Do Box Turtles Swim? – Can Box Turtles Drown?

Whenever you are going to keep turtles as pets, then you should be aware of every fact associated with it. Turtles can live in both land and aquatic environments, but they can vary from species to species. If you are interested in keeping box turtles, you may have this question in mind “do box turtles swim.”

Where Do Box Turtles Like To Live? As box turtles are terrestrial species, you can guess that they prefer living on land. Box turtle feet have separated toes, indicating that they can swim but are not good at that, unlike other species. In the wild box, turtles can swim, but pets tend to be clumsy swimmers because they are not so active.

Can Box Turtles Swim?

Box turtles can be seen swimming in the wilds, but sometimes they look inexperienced while floating because they spend most of their time on land. Do you want to know why box turtles are bad at swimming? Unlike the long webbed feet of red-sliders and cooters, they have short feet along with separate toes. 

How long do box turtles swim? Unlike aquatic species, especially painted turtles, they spend way too less time in the water. As a box turtle owner, you must create a habitat with shallow water so your pet can spend time in the water for its growth.

How Long Do Box Turtles Swim?

Like pond turtles, box turtles swimming can not be as long as they are not created like aquatic turtles. They can swim, as we all have witnessed them swimming in the wilds, but it can vary from species to species. For example, desert box turtles live in arid regions where water habitats are hard to find. 

Similarly, the Florida Box turtles are found in wet areas and frequently go into the water. Box turtles swim to relax and cool down their bodies but can not live in the water for life. You find box turtles soaking in shallow water like ponds, but you will never stumble upon them floating in the middle of a river.

Can Box Turtles Swim Underwater?

Box turtles are not perfect swimmers, but somehow they can swim. As such, they can not swim with perfection, so they can most likely drown if they try to swim deep underwater. Moreover, they can not swim in fast-moving water because they can not hold their breath for too long. 

How Long Can Box Turtles Hold Their Breath Underwater?

On average, box turtles can hold their breath for 10 to 15 minutes. Like every other thing, there is also an exception as Coahullian Box Turtles can hold their breath for long periods. Owing to this, they spend 90 percent time underwater.

How Long Can Box Turtles Swim?

As box turtles are not aquatic creatures, they are not capable of swimming for long sessions. Wild box turtles can swim enough to reach someplace. For example, they can pass over a creek or two easily, so they prefer to swim over the surface.

How Much Water Do Box Turtles Need?

A box turtle looks like a tortoise, but they have to take in more water. A humid environment is usually the norm for them. The amount of water box turtles need varies according to species. For example, the desert box turtles demand less water than the Florida box turtles.

Are you planning to house a box turtle in an outdoor enclosure? If yes, then provide a flat water tray where your pet can drink water and soak it as well. You should moisturize the enclosure twice a day. Try to maintain a humidity level of around 65 percent.

If you are keeping a Coahuilan box turtle, create an aquarium for it as they spend a lot of time in the water. They may not swim as fast as various aquatic turtles, but they need 75 gallons of water in their enclosure. The enclosure should comprise a large stretch of dry land where the turtle can bask, walk, and dry.

Can You Use Tap Water To Hydrate Box Turtles?

As I have mentioned above, box turtles do not require aquariums for their survival. Only water and moisture are enough for them. They need a small quantity of water where they can soak them up daily and in their enclosure. 

Turtles are sensitive to chlorine as it can irritate their eyes. It can lead to white spots on the turtle’s skin. You should avoid providing tap water to your box turtle. As an alternative, you can use bottled mineral water. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can Box Turtles Breathe Underwater?

Box turtles can not breathe under the water. They need to come out of the water to breathe so they do not drown. We know that box turtles are terrestrial, and they have to intake oxygen from the air. 

Can Box Turtles Drown?

Like any other turtle species, if they remain underwater for too long, they can drown. Unlike aquatic turtles, box turtles do not take much time to water. Coahuila Box Turtles are an exception, but for other box turtle species, you have to ensure that the water is not too deep. It should be of the level where turtles can stand, and their head remains out of water.

How Long Can A Box Turtle Stay Underwater?

Box turtles can go under the water for a short period for their needs and joy. However, they must come out to breathe to survive. They can stop their breathing for 10 to 15 minutes, and they need to breathe.

Are Box Turtles Aquatic?

Can A Box Turtle Live In Water? No, box turtles are terrestrial as they remain on land for most of their time. They go to water when it is shallow, and there is no chance of their drowning. 

Can Turtles Swim In Chlorine Pools?

Unlike fish and other amphibians, they are way less sensitive to chlorine, but it may still irritate them. You should avoid letting your box turtle swim in chlorine pools as it is unhealthy for them.

Can Eastern Box Turtles Swim?

Eastern box turtles can swim, but they are known to be poor swimmers. In the wild, they can be seen swimming, unlike pets. Their body composition does not allow them to swim deep underwater.

Final Words

Do box turtles swim? Yes, they can. They are not the same as aquatic turtle species due to the difference in the shape and size of their feet. These turtles prefer soaking them up in shallow water rather than swimming in deep waters. If you own a box turtle and want to create a natural habitat for them, do not forget to include a box turtle pond.

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Hey, I've done my Ph.D. in Marine Biology. I'm a turtle enthusiast and have been owning turtles for the last 22 years and dedicated to sharing my experience to help you in pet turtle upbringing.