QUESTION: Can turtles tell the difference between day and night?

ANSWER: They have eyes, so yes, they are able to distinguish berween night and day. Even without eyes, they would be able to sense the temperature differences.  

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for response. I don't leave there light on during the day while at work but I turn it on soon as I get home 7:00pm and leave it on until about 1 or 2am. I love the light being on so I can see them  Do you think this confuse them by have light at night rather then day. Does it confuse their sleeping time? I mean do they know to sleep at night even though light is on? Pls don't laugh at my silly questions😂 I love them and what to do the right thing for them. Oh by the way it's a girl and boy yellow belly. Thanks

OK, now I see why you asked!   You really should have the light on more or less during daylight hours, but you could shift it a bit, so maybe have it go on around 9 am and off around 11pm.  You can use a lamp timer to have it go on and off consistently. The UVB light does need to be on 12-14 hours a day to provide enough UVB.

If you can give me more information on how you have them set up (size of turtles, size of tank, water/basking temps, type of heat/UVB bulbs, diet), I can let you know if there's any changes you should make to keep your turtles healthy.

PS. There are no silly questions!  😊


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Questions regarding husbandry of Russian tortoises and other Mediterranean species, sulcata, and redfoot tortoises; general tortoise and turtle care; box turtle care. If I can't answer a specific question, I can provide sources for further research. Disclaimer: My advice is not a substitute for vet care. If I think your tortoise/turtle has a specific medical condition or injury that warrants a vet visit, I'll tell you so, and if possible I'll help you locate a vet. It is neither legal nor ethical for me to provide veterinary advice.


I have kept and bred Russian tortoises for over ten years and have other Mediterranean species plus redfoots and box turtles. I've worked with other tortoise and turtle species while doing volunteer rescue work; mostly sulcata but some leopards, California desert tortoises, yellowfoots, all box turtle species, red-eared sliders, etc. I don't personally keep aquatic species, but have access to a wealth of information and research to help you with any questions you might have.

My knowledge is based on hands-on experience keeping, breeding, and working with tortoises and turtles.

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