60 thoughts on “OMG: Turtle climbing a wall

      1. Well, some do. And some don’t. We’re not talking geckos here. This turtle is clearly holding his own, but the video clip doesn’t show how he got to this position or what happened to the fellow. I’m not a turtle expert by any means, but it seems like an odd thing for a critter like this to do. Even weirder than a sheep-herding rabbit.

        1. OK I could not resist responding. Sorry, it’s a peeve of mine when persons unfamiliar with a species decides what they can or cannot do.

          These two videos show exactly what you want- a turtle climbing by its own will from ground up:



          Note the second video the keepers have placed wire barriers on top, obviously they were well aware that turtles do climb.

          Do a search on youtube for climbing turtles, there are many. Including large snapping turtles climbing fences like this:


          It’s not unusual either this one climbed straight up a straight fence, not in a corner. More videos elsewhere.

          It’s simple instinct- put a barrier in front of a turtle, it will either try to go around or climb over it. Also, pond turtles need decent climbing skills in order to bask- logs, rocks.

          1. OK. Not as weird as a sheep herding rabbit.

            (And, dude, “deciding” and being skeptical are not the same thing… I doubted and stated my ignorance. The the over-broad statement that “Reptiles do climb vertical surfaces” got me… thinking it unlikely to ever see a Ridley’s go up a wall… hence my “some do, some don’t”)

  1. Well, there was this kid who was trying to tell me about some sort of a gang of pubescent GMO Kung-Fu tortoises, but I’m pretty sure that was a comic book….



  2. Nice open-book rock-climbing moves! Everything but lay-back, which I think his anatomy (not to mention lack of the corner crack) prevents.

  3. Another TMNT wannabe. As for herps scaling vertical surfaces – how about geckos climbing glass panes? Even better – geckos on ceilings – they may be horizontal but the beast defies gravity.

  4. Oh come on Jerry, this is the card puppet video all over again. They HAVE TURNED THE CAMERA SIDEWAYS just like in the Batman TV series. And the Naked Man is lying on his side, just to fool you.

  5. Perfect to slack off and watch on a Friday. How very cool. I am impressed with how large that turtle was and his ability to climb. I just found this blog today (slacking off at work).

  6. If he loses his grip, it will be turtles all the way down!

    (Or, to be pedantic, tortoises, since he’s clearly not a swimmer.)

  7. Cool. This is probably what a space alien would think of humans painfully scaling rock cliffs.

    I’m a long time turtle fan* but have never seen anything like this.

    *I have a mated pair of reevss turtles that have been with me for about 20 years (which means they have been together longer than any of my marriages. My wife says that’s because it’s hard for turtles to get to a lawyer.)

  8. The poor tortoise’s owners are first-rate wankers. My immediate reaction would have been to place a cushion right at the corner where the floor meets the walls, just in case. The I’d brought the critter to a safer place. Apparently, the chance to get views on YouTube trumps every humane feeling.

    1. MY first thought was: GET HIM/HER DOWN FROM THERE!! It’s like watching a creationist try to think (except that the turtle is actually succeeding).

  9. When I was young I captured a California Pond Turtle (Clemmys marmorata). Believing these to be mostly aquatic, I put it into an aquarium and left to give it a chance to settle down. When I returned, it was gone. I spent 3 hours searching for it, turning the house upside down and looking under every piece of furniture in the house. I finally spotted it- it had climbed the curtain to the curtain rod and had been watching me from that perch.

    1. That’s the species I was thinking of when I saw the video! It even kinda looks like one with the long tail and general shape.

      They’re incredibly active, fast and agile. Very difficult to contain. I had one too when I was kid. Finally turned him loose in the river because he was too much of a worry — busy streets around and all.

      BTW everyone — whatever this is, it is plainly NOT a tortoise of any sort. It’s an aquatic or semi-aquatic turtle.

  10. My brothers and I were avid box turtle ranchers and occasionally we’d find a “climber”. They always did it in a corner with a rough surface like this one. (I suspect this little guy was given a boost up over the relatively smooth, wide dark-colored base at the bottom of the wall.)

    BTW, if any of you is contemplating box turtle ranching and intend to keep your turtles in a heated basement over the winter, THEY DO NOT NEED TO HIBERNATE UNDER THOSE CONDITIONS. DO NOT BURY THEM IN A BOX FULL OF DIRT AND JUST LEAVE THEM ALONE UNTIL SPRINGTIME!!

  11. When I was extremely young , my dad got a box turtle and brought it home (I recall him finding it somewhere, but as I grew up in an area where box turtles don’t live, I have no idea whether he bought it or what). He built a little pen for it and stuck it on our deck. Tragically, the short wooden walls were insufficient at keeping the turtle contained, and it quickly escaped onto the deck, which was built above a cement patio.

    I have no idea what happened to the turtle, but I doubt it survived the fall.

    Of course, now that I think about it, Mom never liked the turtle, or any of the other lizards, snakes, and frogs Dad tended to bring home to show me, so perhaps she took it away and the part about the turtle escaping and falling off the deck was just a cover story.

    1. My mom was like that, only one time, she allowed my brother a box turtle he found, only if she could name it: Putrid. I was very young, at the time. I thought it was a real name, like Gertrude. No wonder she laughed so hard.

  12. ok, cool, yes, but not surprising. note the textured right angle of the walls and the five points of contact (four feet and a tail). Chelydra serpentina are well known for scaling wire fences to get from pond to egg laying sites, Platysternon megacephalum with their long sturdy tails have been known to climb trees, and Agrionemys (testudo) horsfieldii have rough pads on the tips of their tails which aid in scaling rocks and other impediments. Turtles rock! you weak minded cat lovers, why is this so shocking? now, go donate money to Turtle Survival Alliance or we will go teenage mutant ninja on your ass!

  13. Pretty sure I’ve read somewhere that turtles do not have much of a fall-avoidance instinct, odd as that might seem. I know my two Russian torts will climb up on and clamber off of anything, often landing on their “chins.” At any rate, it seems most of them would risk severe damage falling from beyond a certain height. In all the instances shown, it’s certainly a man-made (i.e., not something they’ve evolved with, such as logs to get over, rocky areas to surmount, etc.) obstacle they’re climbing, and it makes me cringe. Interesting, yes, but something that good chelonian owners should definitely design their enclosures to avoid, I should think.

  14. Us urbanites just have no idea either of what animals want or what they are capable of. It would be interesting – and sobering – to study the occasional relationship between scepticism and ignorance.

  15. This is especially funny in light of an article written by Bryan Fischer last fall in which he included the following rhetorical argument in favor of creationism:

    When you see a turtle on a fence post, what’s the one thing you know? Somebody put him there. When you see a world hanging in space, what’s the one thing you know? Someone hung it there.

  16. They’re speaking Portuguese, no? My guess is some kind of Brazilian kinosternid.
    Here in NE N America, there are little kinosternids called stinkpots that climb quite a bit. They’re known for falling out of trees into canoes.

  17. We don’t know that the turtle started from ground level. They might have just placed it there for the purpose of doing the video. Who knows? Lots of fake videos on YouTube. I hope it wasn’t hurt.

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