live with as they don’t offer as much as a nuisance as flies. 

Ticks and Mites

Manly found outside but can find their way indoors on clothing, these eighth legged creatures then attach to the skin and live on and off their host. Rare to be seen on tortoises that are kept in captivity, and more found on wild tortoises.

Unlike other pests and bugs on the list, these can cause your tortoise weakness and stress causing your animal discomfort. 

Removing them is a must, and you can do this with a pair of tweezers or a tick removal tool. You can get a reptile safe mite killer or a visit to the vet to get them removed. It is rare seeing them on a tortoise, but you will need to remove them if your tortoise ever gets them.


We discovered that tortoises themselves don’t attract bugs, but their enclosures do. Following some simple tips will keep bugs to a minimum, and you should never have an infestation. 

Many bugs can come to your tortoise’s house, some very common bugs to some you may never have heard of before. The good thing we found was that most are not harmful to our tortoise. 

Follow a regular cleaning and maintenance of the tortoise enclosure will keep bugs to a minimum. If you ever have an infestation, you will need to pick up your cleaning game.