How Long Can Turtles Stay Out Of water? – Fun Fact

Turtles are perfect pets for those with no time to take their pets (like cats and dogs) out of the house for a walk. A turtle can be an adequate option for the pet if you are one of those people. If you think turtles are low-maintenance animals and you can put them in a water tank at home, rethink it.

Turtles are semi-aquatic creatures as they spend their time on land for basking, breathing, and eating, and then go to water for swimming. You might be thinking about “how long can turtles stay out of water.” They can stay out of the water until they feel dehydrated, and in this, I will tell you how long they can be out of water.

How Long Can Turtles Go Without Water?

Turtles can spend between 6 to 12 hours on land before entering the water. During hibernation, they may not enter the water for three to six months. The time they stay out of water can change depending on various aspects. Some important factors are the following:

  • Humidity 
  • Temperature 
  • Age

A turtle can spend days without getting into the water, but in some cases, they can not survive if they do not go back for 30 minutes. Let’s discuss these factors in detail:

Humidity – How Long Can A Turtle Stay Out Of Water?

Humidity is crucial for turtles to survive but what it actually is, let’s me explain it. Simply put, humidity refers to the amount of water in the air. A 100% humidity area means either fog or rain, depending on where you live. For turtles, humidity is beneficial as it allows them to remain hydrated even if they are out of water. 

In the wilds, turtles are found near the banks of rivers or in woods where humidity levels are high. Suppose the humidity is as low as 20% or less, then you will notice that your turtle remains in the water for long periods and come out of it for only eating, breathing, and basking. To provide your turtle a suitable habitat, ensure that its enclosure is humid, as you can do that by sprinkling water 3 to 4 times a day.

Temperature – How Long Can A Turtle Be Out Of Water?

Temperature is a key factor in how long a turtle will be out of water. High temperature indicates enhanced evaporation, so when the turtle is out of water in a hot atmosphere, it will get dehydrated in no time. Turtles’ bodies comprise 68 to 74 percent water, excluding their shell, which indicates that heat affects them. 

For example, a human can easily survive for 4 days without water at 73°F (23°C), but if the temperature is 104°F (40°C), they can only last for 1 to 2 days. Cold weather does not impact the timing of turtles staying out of the water like hot weather. Turtles are able to survive at the same temperatures as humans, so there is no need to worry about the temperature.

Age – How Long Can A Turtle Go Without Water?

Adult turtles can stay out of water for longer than baby turtles. They are not capable of storing the same amount of water as adult ones can because their bodies are not fully grown. If a baby turtle comes out of the water, it can stay for 6 to 8 hours before going back into the water. 

The condition does not apply if your house is extremely hot, as it will make the baby turtle dehydrated within moments. In case a baby turtle is out of the water and finds a damp spot, then it can remain there for up to 12 hours without entering the aquarium. 

how long do box turtle go without water

How Do Turtles Manage To Remain Out Of Water For 3 To 6 Months?

We all know turtles are one of those reptiles who can not survive if they do not go to water for long. It confuses many about how they can stay for 3 to 6 months of hibernation period. Forget about 3 or 6 months. Turtles will not last for a week without water in normal circumstances. 

Nothing complicated there because while hibernating, turtles become inactive and sleep for months to survive the cold weather. Animals hibernate in winter as they do not have access to food due to snow, so they go into sleep mode to save their heat for survival till spring. If you want to learn about the hibernation of turtles, you can check out: Do Box Turtles Hibernate?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do Turtles Need To Be In Water All The Time?

Turtles go into the water to keep them safe from dehydration. If the temperature is low and humid outside the aquarium, they will stay outside because their bodies do not demand them to enter the water.

How Long Can A Baby Turtle Stay Out Of Water?

Baby turtles can stay for less time than adult turtles because they can not hold water like adult turtles. So, they have to get into the water to hydrate themselves. 

How Long Can Red-Eared Sliders Be Out Of Water?

Red Eared Sliders can stay out of water for up to 8 hours without any problem. It depends upon the environment of the land where they are resting.

Do Turtles Need Water To Survive?

Yes, turtles need water to keep their body temperature optimal in hot weather. Due to excessive evaporation in summer, they get dehydrated soon. 

Final Words

You can see that many factors affect turtles’ ability to remain out of water for an extended period of time. Reptiles, including turtles, keep their bodies at a suitable temperature with evaporation. It plays an essential role in their health, but when it is too intense, it can cause a turtle to become dehydrated. Except for the basking area, ensure that the turtle enclosure is humid and moderately warm.

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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.