My Turtle Keeps Wiping His Face (3 Reasons Why + What To Do)

Any repeated behavior from your turtle, including the animal repeatedly wiping its face, will raise questions about the animal’s well-being.

While a turtle wiping its face on occasion isn’t something to worry about, this happening frequently may make you wonder why.

This article looks into why your turtle may be wiping its face


My turtle keeps wiping his face:

Turtles are known to have quite elaborate grooming rituals, and you’re likely used to the grooming rituals that your turtles do, but, if you see a new grooming ritual then you may wonder about the animal’s comfort or health 

Here is why your pet turtle may be rubbing its face:


If your turtle only rubs its face on occasion then your pet may be itchy on its face from time to time and may simply be rubbing to relieve the itchiness.

What to do: 

This isn’t something that you’d need to worry about, face rubbing on occasion is normal. As long as your pet isn’t showing any signs of illness along with the rubbing then your turtle should be fine. 

Skin shedding: 

Another reason why your pet may be scratching its face may be because the animal’s skin is shedding.

Skin shedding can be quite irritating and uncomfortable for turtles so these animals will scratch at themselves to relieve the itching 

What to do:

This is normal and natural, humans shed their skin cells and so do turtles. As long as the animal’s skin doesn’t become raw from all the scratching then I wouldn’t worry about it.

What may help would be increasing the humidity in the enclosure, this will moisten the animal’s skin and make it less irritated as it sheds. 

Don’t attempt to pick the skin off of your pet’s face as it sheds, the skin will shed when it’s ready. 

Just keep an eye on your pet to make sure that it doesn’t start to show signs of illness or distress 

Eye irritation: 

If your pet seems to be rubbing its face close to its eyes then your reptile may have some sort of eye irritation and is trying to soothe it.

Eye irritation can develop if the water chemistry in your pet’s tank is off. This may happen if there is too much chlorine in the water or if there is excess ammonia in your pet’s water. 

What to do:

Test this theory out by leaving your reptile in a container filled with distilled water. If your turtle stops rubbing its face and eyes while in this water then this means that the tank water was the problem

You can solve this problem, and keep it from happening in the future, by making sure that there are frequent water changes in your pet’s tank and by making sure that you use a water conditioner in your pet’s tank 

You may also need to give your pet some eye drops to help relieve the irritation in its eye. 

If you enjoyed this article then you may also be interested in other turtle/tortoise  related articles. Here are some articles that you may be interested in: Why Is My Turtle Lethargic?Why Is My Turtle Bloated?Red Worms In My Turtle TankMy Turtle Was Upside DownMy Turtles Eyes Are Sunken, My Turtle Egg Has A Dent In ItMy Turtle Keeps Rubbing His EyesMy Turtle Eats A LotMy Turtle Won’t Stop Splashing 

My Turtle Keeps Wiping His Face (3 Reasons Why + What To Do)
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