Why Does My Tortoise Sleep All Day? (4 Common Reasons)

Tortoises are perfect pets for owners who require a low maintenance animal that doesn’t need an abundance of attention like dogs do. However there are a few occasions when your tortoises low maintenance may be a cause for concern, like when they are sleeping more than they usually would. Let’s find out why this might happen.

Why does my tortoise sleep all day? Tortoises will sleep more often for a number of different reasons. If your tortoise is sleeping more than they usually would then the temperature in their enclosure is usually too cold as tortoises become less active in the cold. Other reasons for a tired tortoise include dehydration, illness or they are about to go into hibernation.

In this article we are going to explain in more detail why your tortoise may be sleepy, how long do tortoises sleep for and some other important topics we thought were relevant.

Reasons Why Your Tortoise Is Sleeping All Day

The Temperatures In Their Enclosure Is Wrong

When someone tells me their tortoise is sleeping a lot the first question I ask them what temperatures they have inside their enclosure.

If a tortoises enclosure is too cold then it’s likely to the reason behind why they are sleeping more than normal.

Tortoises need four different temperatures in their enclosure all for different purposes.

  • Hot side – (95-105 Fahrenheit)
  • Cool side (75-85 Fahrenheit)
  • Basking area (Around 90 Fahrenheit)
  • Night time (60-70 Fahrenheit )

When tortoises become too cold this directly effects how active they are. If your tortoise seems to be sleeping more than usual increase the temperature of their enclosure.

That should fix your tortoises sleepiness however if it doesn’t it could be down to the other reasons below.

Trying To Hibernate

If your tortoises excessive sleep is combined with them not eating it could be the fact they are getting ready for hibernation.

As winter approaches and the days get colder, shorter and darker tortoises will often sleep longer in order to prepare for hibernation.

This doesn’t apply to all species of tortoise as not all of them hibernate, for example a Leopard tortoise doesn’t go into hibernation.


If you have ruled out the previous two reasons, then it’s likely your tortoise is dehydrated. A tortoise not drinking enough water simply won’t have the energy to be awake and active.

This is a natural response because if the body doesn’t have enough water it needs to shut down functions that use up a lot of energy.

Other signs and symptoms of a dehydrated tortoise include :

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Dry stools
  • Sunken looking eyes
  • Flaky skin
  • Feel light to hold
  • White coloured urine

To prevent dehydration in tortoises you should keep a fresh bowl of clean water in the cool area of their enclosure, regularly soak them and feed them foods high in water such was cucumber or watermelon.


Finally the last reason why your tortoise is sleeping too much might be because they are sick or fighting infection. When this happens similarly to dehydration, tortoises save their energy for vital functions.

The illness might not be serious like worms for example, or it could be a sign of something much more serious. Tortoises will sleep more when sick regardless of the illness as it means they are vulnerable so they want to avoid any confrontations.

If you have ruled out the other causes for a sleepy tortoise, then I would recommend taking your tortoise to a vet to be safe.

How Long Do Tortoises Sleep For?

The length your tortoises sleeps for will likely depend on a few things such as their age for example.

A baby tortoise can sleep from around 19-22 hours a day this is thought because in the wild a baby tortoise would be easy prey so they can hide away. When tortoises are young that’s when they need to grow the most, therefore sleeping longer allows this as they use up less energy when asleep – promoting quicker growth.

However a healthy adult tortoise should only sleep around 12 hours a day. It might be more if they are beginning to go into hibernation, dehydrated, sick or the temperature in their enclosure is incorrect.

Can I Wake My Tortoise Up In The Morning?

If your tortoise has slept long enough then yes it’s fine to wake them up in the morning as this won’t have any negative impact on their life.

The best option is to let your tortoise wake up by themselves as they’ll be much happier this way, think about when someone wakes you up more often than not it sets a bad mood for the next few hours.

Your tortoise should wake up naturally by their UV light going on and off at the same time every day. This will put them in a much healthier sleeping pattern than if you were to manually wake them.

There are certain scenarios like if your tortoise has slept too much recently or if you need to give them medication, in which it’s fine to wake them.

Just make sure they are getting at least 12 hours as they need it to function properly and avoid lethargy.


A sleepy tortoise may be a cause for concern as they could be dehydrated or becoming ill. However there are other less worrying causes like the temperature in their enclosure being wrong or they are preparing for hibernation. If the reason for your tortoises sleepiness isn’t a sign of a health problem then you don’t need to worry however if you think it’s a sign of illness then you should be bring them to a vet for further inspection.

I hope you found this article useful and you can take some knowledge away to make you a more informed tortoise owner!