Crocheted Tortoise Cozies

Craft & Design Yarncraft
Crocheted Tortoise Cozies





Etsy user Katie Bradley wondered if her tortoises were keeping warm enough when they wandered around the house or garden, so she started making crocheted cozies for them!

[via Archie McPhee’s]


33 thoughts on “Crocheted Tortoise Cozies

  1. marmar says:

    This is a horrible idea. Why would anyone want to cover a beautiful turtle shell

    1. Andrew Salomone says:

      Marmar, it’s cool if a tortoise cozie isn’t your thing, but we try to encourage everyone to leave comments that are constructive and not hurtful.

  2. Kristina says:

    Super cute! But aren’t tortoises cold blooded? A cozy will definitely make them more memorable, but won’t keep it warm…

  3. Myk TUk says:

    Although a sweater might help a little to help the tortoise to retain the heat it has stored, it will hinder it’s ability to warm up in the sun. I guess it’s cute for a quick photo shoot, but not for long term use.

  4. Sarah says:

    April Fools?!

  5. Dayna says:

    I don’t want to be negative, in fact one of my favorite things about the online crafting community is how positive most people are, but this is just a stupid idea.

    1. Carrie Nelson says:

      Please see my response to “churflap” below and see “Jim”‘s opinion as well. This is not going to be impeding ANY of the thermoregulation of the tortoise shell nor will it impede his movement whatsoever.

      1. dsc138 says:

        Hi Carrie,

        I appreciate you and Jim clearing this up. As I have never had a tortoise as a pet I didn’t realize that this craft had a practical purpose. It would have been nice if the editor/poster had mentioned the practical purpose instead of the silly one of ‘keeping the tortoises warm’!



        1. Carrie Nelson says:

          Dayna – THANK YOU for taking my comment the right way. I just wanted to help others who may not understand this was NOT dress-up and cutsie thing to do to a living creature (at least for us). I feel so much better that you got the information in the way I intended it. I too think that there should have been some homework done on the subject before posting that they would be good for “keeping warm enough”. When inside they need to be under heat lamps for a certain amount of time as they don’t retain heat by covering them. Their blood acts like a kind of antifreeze if you will, that needs the exterior sunlight or artificial heat. You can take them and let them run (well maybe not run) but walk around the house as long as you heat them for as long as what your vet recommends. Then when outside keep them visible but allow their own thermometer and natural heating occur. For those of you that thought this was an April Fools or hoped it was I think that there was misunderstanding on both sides. With just a little understanding and suggestions on how to keep tortoises safe outdoors this has actually been a learning exercise for us all.

          1. Andrew Salomone says:

            Hey y’all, it’s nice to see that this post has opened up a healthy dialogue about the work. I just want to point out that the warmth comment was informed by the maker’s original posting on Etsy (which has since been sold):

            “Have you ever wondered if your tortoise is getting a little chilly while you let her roam your home a little? Well, have no fear, the solution is here: a tortoise cozy!”

            Since then it looks like she has updated her posts to address the warmth issue.

            “Please keep in mind that tortoises are cold-blooded, and so these cozies do not replace a good heat source. Do not use near a heat source. Please supervise your tortoise while it is wearing a cozy.”

            We have featured many crafts created for pets and animals in the past, and obviously how those crafts impact the animals is a concern, but since the person who made the work rescues tortoises and donates some of her profits to International Reptile Rescue, I felt confident that these works were not created with malicious intent when I posted them. Plus, it sounds like some of you are making your own versions of these now, so I’m glad that you found out about them here!

  6. Dale Spotswood says:

    I love it! MUCH more festive!

  7. mango says:

    Please tell me this is an April Fool’s post.

  8. Nadia says:

    Anything that impedes an animal’s natural movement, behaviour etc. is a really bad idea. Why do humans need to “pretty up” animals?

  9. lissanna70 says:

    Remember that these animals convert sunlight into helpful vitamins that they need. So, while this is cute, make sure they get outdoor time when they can properly absorb sunlight into their shell!

  10. Michelle says:

    I’m shocked this is now a featured craft. Come on, craftzine. I was sure you would’ve taken this down.

  11. churflap says:

    I am not an expert on anything, but I would think these would do more harm than good. As warm-blooded creatures, we humans are made warmer by wrapping ourselves in blankety things because in even mildly cool spaces our bodies are releasing a lot of heat. The blanket (or sweater or whatever) keeps it in. But cold-blooded animals like reptiles regulate their temperature externally; they need to be able to gain or lose heat as needed. Their bodies do not generate nearly so much internal heat. So it seems like this cozy thing, while adorable, would act as an insulator that would prevent them from soaking up heat from sun or heating pad or other source when they need to.

