How Long Can Turtles Hold Their Breath?

Few animals are as well-equipped for inhabiting oceans, rivers and ponds as aquatic turtles are. One of the adaptations common to the group is the ability to hold their breath for extended periods. Though some are capable of holding their breath for “only” 30 minutes, other turtles, in some circumstances, spend months underwater without breaching the surface to breathe.

At night, when they are inactive, many pet turtles sleep underwater, surfacing only a few times to grab several quick breaths. During this time — which may last more than six months in northern areas — the turtles lower their metabolic rates; they absorb oxygen from the water via their throats and cloacas.

While they are not technically holding their breath, remaining under a sheet of ice for months at a time is a significant achievement for otherwise air-breathing animals.

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.

How long can a pet turtle hold its breath?

The exact amount of time a turtle can hold its breath depends on its age and species. The average time ranges between 30 minutes to 45 minutes while in motion, or one hour while sleeping. Of course, hibernating turtles can last even longer underwater, thanks to their cloaca.

Can turtles sleep underwater?

Most often, pet turtles will only stay underwater for a few minutes at a time. In warm temperatures, where most pet turtles are maintained, they must breathe regularly. At night, this may change as your pet’s metabolism slows a bit — sleeping turtles may stay underwater for a few hours at a time.

How can turtles hold their breath for so long?

Some species of turtles can absorb oxygen from the water, allowing them to stay underwater for long periods of time without coming up for air. … In some turtle species, such as the eastern painted turtle, the cloaca has a high density of blood vessels, allowing the turtle to absorb oxygen from the water through the skin.

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.

The sea turtles are one of the extraordinary and mystic creatures of nature. Do you know? The sea turtles have been in the mother earth for more than 110 million years, and they have shared the habitat with dinosaurs? They are also one of the most-lived animals, with an average lifespan of 100 years. Another excellent capability of the turtle is they can hold the breath for a subnational amount of time.

Notably, the turtle will consume the stored oxygen in the body when entangled in a ghost net. The metabolic rate of
the turtle starts lowering, requiring very little oxygen and food to survive in
this period.

More so, the body
can also retain warmth because of its dark color and fatty tissues with oil
that works as a heat observer. The turtles can decrease their heart bit rate to a significant level to keep underwater for an extended period. Conclusion: The sea turtles are one of the
fittest animals considering their breath-holding capability, long lifespan, and
other characteristics.

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.

Pulmonary Pet Patterns

Your pet slider (Trachemys scripta ssp.) or painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) will frequently swim underwater for long periods of time — certainly longer than you could hold your breath. At night, when they are inactive, many pet turtles sleep underwater, surfacing only a few times to grab several quick breaths. While breathing in the oxygen, they increase their rate of blood flow in an effort to absorb more oxygen than they would otherwise.

Mata Matas

Mata matas (Cheuls fimbriatus) are South American turtles who lurk in sluggish backwaters, rivers and ponds. These bizarre-looking turtles occasionally reach 18 inches in length. Mata matas make their living by remaining motionless in the murky water; their flat shells and unusually shaped heads help them ambush unsuspecting fish, which they gulp down with remarkable quickness. To hunt in this manner, mata matas must remain still for long periods of time. Surfacing to breathe would ruin the turtles’ subterfuge, so they hold their breath for long periods of time — sometimes more than one hour.

Hibernation Respiration

Freshwater turtles from temperate latitudes must hibernate to survive the winter. While a few species — primarily mud turtles (Kinosternon ssp.) — hibernate in loose soil, most other North American aquatic species hibernate underwater. During this time — which may last more than six months in northern areas — the turtles lower their metabolic rates; they absorb oxygen from the water via their throats and cloacas. While they are not technically holding their breath, remaining under a sheet of ice for months at a time is a significant achievement for otherwise air-breathing animals.

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.

Biological

The ectothermic animals which mean they are cold-blooded. It helps the turtle to keep their body warm from different sources like sunlight and warm water. The metabolism rate of the turtle also fluctuates with temperature changes. The turtle will usually go through a slower metabolism when the temperature is cold and high metabolism in a warm environment. The quicker the metabolism is, the more oxygen they will need.

Behavior

As we said earlier, the turtles usually stay underwater for a few minutes during their usual activities. However, if there are any disturbances and changes in their habitat, they will require more oxygen for breathing. That is why it is crucial to control the water temperature in the turtle tank on the comfortable level of the pet sea turtle. You may find the turtle underwater for hours during the nights when it is sleeping.

Hibernation

A variety of aquatic turtle can hibernate underwater in the northern areas. It usually swims to the bottom of the waterside and covers its whole body with a substrate. The metabolic rate of the turtle starts lowering, requiring very little oxygen and food to survive in this period. A turtle can keep its breath when it is hibernating. Turtle can also absorb some oxygen from the water using their specialized throat and cloaca in a smaller amount.The sea turtle requires to hold the breath for an extended period while diving deep in the sea to search for food. Most species of the sea turtle can jump around 290m or 960 ft. However, the leatherback species can unbelievably go up to 1000m or 3000 ft deep. They become possible because of their flexible shell and collapsible lungs. More so, the species of turtle can also store more oxygen in its blood and muscles.The leatherback turtles are also adopted in the cold environment. As a result, they can dive into cold water without getting cold-stunned. The turtle’s body uses a counter-current heat exchange system to keep the body warm at the required level. More so, the body can also retain warmth because of its dark color and fatty tissues with oil that works as a heat observer.The turtles can decrease their heart bit rate to a significant level to keep underwater for an extended period. As per the researcher, there can be a nine-minute difference between the heartbeats of the turtle, which assists in staying underwater for a long time. These turtles also have a better metabolism rate, which helps produce a lot of heat while active. These things help the sea turtles to hold the breath underwater.

Can Sea Turtle Drown?

Turtles are considered as a reptile animal, which means they are not like fish and other species in the sea. They miss a particular organ called gills in the fish, which helps them to breathe underwater. Instead, the turtles have lungs and breathe air to breathe, just like human beings.Though some species can absorb oxygen underwater in a little amount, most of them cannot breathe underwater most of the time.As you see above, the turtles can hold the breath underwater for various reasons for a long time. However, they require to come in surface level within a while to refill the oxygen in the body. If somehow the turtle failed to go back on the surface level for breathing after holding the breath, they may drown. Some turtles are also terrible at swimming, which can be a reason for drowning.Turtles cannot hold breath when they are disturbed or become stressed. In such situations, they will require more oxygen consumption. They can also bring trapped underwater underneath rocks or something like this, which can lead them to drown.