Home » Can Tortoises Live with Other Reptiles?
what reptiles can live with a tortoise?

Can Tortoises Live with Other Reptiles?

A group of tortoises that live together is known as a creep. Tortoises are solitary animals in the wild, often living alone. If you have a pet tortoise, you may wonder if it would enjoy some company.

Tortoises can’t live with turtles or snakes but can share a habitat with some species of lizards if heat and humidity requirements match.

Never keep two or more male tortoises together because they’ll fight. Several females can co-exist but never pair two different species of tortoises.

Wherever possible, tortoises should live alone, as they’re happier this way and will likely be safer.

If you must pair your tortoise with another reptile in a habitat, ensure that both animals are compatible and have their unique needs met at all times.

Do Tortoises Need Companionship?

The tortoise and owner will spend more time together in the early days. Eventually, other commitments, such as work and socializing, will regain their importance, and your tortoise will spend more time alone.

You may feel guilty about this, worried that your tortoise will become sad and lonely. Rest assured, this outcome is unlikely. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology describe tortoises as solitary species that are usually contented in their own company.

All the same, you may be keen to bring a second reptile pet into your home. If that’s the case, you’ll need to understand if the second animal can live with a tortoise.

There are things that you’ll need to consider here, including:

  • Living space – How large will each animal grow, and will a habitat leave enough space for them?
  • Aggression and temperament – Can the two species get along and peacefully co-exist?
  • Living conditions – Will both reptiles need the same temperature and humidity level in their habitat?
  • Diet – Will they fight over food? Would a tortoise’s diet make the other reptile sick, or vice versa?
  • Health – Would the two disparate reptiles pass diseases or parasites to one another?

As you’ll see, there are many things to take under advisement. To answer the question of whether tortoises can live with other reptiles, we need to assess each species.

can lizards live with tortoises?

Can Tortoises Live with Other Tortoises?

The first pairing to consider is bringing together a union of two tortoises:

Can different breeds and species of tortoise live together?No
Can two male tortoises live together?No
Can two female tortoises live together?Yes
Can one male and one female tortoise live together?No
Can one male and several female tortoises live together?Yes

Pairing Different Breeds of Tortoise

The risk of pairing two different tortoise breeds is a size discrepancy.

Imagine that you have paired a Marginated Tortoise, which grows to up to 14 inches, with a Hermann’s Tortoise, which rarely exceeds 8 inches.

The Marginated tortoise will dominate a Hermann’s tortoise through sheer size alone, which could leave them devoid of food, shelter, and warmth.

There are also discrepancies in general living conditions. The Marginated tortoise needs a humidity level of up to 70%, and the Hermann’s tortoise needs dryer living conditions, with humidity at 60%.

The two breeds may have varying dietary needs. The food one tortoise relishes could make another unwell. For example, some tortoises eat meat, such as rainforest tortoises, but most are herbivorous.

Two Males

Tortoises have a reputation as docile and calm animals.

A tortoise will rarely bite a human or show any sign of aggression beyond a frustrated hiss. Place two male tortoises together and it’s a different story.

As tortoises are loners, they’ll only interact during the mating season. This means that two male tortoises will often butt heads in their quest to be considered the dominant tortoise worthy of mating rights.

Two males will enter conflicts, even without a female in a tank. They’ll battle for supremacy over territory, food, and attention. Tortoises don’t fight to the death, but these skirmishes will be stressful.

Two Females

Female tortoises are less concerned with territorial disputes and are thus likelier to live together calmly. You’ll still need to consider the needs of each tortoise, ensuring that they have sufficient space to themselves so they can spend time alone.

Two tortoises sharing one tank means double the workload in terms of care and husbandry. You’ll need to keep a constant eye on your hygrometer, ensuring that the humidity levels remain consistent. Observe each tortoise, ensuring they’re eating and drinking.

Keep the enclosure clean. Two tortoises will increase the likelihood of excess waste.

One Male, One Female

Tortoises will breed in captivity, which may not be what you want to happen.

In addition, one male tortoise in a habitat with a solitary female will likely become increasingly agitated and aggressive. The male will focus his attention on the female, whether these advances are welcome or otherwise, causing stress for the female.

One Male, Several Females

If you’re looking to breed tortoises, it’s better to home one male with several females because this will prevent the male from fixating on one potential mate.

According to the Journal of Zoology, male tortoises aim to breed with a larger female. This makes it advisable to pair your male with several females of equivalent size.

You’ll need a large set-up if you keep multiple tortoises in the same habitat. Tortoises forced to live too close to each other will grow stressed, which isn’t conducive to happiness or breeding. 

Can You Keep Turtles and Tortoises Together?

As tortoises are part of the turtle family, some people mistakenly believe that these two species can live together. However, turtles are aquatic, while tortoises are land-dwelling sub-species.

Tortoises can hold their breath for some time. The Journal of Experimental Biology explains that breathing patterns vary from aquatic turtles. Perhaps more damning, tortoises cannot swim, while turtles’ need for water can be lethal to a tortoise.

Most aquatic turtles have an omnivorous diet when they periodically come to land. While some tortoises are the same, most are herbivorous. So, turtles and tortoises should be homed separately.

can turtles and tortoises live together?

Can Tortoises and Lizards Live Together?

Some tortoises and lizards get along relatively well. However, while they can live together in the same home, they shouldn’t be housed together in the same enclosure.

Before introducing them, quarantine the new animals for 4 weeks. Then, ensure that the enclosure is large enough for both animals to have their own territory.

This table will outline which lizards can live alongside tortoises:

Bearded Dragons:Both reptiles have relaxed temperaments and tolerate each other well.
Iguana:Tortoises and iguanas may not become friends, but they ignore each other.
Geckos:Geckos like their own company.
Chameleons:Chameleons prefer to live alone.
Skinks:Skinks dislike reptile company.

Can Snakes and Tortoises Live Together?

In some respects, tortoises and snakes have things in common. They both like to dwell in hot, humid habitats and enjoy burrowing under deep substrate. Also, they’re both solitary.

Never pair a tortoise and a snake in the same enclosure because they’ll fight for territory if they occupy the same space. Popular pets such as gopher snakes, corn snakes, and kingsnakes may be non-venomous, but they still move faster than tortoises and deliver a painful bite to the neck or face.

A small snake won’t eat a tortoise as it won’t be able to constrict due to the tough shell. Equally, a tortoise will have no interest in eating a snake. This will not stop the animals from fighting over territory, causing stress to all parties. Keep snakes and tortoises apart for their own safety.

As you’ll now see, the answer to the question “what other reptiles can live with tortoises?” is very few. Tortoises are happiest when keeping their own company, so a responsible owner should allow a solitary life. If you meet the needs of your tortoise, it’ll remain healthy and content.