Can and Do Turtles Sleep Underwater? Is it Safe?

Can and Do Turtles Sleep Underwater? Is it Safe?

Do Turtles Sleep Underwater? Is It Normal Behaviour? Can Turtles Drown While Sleeping?

The ultimate answer is yes. Most turtles will sleep inside the water. They have a manner to manipulate their oxygen, which prevents these cute creatures from drowning. It is likewise the same method they use after they go into hibernation. When they sleep, they’ll discover a secluded location and live still for a completely long time.

Turtles sleep just like humans. The only distinction is how they sleep. Turtles’ sleep isn’t like that of humans. When turtles sleep, they go right into a state of rest. They will discover a hidden vicinity and expect a selected position and stay still.

Most of them will discover a spot underwater and could stay submerged the entire time they are asleep. They have a few adaptations that allow them to live in water for so long without drowning.

If you locate your turtle underwater not moving, do not get tense. It may be very normal. Do not even hassle waking the turtle up. You may be disrupting their resting time. Just stay calm and they’ll wake up when they are done.

Turtles are mild sleepers and they’ll wake up. However, you may expect they may be not snoozing but in reality, they may be in some kind of a semi-sleep.

Can and Do Turtles Sleep Underwater? Is it Safe?

Turtles can sleep underwater!

Turtles can stay underwater for around 4-7 hours. It is at some point in this time that they rest.

They will keep their heads above the water, for a moment, to refill their lungs.

However, they may quickly go back underneath the surface to rest again.

Is It Normal For Turtles To Sleep Out Of Water?

Aquatic turtles normally sleep underwater, even though some sleep on dry land (including the basking platform).

Keep in mind that these cute turtles can breathe underwater while they are asleep. Also, it is flawlessly natural for them to sleep at the lowest of their tanks.

Regardless of where your pet turtle loves to sleep, expect it to select an area and stick with it. Turtles typically sleep for about 4-7 hours every night.

They may sleep in the course of the day, or fall asleep for long intervals of time if they are hibernating.

Where Do Turtles Like To Sleep?

  • Mud
  • Tree stumps
  • Burrows
  • Dense vegetation
  • Underwater
  • Basking platform
  • Soil
  • Leaf litter

Why Do Turtles Stick Their Heads Out Of The Water?

Scan their environment

Most aquatic turtles feel the most secure in the water. This is due to the fact the bulk of their predators is on land.

In the water, a turtle can typically elude those threats. However, a turtle additionally loves to have an excellent feel of its environment. Therefore, they may stick their head out to go searching and look at their environment.


Despite being semi-aquatic, turtles nevertheless need to respire in the air in an effort to get oxygen. Unlike fish, they do not have gills that can extract oxygen from the water. Therefore, every short time a turtle has to paste their head out of the water to respire.


While turtles typically bask by absolutely leaving the water, they may sometimes bask while floating on the water. They sometimes do that whilst there isn’t a great basking spot nearby.

It could be very critical that you offer a basking spot for your turtle that is huge enough for your turtle to put on. You must additionally make certain that your turtle can easily get admission to the basking spot. They may additionally stick their head out of the water to stretch their necks.

Beg for food

It could be a very common thing for pet turtles to stick their heads out of the water in an effort to beg for food. They will typically do this once they see you coming close to the tank.

This is most probably due to the fact they accomplice your presence with food. While it is tempting, you should not feed your turtle more than two times a day.

How Does A Turtle Eat UnderWater?

To eat, turtles swiftly amplify their head and neck and actually suck the meals and water into their mouth, relatively like slurping noodles.

The suction created additionally serves to preserve prey in the mouth. It does this by extending the back of the throat, known as the oropharyngeal cavity. Also, lowering the lowest of the throat by depressing a bone known as the hyoid.

Once the meal is inside the mouth, the turtle expels the water.  They try this through processes. The turtle will boost its tongue, immobilizing the prey among the tongue and the roof of its mouth.

At the same time, it’ll compress its mouth, expelling the water through a moderate hole between its mouth and nostrils.

Scientists have found that once turtles take in their prey, they launch a jet of water from the nostrils and from those small gaps in their mouths.

All the water is not expelled, possibly due to the fact the turtle requires that water for swallowing. Multiple studies have stated that a few turtles cannot swallow their meals while on land. This indicates that water performs a critical role in this process.

Do Turtles Sleep In Their Shell?

Most turtles sleep in their shells. This instinct is for protecting themselves from any harm.

This shell acts as a shield and camouflages these little creatures. These turtles don’t come out of the shells, but they also shed shell plates.

Final words

So, turtles do sleep underwater. And they are able to do this for prolonged intervals of time too!

This is simply another reason why turtles make charming and exciting pets, and of course, is something to be aware of in advance.

So in case you see your turtle below the water for hours, they will be sleeping. It generally isn’t always a signal of concern, especially if they have a tendency to emigrate toward the same location in the tank.

Just make certain to often take a look at them and reveal their moves to make sure that they are good and nothing is wrong.

Frequently asked questions

Do Turtles Hold Their Breath? For How Long?

Usually, turtles can hold their breath for 45 mins to 1 hour. They dive for four to five minutes and come up to breathe for a few seconds to breathe and then go back again.

How Many Hours Do Turtles Sleep?

Turtles can sleep for 4 to 6 hours at night. Many pet turtles also take short naps during the basking time that are 1 hour long. This sleep duration depends on the age, species, predators, and size of the turtle.

What Do Turtles Look Like When They Sleep?

Turtles do not experience deeper sleep as we do. Their sleep is a long rest during which they come up to the surface several times to breathe. Turtles can be under the water for four to seven hours, just bobbing their head above the water to breathe.

Do Turtles Need Darkness To Sleep?

Many turtle parents think they need to keep the lights on in the turtle tank at night. However, the answer to this question is no. The turtle is fine if the light is off during the night. In fact, it is recommended that they should get the natural light and darkness every day.

Do Turtles Sleep In Water Or Land

Most turtles sleep underwater. But, some species like box turtles do not. Turtles like musk turtles, painted turtles, and mud turtles sleep underwater for four to seven hours. They come to the surface to breathe and once again go back to sleep underwater.