Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How Often Do Tortoises Poop? Facts & FAQ

Jessica Kim

By Jessica Kim

Turtle Tortoise making poop in a white background

While it might not be pleasant to look at, a tortoise’s poop can provide valuable information on its health. Factors like the color of the poop and frequency of bowel movements can help you get a better picture of your tortoise’s gut health and if it’s eating a nutritious diet. In general, adult tortoises will poop every 2–3 days.

You can get a good amount of information from your tortoise’s bowel movements. So, we’ll answer some common questions regarding tortoise stools and how they can help you take better care of your tortoise.

Click to skip ahead:

How Often Do Tortoises Poop?

Tortoises have low metabolism, so it can take them a few days to poop 1. Younger tortoises may poop a little more frequently, but fully mature adult tortoises tend to poop about every other day. Metabolism tends to slow down even more as tortoises age, and senior tortoises may end up pooping every 3–4 days.

Tortoises Eat Broccoli
Image Credit: Melina Massola, Shutterstock

What Does Healthy Tortoise Poop Look Like?

Healthy tortoise poop usually has a green or brown color, and they look fibrous. You can usually see some of the types of greens your tortoise has eaten inside its poop. The poop should be moist but not runny. Like humans, loose stool or diarrhea indicates an underlying issue for tortoises. Your tortoise may have gotten an upset stomach from eating something it shouldn’t have, or it’s not getting enough fiber. If your tortoise is experiencing diarrhea, it’s best to work with your veterinarian to determine the cause.

Why Is My Tortoise’s Poop White?

Sometimes, you might spot white streaks in your tortoise’s stools or see white excretions. This white substance is uric acid, and it may look strange, but it’s quite normal. Reptiles, along with birds and some desert animals, excrete uric acid 2. The consistency is similar to toothpaste, and normal colors range from white to pale yellow.

An old sick tortoise close-up
Image Credit:_Laura Crazy, Shutterstock

turtle divider AH

Does My Tortoise Need Help Pooping?

It’s helpful to keep track of your tortoise’s pooping schedule so that you know what’s normal and abnormal behavior from your tortoise. If you notice that your tortoise hasn’t passed a bowel movement for a few days, it’s best first to consult your veterinarian. Your veterinarian can conduct a physical exam to see if there are any changes to your tortoise’s health. You can also receive recommendations and a treatment plan to try and help your tortoise poop.

Warm Water Bath

In some cases, tortoises just need a little extra help to poop. One common way to encourage bowel movements is to soak tortoises in a warm bath. You can do this by filling a shallow bin with lukewarm water. The bin should only be filled with a few inches of water, and the water shouldn’t go beyond chin level. Let your tortoise soak in the water for up to 30 minutes. Soaking helps rehydrate your tortoise, which can help encourage it to poop.

Image Credit: WikiImages, Pixabay

Healthy Tortoise Diet

Sometimes, your tortoise will need adjustments made to its diet so that it can pass healthy stools. Tortoises are primarily herbivores, but they may resort to eating carrion or insects if they’re at a nutrient deficit.

A healthy diet for tortoises mostly consists of salad greens, grasses, and weeds 3.

Substantial greens include the following:
  • Bergamot
  • Bindweed
  • Clover
  • Dandelion leaves
  • Geranium
  • Fuchsia
  • Hibiscus
  • Hollyhock
  • Violet
  • Wild Chicory

Tortoises can also eat a variety of vegetables in smaller quantities, including cabbage, spring greens, kale, endives, and watercress. You can feed your tortoise a small portion of fruit, but they should only be given as occasional treats. Some fruits that are safe for tortoises to eat are apples, strawberries, pears, melons, and grapes.

elongated tortoise eating strawberry
Image Credit: seasoning_17, Shutterstock

There are some plants that are toxic to tortoises.

Tortoises should never eat the following plants, fruits, and vegetables:
  • Avocado
  • Azalea
  • Chili pepper
  • Daffodil
  • Eggplant
  • Foxglove
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Mistletoe
  • Rhubarb
  • Tobacco


As you can see, a tortoise’s poop can tell you a lot about its health, especially regarding its diet and gut health. So, make sure to keep track of your tortoise’s poop schedule, and be mindful of how certain foods may affect the consistency and frequency of its poop. If you notice any changes, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian to check up on your tortoise and ensure that it’s staying healthy and happy.

Featured Image Credit: Eric Isselee, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database