Why Is My Turtle’s Tail Swollen? (2 Reasons Why + What To Do)

Turtles in captivity can suffer from a variety of ailments and illnesses, for this reason, it is advised that you be on the lookout in case something suspicious about the animal develops, something suspicious in the animal includes your turtle’s tail swelling up.

This article is a look into why your turtle’s tail is swollen.

Why is my turtle’s tail swollen?

Any change in how your turtle looks will cause you to worry about your pet, a change like a swollen tail will definitely make you question things.

Here is why your turtle tail may suddenly be swollen:


One of the reasons for swelling in the animal’s tail is trauma.

An injury, and thus, trauma, could have happened if the tail was hit by something, if the tail was bitten by a tank mate or the animal may have injured its tail while trying to mate with another male turtle, which does sometimes happen.

Trauma in the bodies of turtles is treated by the body the same way that trauma in human bodies is treated, the body sends more blood to the injured area as a way of sending more white blood cells to the area.

The body does this because the white blood cells are the first line of defense when the body suffers an injury.

When the tortoise’s white blood cells get to the injury site, in this case, the injured tail, they immediately start to try to heal the injury.

What to do:

If the injury on the animal’s tail is minor then the animal’s body will likely remedy it on its own, but you can also help.

If there is an open wound in the area then rinse the area off, pat dry using a clean dry cloth, and use Neosporin/triple antibiotic ointment on the wound to help kill off the bacteria.

If the tail has a major injury then you’d need to take your pet to a herp vet, this is a type of vet who specializes in exotic animals like turtles.

The vet will examine the tail, they may take an x-ray of the taI, and they may offer treatment to your pet.


Some species of turtle just have bigger or more swollen-looking tails than other species of turtles.

An example of this is the map turtle, the male map turtle that is.

Other turtles, that may have a bigger tail are male African side-neck turtles and male red-eared sliders. Also, the tails of male turtles start to look bigger as they mature.

In addition, if your male turtle’s tail looks bigger than normal then this may simply mean that the animal has been flashing/fanning(exposing) its private parts, you may have missed the flashing.

These animals flash when they are ready to mate

What to do:

This is perfectly normal for this type of turtle, as long as the turtle is acting normally, and you don’t see signs of illness or distress, then your pet should be fine.

The animal flashing its tail does not mean that you need to bring a female in to mate with the male, the animal’s mating season will pass and your pet will stop flashing its tail.

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 Did My Turtle’s Tail Fall Off?Why Is My Turtle’s Tail Curled?Why Does My Tortoise Wag Its Tail?Why Is My Turtle’s Tail Tucked In?Why Does My Turtle Keep Opening His Mouth?Why Is My Turtle’s Mouth Bleeding?Why Do Turtle’s Eyes Turn White?What’s Wrong With My Turtle’s Eyes?Why Is My Tortoise Blowing Bubbles From His Mouth?

Why Is My Turtle’s Tail Swollen? (2 Reasons Why + What To Do)
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