Can Turtles Jump? | How High Can Turtles Jump

We never see turtles running because they move incredibly slowly. Many of us are curious to know, “can turtles jump.” Yes, turtles can jump but not far. Unlike cats and dogs, you can not expect a turtle to jump from a high point or far distance.

Large turtles do not jump due to their big size and weight, but small to medium size turtles can. If we consider all turtle species, then snapping turtles are significant among all when it comes to jumping. I will explain in this post “how high can turtles jump” and categorize turtle species based on jumping.

Can Turtles Jump?

But jumping, if you understand a turtle can perform the activity like an Australian Kangaroo, you are mistaken. You need to tweak the definition of jumping for turtles because what they do in jumping is hopping for us. It does not apply to every turtle, as some species can actually jump.

As a turtle owner, you can barely see your pet jumping. Turtles are poor when it comes to jumping at height or distance. We should not expect these little creatures with bulky bodies and heavy shells on their back. Turtle shells weigh between 5 and 25 pounds depending on their species.

According to the research, the shell comprises 35% of turtles’ overall weight. Leg limbs of turtles are not flexible like other animals, so they do not allow them to jump. With all these limitations, we can consider the little hopping of turtles as jumping.

Can Sea Turtles Jump?

Like other turtles, sea turtles can jump, but it is shorter, so we usually can not witness it. As we know, sea turtles spend most of their time in water and come to land for a few hours. Sea turtles can jump when they have to dive into the water from the boulders or rocks.

How Do Turtles Jump?

Turtles are four-footed animals but still thus struggle to jump due to their composition. Do you surprise to see turtles jumping with their bulky physique and heavy shell lying on their back? When they jump, they bend their back legs while extending the front legs. 

After getting the proper posture, they come up with force in the four legs to move the turtles forward. You can notice that the jump of turtles is short, and it seems like they are hopping. Turtles do not care about the distance and height of their jump because turtle jumping is not necessary for their survival. 

How Far Can Turtles Jump?

Unlike humans and other animals, turtle jumps are short. Medium-sized jumping turtles can hardly cover 3 to 4 inches, whereas small ones can jump through 2 inches. By considering the jump of other animals, if you have seen a turtle jumping, then it is not easy to believe what they did was jumping. 

A jump is an activity where the whole body is in the air, no matter how high and distant. During the jump, the turtle’s body is in the air, and no part is touching the ground. Before making a jump, if a turtle is running, then the distance it will cover with the jump will be more. From this, it is clear that turtles can cover a few inches of distance while jumping.

Why Do Turtles Jump?

Animals in the wild jump to catch their food or to attack their prey. It usually does not happen with turtles. Turtles jump when they need to reach the spot at some high level or when they need to dive into the water from an elevated position. Turtles do not have to jump to protect themselves from their predators because when they feel a threat, they hide in their shells. 

Only snapping turtles can not hide their neck and legs in the shell. Can Snapping Turtles Jump? Yes, they jump when they sense a threat. Snapping turtle jump can be longer than other species due to their flexible neck and legs, along with bulky size. So people unusually question,How high can snapping turtles jump?” “How far can snapping turtles jump?”

why do turtles jump

Why Do Turtles Not Jump Often?

Every characteristic of living beings is a gift of God. For example, animals like lions, dogs, and wolves jump to pounce on their prey so they can survive. Turtle jumping is not necessary for their survival because they can get their food without jumping.

Some animals like cats and monkeys leap to save themselves from predators, but turtles hide in their shells instead of jumping because their shell is strong enough to bear the attack of predators. If turtles feel a threat, they hop away into the water from the attackers. 

Can Turtles Jump Out Of Water?

Turtles can jump out of water tanks if their requirements are unmet. Following are some reasons of it. Let’s have a look:


To get UVA and UVB light for their development, turtles jump out of the water to bask. For basking, they need to lay on land where they get a warm atmosphere and sunlight (heat lamp in case of captivative turtle). After remaining in the water for too long, turtles feel cold and want to raise their body temperature by basking.

Insufficient Tank Space

Turtles grow more than aquarium fishes, and they are proper swimmers. An adult turtle requires a bigger turtle tank for swimming. If the aquarium can not accommodate the turtle, it will jump out of it. For baby turtles, a 20 to 30 gallons water tank is sufficient, so you need to get a bigger one for full-grown turtles.

Dirty Water

Turtles are sensitive to contamination. They become covered in silt and algae, reducing their buoyancy and making them sink. Freshwater turtles can not remain in the polluted water. If you own a turtle, then make sure that the water in the tank is not polluted by regularly cleaning it.


Turtles are sensitive and get stressed in no time. Noise, dirty water, improper handling, poor diet, and change in the habitat can put them under stress. A depressed turtle can stop eating and jump out of the water. 

Water Parameter

Water parameters are necessary for the turtles to stay in the water. If they are not okay, then turtles will come out of the water. Levels of nitrogen, nitrate, and ammonia should be as low as possible, so the turtle can feel well while swimming. 

Final Words

Can Turtles Jump? Turtles can jump, but they can not jump far due to their weight and size. Large turtles are unable to jump as their weight is too big in proportion to their shell. Snapping turtles are the only species that can jump to the extent that one could compare with a small dog jumping.

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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.