How Long Can A Turtle Hold Its Breath?

How Long Can A Turtle Hold Its Breath?  .Turtles are semi-aquatic or aquatic reptiles. They live the majority of their existence in the water. This is why many people believe turtles breathe underwater the same way as fish. However, turtles are not able to breathe underwater. They are able to keep their breath for long periods. What is the length of time that turtles breathe?

Turtles usually dive in the water for between 4 and five minutes and return for a short time to get air. However, many freshwater turtles can keep their breath for as long as up to 20 minutes in the event that they must. Sea turtles can keep their breath for up or 7 hours.

In this post, I’ll explain how long various species of turtles can hold their breath in water so that you can stop pets from becoming drowned. It is also important find out how they hold their breath for this long!

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How Long Do Different Types of Turtles Take Their Breath?

Turtles are reptiles that adore water. They require water for a variety of reasons like being able to swim, eating, drinking, hiding and hibernating. However, they are not able to stay forever in the water since they can’t breathe water. If they can’t leave the water in search of oxygen, they’ll sink under the surface and end up dying.

However, turtles have mastered the habit of breathing in the water for long periods of period of time. In the average, several species are able to keep their breath for anywhere from 40 or 60 minutes in temperatures of room temperature. This can extend to more than an hour in the event that they sleep in water.

There are many types of turtle and none of them are able to hold their breaths for the exact length of time. Even the identical species of turtle can’t keep their breath for the same length of time.

Critical factors like species age, species and the temperature of the water determine the length of time a turtle is able to keep its breath submerged. Based on these variables certain turtles are able to spend just a few minutes underwater breathing while others may take several hours.

Factors that Control Turtles” Breathing Underwater”


The aquatic and semi-aquatic turtles are able to keep their breath for longer than turtles on land. Here’s a list various species of turtles and how long they are able to keep their breath when they are engaged in regular aquatic activities:

Turtle SpeciesHow Long Do They Hold Their Breath
Red-eared Sliders30-35 minutes
Eastern Box Turtle10 – 15 min
Painted TurtlesMany hours
Map Turtles20-30 minutes
Snapping TurtlesBetween 35 and 50 mins
Leatherback Turtles1 – 2 hours
Sulcata Tortoise (Land)Between 1 and 2 minutes
Russian Tortoise (Land)1 – 2 min

You can clearly see that marine species can keep their breath in the water for longer. Sea turtles can be underwater without oxygen for a long time. Contrarily land turtles, such as box turtles, are able to stay underwater for 10-15 minutes.

Tortoises reside mostly in the land. They are able to hold their breath for about 1 or 2 minutes. They’re not very good swimmers as turtles that swim in water and semi-aquatic turtles. They will therefore drown in the water.

Age of Turtles

Age of the turtle affects the ability of a turtle to hold its breath. An adult that is healthy and fit better at holding breath in water than young turtle. As time passes, they can train their bodies to remain in water for longer.

The juvenile turtles aren’t mature enough and don’t have any experience breathing under water. They are therefore often required to swim up to the surface to breathe every couple of minutes.

Water Temperature

The temperature of the water is another aspect that affects how long turtles can breathe underwater. When the water is hot it makes a turtle more active. Thus, their metabolism stays relatively higher, which means that it requires more oxygen. Thus, the turtle needs to swim to the surface more frequently.

When temperatures drop lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit, turtles slow their metabolism rate. Therefore, they enter hibernation. The turtle could spend up to five months in hibernation, without ever coming up to breathe!

Can turtles hold their breath for hours?

It is interesting to note that turtles often be without air for hours when they sleep in the water or sleeping underwater. Sea turtles, for instance, can sleep between 4 and 7 hours underwater, breathing in air.

Freshwater turtles are also able to remain airless for a long time while they sleep in the water. They are able to do this because they slow their metabolism in this period. A slower metabolism means less consumption of oxygen. Therefore, turtles may stay in the water for long periods of time.

How Do Turtles Hold Their Breath All This Time?

