How Long Can a Turtle Hold Its Breath?

One of the fun things about turtles is that they live on both land and water. Watching a pet turtle climb up onto its basking platform, or a wild turtle scramble up onto a rock is a real highlight.

However, unlike fish, turtles dont have gills that draw oxygen out of water. The painted turtle can receive some oxygen underwater, but will still surface for air, even during sleeping hours.

However, they are able to hold their breath for a significant amount of time, which is why we have so many people asking this question! For the sake of dolphin and whale watching its a very good thing that these mammals come up to the surface to breathe, or else wed probably never see them! There isnt a straightforward answer to this question because it varies according to the turtles species, age, and location.

Additionally, the temperature of the water also affects how long a turtle can stay underwater. Sea turtles have the ability to hold their breath and stay underwater the longest. The most important thing is that you shouldnt flip the turtle upside down, as it keeps some air in its lungs for hibernation even after drowning.

Turtles are able to hold their breath for a lot of time so there should be nothing to worry about if were talking about a tank setting. However, even a turtle that lasts has good breath-holding skills can drown quickly if things go wrong. When theyre agitated, they might start to struggle to release themselves from the obstacle, causing them to lose air at a much higher rate.

Young turtles are more at risk of getting trapped or even misjudging when they need to return to the surface for a breath. The actual length of time will depend on their breed and their level of activity underwater.

How Long Can turtles go without breathing?

Although turtles can hold their breath for 45 minutes to one hour during routine activity, they normally dive for 4-5 minutes and surfaces to breathe for a few seconds in between dives.

Can turtle sleep underwater?

Freshwater turtles can easily sleep underwater for 5 hours at a time. Similar to sea turtles, freshwater turtles are able to conserve a lot of their oxygen when sleeping underwater since they do not have much movement. Usually, a turtle will naturally wake up when their body starts to get low on oxygen.

Can a turtle drown?

Yes, sea turtles can drown as they have lungs just like other reptiles and similar to our own lungs. Sea turtles cannot breathe underwater, however they can hold their breath for long periods of time. … Sea turtle drownings have been documented when turtles became caught in active fishing nets or ghost gear.

Can turtles breathe underwater for a long time?

Sea turtles cannot breathe underwater, however they can hold their breath for long periods of time. … When turtles hold their breath, their heart rate slows significantly to conserve oxygen – up to nine minutes may pass between heart beats!

When it comes to pet turtles, red eared sliders are by far the most popular. Red eared sliders are very resilient, and most can live up to 20 years in a tank. While red eared slider babies can be as small as one inch and fit in the palm of your hand, an adult red eared slider can reach a length of up to 12 inches long. Check out this wild transformation of my first red eared slider.

Red eared sliders can hold their breath a lot longer in cold water because their body requires less oxygen. The only way this can happen is if something shifts or falls in your tank and somehow blocks your red eared sliders access to reach the top of the water.

Red eared sliders that live in a cold weather environment undergo a process in the winter called brumation, which is pretty similar to hibernation.

If they are sleeping, they can remain underwater for several hours. In cold water during winter, when they are effectively hibernating, they can hold their breath for up to 7 hours. This involves very little movement.

Suitable for budding conservationists and those with an interest in the science surrounding turtles, their biology and conservation.

Most turtles species spend almost their entire life in water, but they always come out of the water for air. But how long can they hold their breath if they are able to stay so much underwater? In order to find out I decided to do some research, here is what I found out.

While other species are always surrounded by deep water, and as a result, they are accustomed to holding their breath a lot longer. Even if two turtles belong to the same species it doesnt mean that they can spend the same amount of time underwater.

At the moment we only have estimations of the time they can spend underwater because it will be to cruel to drown a turtle just to find out, and when they are in their natural habitat they will most probably not wait until the last minute to get out for oxygen. Photo by Bstoren on Wikipedia Some turtles have a gill-like structure in the cloaca that allows them to get small quantities of oxygen when they are underwater. The cloaca is the posterior orifice that serves as the only opening for the digestive, reproductive and urinary tract.

This respiratory mechanism is most efficient during the cold periods when the metabolism of the turtles is usually very low and very little oxygen is required. This species is known only from the single river system, which is full of underwater areas that are highly oxygenated by flowing waters. At the moment paleontologists havent identified the exact ancestor of the turtle, even if for some time it was believed to be the placodont.

But we can assume the reason why turtles spend so much time underwater is that that is the habitat that they found their best chance of survival. Lets be fair turtles are very slow on land when you compare them to other animals, and this can be a problem when it comes to defending from predators and catching prey.

Can Turtles Breath Underwater?

