How Long Do Turtles Sleep (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 9 To 10 Hours

There are more than thousands of words in the dictionary, while some words are quite similar and most of the time people think a lot to differentiate those two words. People who don’t know what exactly confuse some things, like the difference between jam and jelly, possum and opossum, emoji and emoticon, poison and venom, and finally, the most popular one of them all, the difference between a tortoise and a turtle.

A turtle and a tortoise may look similar, but there are some characteristics and physical traits that differ. There are around 360 types of turtles in the world, some extinct, some still very much widespread all around the world. Turtles belong to an order of reptiles and they are popularly known for their shells.

There are many interesting facts to know about turtles, which include their sleeping schedules. Normally, turtles are divided into two groups, the hidden neck, and side neck turtles. Tortoises are a species of turtles, terrapins too.

How Long Do Turtles Sleep

Animals Quiz

Test your knowledge about topics related to Animals

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What is the name of the organ in mammals that filters waste products from the blood and produces urine?

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What is the name of the animal that is known for its agility and ability to use its tail for balance and climbing trees?

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How Long Do Turtles Sleep?

Sleep schedule of turtlesTime
Minimum time turtles should sleep4 to 7 hours
Average time turtles should sleep8 to 10 hours
Maximum time turtles should sleep11 to 12 hours

Turtles are found all over the world and they can live on land and also in water. They belong to an order of reptiles called Testudines and they breathe air and lay eggs on the land, though they can live underwater too.

Another important fact about turtles is that they are related to birds and crocodilians. Turtles are cold-blooded and that means the internal temperature of the turtle changes according to the temperature of the environment and they are opportunistic omnivores and they eat both plants and tiny animals.

Turtles even migrate when necessary and sea turtles even migrate to a certain distance to lay their eggs and even some freshwater and terrestrial species of turtles are adopted as pets by many around the world. Turtles are even grown for their meat and they are even used to prepare medicines. Turtle shells are very popular, valuable and are used to make jewelry and ornaments.

Some animals are nocturnal while turtles are not. They do sleep and their sleep schedule depends on the type of turtle, their age, health, and activity level. Turtles need a minimum sleep of about 4 to 5 hours, and on average, turtles sleep for about 8 to 10 hours.

Why Do Turtles Sleep That Long?

Turtles don’t sleep longer than 11 to 12 hours unless they are sick or they have any sort of health issue. Turtles retract into their shells when they go to sleep and they also do this to protect themselves from any sort of predators.

Turtles need a suitable place to sleep, with a good temperature and they normally like to sleep near rocks or anywhere that camouflages them. That’s why they retract into their shells because they are constantly afraid of predators attacking them. When the surroundings are not right, just like humans, they don’t sleep when the sleeping area is not comfortable.

When turtles don’t find rocks to sleep in, they normally find places with dense vegetation where they can be safe and hide. While wild turtles search for dense vegetation, freshwater turtles start burying themselves into the sand, especially at the bottom of a pond.

By doing that, they get the amount of oxygen they require to sleep from the water. Semi-aquatic turtles, search for marshy areas and dig up a hole, either partial or complete and sea turtles sleep in underwater structures, either at the bottom of the rocks or on top.


Turtles normally choose a basking spot, or they sleep on the surface of the water and some retract into their shells in a quiet spot and relax, while some other types sleep by burying themselves in the mud. Turtles can sleep comfortably in water because of their slow metabolism and they can go on for hours without actually breathing, and they close their eyelids while they sleep.

They have their means to extract oxygen from the water and for people who own turtles, it is better to switch off the tank lights or any other bright lights in the surroundings to help the turtles sleep and make them feel comfortable.

How long a turtle sleeps depends on multiple factors. For example, while aquatic turtles sleep for at least 4 to 7 hours a day, land turtles sleep longer than that, for about 11 to 12 hours. Baby turtles do constantly sleep sometimes. Turtles are normally resting if they are not napping or sleeping.



Last Updated : 23 February, 2024

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