Can Tortoises Live With Other Pets? (Dogs, Cats, Lizards, Geckos, Other Tortoises)


Considering you are keeping a pet for companionship, you may worry that your tortoise will be lonely whenever you’re away. Therefore, is it safe to keep the reptiles with other pets? We aim to understand whether tortoises can coexist with other animals.

Often, tortoises can peacefully coexist with other pets, as long as they don’t have a predator-prey relationship. They can live with dogs, cats, and other pets, but you must be cautious when letting them interact. The tortoise may hurt the pets or vice versa.

Do you want to bring other pets into your tortoise’s life, or the other way round? This article is your guide on how best to go about it and which pets will make great companions. Read on as we give you facts to help you decide. 

Can Tortoises Live With Other Pets

Can Tortoises Live With Other Tortoises? 

Lone tortoise keepers often get the urge to bring in another tortoise, especially for mating reasons. They may also feel that their pets get lonely in their enclosure without other tortoises around. If humans need each other’s company, do tortoises crave it too?

Tortoises can live in pairs, but it may be challenging, especially when they are two males, living with one female. Males can be aggressive and territorial, leading to occasional fighting to portray dominance. You can consider factors such as their species, sizes, and the availability of space.

However, naturally, wild tortoises would rather live alone and not with others. They may only need company during mating but spend a large part of their lives in isolation. Even when they are young, they don’t feel lonely; therefore, keeping a sole pet tortoise is not such a bad idea.  

There are specific considerations that you need to make before you decide to introduce another tortoise to your home. Consider the tortoise’s gender, size, species, and space. If they are two males, brace yourself for battles, especially if their enclosure is tiny and there’s only one female. Males are typically territorial, which leads to dominance-related scuffles and competition for females.

If the fights get out of hand, one or both can get severe injuries. Secondly, placing different tortoises of different species is risky since it’s easier for diseases to transmit among them. Also, having tortoises of different sizes together increases the chances of bullying and fighting.  

The decision to get your tortoise a buddy entirely depends on you. If you are confident that you will take care of them equally, then you can get more. You only need to bear in mind that they may get aggressive with each other, and the fights can get heated, leaving one or both with injuries. 

Also read: Can You Keep Two Tortoises Together?

Can Tortoises Live With Other Pets?

Have you always wanted a pet tortoise but worry that it isn’t a perfect fit for other pets in the house? If you wish to know whether it’s a good idea for different species to coexist, read on to find out which pets your tortoise will love.

Tortoises can live with other pets as long as the others are friendly and gentle with them. Pets’ behavior varies when relating with others; while some are aggressive, others are quite loving to tortoises.

Common house pets can be aggressive with them in the name of playing, and they may end up injured. Similarly, a large tortoise can hurt a small pet. To be safe, you can place the animals in separate enclosures, only bringing them together under your supervision.

However, unlike other reptiles, tortoises are always on the receiving end of aggression since they aren’t as hyperactive as most pets. Therefore, it’s best to let them mingle with them only under close supervision. Most times, they end up becoming chew toys and scratching surfaces for other pets. 

Despite what you hear or watch when tortoises live with pets, animals have different behaviors and personalities. Let’s take a look at what it means to have tortoises live with common pets. 

Tortoises Live With Dogs 

Some dogs are gentle and peace-loving, making them the best companions for your tortoises. However, they are typically active, and even the peaceful ones can get aggressive once in a while. The best way to go about this is to introduce them to each other gradually and let them interact under your watch. If you find the dog rather aggressive, you can keep the tortoise away or in an enclosure. 

It‘s better to have them living separately than worry about your tortoise’s safety. It all depends on your dog’s personality; some can try to chew the shell, mostly if they mistake them for a toy. On the contrary, a giant tortoise can also hurt a dog. The tortoise has a powerful bite; hence, if you have a small dog breed, it’s advisable to be cautious. 

Tortoises Live With Cats 

Like dogs, cats are also very active and playful. They also like to explore things as they play with them; perhaps, that is why cat owners have some household items with bite marks and scratches. Considering cats are known to toy and scratch other pets, we recommend keeping baby tortoises far away because cats will likely try tossing them around. 

On the other hand, giant adult tortoises become enemies when cats are involved. They may even bite them, mistaking them for food or mates. Cats will have no issue with large tortoises, and they will only play around with small tortoises. To be sure, you can lock your tortoises in an enclosure, far out of the cat’s reach or otherwise, only let them mingle under your watch.

Tortoises Live With Lizards and Geckos

Both lizards and geckos make great companions for tortoise’. The reptiles are not hostile to each other, and you won’t notice any fights. Being smaller than the tortoise, they won’t have to fight for space or territories. It also helps that tortoises are calm and love living in isolation, making it rare for the two to cross paths. Another added advantage is that most tortoises and lizards are herbivorous; therefore, they won’t prey on each other. The only exception is when the tortoise is carnivorous, in which case it will be a predator to the lizards and the geckos.

However, it would be best not to place the tortoises, lizards, and geckos in the same enclosure. The reptiles tend to transmit infections to each other when they frequently interact. These infections may transfer to you and even be fatal for them. The best idea is to keep them in separate enclosures and continually seek medical attention if you detect any changes in your pets.

Considerations When Keeping Tortoises With Other Pets

Not only are tortoises brilliant pets, but they can also coexist with most of your domestic friends. However, consider some precautions before you decide to add them to your pet family. Otherwise, one or both pets may be injured or die in the process. 

First, you need to consider supervising the interaction between pets and tortoises, both juveniles and adults. Secondly, if uncertain about their safety, we recommend placing your pet tortoises in an enclosure to limit close contact with other animals. If you want to pair tortoises, it’s best to consider having more females than males and opt for the same age group tortoise species. Also, note that tortoises are not the only ones on the receiving end since they can also hurt smaller pets. 

You may want to reconsider having your pet tortoise roam freely in the house. First, they can transfer salmonella, especially if they are close to a food source. Similarly, other pets can acquire the infections then pass them to you. Tortoises tend to excrete anywhere, and if your pets contact the feces, they can consequently contract the diseases. 

Cats are also fond of licking the tortoises, and if they contact the tortoise’s saliva, they risk salmonella infections. Consider regular hand washing and cleaning up after your pets. Lastly, if you want to keep tortoises, reconsider having two males in the same enclosure to limit the frequent fighting. Instead, you can place them in separate tanks and only let them mingle under your supervision. The best option is to have two females or two females for every male.

Most importantly, you should only allow them to interact with each other when you’re around; it wouldn’t be safe to let them play when you’re away. For safety, place one in an enclosure or a separate room away from the other if there’s no one to watch them.  

To Wrap It Up 

The tortoise is one of the most docile and loveable reptiles to keep as a pet. However, you may still want to have other pets alongside them. The only worry is that other pets may not be as gentle as they are. If you have cats and dogs, you will have to keep a close watch on them to ensure that nothing goes wrong. Given their shell structure, dogs can mistake them for toys, while cats may find their covers a place to scratch. 

It’s best to supervise their interactions or keep them in separate enclosures because your tortoise will most likely end up with bite marks and scratches. In contrast, large tortoises can also harm your pets. Two male tortoises may also get into territorial battles. The bottom line is some pets will get along with each other while others will regularly fight. It all depends on their personalities and behaviors. 

Harvey Wells

I am an intense cool pets lover. I have tortoises, tarantulas and a few other exotic pets. And I would love to share what I have learned.

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