how long can a tortoise stay turned over?

by Dave

recently my hermanns tortoise has been very restless and is turning himself over a lot. the problem is that im going on holiday for 2 weeks soon and while i have got someone coming in every other day to feed him, im worried he might be turned over for a long time.

could being flipped over harm his health in any way?

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Feb 01, 2010
by: The Greek Tortoise Guild

P.S. What substrate are you using? With the right substrate, a healthy tortoise should be able to right himself without TOO MUCH difficulty.

Feb 01, 2010
by: The Greek Tortoise Guild

I would suggest scheduling some time for you to just sit and watch your tortoise. Make it a date and eat some popcorn with your girlfriend while you do it--but just sit there and watch him until you figure out what feature in his vivarium is causing him to flip over. Once you have figured out what the source of the problem is, either take it out of his home or change the feature somehow that will keep him on all fours. If, by chance, you don't have the time to watch him long enough to do this or if you just can't figure out what it is then your other option is to remove everything nonessential from his living space. Take out everything but a water dish and his hiding space and have your friend that feeds him remove his food dish after your tortoise is done eating. If all you have right now is these bare essentials then make them more simple--like a small shoe box or other cardboard box that can't support his weight so that he can't get high enough to roll over.
The bottom line is this: simplify his home so that he can't flip himself over on his back and then after you get back from your trip spend some time watching him and experimenting with different setups to add variety to his life without adding the frustration of spending hours on his back.
I hope this helps. If you have any other questions feel free to comment to this posting or directly to my blog at
Good luck!

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