    1. Carrie Nelson says:

      RESPONSE TO THOSE WHO: 1. Need an explanation of why these are made. AND 2. The reason I am not constructing them like the original design. The reason I am making one with bright colored 100% cotton yarn is to help my granddaughter to keep an eye on her tortoise while outside She lost her other tortoise due to her 3 yr old brother taking it outside and the new tortoise has a brand new lock on the cage so he doesn’t do it again. They do love to be outside yet I do, however, understand that they can get overheated with a thick cover as the original design with what looks to be acrylic (a non organic yarn) so I am designing my own with stretchy elastic & cotton yarn and some in bamboo yarn which allow for breathability. I also am going to make them in a more open worked design (kind of a net design) so it’s shell will still be able to regulate his temperature and you can see his pretty shell. I will be offering my pattern on Ravelry for FREE. The reason the person who started the cover idea was for precisely the same reason I was asked by my daughter and granddaughter to make them – to keep an eye on her tortoise. The originator wanted them to be outside while she was in the garden. Don’t condemn until you understand why they are being used AND what others who do know about the thermoregulation that they have in their shells.
      Thank you!!!
      Tortoise cover making Mom & Busha (Polish for grandma)

      1. Shawna says:

        I can’t find your pattern on ravelry. Can you post a link here?

  12. samma g says:

    h8trrs gunna h8

    keep on rockinn that turtle swagg

  13. jennifer says:

    is there a pattern for pigeons?

  14. Jim says:

    They’re not just for looks. Tortoise’s are notorious for getting lost and this will make them stand out instead of blend in i.e. you can let them be real tortoises and let them walk around outside. It can be like finding a needle in a haystack if you lose site of them and they are faster than you think.

    1. Carrie Nelson says:

      Thank you for a reasonable voice that understands what I said in reply to “churflap” above. There are so many stories online about them getting lost and some being found months later! But I don’t want my granddaughter to worry anymore. So I will be making bright VERY bright and light weight yarn to make her new Greek tortoise “Opa” to see. They love the outdoors and he loves munching on grass.

      1. Steph says:

        couldn’t agree more!! mine buried itself out in my garden these are a great idea to stop them getting lost can they be knitted as well??

        1. Carrie Nelson says:

          Yes I can work out a knitted pattern as well and it too will go on Ravelry for free. My crocheted ones are looking so cool and very visible! Half the battle is finding a good contrasting yarn against the grass, leaves, etc. I have one done and am writing the pattern and then will follow the pattern for another to be sure I have a repeatable simple pattern. I will then do the knitted version. It may take a few days longer as we had the worst forest fire in 33 years here in northwestern Wisconsin and it has been just crazy. I am gathering clothes to donate to the families that lost their homes. Almost 9,000 acres burned in only 24 hours! But I will finish the tortoise cozies now that the fire has been 95% contained and there is no threat to us being evacuated. My husband thought I was crazy when I started putting all my yarn (hundreds of dollars worth) in bins to evacuate with (and of course my hooks, needles, looms…..). But such is the life of a yarn worker! :)

  15. Amy says:

    I can’t wait to start making one for my one year old Hermanns tortoise, he gets into allsorts of small nooks in the house let alone when I decide to let him wander outside! This is a perfect idea to make him more visible when he goes wandering :)
    How do I get the free crochet pattern?

    1. Penny Schumm says:

      How and from where do I order the crochet pattern for the tortoise cozy? I would be happy to pay for one.

      1. Andrew Salomone says:

        Hi Penny, just scroll back up, there’s a link right in the post!

  16. LBJ says:

    I adore this. I know so many people who have lost their turtles. And this does help. I would never leave this on my turtle all the time…it’s for the occasional play date outside. Can’t wait for the knitted pattern. So glad some of the profits are going to a worthy cause. You rock.

  17. Penny Schumm says:

    How and from where can I purchase a pattern for the tortoise cozy?

  18. BJ says:

    In the spirit of sharing information, I appreciate the positive aspics of this thread. As a rehabber and tortoise aficionado, let me add a few points to the stew:

    1. on moderate temperature sunny days, a dark colored tortoise cozy can help absorb and hold heat which the tortoise can then use to warm itself.

    2. Tortoise cozies help avoid the “Where’s Waldo” problem when these naturally camouflaged creatures are getting outdoor exercise at the park, etc. Thus, they help ensure the creature’s safety.

    3. I have used small hand warmers built into an integrated pocket just under the strap of the cozies to provide gentle heat to the plastron…my sullies enjoy increased warmth, energy and visibly greater enjoyment of their playtime during spring and autumn weather. The small, thin disposable hand warmers do not get too hot, and the heat is further insulated and dispersed through the pocket material.

  19. BJ says:

    PS, for visibility during summer it is easy to use a bit of sticky tac to safely secure a small fluorescent ‘flag’ (or tiny small orange cone…my favorite), to the tortoise’s carapace. No residue, no hinderance, no getting lost :)

  20. Logan says:

    Hey Andrew where can I get one of these for my turtle?

    1. Andrew Salomone says:

      Hi Logan, there’s a link to the maker’s Etsy shop right there in the post!

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Artist, writer, and teacher who makes work about popular culture, technology, and traditional craft processes.

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