Signs A Tortoise Is Dying | Complete Guide

Numerous signs are found that alert a potential tortoise keeper against several death-causing diseases. Runny nose, various abnormalities in shells, sunken or irritated eyes, trouble in breathing are some signs that indicate a tortoise is dying.

Signs A Tortoise Is Dying

Sick Tortoise Symptoms

Tortoise becomes sick because of somewhat respiratory infections, soft or deformed shells, and tissue prolapses. Symptoms of these ailments are hard to find earlier. Other common symptoms of illness that a tortoise shows are mention below.  

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lack of activity
  • Swollen body tissues
  • Weight gain or loss at noticeable levels
  • Unhealthy stools
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Sunken eyes
  • Rhinorrhea (runny nose)
  • Lethargy
  • Listlessness 

Tortoise Sunken Eyes

Tortoise Sunken Eyes
Coil bulb in their enclosures often results in eye issues.

Sunken eyes tend to indicate a tortoise with no life or dullness in his eyes. Sunken occurs due to dehydration, excess intake of vitamin A and other vitamin imbalances.

They are also caused by placing a substrate not suitable for tortoises. Placing a coil bulb in their enclosures often results in eye issues. It is recommended to soak your tortoise in warm water regularly and hydrate their food before serving it to them. 

Consult a veterinarian immediately if you notice sunken or closed eyes of your tortoise as it is a leading sign of their dying . 

Tortoise Urates

Tortoise discharge urates to get relief from harmful body wastes like excess uric acid and minerals filtered by the kidneys.

The urates of a well-hydrated tortoise are either found liquidy or in solid form on the fecal material. The formation of urates is not mandatory in all tortoise species. But in most of them, it is deposited as an aftermath of protein metabolism. Tortoise urates are mostly white, clear to be seen. 

Tortoise Not Moving

Tortoise Not Moving
Severe illness may be a cause of tortoise lifelessness.

Tortoises not moving at all mostly specifies that they might have passed away. Sometimes stress or severe illness may be a cause of tortoise lifelessness. 

If your tortoise is not moving or eating accepts hibernating, then consult a good vet instantly in this regard. 

They also show signs of sluggishness at a non-appropriate temperature maintained in their habitats. Tortoises often slow down their activity rate at times of hibernation.  

Tortoise Died Suddenly

A tortoise dies suddenly because of an instant lack of appetite, poor sanitary conditions, untreated ailments, and infections, stress, or dilemma. Their heartbeat rates become low, they find labored breathing, and their body temperatures drop automatically. These all signs dominate a tortoise to die rapidly.

Tortoise Health

Tortoise Health
Be calm and gentle when you are handling a overstressed tortoise

Monitoring tortoise health and preventing disease outbreak is vital to make your tortoise live long. Basically, health is a term to make sure that a tortoise is in a suitable general care, prevention against diseases, proper feeding and cleaning, etc. 

We should have ensured to provide our tortoise with a safe and required food supply. Always be calm and gentle when you are handling a tortoise to prevent them from getting overstress. 

Tortoise Health Problems

Tortoises are defenseless against pneumonia and upper respiratory part diseases. Tortoises with such ailments are unable to breathe properly.

They show runny noses, swollen eyelids and body tissues, sunken eyes, and lethargy. Deficiency of required calcium, protein, and vitamins often results in soft shells and weak bones. 

Dehydrated tortoises face a lot of health problems. Dehydration may be so severe sometimes that it often results in the death of the tortoise. Provide them with warm water to soak themselves properly on a daily basis. 

Tortoise poop runny is also a sign that it may be suffering from parasitic ailments or infections. Watery or white poops of a tortoise are unhealthy and dangerous mostly.

Tortoise Health Check

Tortoise Health Check
Healthy tortoise possess a smooth and firm shell

A healthy tortoise exhibits a growth ring that emerges as a pale band among the secrets of its shell. They possess a smooth and firm shell despite any lump or irregularity on them.

 A healthy tortoise has a pink and cleaned tongue, clear and bright eyes with no discharge, and a non-weeping nose. 

They exhibit high activity levels and intake sufficient food. You can also check tortoise’s health by analyzing their stool timings and appearance whether it is healthy or not.  

Signs a Tortoise is Dying

Eyes are a major factor that indicates a tortoise’s death. Runny or sunken eyes or swill eyelids show that a tortoise is dealing with some kind of trouble.

Tortoise also starts to display symptoms of illness. They found difficulty in exhaling and started to move their legs and limbs outward to breathe. Body temperatures also help in identifying a dead tortoise. 

Being warm is a hint that the tortoise is lifeless. If you don’t notice any reaction of your dead tortoise after soaking it in warm water it is undoubtedly a sign that your tortoise is suspected of death. 


Tortoise shows a diversity of signs before death that helps to indicate their current health condition. Discharging eyes and lack of activities, labored breathing, not taking sufficient amount of diet.

 These all are symptoms that identify a tortoise as facing complications. Nasal discharge and watery eyes are symptoms that lead to respiratory infections and dramatic death.  Experts recommend a to take your tortoise to a good vet after the appearance of these signs.


1. Is my Horsefield tortoise dead?

Soak your Horsefeild tortoise in lukewarm water to queer its death. If it shows a lack of movement it means that your tortoise is dead. Also, check your Horsfield hands and other body parts. If you saw them wobble that means your tortoise is deceased.  

2. How to revive a tortoise?

You can bring your drowned tortoise back to life by agitating the air into tortoise nostrils. This should have to be done 20 times in a minute to retain the oxygen circulation back of your lifeless tortoise. They go off into a coma state and once in a while often come back. Your tortoise needs a maximum of 10 to 15 minutes to revive.

Hopefully know you know all “Signs a tortoise is dying”

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