How smart are turtles?

Discussions about turtles.
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Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2020 2:48 pm

Winston goes bananas when someone comes in the room. He frantically tries to get through the glass - just like a puppy glad to see it owner.

Now, he does like to try to eat anything that comes near, and that definitely includes fingers. I've caught him trying to eat the heater (glass bulb, 6" long by 1" round). So I'm assuming it's really just food he's after. Currently feeding him between 5 and 10 pellets a day. Will not eat any vegetable matter. Has given up on the feeders in the tank.

I've picked him up a few times to inspect him for disease and damage. He does not like that. But I wonder if I set him down on the floor will he "play", or just run away? Or just try to eat my fingers?
Level 2
Level 2
Posts: 77
Joined: Sat Mar 07, 2020 2:01 am


Turtles are not conventionally smart animals. For example, they don’t listen to your calls or play with you like dogs do, they don’t remember maze like mice do, or they don’t understand clear walls like humans do.

Turtles are smart in different ways.
They know how to survive.
And for that, they need to know many things like where they can get food, how they can get food, where they can go to hide, to bask, to breed.
In order to know all these things, usually turtles are very inquisitive animals.
They use their eyes, nose, and mouth to check out things.

To answer your question, if you let your turtle get out of his enclosure, he would try to know everything around him by walking around forever looking for good place to live, to hide, to bask, to eat, and to breed, and by sniffing around and biting everything that he thinks edible.
He would not play with human because he is on a mission to survive. Playing is the least priority when it comes to daily To-do list of turtles.

One more thing, he would poop and pee at one point so I would not put him on your floor.
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