How Long Can A Turtle Live Without Food and Water

How Long Can A Turtle Live Without Food and Water?

Can A Turtle Live Without Food Alone? If Yes, How Long Can They live only on Water? A healthy, grown-up turtle that has been fed well throughout its life ought to be capable of surviving for months without ingesting anything. Juvenile turtles, in particular, infant turtles, will not be capable of living for pretty long as they need food (particularly protein) a lot more often than grownup turtles do. 

First, the solution might depend upon which kind of turtle is in question- is it a wild or a pet? Again, it’d be important to ask yourself how much and how regularly the reptiles typically need to feed.

Turtles do not require an excessive amount of energy to keep their inner body temperature as is the cause of homoeothermic animals.  This might thus imply they do not need to eat plenty of energy when homoeothermic animals.

That said, those reptiles would possibly go for an extended time without food. Turtles do hibernate specifically throughout the cold winter months. This is the everyday example of when they go without ingesting.

But, What happens if turtles don’t eat?

A healthy turtle can survive up to 6 months without consuming anything. If your turtle is not consuming, maybe he is suffering from some illness. Illness like constipation, vitamin A deficiency, eye problems, pregnancy, or respiratory infection. 

How Long Can A Turtle Live Without Food and Water

Factors influencing the duration a turtle takes without eating


Turtles are cold-blooded animals. Hence, they regulate their body temperature by warming their bodies through warm water and sunlight. The metabolic rates of turtles don’t fluctuate with temperature changes. 


The element that can have an effect on how long it can go without meals is the supply of water.

If it has access to easy and natural water for ingesting and swimming, even if meals aren’t always available, it can live for numerous weeks though; it could lose little fat storage.

However, this can’t be something critical as this usually happens even to wild turtles during damaging environmental conditions.

Access to basking area, UVB, and heat lamp

For the best health of every other sort of pet turtle, a dry region for basking, a suitable temperature needs to be availed. You can supply it with a heat lamp in addition to a UVB lamp

These reptiles can live without difficulty with no critical health difficulty for numerous months, without food.

This is only if they have access to natural water for swimming and consumption as well as a right basking region with UVB and warmth lamps.

Hibernation underwater

Because they’re cold-blooded animals, they may be extraordinarily energetic in high-temperature conditions. Also, they are much less energetic or maybe inactive whilst the temperatures drop. 

In the acute drop in temperatures, turtles have a tendency to go into hibernation. Some hibernate with no symptoms of respiration in the pond or withinside the mud.

During hibernation, they do not move as they reach a point wherein they most effectively use basal metabolic rate. The pulse rate additionally reduces as they respire anaerobically.

At this time, they both need little quantity or no meals at all, and this may go on for numerous weeks or months.

Age of the turtle

Age is one of the vital variables when thinking about how long a turtle can live without food.

Even if the basking requirements and water are available for young turtles, they will not go long without food. 

Young turtles are in need of growth and cater for cell division and multiplication. Therefore, they must be fed more frequently. 

What are the signs of a dying turtle?

  1. Lack of appetite
  2. Increased basking
  3. Lethargy
  4. Foaming at the nose/mouse
  5. Coughing, sneezing, or whistling
  6. Lopsided swimming

How long can a turtle live?

Type of turtleLifespan
Wood turtle40-50 years
Red-Eared Slider25-35 years
Eastern box turtle50+ years
Map turtle15-25 years
Russian tortoise40+ years
Painted turtle25-30 years
Leopard tortoise100+ years
Greek tortoise100+ years

When a turtle dies what happens?

Like all animals, turtles decompose after their demise. A foul smell is launched as their body decomposes, and gases form from their useless body.

However, now and again turtles that seem dead may also genuinely be brumating or resting. So, earlier than finding out what to do with a dead turtle, decide if it’s far from absolutely dead.

During brumation, turtles may also seem dead. However, they are certainly not. Try stimulating the turtle and search for cues, along with foul odors and decomposition, to ensure that the turtle is certainly dead.

Dealing with the demise of a cherished pet is not easy. Use the subsequent information to check that your turtle is dead and then determine what to do with its frame and shell.

Here are the primary symptoms of a dead turtle:

  • It stays absolutely still.
  • The turtle produces an offensive smell.
  • It no longer replies to stimulation.
  • It floats in the water.
  • The turtle does not turn over while placed on its back.

The first indication that your turtle is dead is while it stays lifeless. You may also notice that it has not moved in numerous days. But, it is able to be brumating and not certainly dead. Hence, try stimulating it.

How do you revive a dead turtle?

  1. Hold the turtle’s head at the base of the skull and extend the neck.
  2. Turn the turtle tail-up/head-down and open the mouth. You may see some water dripping out. 
  3. After it stops, place your pet on the flat surface in a belly-down position.
  4. Keep the front legs straight and pull them towards you.
  5. Keep the legs straight and push them as much as you can.
  6. This will help to enable the airflow through the body.

Final words

If you’re unwilling to tackle these responsibilities, you must not undertake a turtle as a pet. Although turtles now no longer have the same unique needs as puppies or cats, you must by no means leave them without meals for more than 3 or 4 days.

Indeed, although they can survive for some time without their human parent, the reality stays that these little reptiles nevertheless depend upon you, and also you need to make certain they have an ideal quality of life.

Frequently asked questions

Can turtles starve to death?

Your turtle can live for 160 days without food. However, he must have access to water during this period. In addition to this, he must get a good amount of light so that he can get sufficient vitamin D.

How often should I feed my turtle?

Juvenile or small turtles can eat every day. As they grow old, you can give a good portion of food to these adult turtles every 2 to 3 days.

Why is my turtle staying in one spot?

Turtles get most of the heat for their bodies from the basking area and UVB rays. In fact, these two things are very essential for them. If the basking area’s temperature is too high or low, the turtle will start exhibiting strange behavior.

Why is my turtle not moving or eating?

If your turtle is not moving or eating for a few days, then he might be suffering from parasites, diet deficiencies, respiratory illness, etc. Hence, you must try to give different types of food. If the case is still the same, you must take your turtle to the vet.