You might be wondering what turtles do to remain submerged for this long. Like all living creatures they require oxygen in order to live. They climb to the surface to breathe breaths in the air and then dive into the water. Remember, oxygen isn’t only available within the atmosphere. It is also present in water.

A variety of turtle species absorb oxygen from the water, allowing them stay within the waters for this long. How do they get oxygen? They aren’t able to breathe in water, so they must absorb it.

Be prepared to be amazed! Turtles absorb oxygen by Cloaca. The process is referred to as the cloacal respiration. The cloaca, or opening, is at the back of the turtle. It’s the reproductive organ, as well as the butt. The cloaca of turtles is filled with blood vessels and that is the reason turtles are able to absorb oxygen directly from water.

Apart from the capability of the cloacal respiratory system, turtles have nares that are located just above their mouths. Therefore, they don’t need to exit the water completely to breathe into the air. They simply need to expose the nares for just a few seconds. This is why it appears that turtles can stay within the waters for this long.

In the end, we can say that turtles have an unique respiratory and the skeletal and muscle system that permits turtles to swim for a long time. Also, turtles train their bodies to remain in the water to survive.

How can turtles stay under water While they hibernate?


When temperatures fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit turtles are forced to hibernate. However, they don’t go into full inactive mode. This condition of inactivity only for a short time is referred to as brumation.

Turtles can live in the water for months without the brumation. Even if they don’t leave the water to get oxygen, they continue to fulfill their oxygen needs through Cloaca. They also reduce their metabolism in hibernation. They’re virtually inactive. Therefore, they need less oxygen.

So, turtles could remain in the water for up to five months without ever coming to the surface to replenish their oxygen levels. However, hibernation can be a risky process. A lot of turtles can’t be able to endure this phase. It is therefore recommended not to allow your pet turtle get into hibernation.

How Do Sea Turtles Keep Their Breath for this Long?

Sea turtles are a fascinating turtle species that are able to retain their breath underwater for more that freshwater turtles. In normal times, they get up every five to 10 minutes. As with all turtles, turtles do not wish to stress their bodies. Thus, they’ll often come to the surface to breathe oxygen.

If the conditions demand sea turtles to keep their breath for as long as two hours while they are active. This is an interesting fact: Sea turtles are able to hold their breath for anywhere from 4 to 7 hours in a sleep in the water! Sea turtles spend the majority of their lives underwater because they feel more secure and safe there. Therefore, they’ve developed their bodies to sleep under water.

Sea turtles may be able to stay for a long time due to their metabolism slowing when they sleep. They are able to use lesser fuel and oxygen. They also use their cloaca in order to absorb oxygen in the air. Therefore, they are able to hold their breath for so long.

How Long Will Baby Turtles Keep Their Breath?

As we’ve mentioned the age of a turtle is a major aspect in a turtle’s ability to breathe underwater. The baby turtles aren’t fully evolved, and they are inexperienced. They are therefore unable to remain submerged without air for longer than adult turtles. The baby turtles require oxygen to stay alive in water. They rise to the surface each 4 to 5 minutes to breathe fresh air for short time.

If you’ve got babies turtles in your tank, don’t allow them to stay in the water more than 10-15 minutes. If the turtles’ babies are unable to reach the surface to get air, they could drown to death.

Do Turtles drown In The Water?

The turtle is certainly impressive for being able to hold their breath underwater for an extended period. However, they are not without limitations. If their lung capacity dries out, turtles can end up drowning in the sea. Also, the time that it takes for a turtle to drown in water is contingent on the species and age and the level of oxygen present in the body.

A lot of turtles are trapped by fishing nets and drown in the water once they are unable to breathe. Pet turtles too can drown in tanks when caught in tank equipment.

Keep turtle-friendly equipment within the aquarium. Certain species of turtles, like Box turtles aren’t swimming well.

If you discover your turtle drowning, take the turtle from the tank right away. There is a good chance that your turtle won’t be dead immediately after drowning. You can also try to revive your turtle. Here’s what you need to do:

Remove the turtle from the water as soon as you can. It is then held by your tail and shell. The head of the animal should be downwards.

