I keep seeing pictures of pet turtles in various knitted costumes (so far I have seen a turtle dressed as a hamburger, and as a dinosaur), and while these are really cute, I wonder, are they okay for the turtle to wear? I would think people are only using them for photo props, but at the same time, they might not be. Are there risks to that sort of thing?

1 Answer 1


Turtles are cold-blooded animals. As such they receive heat from the sun and other ambient sources. This means that sweaters and costumes will keep them colder, not warmer.

Clothing does not make things warmer, it only prevents heat transfer. Humans become warmer with clothing because it traps the heat from their bodies; reptiles become colder because it prevents heat from getting to their bodies.

So it may be a bad idea, depending on the weather.

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    I agree with this answer - but would add that if you just want to dress your turtle temporarily for a photo op I'm sure it won't do any harm, as long as you don't leave it on for too long. Jan 20, 2014 at 14:25
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    It's a misconception that reptiles produce no body heat, they just don't produce enough to keep their bodies at the proper temperature. It would make heat transfer from outside at a slower rate, but they would also lose their own heat more slowly. Also, a sweater would prevent any heat, including heat they got from the surroundings before it was put on them from disapating as quickly. biology.stackexchange.com/questions/7076/… Still, it would prevent the animal from regulating its temperature as it normally does.
    – Kai
    Apr 30, 2015 at 20:49
  • But how much of the heat gain happens through the shell? Given that turtles are predominantly covered; I'm hazarding a guess that the shell itself isn't particulary quick at transferring heat either? OP posted no pictures of the costume but it seems a fair assumption that the costume is mostly on/around the shell.
    – Flater
    Nov 7, 2018 at 11:33

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