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

Home > Turtles > Do Tortoises & Turtles Fart? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

Do Tortoises & Turtles Fart? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

portrait of a turtle with an open mouth

Vet approved

Dr. Karyn Kanowski Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Karyn Kanowski

Veterinarian, BVSc MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Have you ever bathed your tortoise and noticed some sneaky bubbles from their back end? Or perhaps your turtle seems to have developed underwater gas propulsion? You’re not seeing things; it’s just your shelled friend farting! Just like with other animals, farting is normal in turtles and tortoises. After all, they, too, have a digestive and excretory system. Turtles fart to release the gas build-up from their bodies.

A turtle’s farting behavior usually depends on their diet, and excessive farting isn’t normal. It might indicate any underlying health issue that needs urgent medical help. This guide will discuss everything you need to know about a turtle’s farting behavior to keep your pet in optimal health.


Farting in Tortoises and Turtles

Farting is common in reptiles, including tortoises and turtles. When they eat, their digestive system activates, breaking down the entire meal into useful nutrients. A by-product of this process is gas, which is released by farting. This is also the case for oxygen and carbon dioxide that may have been swallowed.

Turtles usually urinate and defecate in water, so that’s where they’re likely to fart. While their fart is more visible in the water, you can also catch them farting on land. Closely observe their fart’s sound and odor, which are similar to humans, but less smelly and loud!

A turtle’s fart is typically pungent, depending on the food they have eaten, but it can be a concern if the farts become too smelly. In this case, take your pet to a vet as soon as possible.

Why Do Turtles Fart?

Turtle eating mango on the ground
Image By: Adchariya Sudwiset, Shutterstock

As you know, farting is normal in turtles, and there is usually nothing to worry about. In fact, it’s actually a good thing for your turtle’s health, as farting releases excess air and gas build-up from their body.

A turtle’s flatulence frequency can be affected by:

The Choice of Food

Even if you follow a good diet for your pet, they can’t digest everything at the same rate, which can result in gas build-up. The type of food your turtle eats also matters a lot when understanding their farting behavior. Some items produce more gas in these tiny animals than others, primarily green vegetables.

Excessive consumption of some veggies can disturb the turtle’s digestive system, leading to foul-smelling farts, particularly cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

Ingesting Air

Improper eating or quick swallowing can make your turtle fart even more than normal. When eating, they also engulf air, which contributes to the amount of gas produced. This can also happen when they are deep breathing in preparation for diving.

Too much air in your turtle’s body can interrupt their digestive system, resulting in frequent and loud farts. Excessive air build up can also lead to buoyancy issues and difficulty diving, so as they say, better out than in!


What If My Turtle Doesn’t Fart?

orange and brown box turtle on cream colored carpet indoors
Image By: C.Freshour, Shutterstock

A turtle who doesn’t fart may appear bloated due to intense gas build-up inside their body. It’s visible around their head and neck. If you see sudden swelling or fat deposits in any of these areas, you should know that it isn’t weight gain. Your turtle will remain at their optimal body mass as long as you’re feeding them well.

Sudden heaviness or bloating in turtles can be the result of an underlying gastric issue. So, take them to a vet as soon as possible.

If your turtle appears to be well, it may just be that you haven’t noticed them passing wind, so make a point of looking out for those telltale bubbles!

How Do Turtles Fart?

Turtles fart when there is a gas build-up in their digestive tract. That’s likely to happen when the animal has just finished a meal or overeats—the same as humans!

The digestion and excretory system of turtles works similarly to humans. When they eat something, the stomach breaks down the large food particles into smaller ones. The resulting material is passed from the stomach to the intestines, where the helpful nutrients are absorbed in the animal’s body, and the rest is excreted as waste.

The gas that accompanies this process travels through the rectum into the cloaca, which is vestibule shared by the digestive and urogenital systems, and is released from the body through the turtle’s anus.

How Else Can They Get Rid of Gas?

a female hands holding a pet turtle
Image By: Ivan Smuk, Shutterstock

Just like humans, turtles can burp. Which part of the digestive system the gas is accumulating will determine if the gas travels out through the mouth or via the cloaca. Turtles can also vomit if they eat inappropriate foods. Keep an eye out for this, or any excessive burping, as these are signs that your turtle needs to see the vet, and is likely in need of a change in diet.

Tips For A Healthy Turtle Digestive System

If your turtle or tortoise farts a lot, what can you do to help them? Here are some tips to minimize your pet’s excessive farting:

  • Research the specific dietary requirements of your tortoise or turtle, as they vary greatly. If you’re not sure, talk to your veterinarian or reptile specialist.
  • Always use a combination of natural food items with a commercial pellet diet to ensure they are getting the appropriate balance of nutrients.
  • Stick to a regular feeding schedule.

If the above tips don’t help you reduce your pet’s farting, consult a vet for a thorough diagnosis.



Farting is normal in turtles and tortoises. In fact, it indicates that your pet’s digestive system is working fine. They fart to release the gas build-up inside their digestive tract from intaking gassy foods or air from the water. The gas comes out of their bodies through the cloaca or rectum.

If a turtle doesn’t fart at all, their body may become bloated, requiring an immediate checkup from the vet.

Featured Image Credit: shymar27, Shutterstock

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets