Although the trusty tortoise is still a relatively niche pet within the pet keeping community, reptile keeping as a whole is increasing in popularity, and keeping a pet tortoise is slowly becoming more and more people with each year that goes by.
Now, as with all pets no matter the specific species, there is always a correlating spike in the number of questions that we see about a pet when it becomes more popular within the community and the tortoise is no different.
We have seen a large number of different questions asked over the last couple of months as the number of first time tortoise keepers increases but more and more people have been asking about their tortoise having white poop recently so we wanted to publish this article to try and help as any of our readers as possible.
Our hope is that we will be able to explain that in some situations, it can be normal for a tortoise to have white poop but there are some less common, more serious issues that may require a trip to the vet.
Why Your Tortoise Has White Poop!
The majority of tortoise white poo will be sure to a urate deposit that is usually going to be white with this being normal, natural, and nothing to worry about in most cases.
We have our list of the most common causes of white poop in tortoises below:-
- Natural Urate!
- Internal Parasites!
- Calcium Intake Problems!
- A Low Quality Diet!
- Kidney Problems!
- Eating Substrate!
Although very rare, some pet tortoises may have two or more of the causes in our list above wrong with them at any given time so please keep that in mind!
The most common and also the most natural cause of white tortoise poop is going to be some form of urate deposit that has built up and hardened over time.
Tortoises excrete urates as a way of getting rid of the excess nitrogen that their bodies don’t need and this process is perfectly natural.
Urate is essentially your pet tortoise taking a poop and peeing at the same time but the pee solidifies and has a white color to it similar to that of a bird or many reptiles.
In most cases, this is totally normal and to be expected in most tortoises and thankfully, it is the most common cause of white tortoise poop meaning there is usually nothing to worry about for most people.
Although not as common as a urate deposit, another potential cause of your tortoise having white poop can be down to some form of internal parasites that your pet has picked up.
These parasites will usually make their home in the intestines or stomach of your tortoise and will slowly feed off of their host by leeching all of the nutrients that they need to survive.
As well as causing your tortoise to have white poop, other common symptoms of a tortoise with internal parasites are going to be weight loss, lethargy, and a generally uninterested attitude in life.
If you think that your tortoise may have some form of internal parasite then the best thing for you to do would be to take them to see a reptile vet as soon as possible!
Another potential cause of your tortoise having white poop can be down to them eating too much of their substrate or bedding.
This is usually only going to be a problem in tortoises that are kept on substrates that are not safe for them to eat such as sand or gravel and is more common in younger tortoises that are still exploring their environment.
In some cases, you may have to totally change the type of substrate that you use with your pet tortoise and another common symptom of this issue is your tortoise not eating.
In most cases, you will usually be wanting to try and find a vet that has an x-ray machine so they can scan your pet tortoise to check if the eaten substrate is causing a blockage or not.
Calcium Intake Problems!
A less common but still potential cause of your tortoise having white poop can be down to some form of calcium intake problem that your pet may be having.
In most cases, this is going to be either too much or too little calcium in their diet but it can also be down to a problem with how their body is metabolizing the calcium that they are taking in.
If your tortoise has white poop and you think that it may be due to a calcium intake problem then we would recommend that you change their diet slightly or take them to see a vet for a check-up.
A Low Quality Diet!
Another potential cause of your tortoise having white poop can be down to them eating a diet that is of a generally low quality or one that is not providing them with the right balance of nutrients that they need.
This is usually going to be more common in pet tortoises that are not being kept on a proper captive diet and are instead being fed a diet of mainly vegetables or fruits.
If you think that your tortoise may have white poop due to a low quality diet then we would recommend changing their diet or taking them to see a reptile vet for a check-up.
In some rare cases, the cause of your tortoise having white poop can be down to some form of kidney problem that your pet may be suffering from.
The most common symptom of a tortoise with kidney problems is going to be white or clear pee but in some cases, this can also lead to your tortoise passing white poop as well.
If you think that your tortoise may have kidney problems then the best thing for you to do would be to take them to see a reptile vet as soon as possible!
Although it is very rare, another potential cause of your tortoise having white poop can be down to them suffering from some form of cancer.
The most common symptom of a tortoise with cancer is going to be lumps or bumps on their shell or body but in some cases, this can also lead to your tortoise passing white poop as well.
If you think that your tortoise may have cancer then the best thing for you to do would be to take them to see a reptile vet as soon as possible!