Do you sometimes wonder if your pet turtle recognizes you and if it can get attached to you? If yes, you’re not alone. Many other pet owners are always wondering the same about their turtles. We did our own research and found some helpful information about turtles being thatched to their owners.
So, do turtles recognize and get attached to their owners? Yes, turtles can recognize their owners as the one who provides them with food, water, and other basic needs and can even get attached to them. However, don’t expect your turtle to show you the same level of affection as your cat or dog.
Our comprehensive guide below shares more information about turtles recognizing you as their owner and getting attached to you and how they show you affection. You’ll also discover helpful tips on how to bond with your turtle.
Can turtles recognize their owners?
Absolutely yes! Turtles learn to recognize their owners with time. However, it can take time for your turtle to recognize you as its owner if you’re not always taking care of it.
This is epically the case in a home where different family members take turns feeding the turtle, making it hard for your turtle to recognize you as its owner.
The opposite is true; if you’re the sole provider and caretaker of your turtle and you’re always consistently feeding it, then it will recognize you as its owner and associate you with food and safety.
It is worth noting that your turtle has all 5 senses, just like humans, which enables it to recognize its owner.
It’ll use the sense of hearing to recognize your voice, sight to recognize your specific shape and size, and sense of smell to recognize your scent whenever you have your hand in its tank—all these senses collectively make it easy for your turtle to recognize you.
You should also keep in mind that your turtle values survival above everything else and will always avoid anything that goes against its survival.
This means if you help your turtle survive by feeding him/her well, providing shelter, a basking spot, etc., then you will quickly earn its trust. You’re not a threat to it.
Unfortunately, your turtle can’t show appreciation to you like other pets. So, if you handle it and it doesn’t show aggression that should be enough indication that it recognizes you as its owner/provider.
Do turtles get attached to their owners? Are they affectionate?
The first step to getting attached to someone is knowing and recognizing them; the same applies to turtles. Thus, if your pet turtle recognizes you as its owner, then it will get attached to you!
Your turtle is always observing the person who provides them with food and other basics. If you’re consistent with feeding your turtle, it will recognize you as its caretaker. It will then grow affection towards you and become greatly attached to you.
Surprisingly, turtles have their own unique ways of showing affection toward their owners.
Our next section will discuss more details about how to know your turtle is attached to you and loves you.
How to know if your turtle loves you? How do turtles show affection?
Your turtle’s way of showing you affection is completely different from that of other pets.
A turtle will show affection by following you with its head and eyes. If you walk into the room where your turtle tank is, and the turtle starts following you with its eyes or head, then it shows he or she is affectionate towards you.
Another sign that your turtle is showing you affection is when you approach its tank from one side and it swims/walks towards that side. However, you shouldn’t always rule out this behavior as affection as it may also be your turtle’s way of signaling you it’s hungry and wants some food.
Your turtle will also show they love and trust you by rubbing its head or neck against you. it is a natural behavior and even the turtles in the wild tend to do it.
If you put your turtle on the ground and it starts walking towards you, that’s another indication that your turtle loves you.
Some turtles will also like it when you pet their shells, which is another way of showing affection. However, keep in mind that not all turtles like to be petted. If you try this and your turtle doesn’t walk or turn aggressive, then you can keep doing it, but gently.
NOTE that if your turtle doesn’t show you affection, you shouldn’t get worried as most of the turtle species are solitary creatures that like to be left alone. Just make sure you keep their tank clean and feed the well, and they’ll be happy at all times.
How do you bond with turtles?
If you want to bond with your turtle but don’t know how to go about it, this is your part. Bonding with turtles can be a bit challenging since they’re not social animals.
But you can still make your turtle love you by trying some of the tricks below.
One way of bonding with your turtle is by feeding him consistently. As we said earlier, turtles value survival above everything else. Consistently feeding your turtle means it will start associating your presence with positive action and it’ll trust you quickly.
Taking your turtle out of its tank to play with it will also help with bonding. Turtles will like it when you let them out of their tank so they can freely roam in your living room or backyard.
However, make sure all your other pets aren’t around as they can easily scare the turtle. You may be supposed that your turtle will start following you when it finally trusts you.
Give your turtle treats to make it love you. Slip their favorite treats inside in between the feeding times and it will go a long way in bonding you with your pet.
Above all, avoid being too loud and rough with your turtle. making a lot of noise near your turtle’s tank is a big turnoff that can make your turtle easily stressed. Being too rough when handling them will also make your turtle afraid of you.
Why does my turtle stare at me?
The possible explanation for why your turtle stares at you are that it recognizes you as its owner. As we mentioned earlier, turtles can recognize their owners as they associate them with survival (food and safety).
If you’ve been consistently taking care of your turtle, then there are high chances that it recognizes you as its provider and it has become attached to you. It will easily recognize you by your appearance, scent, and sound.
If your turtle stares at you and even follows you with its eyes or head as you move across the room, then that’s an even further assurance that it recognizes you.
However, your turtle staring at you may also mean it’s hungry and you may want to feed him as soon as possible.
Do turtles understand human language?
No! Turtles don’t understand human language. Just as they can’t speak it, they can’t understand.
But the good news is that they’re intelligent enough to understand your tone of voice. They can easily distinguish the various sounds humans produce and even respond to some in different ways!
Even better, they will understand your caring touch. The more your turtles have been around you, the more they’ll understand your tone as well as your loving shell rub.
As we mentioned earlier, turtles use their hearing sense to recognize your sound as their owner.
This makes things even more interesting since they’ll recognize you when you talk, even though they may not understand what you say.
Turtles generally don’t like to be petted, so if you try rubbing your turtle’s shell and it tries to walk away or gets aggressive and tries biting, you should stop. Some turtles will however like to be petted by their owners whom they recognize and have gotten attached to. Even then, you should be gentle and avoid overdoing it.
Yes, turtles have feelings and will feel emotions like fear, stress, anger, and love/happiness. However, these animals have a smaller emotional scale compared to humans.
Turtles are not social animals and will show pretty little interaction amongst themselves. In fact, they only interact because they have to, but it’s hard to see a turtle having a turtle friend like some animals tend to do. Turtles’ main interest is their own survival, so being friendly to each other isn’t important to them.
Turtles value their survival above everything else and if you consistently feed them and provide them with other basic needs, they’ll quickly associate you with their survival and recognize you and become attached to you.
Some of the ways your turtle shows you affection include staring at you, following you with eyes and heads, rubbing themselves against you, following you when out of the tank, and so on.
Remember, turtles are usually solitary creatures and like to be left alone most of the time, so you shouldn’t feel bad if your turtle doesn’t seem to show you affection.