why does my tortoise smell like fish

Why Does My Tortoise Smell of Fish? What Could Be Causing This Odor?

If your tortoise smells of fish, it is likely because of its diet. Fish is a common component of many tortoise diets, so it is not unusual for them to have a mild fishy odor. However, there are some other reasons why your tortoise might smell fishy, and we will cover those in this blog post. We will also provide tips on how to reduce or eliminate the fishy odor from your tortoise’s habitat.

Why Does My Tortoise Smell of Fish?

If you have a pet tortoise, you may have noticed that it sometimes smells like fish. This is normal behavior and is nothing to be concerned about. There are a few reasons why tortoises may smell of fish. First, tortoises are omnivorous, which means they eat both plants and animals. Some of the animals they eat, such as crabs and shrimp, are known for their fishy smell. In addition, tortoises often like to bathe in water that contains fish. This can also cause them to smell like fish. Finally, the skin of a tortoise is covered in bacteria. These bacteria can sometimes produce a fishy smell. However, this is usually only noticeable when the tortoise is wet or has been recently bathed.

Do tortoises smell?

As anyone who has ever been close to a tortoise knows, they have a very distinctive smell. Tortoises secrete a thick, oily substance from their skin, which helps to protect them from the hot desert sun. The specific scent of a tortoise is thought to be caused by the bacteria that live on its skin. While the smell of a tortoise may not be pleasant to humans, it is an important part of their natural defense system. In the wild, the strong smell of a tortoise can help to deter predators.

Additionally, the scent of a tortoise can also help other tortoises to find mates and determine whether another tortoise is of the same species. Therefore, while tortoises may not win any beauty contests, their smell is an important part of their natural behavior.

What can I do to reduce the fishy odor from my tortoise’s habitat?

As any pet owner knows, keeping a clean and odor-free home is important for both the health of your animal and your own peace of mind. There are a few things that you can do to reduce the fishy odor and keep your tortoise’s home smelling fresh.

Clean the habitat regularly

A regular cleaning schedule is important for any pet, and tortoises are no exception. Their habitats should be cleaned at least once a week, and more often if necessary. Failing to do so can lead to a build-up of waste, which can lead to health problems for your tortoise. It can also make their habitat smells fishy.

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To avoid this, be sure to remove all feces and uneaten food from their enclosure each week. In addition, you should spot-clean any areas that look dirty. If you keep up with a regular cleaning schedule, you can help to reduce the fishy smell of your tortoise’s habitat.

Add some live plants to the habitat

While the smell of a fishy tortoise may not be pleasant to humans, it is often an indication of a healthy habitat. This is because the smell comes from the bacteria that break down the fish waste in the water. However, if the smell becomes overwhelming, there are a few things you can do to reduce it. One simple solution is to add some live plants to the habitat. Plants help to oxygenate the water and absorb excess nutrients, which can significantly reduce the fishy smell.

In addition, plants provide a natural source of cover and hiding places for your tortoise, which can help reduce stress levels and promote a healthy environment. So if you’re looking for a way to reduce the fishy smell of your tortoise’s habitat,

By following these simple tips, you can help to keep your tortoise’s home smelling fresh and fish-free. Thanks for reading!

What can I wash my tortoise with?

When it comes to keeping your tortoise clean, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • First of all, tortoises should not be bathed too often, as this can strip their skin of natural oils. Instead, spot-cleaning with a soft cloth or sponge is usually sufficient.
  • If you do need to give your tortoise a bath, use lukewarm water and avoid using soap, as this can also be drying.
  • In addition, be sure to rinse your tortoise thoroughly to remove any soapy residue.
  • When it comes time to clean the shell, always use a soft brush and avoid using any harsh cleaners or scrubbers. Shells are delicate and can be easily damaged.

By following these simple guidelines, you can help keep your tortoise clean and smelling nice.

How often should I clean my tortoise enclosure?

A tortoise enclosure should be cleaned on a regular basis, with the frequency depending on the size of the enclosure and the number of tortoises. For a small enclosure housing one or two tortoises, a weekly cleaning should be sufficient. Larger enclosures will need to be cleaned more often, and if there are multiple tortoises, they may produce a significant amount of waste.

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In these cases, it may be necessary to clean the enclosure daily. The best way to clean a tortoise enclosure is to remove the tortoises and then scrub the entire enclosure with a stiff brush. Be sure to pay attention to any corners or crevices where waste can accumulate. Once the enclosure has been thoroughly scrubbed, it should be rinsed with clean water.

Be sure to allow the enclosure to dry completely before returning the tortoises. Failing to do so can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria and fungus.

By following a regular cleaning schedule, you can help keep your tortoise’s home clean and healthy.


If you want to avoid a fishy smell in your tortoise’s habitat, be sure to clean it regularly. You should also ensure that the water is not stagnant and provide plenty of hiding places for your pet. In addition, adding live plants can help reduce any bad smells even more. Finally, don’t forget about spot cleaning! Keeping the habitat clean in general will help to reduce any unpleasant odors. Thanks for reading!


Can I use soap to clean my tortoise?

No, you should never use soap when cleaning a tortoise. Soap can be drying and can strip the tortoise’s skin of natural oils.

What is the best way to clean a tortoise enclosure?

The best way to clean a tortoise enclosure is to remove the substrate (dirt, sand, etc.), clean any accessories with a pet-safe cleaner, and rinse everything thoroughly. It’s also important to disinfect the enclosure every so often using a diluted bleach solution (one-part bleach to ten parts water).

How can I tell if my tortoise has a respiratory infection?

If your tortoise is having difficulty breathing, is wheezing, or making a clicking noise when exhaling, he may have a respiratory infection and should be seen by a veterinarian.

Do tortoises like being washed?

No, tortoises generally do not like being washed and may become stressed or frightened. If your tortoise has a lot of dirt or debris on him, you can try gently wiping him down with a damp cloth, but it’s best to avoid washing him altogether.

Do tortoises like being touched?

Tortoises do not generally like being touched, as they are shy creatures. It’s best to avoid touching your tortoise unless it is absolutely necessary and to always be very gentle when doing so. If your tortoise does not seem to like being touched, you may want to try providing him with a hiding place where he can feel safe.

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