When you’re a little kid and fall asleep, your mom or dad might move the lamp next to your bed.
But as an adult, it’s up to you whether you want a soft glow or total darkness when you go to bed.
The truth is that most of us have a hard time sleeping without some sort of illumination — either from a nightlight (which gives off just enough light for kids) or a full-blown lamp.
But what about turtles?
Do they also prefer the dark?
And if so, why?
“There are actually two main reasons that people think turtles should be able to see well at nighttime,” says Dr. Robert Vickers, director of research at the University of Florida’s Museum of Natural History. “One reason is that there are many species of turtles that live near water and therefore spend their days in shallow areas where sunlight can reach down into deeper waters.”
The other reason is that turtles often use their sense of smell to find mates, assess danger and navigate through the world.”
So how much light do these animals need to see clearly? “It depends on the type of turtle,” says Vickers.
“Some turtles may only require a dim red light while others may need more like yellow or white lights. It really all comes down to the specific needs of each individual turtle.”
In this article we’re going to go into more detail to answer the question – Why Does My Turtle Like The Dark?
Do turtles like being in the dark?
Most turtles are nocturnal meaning that they tend to come out during the day but prefer to hide away during the night.
Turtles can’t see very well during the daytime because their eyes don’t focus on objects — unlike humans who can focus on something close by while looking far away.
So, instead of focusing on anything directly ahead, turtles look around them, which means they need a lot of light.
That said, not every turtle likes to hang out under a streetlamp.
Some prefer hiding in the shadows of rocks, logs or even underneath piles of leaves.
Other turtles prefer basking in direct sunlight.
And then there are those turtles that aren’t picky about their habitat and don’t mind hanging out in broad daylight.
For example, green sea turtles living along the coast of South Carolina and Georgia enjoy sunbathing while olive ridley sea turtles living along the Gulf Coast of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi sometimes bask in the morning before heading back to the ocean to eat.
Does turtle need light at night?
Turtles don’t need any light at night.
Unlike birds, fish and mammals, turtles never need to see using their vision at night since they don’t have eyelids.
Instead, turtles rely on another sense called electroreception.
This is their ability to detect electrical currents and vibrations underwater.
They use this method to hunt for food, determine direction and communicate with one another.
As we mentioned earlier, turtles use their sense of smell to search for prey, assess risk and navigate through the murky depths.
Their noses contain sensitive organs called olfactory receptors that help them locate odors.
In fact, turtle nostrils are so large that a human face could fit inside them.
These creatures also have pores all over their bodies that release carbon dioxide and oxygen as needed.
Because of this, turtles don’t need to breathe air; they absorb oxygen straight through their skin.
That way, turtles can stay submerged for hours without needing to surface for air.
Do turtles sleep at night?
Yes, turtles get sleepy at night — especially after dark.
Like humans, turtles experience circadian rhythms, which means that they naturally wake up and start sleeping at certain times of day.
In addition to having a set schedule, turtles also respond to changes in lighting levels.
When it gets darker outside, turtles become less active and head back to their shells to get comfortable.
What do turtles like to sleep on?
Although turtles have no preference for where they’d like to sleep, scientists have found that turtles like to sleep on flat surfaces.
For example, male diamondback terrapins like to sleep on mud flats.
The female dig their nests in loose sand banks.
Green turtles living in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji prefer sandy beaches and rocky shorelines.