Hold the head gently at the head’s base. Pull the head and press it back. Repeat the motion. It can help get out of the water.

After a time the water will begin to drip from the turtle’s mouth. If the water ceases to flow out, set your turtle on an even surface.

Then then, Next, pull and pull to the back of the turtle’s legs. Repeat the motion until that the lungs start functioning again.

Do the same pulling and push movement using both legs behind your turtle. After a few days the turtle should be able to expel the water out of its lung. After that, it should take several deep breaths.

If you’re fortunate then your turtle could be restored using these steps. Don’t forget to take your pet to the vet immediately after you’ve revived it.

How Long Will Snapping Turtles Keep Their Breaths?

Snapping turtles are great predators. They hide beneath the water’s bottom in a lake or river and take on their prey. They are able to hold your breath in water for up or 35 minutes. Alligator snapping turtles are capable of breathing for up to up to 50 minutes.

When they are engaged in activities like diving, swimming or hunting and fighting off predators, snapping turtles can increase their consumption of oxygen. Therefore, the duration of their breathing could decrease to 10-15 minutes in case of stress.

Snapping turtles, however, can sleep under water holding their breath for between 4 and 6 hours. During this period of rest the heart rate decreases to 10 beats per min instead of 25 beats. Additionally, they are able to reduce the heart rate to just 2 or 1 beats per minute in hibernation. This means that they can go for months in the water without breathing.

How Long Do Red-Eared Sliders Take Their Breath?

Red-eared sliders typically appear for air at least every between 5- and 7-minutes during diving. They are very active in the water and are not content to idle. The species can keep its breath for up and 35 mins.

But, the time of day will vary based on the condition and health of the slider with red eyes. When temperatures are cold the red-eared sliders slow their activities. This is why they’re able to remain underwater for longer than normal.

How Long Do Painted Turtles Keep Their Breaths?

The majority of the time, turtles with tattoos spend their lives in water. Therefore, they are extremely adept at taking a breath in the water. An adult who is healthy could remain underwater for a long time. However, like all turtles, the painted one is often seen coming to the surface for oxygen.

A turtle painted with paint can hold its breath underwater only when there is no other option. It’ll slow down its metabolism in sleep and will remain submerged for long periods of time.

How Long Does A Leatherback Turtle Hold Their Breath?

Leatherback turtles are among the largest species of turtle in the world. They can breathe underwater for more time that freshwater turtles. They’ll come up to surface and breathe oxygen as often as they are able to. But, they are able to keep their breath for up and 45 minutes in the water, if the circumstances demand.

Leatherbacks are also sea turtles. They can therefore reduce their metabolic rate to live for a long period of time. In reality an adult turtle that is healthy can sleep for anywhere from 4 to seven hours without ever coming to the surface to breathe.

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What is the length of length of time a sea turtle is able to keep its breath? In the course of its normal routine the sea turtle is able to keep its breath for up to 45 minutes. The duration of a dive can be for up to 10 hours if you’re asleep or resting. Instead of being a proficient diver sea turtle could drown if it is deprived of oxygen when swimming in the water.

FAQs: For How Long a Sea Turtle Breath?

Question 1: How long can a sea turtle keep its breath?

Ans: Green Sea turtles can be held in its breath for about 5-8 hours.

Question 2: How many hours can an ocean turtle keep its breath?

Ans: Sea turtles’ typical time underwater ranges from approximately 4-7 hours. Certain species may keep their breath for shorter periods of time.

Question 3: How long can a loggerhead sea turtle keep its breath?

Ans: A sea turtle loggerhead can keep its breath for up to 7 to 8 hours.

Question 4: How long can the hawksbill sea turtle keep its breath?

Ans: A sea turtle called a hawksbill can hold its breath for as long as 5-8 hours.

Question 5Are sea turtles a threatened species?Ans:- Yes, the majority of sea turtles are at risk. Many groups are trying to save sea turtles however, the results are not always consistent currently

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