Tortoise Poop What It Tells Us About Our Tortoises Health

Tortoise Poop What It Tells Us About Our Tortoises Health

Yes, we are talking about poop. I bet you didn’t think you would be doing that this morning. However, we will do anything for our hard-shelled friends to keep them happy and safe. Tortoise poop can give us early clues if we have a problem brewing so we can correct anything before it turns into a significant problem.

In most instances, the poop of concern will be perfectly normal or easy to remedy. When I first got my tortoise, I know I was googling about poop a lot. I wanted to ease people’s worries with a full guide on what I learned about my tortoise poop with so little information around.

Is it poop or pee?

I first discovered early on that my tortoise waste might not be poop, and it could be pee. When I saw a white pasty substance that my tortoise deposited, I thought wrongly I had a problem that I would need to fix.

What I was seeing was not tortoise poop but urates. Something that is made up of digested protein that is found in urine. The utates are stored and released from your tortoise’s bladder in the form of urate, past it can at times be released with liquid urine. However, when deposited in a white past, it can be confused with poop.

What does healthy tortoise poop look like?

The color and texture of your tortoise poop will vary depending on the substance of your tortoise’s diet. However, in most cases, the feces will be brown, dark green, and the poop should be well-formed and firm.

Green poop can seem strange and have you a little worried, however, it is perfectly normal and nothing to cause you concern.

Why is my tortoise poop black?

Black poop can sign internal bleeding high up in the intestinal tract and should be a sign of concern for tortoise owners. However, they could simply be something they have eaten and remedied with a diet change could remedy the problem.

Don’t panic; it could also be nothing and be remedied with a change in diet. It could also be temporary, and it’s just something your tortoise has eaten. Feed your tortoise a different diet for 3-5 days and make sure they are well hydrated by giving them plenty of soaks.

After giving your tortoise time to adjust to the changes, if there are no changes in their poop, it’s time to visit a veterinarian to check out the problem.

What is the white stuff coming out of my tortoise?

Don’t panic; this is urates (concentrated uric acid); it is something that is formed by most but not all tortoises. It is the end product of protein digestion, stored in the tortoise bladder before being excreted. The urates will, at times, be passed with liquid urine.

There is nothing to fear if you see a white poop substance produced by your tortoise. You want the urates to have a toothpaste constancy and not dry and gritty.

If your tortoise urates become dry and gritty, this is a good sign that your tortoise is dehydrated. You can remedy the problem by bathing your tortoise twice daily until the urates turn to a toothpaste consistency again.

What dry poop and Urates mean?

Keeping an eye on your tortoise poop can give us early signs of any problems we have coming down the track. Monitoring our tortoise poop gives us an early heads up to change something before we have a bigger problem.

Very dry and crumbly poop and urates are a sign that your tortoise is dehydrated. A sure sign of dehydration is with urates being dry and gritty.

Here are other common signs of tortoise dehydration:

  • Underweight.
  • Sunken or tearing eyes.
  • Dry feces.
  • Skin Dry, flaky, loose.
  • Loss of normal appetite.
  • Lethargy, depression, lack of activity.
  • Thick, ropey mouth mucus.

Dehydration is often very easy to overcome in tortoises with more regular bathing of your tortoise. If the problem persists, then it is recommended that you visit a veterinarian.

What runny feces means

If your tortoise has runny feces, it could be nothing to worry about if it has only happened once or is not a regular occurrence. However, if the problem persists, it is a sign of an incorrect diet or a parasitic infection.

Incorrect diet

The first thing you need to make sure of is that your tortoise diet matched what it would have been had your tortoise lived in the wild. For most types of tortoises, this will consist of leafy vegetables and weeds. Feeding your tortoise to many treats like strawberries and other high sugar fruits is not recommended.

Seeing your tortoise run over to you as you dangle a strawberry is a great feeling. But too many can be bad for your tortoise’s digestion system and lead to runny poop. Treats should be kept to a minimum and a very small amount for the sake of your tortoise digestion system.

One other problem can be the lack of deity fiber you are feeding your tortoise. Many feed their tortoise a diet mainly made up of iceberg lettuce due to the ease of purchase. Despite this appearing good, there is little fiber, and iceberg lettuce is more made up of water.

Keep your tortoise’s diet varied and consisting of as many different leafy vegetables and weeds will lead to a tortoise with a healthy gut system.

Parasitic infection

If you have ruled out the dietary problem for runny poop in your tortoise, it could possibly be a parasitic infection in their gut, not as scary as it first sounds.

Despite parasitic infection sounding scary in most circumstances, it is easily overcome; speak to your veterinarian, who may ask you to collect a poop sample for analysis. It is often overcome by medication that you need to give to your tortoise.

A parasitic infection can be something like worms, and you may see them in your tortoise’s poop. At times they are so small you cannot see worms in the poop, and a vet would need to analyze the poop. Your vet will give you treatment for your tortoise, and the problem will be quickly resolved.

How often should your tortoise poop?

In my experience, this is a well-discussed topic amongst tortoise owners and one there is no universal answer. My tortoise will poop differently to yours, and I don’t feel there would be much to worry about unless your tortoise has not passed a poop for more than 5-6 days.

If you feel it’s getting a long time since your tortoise pooped, then assess your tortoise’s diet and bathing routine. Something as simple as more regular bathing can keep your tortoise more regular.

One thing to consider, and this will sound disgusting your tortoise is eating their poop before you see the deed. Yes, it sounds disgusting, but don’t let it worry you; it is perfectly normal behavior for tortoises.

If you are concerned and you are sure your tortoise is not pooping, then a visit to your veterinarian may be worth visiting. However, in most instances, they will advise you about diet, housing, and bathing, so make sure you address these before your visit.

How can I help my tortoise poo?

The best way to help your tortoise poo more regularly is by giving them warm water soaks. Make sure that your tortoise dietary needs are correct and their housing is set up correctly. All this combined will help your tortoise poop more regularly.

If you are worried about your tortoise and you feel you have everything correct for your tortoise. I would always recommend a visit to the vet as it is best to be safe than sorry.


Tortoise poop is a well-discussed topic between tortoise owners and a path all tortoise owners tread. We are always learning how to care for our tortoise correctly and give our tortoise the best life possible.

In our article, we discovered that we could get early signs of problems that our tortoises could be facing by monitoring their poop. Spotting these little signs can help us quickly change the way we are looking after our tortoise before we create a bigger problem.

Any change in your tortoise poop can be a sign you are doing something unintentionally wrong with your tortoise care. Most problems are easily overcome with a simple change in diet or bathing routine and, in most cases, easily overcome.

As a tortoise owner, I would first say don’t panic when you see any change in your tortoise poop. Secondly, making just some little changes that we recommend in our guide can make a big difference to your tortoise if they have pooping problems. Most problems will be overcome without the need to visit the vet and some simple little changes.