Why Do Turtles Hate Black? 7 Interesting Theories to Know!

Many of us know turtles to be serene animals who deserve all protection. Just place a black object in front of your turtle and the results could be alarming.

What if you were to see them perform the popular wrestling move – a headbutt!

But nothing personal here, it’s just the color.

And yet, some pet turtle owners will find this behavior intriguing (especially the newbies). Why do turtles hate black color? So let’s unravel this chemistry between the turtles and the color black.

Turtles don’t inherently hate the black color, but the majority votes and studies have concluded that they relate black objects with predators such as snakes and crows. This triggers the brave reptile to attack black objects, which it would have done in the past while protecting its eggs. 

Do Turtles Hate The Color Black?

A trending TikTok video showed multiple instances where turtles have been found particularly attacking the black shoes while neglecting the white ones.

This phenomenon has seriously aroused the curiosity behind the mystery – do turtles really hate the color black?

The most likely answer is – yes. And yet, there is no scientific proof of it.

While hate wouldn’t be the right word, dislike would be a better choice. 

After all, the attack has been found to be an instinctual response, rather than an emotional one.

This also disregards the label that “turtles are racists” (on a lighter note) as illogical.

Why Do Turtles Hate Black

A few consider this attack to be a fun activity for turtles. However, researchers have noticed an upward shoot in their stress hormones during such attacks. This clearly indicates that the reaction is a serious one, rather than a playtime.

So let’s also explore the various interpretations behind such unusual behavior displayed by the turtles. This will help us understand a deeper side of the turtle’s nature, allowing pet owners to deal with their sensitivities better and care properly.

Possible Reasons Why Do Turtles Hate Black Color?

Below are listed all the possible reasons as to why many turtles react violently to black color:

Black Shoe or Black Predator?

One of the most common reasons associated with a turtle’s attacking a black object is their perceiving it as a predator. This is verifiable considering the fact that turtles guard their eggs closely. Unlike the tortoises, who stay away from their eggs to avoid bringing attention to it, turtles guard the eggs by staying near them.

During this scenario, It is obvious that they encounter predators such as snakes and crows, who are black in color. And the turtles bravely face them to protect their eggs. This is one of the reasons why the turtle instinctively turns aggressive when it spots the black color in particular.

Another considerable factor is that turtles lack the cognitive abilities of humans. While they do manage to perceive the black color, the shape of the object (shoes here) leaves them puzzled, indicating a possible territorial rival or a predator.

Territorial Creatures

Turtles are territorial creatures i.e. they are specific about their territory. Whenever they sense a threat to their territory, they attack out of self-defense. Spotting a black object, especially a moving black shoe, can trigger a reaction due to the reason of perceiving an intruder in their territory, as a clear challenge to their authority. 

Shy Creatures

Pet turtles are generally peaceful and shy in nature. Additionally, they are also very curious creatures. On the other hand, the color black carries a vibration of mystery and darkness. Encountering a black color could make the little creatures feel unsafe and curious, resulting in an attack to guard themselves. This also depends on the reflective texture of the object.

why do turtles hate black

The Color Theory

Time to see through the scientific eyes! The color theory is another popular and supported theory behind the turtle’s behavior.  

Unlike humans and birds, who possess 3 color receptors (or cones), turtles possess two. This makes them dichromatic creatures, as compared to the trichromatics. 

The 2 cone receptors in the turtle’s eye make them sensitive to medium and long wavelength lights. This includes the colors between the green and red range. Interestingly, turtles are said to perceive more shades than humans in this color range. But beyond this, they may be unable to make a distinction like the humans. For this reason, they perceive black color differently than humans.

Editor’s Note:- Interestingly, researchers have found turtles to not only react to black color but have found them to act defensively in some cases when they spot red color. This indicates that black is not the only color turtles may react to. 

The color red signals danger or even aggression, which prompts the tiny creatures (second to the bull) to attack due to a sense of threat or danger. The color blue, on the other hand falling in the range of short wavelength, has been said to calm these creatures. This is because turtles are less sensitive to shorter wavelengths.

Stark Contrast

Turtles are often found to be attracted to the bright colors especially those visible within colorful fruits and green vegetables. Black or any similar dark colors prove to be a stark contrast due to their deep hues, in comparison to the bright ones, triggering a reaction from the reptile sensing an uneasiness. 

why do turtles hate black

Uncommonality of Black Objects

Another interpretation states that since the turtles (especially in the wild) are accustomed to soil, leaves, and fruits, it is natural for them to be attracted to similar colors. Black, however, is not a common color they would encounter as this color is more associated with man-made materials or metals, etc. This has been suggested as another reason why the little reptile feels uneasy with the foreign black objects.

High Heat Absorption

Turtles are known to be ectothermic creatures i.e. they depend on the external environment for maintaining their body temperatures. They love basking in the sun for this reason, to keep their body temperatures regulated. And they walk into tree shades to cool their bodies. 

why do turtles hate black

As we know, dark colors such as black have the property of absorbing more heat than any other colors, any dark object would throw more heat. This risks the turtle from being exposed to the overheating phenomenon, risking dehydration or heatstroke. Self-defense is obvious in such cases.


Do turtles hate black color in particular?

Turtles may dislike black color for multiple reasons or even colors of dark hues that contrast starkly with bright colors. The specific colors can vary from one species to the other.

What colors are turtles attracted to?

Turtles are attracted to the colors they daily associate within the environment. They like bright colors like green and white, and dark colors like brown and blue. However, they repel to deep hues of dark color (like black), that strongly contrast against the bright ones. Some turtles also react to the red color.


To conclude, there could be several reasons behind the turtle’s dislike for the black color. This could be due to their perceiving black objects as predators, unique color perception, due to the high heat absorbing property of black objects, etc.

Whichever the reason, the turtle owner certainly has a new factor to deal with – avoid agitating their little ones. This could include avoiding wearing black shoes while interacting with them to avoid any direct exposure, or gradually exposing them to black objects in a smart way, so they get familiar with it.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *