Why Do Turtles Attack Black Shoes?

Why Do Turtles Attack Black Shoes?

Turtles are well-known for their slow and steady locomotive motions. However, what will strike you about your pet turtle is its aggressive behavior at times. And one such aggressive behavior is their natural inclination to attack black shoes.

Turtles are well-known for their slow and steady locomotive motions. However, what will strike you about your pet turtle is its aggressive behavior at times. And one such aggressive behavior is their natural inclination to attack black shoes.

Turtles attack black shoes because the color ‘black’ reminds them of their natural predators. Most turtle predators are black in color. So, naturally, turtles confuse black-colored household items like black shoes with their predators. They feel threatened by the color black and subsequently attack black shoes.

It may appear to be an interesting and weird turtle fact. However, it can be a matter of concern for people encountering turtles in the wild or owning them as pets. This article explores why turtles feel threatened by black shoes and attack them. Also, learn how to prevent your pet turtle from exhibiting this behavior.

So, let’s start. 

Background Details on Turtles

Background Details on Turtles

Let’s not rush into why turtles attack black things like black shoes. Before that, it is crucial to know what turtles (types) end up behaving that way. Red-eared sliders, painted, and snapping turtles are the ones who frequently attack black shoes. Not only pet turtles but researchers found that even wild turtles exhibit this behavior.

Studies and research on the behavior of turtles have portrayed that these creatures leverage their sense of touch, smell, and sight to recognize items/objects in the environment. Note that no turtle has the vision to perceive colors vividly like other animals. This may be one of the primary reasons why they confuse black shoes with their predators. 

Why Do Turtles Attack Black Shoes?

Turtles have a century-old reputation for being peaceful animals. However, they tend to behave aggressively around specific objects, like black shoes. It’s true that science still couldn’t figure out the exact reason why turtles attack black shoes. However, the following theories from numerous turtle pet owners and experts can help you understand why they exhibit such behavior.

The first theory is that turtles probably consider black shoes as their food source. When it comes to turtles in the wild, they thrive on a range of dark-colored items, like dark-colored fruits or leaves. What happens is that your turtle may perceive the black shoes as one of these food sources.

Maybe that’s why they confuse them with meals and attack (or attempt to eat) them. Every turtle pet owner should know that turtles don’t get aggressive towards people, but black shoes on rare instances.

One more theory indicates that the territorial nature of the turtles makes them attack black shoes. We all know turtles are territorial creatures. So, they may attack in self-defense when they feel their territory is threatened. They may perceive the black shoes as intruding object that entered their space. Thus, they may feel helpless and attack it in self-defense.

However, other factors possibly contribute to why turtles attack black shoes. Let’s learn about them in the next section. 

Other Factors Why Turtles Attack Black Shoes 

For Protecting Their Young Ones

Many scientists agree that this aggressive behavior of turtles is related to their protective instincts. They feel it’s somehow rooted in their natural reflex to safeguard their young ones. You may already know about sea turtles laying eggs on land. These shorelines where they lay eggs are prone to predators like birds and raccoons.

As most of these predators are dark-colored and dark-shaped, the mother turtle instinctively attacks anything that resembles these predators. They do so to protect their future offspring. 


Misidentification is yet another factor contributing to why turtles attack black objects. As highlighted before, turtles do not have vivid color vision. So, it is natural for them to confuse and mistake black objects for something else. Also, they can be subject to misidentification when the object moves. 

What Colors Can a Turtle See?

what colors can a turtle see?

Every single turtle is capable of seeing colors. However, the level of their color vision differs based on what their species are. For instance, sea turtles come with superb color vision. Do you know that tesla turtles may even perceive UV light? Yes, that’s right! However, other turtles, such as box turtles or boxies, come with limited color vision.

The general notion is that the majority of turtles are dichromats. Now, what dichromat means? It is when turtles can only see two colors, i.e., green and blue. Nevertheless, science now has proof that certain turtle species are trichromats. It means they can see through three colors: blue, green, and red. 

How To Avoid Turtle Attacks?

Now that you understand the turtles’ behavior learn how to avoid their attacks. Here are a few tips that will help any turtle owner avoid attacks from their beloved pet: 

Give Them Space & Some Alone Time

give them space and some alone time

Turtles are peaceful and shy in nature. Unlike other pets, they prefer to stay in isolation. So, giving them some alone time and respecting their space is best. However, when you come across a turtle in the wild, try not to approach it. Avoid disturbing the turtle and watch them from a distance. 

Avoid Feeding Them Directly

You may often find turtles behave aggressively when you try to feed them. That’s because they may confuse humans with food. So, it’s best not to feed them as it can also be detrimental to their overall well-being. 

Avoid Touching Them Unnecessarily

avoid touching them unnecessarily

Your turtle may endure stress and get frightened when you touch them. This may often result in them exhibiting aggressive behavior in the form of self-defense. So, maintain a safe distance from them as much as possible. Avoid picking or touching your turtle unless it concerns its safety and well-being. 

Wear Protective Clothing

Do you live in a place prone to turtle attacks? If so, roaming around in protective clothing like boots and long pants is crucial. This will help you avoid scratches and bites from such aggressive turtles. 

Avoid Wearing Black Clothes or Shoes

As mentioned, turtles are more prone to attack certain colors, like black. Avoid wearing black if you have a pet turtle at home or venture into the wild. 

What To Do When a Turtle Exhibits Aggressive Behavior?

what to do when a turtle exhibits aggressive behavior?

If the turtle exhibits aggressive behavior, stay calm in such a situation. Try not to provoke the creature anymore. Of course, you need to keep a safe distance from the aggressive turtle. However, try not to pick or corner up on the turtle as it will only worsen the situation.

If possible, use some object like a stick to gently give direction to the turtle in the wild. However, if it’s your pet turtle behaving aggressively, give them some alone time. If they still continue exhibiting the same behavior, consult a vet. 

What Are The Consequences of a Turtle Attacking Black Shoes?

A turtle may suffer from an injury when it attacks a black shoe or some other black object. It can even result in them experiencing fatal consequences, like broken shells or beaks.

Not only the turtle but also the object it attacks can get destroyed. Moreover, the person wearing the black shoe can also sustain an injury on their feet. Lastly, most turtles that often confuse black objects like black shoes with predators or shoes end up getting malnutrition.

What Should I Do To Prevent The Turtle From Attacking The Black Shoe?

What Should I Do To Prevent The Turtle From Attacking The Black Shoe

The most effective way to prevent a turtle from attacking black shoes is by making them stay calm. Try not to go anywhere near the turtle whenever you wear black shoes. Make sure your presence at that moment doesn’t threaten the turtle.

Also, turtles can get defensive when they hear loud noises or sense quick movements around them. Finally, if you’re picking a turtle from the wild, ensure you wear proper safety equipment. And also ensure having the proper training to do that. 


The aggressive behavior of turtles towards black shoes is indeed fascinating and something to be aware of. Having knowledge of their behavioral pattern and why they attack black objects is crucial for both the turtles’ and their owners’ safety.

With this comprehensive guide, you must now have a solid grasp of why turtles attack black shoes or black objects. So, make the most out of this knowledge when owning a turtle as a pet or venturing into the wild. That’s all!

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