How long do turtles sleep and why?


While the turtle is a popular pet, it is still considered an exotic species. And the intricacies of care remain appropriate for such animals. Along with feeding and caring for turtles, many turtle keepers are curious as to how long do turtles sleep?

How long do turtles sleep in nature?

Naturally, a turtle needs sleep and rest like any other living animal. And, given its somewhat odd lifestyle, the turtle’s sleep has its unusual features. Thus, turtles are classified into two subspecies that sleep differently based on their environmental conditions:

A freshwater turtle.

It is active during the day in natural circumstances. It sets in the sun during the day, absorbs heat, and moves around the surface, occasionally diving into the ocean. It descends to the tank’s bottom at night and sleeps till daybreak. During the turtle’s sleep phase, all bodily functions slow down, and the reptile employs its anaerobic respiration system with minimum activity, allowing it to survive without air for an extended period. When the weather becomes cold, the turtle hibernates, caused by a natural dip in temperature. To spend the winter, the lizard falls to the bottom and stays in a condition of anabiosis for 4-5 months until the water warms and becomes oxygen-rich. Simultaneously, there is virtually no breathing. Fats collected before going into hibernation are consumed to maintain the body’s natural functioning.

The tortoise.

Tortoise prefers cloudy or rainy days to be active in semi-deserts and plains. It likes to seek refuge in the shade in hot weather and then venture out to dine with an appearance of coolness. Due to the tortoise’s acclimatization to a dry climate, it can live without daily nourishment and sleep. When a hot summertime arrives, and food does not grow in adequate amounts, the tortoise enters the hibernation phase, which allows it to survive without nourishment. It likes to hibernate in old abandoned animal holes or rock niches. In August, the animal awakens and begins actively eating, recovering nutrition lost in hibernation, which lasts until the snow starts to fall. The tortoise may sleep for up to eight months a year in its native habitat. Tortoise owners usually create environments for their animals that are similar to their natural habitats. As a result, the sleep schedules of tortoises in the wild and in captivity are nearly identical.

How long do domestic turtles sleep?

How long do turtles sleep while they’re at home? When a turtle lives in a human-created environment, its behavior changes slightly. It no longer has to flee from all the enemy talons or hide in a shell in danger to obtain food on occasion. However, the innate instincts continue to function:

  • The red-eared turtle prefers to remain awake during the day, snooze sometimes under a heat lamp, and sleep at night by descending to the terrarium’s bottom, providing sufficient oxygen in the lungs. The lack of potentially lethal attacks soothes the animal to sleep on land and hide in its shell.
  • Like a freshwater turtle, the tortoise follows a natural sleeping regime. It is most active in the early morning and late afternoon, and it sleeps twice daily at night, digging into the debris.

The more active the turtle is, the more prolonged the sleep is. If the animal sleeps for an extended period but does not refuse food during its brief waking period, it is unnecessary to be concerned. These may be the turtle organism’s unique qualities. If the sleep is short and irregular, the turtle should be sent to a veterinarian for a prescription of anti-anxiety medications.

How long do turtles sleep each day?

When we evaluate the sleep and waking schedule of a turtle, there is no such thing as a particular regime. It is entirely dependent on the animal’s kind and personal preferences. Additionally, the length and frequency of sleep are affected by the following factors:

  • The turtle’s age. The older a turtle becomes, the longer it sleeps.
  • The environment of the terrarium. The absence of irritants ensures a restful turtle’s sleep. On the other hand, the presence of the owner or other animals encourages a longer duration of activity or anxiety.
  • Diseases. Prolonged sleep has a healing effect on a weakened turtle’s body. If the turtle has become sluggish and frequently falls asleep, it should be taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

In summary, everything is dependent upon the turtle’s level of activity. Walking around, swimming for an extended period, and sliding down slopes and slides require considerable energy. The more frequently the turtle is awake, the stronger and more regularly it sleeps.

Do turtles sleep during the winter?

Turtles hibernate as an adaptation strategy to help them withstand the change of seasons and temperature drops. Hibernation is beneficial for maintaining health and reproductive potential and surviving the decrease in daylight hours and a shortage of water and food. Hibernation is a trait of several turtle and tortoise species in their native habitats. By maintaining conditions in a terrarium as natural as possible, some species of turtles are passing winter in a deep sleep. Additionally, hibernation is not required for domestic turtles when adequate UV light, heat, water, and food are available. When a reptile prepares for winter, its behavior changes. Initial symptoms include a reduction in appetite and activity.

Is the turtle sleeping too long, or is it dead?

It is exceedingly tricky for novice owners to identify a turtle’s state if it does not move for an extended period of time. Is the turtle sleeping long or unfortunately died? There are various techniques to identify the situation, including the following:

  • During sleep, a live turtle’s legs and head are drawn into the shell. The deceased are suspended and do not respond to touch.
  • When the open jaw is touched, a live turtle’s beak instinctively shuts.
  • A living turtle’s eyes shut or open when a cold metal item is placed to the eye.
  • When a live reptile lands in very warm water, it immediately begins to move its limbs.

A distinct sign of death is the presence of a distinctive odor. Scientists uncovered an odd fact when observing turtles hibernating in the wild. Reptiles are so absorbed in hibernation that they do not react to repeated touching, but the eye’s pupil does respond to light.

Why do turtles sleep so long?

Numerous turtle fans frequently inquire as to why the turtle always sleeps. What prompted such a long sleep? The following are the reasons for a prolonged turtle’s sleep:

  • A shift in the environment. Not only is moving to a new place stressful, but so is relocating the terrarium to a new place. The animal becomes accustomed to a new place and resumes activity and a regular sleeping regime during the adaptation phase, which lasts a few weeks.
  • Diminishment of daylight hours. As fall approaches and the days become shorter, the turtle adapts to the decrease in natural light. The situation is altered by the reserve illumination that ensures the appropriate duration of the day.
  • The terrarium’s temperature. A high temperature forces a turtle to dig into the earth or spend much time in the water. The lowered temperature automatically prepares the turtle for hibernation. When a turtle’s temperature is kept constant, and optimally between +26 to +33 Degrees, the animal’s condition is stable.

It’s worth mentioning that the turtles sleep frequently and for an extended period, especially following a heavy meal. However, if the owner is concerned about this, a visit with a herpetologist is essential.