Can Tortoise Swim? If No Then What are the reasons

No, they cannot swim. Their legs are not made for swimming. They don’t have flippers as turtles do instead they have clawed toes which restrict them from swimming. It’s not that they are aquaphobic. It’s because of the inability of swimming legs. Weight is another vital reason for not being able to swim. They are of huge weight and because of this physical appearance, they are fit for land travel. Hopefully now you get the ans of “Can Tortoise Swim.”

Most people try to save tortoises by throwing them into the water. They are saving them rather than killing them.  Internet and social media are full of posts where people have accidentally thrown tortoises into the water and then feel guilty of the ignorance.

Tortoise Cannot Swim

They cannot. They have hard, solid, and rough legs. More like elephants have. Their feet are quite hard and don’t push the water back while swimming. These types of feet are good for land movement and not for fit marine traffic. They have relaxed and calm metabolism. They are cold-blooded and need lots of heat from around to warm themselves.

Tortoise is evolved over thousands of years to be able to walk on the land. This can drift, they can move in the water for few moments to touch the land.  They can drift for 1-2 minutes as they cannot hold them breathe for a longer period. They will sink and drown after a while. 

Do All Tortoises Swim?

Do All Tortoises Swim
It depends on species and weight

It depends on the species. Those who are living in deserts cannot swim for even a shorter time. Those who live near the seaside can float for 2-3 minutes until touch the seashore. Few of the species float and few cannot. It depends on many factors such as age and weight. It also depends on the flow of the water. If the water is still, then they can easily float and move but they cannot do this in fast-moving water. Leopard tortoises can swim 

Do Tortoise-Like Water?

Wild tortoises mostly avoid water. They know they cannot swim therefore they better stay away from the water. However, they do like to bathe in a tub full of water. They do drink water. They are not aquaphobic. So water is not something they hate but they don’t like it for swimming. They cannot hold breathe in water therefore they don’t like it.

Do Gopher Tortoises Swim?

Do Gopher Tortoises Swim
Gopher Tortoises can’t swim

Unfortunately, they cannot. They cannot swim for more than 2 minutes. Just like normal tortoises, they don’t have the ability and shape to swim.  Gopher tortoises live mostly near seashores. People normally confuse them with sea turtles and throw them into the water with the intent of helping them. This is because both the turtles and tortoises have the same appearance. They look more and like the same. It is quite difficult for a common man to distinguish between them. 

Can Desert Tortoise Swim?

Just like normal tortoises they cannot swim. Infect they avoid water. They like to stay on the land instead of going into the water like turtles. Desert tortoises are found in great numbers in eastern California, southwestern Utah, and Mexico. They spend more than 90% of their life underground. 

Which Tortoise Can Swim?

As per the recent study conducted on the tortoises, it has been noted that the Leopard tortoise is the only species that can swim. They can swim for almost 10 minutes underwater. They can swim enough to pass the river or lake. Their feet are different from other tortoises. They paddle like feet which help them in swimming.

Tortoise keepers need to have a pool for leopard tortoises as they like to swim. 

Do Tortoises Drink Water?

Do Tortoises Drink Water
Yes tortoise can drink water

yes, they do drink water. No animal is found in the world that can live without water. Tortoises don’t like water but they do drink it to stay hydrated.  Some tortoises can live for 4 to 6 months without water, others can only live for 2 months. So it depends on the species. It is advised tortoises should be given water a minimum of once a week. This has the right to drink water daily. They start feeling thirsty when no given water for consecutive 2 days. They like to drink fresh water. Even those species who live in the desert refer to fresh and clean water for drinking.

How To Tell If Your Tortoise Is Dehydrated?

Dehydration is a serious issue for tortoises. Dehydration can be deadly for them. So if you are a pet owner, you need to know the signs when your tortoise is dehydrated.

Following are the signs and symptoms when they are dehydrated

  • Dry Faeces
  • Loose skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Thick, ropey mucus.
  • Watery eyes
  • Depression
  • Lack of activity
  • Weakness 

So if you ever found these signs, You can give them food with water content. Make sure water is provided on daily basis to them. You can also bathe them on daily basis. 

How Long Can a Tortoise Live?

Tortoise can live 100 or 200 years. It depends on their care and environment. There is another fact the age of tortoises is also dependent on their species. 
If you thinking of raising a pet tortoise, you must be surprised to know that they can live more than your age. You need to have a proper plan for them for years. They can diet for many reasons. Poor deit, Unhegieneice conditions. Infections, injuries, and stress. 

Can Tortoises Bite?

Are you a tortoise pet keeper and want to know if they bite or not? This is important to know if you have any interaction with the tortoise. Well, they do bite. Although they are quite peace-loving and calm they do bite other fellow tortoises and sometimes humans. They do this when they are misbehaved, Mistreated, Forced, and threatened. They bite humans to depend on themselves. It has been observed that tortoises bite unknown people more than those who are familiar to them. If you have just got tortoises and want to raise him, don’t put fingers in their mouth. Male tortoises bite more the female tortoises. 

Do Tortoise Recognise Their Owners?

If you are a pet owner and want to be recognized by your pet, then you would be happy to know that tortoises do recognize their owners. although they won’t come running towards you they will show affection for you. They would see whatever you are doing nearby. They would even look at you as if you have brought some treats for them. It has been observed that tortoises are friendly to their cage mates. But it varies from individual to individual. Some live like friends and some start fighting with each other. 


Tortoises cannot swim. Their body structure, weight, and legs don’t support them for swimming. They have clawed toes which are perfect for walking on the land. None of the species of tortoises can swim except leopard tortoises who can swim for almost 10 minutes to pass the river or a lake. All other species cannot float for more than 2 minutes. They drink water but don’t like it for swimming. It is recommended you give them water a minimum once a weak otherwise they will get sick. Tortoises can live for up to 200 years. They do recognize their owners. They also bite fellow tortoises and humans if threatened or hurt.

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