Why Is My Turtle Not Basking Like Normal?

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Turtles make beautiful pets as they are extremely interesting and have unique individual
personalities. Aquatic and semi-aquatic turtles are getting more popular as pets
with the red-eared slider being the most popular species. However, your experience
of owning one as a pet might be short-lived if yours isn’t basking regularly.

Basking helps keep them warm and dry thereby preventing the development of
fungal infections, in the production of Vitamin D3 which facilitates the absorption
of calcium from the food consumed thus aiding proper shell and bone
development, and also since it is an inherent trait common in turtles depriving it of
such would likely cause health complications. Hence, basking is very crucial for
the growth, development, and overall health of a turtle and if yours doesn’t bask
regularly then we might have a problem.

Since it is natural for turtles to get out of the water to get warm and dry off from
time to time in their natural habitat, the only reason why yours isn’t basking off in
the space created is because the space doesn’t seem appealing.

The Condition Of The Basking Area

When creating the basking space, an important factor must be considered,
TEMPERATURE (both the temperature of the water and that of the basking
area). The temperature must not be too high or low.

  • When the water temperature is too low, the turtle will be sluggish and inactive.
  • If the water temperature is too high, the turtle won’t see the need to get out of the water, and getting out of the water to dry off is very crucial as fungal infections are aided by moisture.
  • Also, if the temperature of the basking space is too high the turtle is at the risk of getting burnt.

Thus temperature is a key factor that must be closely monitored. The temperature
of the basking area must be different from that of the water as this is what entices
turtles to bask.

The appropriate water temperature should be 75 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit for adults
and 78 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit for hatchlings while that of the basking area
should be within the range of 90 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Creating The Perfect Basking Space

The difference between the water and basking area temperature is not the only
factor that attracts the turtle to the basking area, but making the area easily
accessible and also keeping the space dry at all times would help encourage

A ramp can be kept in place in order to make the basking space easily accessible to
the turtle. The area can be made of rocks or logs but make sure it is perfectly fitted
and won’t fall apart when your turtle is basking as it might be discouraged from
basking if it has reason to believe that the area isn’t safe. Alternatively, you can
purchase a turtle raft online but be sure to use only organic or natural materials.
The basking area should be kept warm and dry. It should be warmer than the water
temperature but not hot. This can be achieved by placing a heat bulb directly over
the basking space.

Since the aim is to keep the turtle dry and warm, be sure not to keep the bulb
farther or closer to the basking area as this might make the space either hot or cold
and discourage the turtle from coming out of the water. Also keeping the bulb too
close increases the risk of the bulb getting shattered when water is splashed on it
and this can cause serious harm to your pet.

An Ultraviolet light is also needed for the production of Vitamin D3, which is
crucial for proper shell and bone development. Better still, you can get an all in one
special type of bulb that provides both Ultraviolet light and heat although it is more

It is advisable that you provide your turtle with about 12 to 14 hours of light daily
and turn the light off during the remaining 10 to 12 hours to allow your turtle sleep.


Turtles are cold-blooded animals that require a heat source to maintain body temperature. However, the heat source not only maintains the body temperature but also helps produce Vitamin D3 for the absorption of calcium and
prevents fungal and bacterial infection.
Therefore, you must ensure that your turtle can perform these activities even in
captivity. This can be achieved by ensuring that its tank doesn’t seem any different
from its natural habitat.

  • The water temperature must not be too hot or cold but within the recommended 75 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit for adults and 78 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit for hatchlings.
  • The basking area temperature should be kept warm between 10 to 15 degrees higher than the water temperature and not hot as it can increase the risk of hyperthermia.
  • The basking area should be made easily accessible either by putting up a ramp or creating an inclined pavement for the turtle’s effortless passage.
  • The basking area should feel safe otherwise your turtle would avoid the space if there is any reason to believe it is unsafe.
  • The basking area should be kept dry at all times.
  • Ensure that the basking area comprises natural or organic materials. The space shouldn’t be treated with any chemicals. And when metals are used, check that they are not getting any rust over time.

If your turtle still refuses to bask with all this provision in place, it is not advisable
to force it out of the water onto the basking space as this tends to make it even
more scared of the space. It would run off into the water where it feels safe and
avoid the basking area.

Since basking is very essential for the survival of your turtle, forcing it to bask
isn’t a great idea. It is better to give it time or study it for any behavioral changes
and seek help from a veterinarian.