Can Turtles Jump? | How High Can A Turtle Jump?

As we all know, turtles are the slowest moving creatures on this planet. They can move. They can walk. They can often run sometimes. But what about jumping? 

Can Turtles Jump

Can turtles jump? Yes, turtles can jump but their jump is not as high as the cheetah. Their large and inflexible body makes it challenging to jump. Since turtles are mostly adapted to live in water, they lack the necessary conditions to jump.  

They cannot cover long distances like other animals. They can make a visible jump to escape from predators. However, large turtles do not jump. Also, tortoises cannot jump.  They only have a free fall from higher places. Medium and small-sized turtles can jump visibly. And amongst all the species snapping turtles are the best jumpers. Their jump is far better compared to any other turtle. 

How High Can Turtles Jump? 

Turtles are quadruped vertebrates with an almost inflexible body. The fact that turtles are quadrupedal means they used all four legs at the time of jumping. 

Many people believed that the large heavy shell on the roof of the turtle does not allow them to jump like other animals. But, this is not true. Turtles have an inflexible body that does not allow them to bend, as it is already close to the ground. 

But this does not completely stop the turtles from jumping. Turtles can jump slightly forward, but not backward and sideways. 

While making a jump, turtles get into a particular position that helps them to propel forward, completely in the air, without having contact with the ground. 

Turtles when about to jump, bend their hind legs close to the ground, and their forelegs slightly extend. While keeping all four legs bent, the supporting muscles attached to the shell helps for jumping. 

Most medium and small size turtles can jump. Large turtles do not jump. A medium-sized turtle can jump from about 3-4 inches (7-10 cm), whereas smaller turtles can jump only around  2 inches (5 cm). 

If the turtle is running before the jump, it can cover some more distance than a jump made while standing from a point. 

Can Sea Turtles Jump? 

Can Sea Turtles Jump
Yes sea turtles can jump

Sea turtles are large reptiles found in ocean waters, also known as marine turtles. These turtles evolved 150  million years ago. First, sea turtles were the land animals. 

Before evolution, these turtles have to force themselves to move to the oceans to get their body temperature to cool down in the hot weather. This whole process takes some effort. 

In their evolution period, they permanently switched their habitat from lands to oceans and seas. Hence, their large feet developed into flippers to survive. 

Sea turtles live most of their life underwater. They only come to the water surface to breathe in the air as sea turtles can only live 2 hours without breathing in the water. 

The weight of the shells protecting the spine, muscles, and flippers of the sea turtles and the obvious evolution of their elephantine legs into floating flippers cannot provide support to the sea turtles to jump out of the water. 

Can Turtles Jump Out Of Water? 

Can Turtles Jump Out Of Water
Turtles found jumping ability as a negligible characteristic

Not often! Unlike other animals, turtles found jumping ability as a negligible characteristic. 

Other animals jump either to hunt for their prey or to escape from their predators as this is a very quick move. 

Turtles on the other hand do not require jumping on a day-to-day basis. To protect themselves from predators they have a large muscular-skeletal makeup in the form of a  shell. 

However, some smaller turtles can be seen jumping from a higher place into the cold body of water to enjoy a good swim.

Otherwise, turtles have their food underwater such as small fishes and water insects so they don’t need to jump out of the water for main reasons. 

Can Snapping Turtles Jump? 

Can Snapping Turtles Jump
Yes snapping turtles can jump

Amongst all the turtle species, Snapping turtles are the best in making jumps up to a  certain distance. 

The common snapping turtles are the master jumpers of all turtles. 

They mainly jump to escape from their predators. Whenever a snapping turtle found a  sign of threat they jumped to save his life. 

You may not find the jump of a snapping turtle quite impressive as compared to cats, snakes, and tigers but among all turtles out there, their jump can cover a distance of around  3-4 inches (7-10 cm). 

The ability of a small snapping turtle to jump goes beyond 2 inches (5 cm). 

However, a snapping turtle can barely jump out of the water because he needs a proper ground surface under his feet to make a perfect leap. 

Can Tortoises Jump?

Does a tortoise jump to a high place or can it jump from a high place right away to the ground on its feet or can simply remain in the air without any physical contact? 

The answer to all the questions like above is simple no! No tortoise can jump anyhow due to their poorly developed skeleton. Jumping requires developed muscles and potential weight. A tortoise does not have any of these characteristics. 

Many tortoise owners misconceived the climbing or tumbling of their young tortoise with jumping. However, the truth is tortoises make a free fall to the ground or any relative object. They throw themselves at different objects as they love doing this. 

Their shells are purposefully developed to protect them and give them some weight if they climb from higher places. 


Turtles can jump but unlike other animals, their jump is not comparatively high and does not cover a long distance. 

However, the tortoise cannot jump. They climb from higher places into the body of cold water in a free fall movement. Snapping turtles are probably the best jumping turtles out there. They can even jump on you if they find a threat from your side.

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