It can be a quite alarming sight when you see your turtle sleeping that the bottom of the tank
I mean, can they even stay under water for that long!
Is it safe for them to do so
Is it actually normal?
Well, let me put your worries to aside because it is completely normal for your turtle to be at the bottom of the tank sleeping
It’s not dangerous and nothing is wrong with your turtle
It’s the way they sleep and maybe this is the first time you’ve actually caught your turtle sleeping like this
They may be doing this every night!
In this article we’ll discuss everything from whether turtles actually like being held down in the bottom of the tank all day long, to how long your turtle stays submerged without surfacing.
Let’s start off with finding answers to these questions:
Is it normal for turtles to sleep bottom of the tank?
Yes, most definitely yes.
Turtles love basking in the sun and sometimes even prefer to go under the surface of the water rather than bask in the sunlight.
However, unlike lizards who usually lay flat on their backs while resting, turtles rest on their sides facing upward towards the open air.
If you look closely at them, you would also notice that they use their tails as propellers to help propel themselves across the floor of the aquarium.
So where exactly does this “basking” occur?
At the very bottom of the tank, right next to the gravel.
Now you may already know that turtles need oxygen to live properly but did you know that they don’t always require fresh air?
The reason for this lies within their unique respiratory system which consists of large flaps of skin called “gills.”
These gills allow them to absorb both gases present in the atmosphere such as nitrogen and carbon dioxide.
Because of this, turtles aren’t able to survive well outside of fresh water ponds due to the fact that their bodies won’t receive enough amounts of oxygen through their gills.
Therefore, keeping them in tanks filled with clean water helps keep their body temperatures constant and allows them to perform better.
So it’s perfectly natural for your turtle to be sleeping at the bottom of the tank!
Is it normal for turtles to sleep underwater?
Most likely, yes again.
Just like humans, turtles enjoy feeling comfortable in their own habitat.
They spend hours every day soaking up the rays of the sun until eventually falling asleep.
In addition to basking in the sun, some species of turtles tend to bury their heads in the sand and wait for hours without eating or drinking.
Another way that turtles relax includes playing in the dirt.
Turtle shells become covered in calcium deposits over time, giving them a dull gray appearance.
When they want to shed some excess shell material, they often roll onto their back and dig tiny pits in the mud using their claws.
As mentioned earlier, they then lie motionless in the pit until the process is complete.
Other times, turtles simply stick their head underneath the water and drown themselves.
It seems funny, but turtles seem to enjoy drowning themselves.
Not only does this give them relief from having to breath in water full of impurities, it gives them a chance to catch a nap.
Many people consider this behavior strange since turtles generally avoid dying from exhaustion.
Nevertheless, it’s still considered normal for them to do this.
This leads me to my next point
How long can turtles stay underwater?
As previously stated, turtles love to soak up the suns’ warmth.
Unlike crocodiles and birds who typically remain submerged for several minutes, turtles usually hold their breaths for approximately 20 seconds before resurfacing.
Once they return to the surface, turtles inhale a huge amount of air through their nostrils, causing them to swim away rapidly.
Scientists believe that this rapid movement serves two purposes.
First, it expels any contaminated water from the lungs.
Second, it prevents turtles from becoming dehydrated by absorbing too much water.
For example, female turtles reproduce via releasing eggs into the waters.
Before doing so, however, she normally holds her breath for three minutes before submerging herself completely underwater.
After a period of time passes, she returns to the surface and exhales slowly.
She repeats this action continuously until she releases her clutch of eggs.
By taking longer breaths and holding them deeper, she ensures that the eggs don’t contain any contaminants.
After hatching, baby turtles crawl over to the edge of their mothers’ shells, awaiting further instructions.
Some hatchlings choose to leave immediately while others hang around for another week or so before heading off to join the ranks of adult turtles.
Either way, it appears that turtles enjoy spending most of their lives below the surface of the water.
Related article – Why does my turtle like the dark?