Why do my Turtles keep despawning in Minecraft?

Updated to 1.20

Turtles get ages to reproduce in Minecraft. So, after waiting all that time to see your newborn baby Turtles, the last thing that you want is losing them. The problem is, this seems to happen quite often to many players.

Today we are here to see if Turtles actually despawn, other causes of their disappearance, and how to keep them from despawining. Let’s start!

Why do my turtles keep Despawning Minecraft?

Are Turtles supposed to despawn?

Turtles and Baby Turtles are passive mobs, which means that they will not attack the player, even when thye are attacked. In theory passive mobs don’t despawn in Minecraft, but many players often report that they come back to their base and their Turtles are gone. So how is this possible?

There are two explanations for this:

  • the Turtles die (more on this in the next section)
  • the Turtles despawn due to a bug

In Minecraft, and in videogames in general, just because something is not supposed to happen, that doesn’t mean that it will not happen. Many players reported the problem of disappearing Turtles, and for many of them it was because of a bug. But don’t worry, we can solve the problem of your Turtles disappearing, even if it is because of this bug.

Other reasons of their disappearance

Hostile mobs

Something that may be causing your Turtles to disappear is hostile mobs attacking your Turtles during the night.

minecraft zombie

Zombies can both kill your Turtles and destroy their Eggs (as we talked about in How long does it take for Turtle Eggs to hatch in Minecraft?). That’s why you want to first make sure that your Turtles and their babies and eggs are safe from any enemies.

If by any chance you are keeping your Turtles in a closed space, be sure to not use a Door as a way in. And if you do, you can check here first, and see how you can Zombie-proof your Doors.

Turtles returning to their home

Turtles in Minecraft have an excellent memory of their former home. This could be a problem if you took them away from there, because they will try to get back there to lay their Eggs. That is why you should be extra careful when you design your Turtles area, always put in place something to prevent their escape.

Don’t use Fences though. Baby Turtles are very small and they could get stuck between a Fence and the ground. Although very rare, this could cause them to die of suffocation.

How to keep them from despawning

There are two ways to prevent the despawn bug to happen:

  • feed the Turtle with Sea Grass
  • put a Name Tag on them

Both methods will solve the problem, so you can choose the one that you prefer.

Sea Grass

If you feed the Baby Turtles Sea Grass they won’t despawn anymore. This works on both adults and baby Turtles. It also works with other animals as well (without using Sea Grass, but whatever the mob eats).

You can find Sea Grass in many bodies of water and collect it with Shears.

sea grass minecraft

To craft Shears you need 2 Iron Ingots.

shears crafting recipe

Name Tags

Name Tags are one of the players favorites when it comes to prevent mobs from despawning. They are mainly used to prevent hostile mobs from despawning, since hostile mobs are supposed to despawn, but players also use them to make sure that the despawn bug doesn’t happen.

So, to prevent your Turtles from despawning, you just need to give them a Name Tag and name them. Make sure to choose a good name! You can find Name Tags in the Chests that you will find in Dungeons, Mineshafts or Nether Fortresses.

name tag minecraft

You can also obtain them without having to travel around your Minecraft world, if you use a Fishing Rod. In fact, Name Tags are one of the items that you can obtain by fishing.

To increase the chances to find a Name Tag, you can enchant your Fishing Rod with the Luck of the Sea and the Lure enchantments. Luck of the Sea increases the chances of finding treasures while fishing (Name Tags are considered treasures) and Lure increases how often you find items with a Fishing Rod.

To craft a Fishing Rod you will need 3 Sticks and 2 Strings. You can get Strings by killing Spiders or by destroying Cobwebs (related topic: Do Spiders take fall damage in Minecraft?).

fishing rod crafting recipe

To get the Lure and the Luck of the Sea enchantments you can check How to get Silk Touch easily in Minecraft?, where I explained how to get the Silk Touch enchantment. The methods explained for Silk Touch will work for Lure and Luck of the Sea as well.


First make sure that the problem is not your Turtles going back to their home beach or getting attacked by hostile mobs. If that is not the case, give feed them with Sea Grass or give them a Name Tag and they will not despawn again. Thank you very much for reading the article this far and I hope I’ll see you again around here. See you and take care!