Common Terrapin Behaviour
It may sound bizarre, but by observing a terrapin’s body language and reactions to the surroundings minutely, you can actually learn a lot about its mood and temper.
It can help you to find out an agonizing ailment, which it is suffering silently from.
Following are some behavioral signs of a terrapin:
1. Hitting another terrapin: A male terrapin may hit repeatedly a female diagonally and bite on neck or legs to initiate her for a mating session. If necessary, separate them for sometime to prevent injury.
2. Burrowing and hiding in the soil: During the autumn when the atmosphere starts getting colder, a terrapin may try to burrow and hide itself in the soil and loses its appetite. It indicates its readiness for the hibernation. But the same behavior in other seasons indicates an ill health. You must consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.
3. Digging ground with rear legs: Digging or scrapping of ground by a female terrapin with its rear legs means it is trying to lay her eggs. Provide her a proper laying site. But a male terrapin may dig to find food. In case the terrapin eats pebbles or stones, it probably is suffering from mineral deficiency.
4. Lying on the shell: If the terrapin keeps lying on its back for a long time, then help out and put it back on its legs.
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5. Swimming to and fro or trying to escape: Check all the prerequisites of its surroundings. Your terrapin may not be feeling comfortable or it may be surveying its new home. But for a female terrapin, this sign signifies its readiness to deposit eggs. Offer her a suitable laying site.
6. Stretching on all four limbs on the ground: Don’t worry; this is normal. But check if it is listless and not moving for a long time. That could be a matter of concern.
7. Sudden withdrawal of the limbs in to the shell: The terrapin may be alarmed. Leave it alone for sometime.
8. Holding head high and standing tall on extended legs: This is natural. The terrapin is either evacuating bowels or trying to look around.
9. Sound: Terrapins are soundless but can make some hissing sounds if mishandled. But a whizzing sound while breathing may indicate infections of respiratory system. Rush to an experienced veterinarian.
It may not talk but you should learn to understand your terrapin. If you want to know more about your turtles behavioural signals then please read my review of the Turtle Guide Book.