My Turtles Eyes Are Sunken (2 Reasons Why + What To Do)

A major change, like the sudden onset of sunken eyes in your turtle, can cause you distress and confusion.

The first thing that you may assume is that the animal has an underlying health issue or that something else is wrong 

This article looks into why your turtle’s eyes may be sunken. 

My turtle’s eyes are sunken:

Turtles are known for their hardy nature, they aren’t known to get sick or injured easily, but a change in how your pet looks, ie: sunken eyes, may be a sign of something 

Here is why your turtle may have sunken eyes 


One reason why your pet turtle’s eyes may be sunken may be because the animal is dehydrated and is in critical condition. 

These animals benefit from being out on dry land but will quickly become dehydrated if there isn’t enough moisture in their environment and if they haven’t soaked enough. 

A severely dehydrated turtle will also have dimpled corneas, will be light in weight when held, will have muscle fatigue, a loss of strength, wrinkled skin, and will be listelnesses.

What to do:

If your pet is dehydrated then you can perform at-home first aid ie: a soak. It is generally recommended that you soak your pet in a solution made up of 50/50 warm water and Pedialyte.

The animal is likely lethargic and can’t move its head so you’d need to support the animal so it does not aspirate the mixture into its lungs 

Once done soaking, put your pet under its UV light. This light is important for your turtle’s overall health and well-being. Leave your pet under the light for about an hour 

You can rehydrate the animal from the inside by giving it some pellets soaked in tuna juice. 

You may have to take your pet to the vet if it is in this critical condition. The vet will likely give your pet an injection drip to rehydrate it.

Taking your pet to the vet is recommended to avoid long-term health problems or death. 

How to avoid dehydration:

Making sure that your pet gets enough water will ensure that it does not become dehydrated in the future.

You can do this by spraying the animal’s vegetables with water before serving, making sure that the animal has access to clean fresh water at all times, and using moisture-retaining substrates. 


Another reason why your pet turtle may have sunken eyes may be because the animal is dead.

Sunken eyes in turtles develop once decomposition begins. Other signs of death in your turtle include a turtle that is cold to the touch, no response when touched, a foul smell coming from the animal and maggots of flies around the animal.


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 Turtle Keeps Wiping His FaceMy Turtle Egg Has A Dent In ItMy Turtle Keeps Rubbing His EyesMy Turtle Eats A LotMy Turtle Won’t Stop Splashing 

My Turtles Eyes Are Sunken (2 Reasons Why + What To Do)
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