Turtles may only compare to cats in terms of how much they sleep, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t asleep at times.
Turtles often nap four to seven hours per day, while some owners wonder why their pet turtle sleep in specific spots.
A question turtle owners ask is – Can turtles sleep outside the water?
Yes, they can.
You see, turtles prefer to sleep either under water or on the ground.
They do not appreciate being kept in aquariums because this makes them feel confined and stressed.
Turtles also dislike swimming pools due to chlorine fumes.
Turtles’ sleeping patterns indicate their health status and so on.
Here we will discuss whether sleeping outside of water is okay for the turtles or not.
Also, you will learn what is the perfect location for turtles to rest.
Do turtles sleep outside the water?
Most aquatic turtles sleep in the water.
However, sometimes, they can come out of the water and snooze on the basking dock or land area.
As long as your turtle is healthy, active, and eating properly this behavior is perfectly natural.
Many turtle enthusiasts recommend placing their pets’ beds on top of a shallow pond or even a large puddle of water.
This way, the animals won’t drown while asleep.
If this isn’t feasible, then at least put a towel under the bedding material to prevent any accidental drowning.
Although some turtles do sleep underwater, box turtles are exceptions.
These aquatic reptiles prefer to stay above ground during the night. A place where it’s dry
While asleep, box turtles usually dig holes in soft soil or sand and cover themselves with dried vegetation.
Logs, stumps, or even large stones provide good shelter for box turtles.
Some box turtles also hide beneath logs or boulders near streams or ponds.
How long can turtles stay out of water?
An aquatic or semi-aquatic turtle usually spends four to seven hours asleep.
This makes sense since he would normally spend those hours resting while floating around in the ocean.
However, some species of freshwater turtles can actually survive without access to water for weeks at a time.
Experts say that in most cases, turtles will survive eight hours outside of the water.
They also note that at cooler temperatures, turtles may last several days before succumbing to hypothermia.
Therefore, keeping your pet in its tank while he sleeps won’t cause any serious medical issues.
However, you can bring him to the veterinarian just to be safe.
And, try to get your pet used to spending some time in the water.
Why Does my turtle stay out of water?
Turtles that nap outside of the water often show signs of illness or poor care.
If this happens, check your pets’ environment carefully and seek veterinary attention immediately.
Turtles sleep outside of their shells because they have no access to air while sleeping inside them.
They breathe by means of diffusion across the shell membrane.
This process takes time to complete so when asleep, they remain submerged in the surrounding liquid.
When awake, they use gills to take breaths of fresh air.
3 possible reasons why your turtle prefers to sleep outside the water
- Water temperature is either too low or too high
- Your turtle is not feeling well and is sick
- Other turtles in the tank are bullying your turtle
Let’s go through these points in more detail
Water temperature is too high or low
Turtles drop their metabolic rate to sleep underwater for a long time.
To do this, the enclosure temperature must be one or two degrees lower than normal.
This allows the turtles to have a good night’s rest.
Turtles prefer temperatures between 65°F and 80°F.
If the temperature gets too cold, the turtle will leave the water and seek shelter on land.
If the temperature gets too hot, the turtle will return to the water.
The cold temperatures cause turtles to hibernate.
They do this to conserve energy and stay warm during winter months.
However, once the weather warms up again, they will return to the water.
However, if the water temperature rises, it will become unbearable to the turtle.
In this scenario, a turtle would try and swim deep in the pond or river.
Because your turtle is in a turtle tank, this is not possible of course
So what they do is come out of the tank and sleep do whatever they are doing out of the tank
As it is not possible in home tanks, the turtle will come out of the tank and sleep or do all activities on the land area.
A turtle can get overheated because of the poor quality of its aquarium heater.
If this happens, experts recommend installing a high-quality digital aquarium heater in the enclosure.
This device tracks the water temperature and prevents it from crossing the safe range.
Turtle is sick
Turtles don’t like being left alone.
They’re social animals and they prefer to live together.
So when you leave them unattended, they’ll try to find their way back into the water.
And if they can’t do that, they’ll just sit there and wait until someone takes care of them.
Turtles are susceptible to many diseases, including respiratory infections, eye infections, rotting shells, skin infections, and more.
These illnesses can lead to dehydration, weight loss, and death.
Turtles are susceptible to bacterial infections caused by bacteria like Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
These bacteria enter through the mouth and nose and infect the lungs.
Symptoms include excessive basking and sleeping on the basking platform, difficulty in breathing, and lethargy.
Your turtle should recover after treatment.
After recovery, the animal will continue sleeping in the water.
Always seek medical advice if you see anything strange with your turtle
Turtles can sometimes get territorial over their tanks and even each other.
This usually happens because some of the turtles are stronger than others.
The dominant turtles often bully weaker ones.
Turtles also sleep outside of the water due to being bullied.
Bullying can cause serious stress for turtles.
If you see any signs of bullying, separate the animals immediately.
Determine what exactly is causing the behavior and provide them plenty of room to swim and bask.
This may resolve bullying issues.
Does a turtle sleep in water?
Turtles love to snooze near water because it provides protection against predators and helps regulate body temperature.
A turtle’s preferred resting spots include shallow ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, estuaries, bays, beaches, marshes, swamps, wetlands, mangroves, tidal pools, tideflats, seagrass beds, coral reefs, saltwater lagoons, brackish waters, and oceanic islands.
They also seek shelter under logs, rocks, seaweed, sea grasses, sandbars, and even floating debris.
Some species also hide beneath overhanging ledges or fallen trees.
Turtles love to rest near water sources, especially during hot summer days.
They also prefer to stay close to each other while resting.
In fact, some species even form tight social bonds.
Here’s how you can make your aquarium suitable for your turtle
- A think layer of substrate at the bottom of the tank
- Plant small vegetation and place rocks around the substrate
- Not too deep water for your turtle
- Installing a high quality tank heater and water filtration system will ensure your pet has clean drinking water throughout the year.
- Turn off the basking lights at night. This reduces stress levels and helps prevent shell peeling in turtle shells.
- Install a nightlight so that you can see them better when its dark
How long do turtles sleep?
Turtles don’t experience deep sleep like humans do.
Their sleep is more of a long break during which turtles must wake up several times throughout the night.
Turtles can stay under water for four to seven hours, only moving their heads above the surface to take breaths.
Turtles can survive underwater for hours at a time due to the cold temperature
Cold weather slows turtles’ metabolism, allowing them to conserve energy.
They breathe easier at lower body temperatures.
Tortoise on the other hand, they can sleep for much longer!
Land turtles like the Galapagos tortoise can sleep for 16 – 18 hours every day
That is a lot of sleep!
They’re pretty much asleep more than they’re awake