Yes, turtles can drown in water if they stay or get trapped underwater for longer than they can handle. Although it varies between species, most turtles spend a lot of time underwater. However, unlike fish, turtles don’t have gills that draw oxygen out of water. Instead, they have lungs.Turtles do sleep underwater, so sometimes you might be tempted to think your turtle has drowned when really he’s only asleep. The painted turtle can receive some oxygen underwater, but will still surface for air, even during sleeping hours.Just like whales, dolphins, and humans, turtles need to hold their breath while staying in the water and must come up to breathe. However, they are able to hold their breath for a significant amount of time, which is why we have so many people asking this question!For the sake of dolphin and whale watching it’s a very good thing that these mammals come up to the surface to breathe, or else we’d probably never see them! The same goes with turtles – we get to enjoy them all the more because they cannot breathe underwater.

Can You Save A Drowned Turtle?

There isn’t a straightforward answer to this question because it varies according to the turtle’s species, age, and location. Additionally, the temperature of the water also affects how long a turtle can stay underwater.Here are some examples:Sea turtles have the ability to hold their breath and stay underwater the longest. They can be underwater for periods of 4 – 7 hours – pretty incredible!

How To Prevent Turtles From Drowning

Turtles are able to hold their breath for a lot of time so there should be nothing to worry about if we’re talking about a tank setting. However, even a turtle that lasts has good breath-holding skills can drown quickly if things go wrong.The most common cause of turtle drowning is getting stuck in a certain part of the aquarium – behind a rock, under something on the surface of the water, or around some aquarium driftwood. When they’re agitated, they might start to struggle to release themselves from the obstacle, causing them to lose air at a much higher rate. This can raise their chances of drowning.That’s one of the main reasons why you should make sure that your aquarium and turtle toys are all turtle-friendly.

Can Baby Turtles Drown?

Baby turtles are perhaps most at risk of drowning because they are inexperienced and untested.One must be careful, especially when keeping young turtles in a large tank, that there is nothing that might impede the turtle from coming to the surface to get oxygen. Young turtles are more at risk of getting trapped or even misjudging when they need to return to the surface for a breath.

Can Turtles Drown – FAQs

Here are a few other frequently asked questions about turtles and drowning.
Most breeds of pet turtles can hold their breath from 15 – 40 minutes. The actual length of time will depend on their breed and their level of activity underwater. Sea turtles, on the other hand, can hold their breath for up to 7 hours!
Yes, turtles will get tired of swimming. They cannot be constantly left in the water without a basking platform or rock. Leaving them in a tank without access to a resting zone will ultimately lead to their drowning death.
Some turtle breeds can indeed breathe through their anus. One example is the white-throated snapping turtle of Queensland, Australia. The somewhat unbelievable skill is also known as cloacal respiration, though ‘breath through their bum’ is easier to say. The process really does let these turtles take oxygen directly from the water.
We’ve already covered this above, but we often get asked this question relating to specific breeds. So yes, red eared sliders, box turtles, painted turtles, snapping turtles, and sea turtles will all eventually drown if they do not come up to the surface for air.

How do red eared sliders breathe?

Red eared sliders primarily breathe through their lungs, which extracts oxygen from the air (just like humans). This is in contrast to fish and other aquatic animals that have gills and are able to extract oxygen from the water with their gills. However, I did state that they “primarily” breathe through their lungs. The only exception is when red eared sliders brumate.

Do red eared sliders hibernate?

Red eared sliders that live in a cold weather environment undergo a process in the winter called brumation, which is pretty similar to hibernation. During this period, the red eared slider usually goes and rests at the bottom of the river or pond. The turtle enters a sleep like state, but still drinks water and might move a little. While a red eared slider is brumating, their heart rate and blood pressure significantly decreases. This means that their heart needs a lot less oxygen than usual. This is where the crazy part comes in.While a red eared slider is brumating, they are able to extract oxygen from the water through their blood vessels on their scales. While they don’t extract much oxygen, it is enough to keep the turtle alive and breathing. These blood vessels intake only around 10% of the amount of oxygen that a fish’s gill intakes from the water.

How Turtles Breathe Underwater

Some turtles have a gill-like structure in the cloaca that allows them to get small quantities of oxygen when they are underwater.The cloaca is the posterior orifice that serves as the only opening for the digestive, reproductive and urinary tract. You can find more information about the cloaca in this article if you want to know more about it.This respiratory mechanism is most efficient during the cold periods when the metabolism of the turtles is usually very low and very little oxygen is required.The best display of this mechanism can be seen in the Fitzroy River turtle. The Fitzroy River turtle is able to breathe underwater with the gill-like structure that is located in the cloaca. This species is known only from the single river system, which is full of underwater areas that are highly oxygenated by flowing waters.