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Why Do Turtles Bury Themselves [+Useful Tips]

You might have been overwhelmed by the question of why do turtles bury themselves after observing them for some time. There are different reasons why turtles will bury themselves. Some of these reasons are useful to the turtles. In their tanks, you may find them digging the substrate. It is very normal, and if you notice this behavior, you should ensure that he does it without hurting himself. In this post, we shall learn some of the reasons why turtles do burry themselves and some of the things you can do to ensure that he does it carefully and safely

So why do turtles bury themselves? 

Turtles will bury themselves when they feel scared. This assures them some safety. They also bury themselves during brumation when they get dormant. A similar case happens during Aestivation, and also, they will hide when the temperatures are at the extreme ends. This helps them to stay comfortable. You will find them digging when they are searching for food and, most importantly, when they are preparing to lay eggs.

Now that we know some of the reasons why turtles will bury themselves, let’s dig deeper and know why these circumstances will drive them into hiding.

  • Turtles Bury Themselves For Brumation

If this is your first time hearing the word brumation, it just means hibernation. This is the time when the turtles will go to a state of being dormant. They lower their metabolism rate and hence use as little energy as possible. This is important because they rely on the little energy they have for the next 2 to 4 months.

Brumation mostly occurs during the winter, and the turtles in the wild need to do this for their survival. Before going into this state of dormancy, they will need to prepare, and they do this by digging and burrowing. This burying of themselves may also be for safety because they will be inactive for very long, and there will be predators all around. Aquatic turtles will do this in the mud at the bottom of the sea and lakes. If you find your turtle burying himself at the start of winter or the late fall, he is probably preparing for brumation.

  • Aestivation

Another reason why turtles will bury themselves is during aestivation. Aestivation is similar to brumation, only that this one occurs during the summer rather than the winter. The high temperatures trigger this situation. The turtle will go to a state of low metabolism rate and will use up very little energy.

We know that turtles are cold-blooded animals, and they rely on the environment for their body temperature. We also know that the temperatures in their aquarium have to be regulated. This will ensure that neither too hot nor too cold. During the summer, temperatures get very high, and this is not good for turtles. They will, therefore, try to avoid these high temperatures. They will dig and burrow to escape the high temperatures they cannot tolerate. Aestivation is similar to brumation but does not go for long, like brumation.

  • Turtles Burrow For Fun

This might seem like an awkward representation of fun, but to turtles, it is not. At times, you may find your turtle digging for no reason at all. They do enjoy digging, and this may be a fun activity for them to escape the boring world. After digging, they will bury themselves, and this equal to when you have had a long day, and you just soak yourself in warm water. This is more or less the same with turtles. After burying themselves, they may take a very healthy nap.

  • Boredom

You might never have thought of this, but it is true that just as humans, turtles do get bored as well. This is the reason you need to provide them with scopes to get entertained. They can do several things to entertain themselves. They will entertain themselves by touring their tank, trying to find a way out. To keep them busy, you should keep the tank interesting, so they don’t get bored. I think that they will also dig as a way of having fun and killing their boredom. They do enjoy digging. So why can’t they dig to kill their boredom?

  • Comfort And Safety – Turtles Bury Themselves When Feeling Threatened

Turtles, in general, love to hide, and if there is no separate place for them to hide, you will find them digging. As we know, turtles are not the bravest animals out there, and when they are not comfortable around you, they will try to get away from you. This is normal and should not concern you that much. Once the turtle gets used to you and the environment, he will stop hiding. Also, when the conditions are not in favor of him, he will bury himself in the ground as a way to escape. The temperature may be too hot or too cold.

  • Foraging For Food

This rarely happens, but it does happen. This happens mostly when the turtle is hungry or lacks some nutrients. If you don’t feed him as he should be fed, he will find his means of looking for food, and this is when you will find him digging. This is more of foraging for food rather than digging. Ensure that you are keen on a turtles diet so that he does not forage for food.

  • Nesting Turtles May Bury Themselves – Getting Ready To Lay Eggs

Another common reason why turtles will bury themselves is when they are getting ready to lay eggs. To know if it is getting ready, you will find the turtle digging with its hind legs and moving back into the hole. Under normal conditions, these turtles will dig with the forelegs. You will also notice that they dig deeper if the hole is for laying eggs. You should just learn to stay away from the whole if you notice this.

Nesting Turtles May Bury Themselves

Help Your Turtle Bury/ Dig Safe

If you are a turtle owner, it is your duty to ensure that the turtle is always safe. There are a few things you can do to ensure that your turtle digs safely. The first thing is to ensure that the tank has enough dirt for easier digging. Take him to the yard and find him a soft spot for digging. Also, in his tank, ensure that several digging spots are soft for him.

Do Turtles Bury Themselves To Lay Eggs?

If the turtle is female, There are times when you will find him digging, especially after mating. He will create a deep hole to save the eggs laid. Like I have said earlier, to know if he is burying himself to lay eggs, you will notice that he digs with his hind legs.  The hole will also be deeper than normal. We should just know how to differentiate the different reasons why the turtle will bury themselves.


Do Red Eared Sliders Bury Themselves?

Yes. Just like other turtles, the red-eared sliders will also bury themselves for various reasons such as safety, brumation, Aestivation, and even to kill boredom.

Do Turtles Burrow In The Ground?

Yes, turtles will burrow in the ground. The ground should be soft for efficient digging. The turtles will find a good ground for digging and burrowing.

Why Do Turtles Hide?

There are several reasons why the turtles will hide. If the turtle feels insecure, he will hide. It only happens when the turtle is frightened. This is the reason you should include a hiding spot in the turtle’s aquarium.

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