Do turtles sleep Underwater? | How and Where?

Yes, turtles can sleep underwater but not for a much longer time. Time fluctuation depends on the turtle’s species, locality of their habitats, and temperature both above and inside the water.

Do turtles sleep Underwater

Turtles like to spend the greater part of their sleeping time in the water. They are adjusted for amphibian life, possessing webbed feet and webbed flippers, and a smooth straight body. Ocean turtles seldom leave the sea. They eat and sleep inside the water and lay eggs outside the water. 

Deep diver turtles have oxygen storage pockets in their blood and tissues which enables them to avoid lung pressure problems. This allows deep diver turtles to sleep under the water for a longer time than other turtle species. 

How Do Turtles Breathe?

Turtles own lungs that assist them to survive and breathe underwater. Fish have gills that help them to remain sunken and breathe comfortably, turtles have lungs. Although, the size of their lungs is quite small till this keeps the turtle to stay in water for a long time. Turtle species possess merely strong lungs that assist them to survive in water for a long-lasting time.

Can Turtles Breathe Underwater?

Can Turtles Breathe Underwater
Yes turtle can breathe underwater

Yes, turtles can breathe underwater also. Turtles being cold-blooded animals, when the temperature drops in the colder time of year, a turtle’s inward temperature drops with it. This results in dropping the metabolism rate of turtles.

When turtles are in a low metabolism sleeping period, their oxygen requirement for the body drops significantly. The oxygen diffused from the water running over them is sufficient to support them until spring. 

In this period, circumstances get truly difficult. They can generally change to anaerobic respiration, which is fueling and maintaining their level of metabolism at an optimum level without oxygen, yet this mode accompanies a period limit because of the development of a respiratory side-effect, that is lactic acid.

This breathing process of turtles is not a unique one among different amphibians and reptiles. Mostly, it’s common among them and generally, it’s referred to as cutaneous respiration. 

How Do Turtles Sleep?

Turtles sleep, yet their sleep is unique concerning others. It is more similar to a resting state. Many turtles, tortoises, and reptiles seem to rest during an everyday cycle. They pick a detached spot with a consistent and adequate temperature. These reptiles then stopped moving around and accepted a specific stance, ordinarily pulling out into their shell for insurance in-between downtime.

Where Do Turtles Sleep?

Ocean turtles can rest on the outside of the water when out of sight the sea deeps, they wedge themselves under overhanging rocks or coral outcroppings to rest in shallow water. They need a couple of moments at the surface to refresh their lungs. After that last breath, they return under the surface and sleep under the water. When they are sleeping, their metabolic rate eases back, empowering them to all the more proficiently use oxygen which permits them to stay lower for a few hours before again lacking to surface for air.

Painted turtles cover themselves in sand or mud at the lower part of a lake to sleep, and then they absorb oxygen from the water. Their very slow metabolic rate, combined with the structure of their shell, permits these turtles to endure being caught submerged for quite a prolonged time.

Map turtles are semi-aquatic. When map turtles are going to sleep, they may delve themselves to some extent or totally into a mucky space of grass. In most northern regions, map turtles sleep from October to April, alone or in the form of clusters.

Box turtles sleep above the surface of the water because they can’t spend most of their time underwater. They don’t eat when no food is available and need less warmth. This empowers them to remain alive until spring. In the wild, these turtles search out ensured spaces in the delicate ground or under foundations of trees, over the water table. Powerless and underweight turtles or the individuals who rise out of hibernation too early may not possibly live.

Land turtles and land tortoises like to spend the majority of their time sleeping while staying on land. When it comes to aquatic turtles, they sleep under the water. Some aquatic turtles sleep on dry land also. On average, turtles sleep approximately between 4 to 7 hours but when they rest on dry areas, like basking areas, their sleeping hours may be extended for regular average time. Apart from this, wherever they sleep, they may wake up in between to breathe frequently. 

Can Turtles Sleep Inside Their Shell Underwater?

Can Turtles Sleep Inside Their Shell Underwater
Yes turtle sleep in their shell underwater

Yes, turtles can sleep inside their shell when they are underwater but it’s not true for every turtle. Most commonly sea turtles like to live under the water and they mostly sleep there as well. Only sea turtles go inside their shell to sleep under the water. They have a soft shell which makes them easy to retract in their shells. It gives them the advantage of staying safe and not falling prey to predators while they are sleeping.

Can Pet Turtles Sleep Underwater?

Pet turtles mostly don’t like to sleep beneath the water. It is the reason that they live in a confining environment. They can sleep under the water but for a short span. Maybe, they can go underwater just for a short nap but remember that part of the water is shallower than. They can’t go to sleep in the deep water. However, they are pretty good swimmers but not good enough to remain underwater for a considerably long period. Surely, if they will go to sleep under the water for a quite long time, there might be a possibility of pet turtles being drowned. 

Can Sea Turtles Sleep Underwater?

Sea turtles, unlike other turtles, mostly sleep beneath the water. A study shows that almost 55 % – 65 % of the time of sea turtles is spent beneath the water. This is a pretty good time of the day to sleep under the water. This straight away points out sea turtles being very good swimmers also. The only possibility of sea turtles being drowned is if they fail to reload their lungs at the correct time. At a rough estimate, sea turtles can easily hold their breath under the water for approximately 4 to 7 hours. 

Can Red-eared Slider Turtles Sleep Underwater?

Red-eared slider turtles sleep under the water as these turtles love to spend most of their time under the water. A study indicates about 75 % of the time of red-eared slider turtles being spent under the water. Red-eared slider turtle drowning cases are almost rare. These turtles are more than super comfortable under the water. They can swim, eat, and even sleep under the water. 

Can Box Turtles Sleep Underwater?

Box turtles are terrible swimmers and hence they can’t sleep under the water. They lack webbed feet which makes them not a good swimmer. Box turtles are not very good at holding their breath below the water for a long time. Hence, they can’t sleep underwater. Therefore, they like to spend their time above the surface of the water. They do roam around in the water but on the shallow water area side.

Can Baby Turtles Sleep Underwater?

Baby turtles are at a higher risk of being drowned. Baby turtles lack body development and are also inexperienced than adult turtles, making them even harder to sleep under the water. Therefore, they are kept from the water mostly. 

Can Tortoise Sleep Underwater?

Tortoises are even worse swimmers than box turtles which indicates that they can’t sleep beneath the water. Tortoise also lacks webbed feet just like box turtles. It won’t be wrong to say that they are not used to spending their time inside the water. If they do, they will be quickly drowned.

Can A Turtle Drown?

Well, the drowning of a turtle depends on several different factors. The answer to this question can be either yes or also no. The most important factor on which drowning a turtle depends is the turtle species. 

Although drowning turtles may seem a silly question, the truth is that many turtles lose their lives every year due to drowning. 

Let’s look at how frequently different turtle species can be drowned. 

Species YES or NO
Pet Turtle YES
Sea Turtle NO
Red-eared Turtle NO
Box Turtle YES
Tortoise YES
Baby Turtle YES


Turtles just love to sleep. Including turtles, no one can spend all of their time under the water. It is due to oxygen level fluctuations. Similarly, turtles also can’t always be under the water and breathe. They have to come up to the surface at different times and even it may vary between various turtle species. Turtles can’t sleep all of their time under the water. Although turtles being cold-blooded animals, they do not quickly utilize all of the oxygen.

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