Do Turtles Sleep A Lot?

Turtles, like any other animal or human, like to rest and sleep. There is usually a lot of curiosity about the behavior, eating, and sleeping patterns. But, turtles, unlike other animals, have interesting sleeping habits. They spend most of their time sleeping and resting. 

The sleeping pattern of turtles differs from one turtle to another. It also depends on the environmental conditions and the surroundings they inhabit. There are a lot of other factors that influence how a turtle sleeps and for how long.

Let us read ahead and understand a turtle’s sleep schedule!

Read this to Know how to care for a turtle, read this.

Do Turtles Sleep?

Yes! It might be surprising. But, you can see a turtle sleeping for quite a lot of hours per day. Turtles spend most of their sleeping and resting. 

A turtle’s sleep habits change by the number and type of activities and their age! They usually sleep during the day and are likely to be active. Turtles move around during the night as most turtles are nocturnal or diurnal. Nonetheless, turtles need at least five hours of sleep. If they do not sleep for five hours, they may feel stressed.

Where do turtles sleep?

We can group turtles into three groups: land turtles, aquatic turtles, and sea turtles. Sea turtles can sleep underwater as they thrive in those surroundings. This habit is not the case with the other two groups.

Some sea turtles, such as Red-eared Sliders and the Painted Turtles, can live without breathing for five hours. This behavior makes it even more apparent that turtles can sleep underwater. 

Turtles that sleep underwater are map turtles, painted turtles, sliders, mud turtles, etc. 

But, there are some species of turtles that do not sleep underwater. Box turtles are one such species as they are terrestrial. 

Map turtles like to bury their entire body into marshy land while sleeping.

Choosing a comfortable and well-protected sleeping spot is very important for pets and wild turtles. Hence they try to find a place that meets both their requirements. 

In most cases, land turtles like sleeping under piles of rocks or in a concealed area to protect themselves. If they are unable to find gems, they will also sleep under a pile of leaves. They might bury themselves in sand, mud, or dense vegetation to keep themselves safe in sleep. 

Sea turtles also like to search for underwater structures. They often bury themselves inside the frame. Turtles do this to reduce their visibility and keep the predators away from them while they rest. 

This observation brings us to another interesting question: 

Do turtles sleep inside their shells?

The answer is that not all turtles sleep inside their shells. Some turtles have soft bodies, resulting in no protection. But, most turtles retract their shells to protect themselves. They also hide while sleeping from any potential predators. 

Even though there are no predators around pet turtles, they like to sleep inside the shells. It is a survival instinct for them.

How Long Do Turtles Sleep?

How Long Do Turtles Sleep

The answer to this question might change from turtle to turtle. Turtles do not experience deep sleep like humans. Most turtles sleep anywhere from 1-10 hours during the day. Sometimes even more than this, as you find them to be sleeping more than they are awake. Their age and the number of activities also play an essential role in how long turtles will sleep. 

The indoor habitats and climatic conditions also influence its sleeping cycle.

Aquatic turtles sleep underwater for 4-8 hours. They sleep with their head above the water level for air supply. They can stay submerged in water for so long due to the low water temperature. This behavior results in a slow metabolic rate that decreases their need for oxygen. 

Land turtles or tortoises can sleep for more extended periods. Several land turtle species sleep for as much as 16-18 years. This part shows how much turtles like to sleep and hence are always sleeping.

Many older turtles become diurnal in captivity. That means they sleep at night and become active during the day.

But, the baby turtles are the most energetic and active during their infant stage. They show no signs of laziness or too much sleep.

When are Baby Turtles Supposed To Sleep?

In reality, turtles are diurnal. Hence, a baby turtle sleeping at night is typical. Baby turtles sleep as much as adult turtles. But, they may sometimes sleep an hour or so extra. 

Furthermore, baby turtles sleep more than required when the tank temperature is low. 

Are Baby Turtle Sleep Patterns Affected By Seasons?

Yes, seasons affect the Baby Turtles’ sleep patterns. Since turtles are cold-blooded animals, their internal body temperature depends on the environment. Turtles keep going with their days when the temperature is moderate, neither hot nor cold. 

But, they can be the most active during the morning during summer or hot days as the temperature is colder. 

In the wild, they have the option of hibernation whenever it is too cold. But, in captivity, the owners can regulate the tank temperature. You can do this to stop the turtle from going into complete hibernation.

Is It Normal For A Baby Turtle To Sleep A Lot?

The stage in which a turtle has energy and is active is during infancy. At this time, the turtles are not trained well about their sleeping patterns. But, if your baby turtle- a box turtle or a red-eared slider- sleeps a lot, there might be some reasons why this happens. 

The first reason is that the pet store does not usually keep the turtles in the best environment. They also do not look after the turtle’s health well. This lack of transparency can be why people sometimes buy sick turtles, which results in baby turtles sleeping a lot.

Another reason is that the turtle owner is not aware of how to take care of the turtles. Most of them think that these creatures need no effort or care. But, they need a lot of effort, maintenance, and care to be healthy.

There are also a lot of discussions about how pet stores sometimes misinform the owners. Owners do this when it comes to the care and safety of baby turtles. It might be because they are not that knowledgeable on this topic.

How much do turtles sleep in a day?

How much do turtles sleep in a day

The type of environment they inhabit affects the sleeping habits of turtles. Usually, they sleep anywhere from four to seven hours a day. Pet turtles also take short naps during the day for one or two hours while they are basking.

The exact time of sleep depends on several factors such as age, environment, size of the turtle, tank conditions, predators, etc.

How Do Turtles Sleep?

A turtle that is in captivity sleeps more than a turtle that is in the wild. A turtle born in captivity does not have to fear any predators. Pet turtles are safer than turtles in the wild. But, it will still stay alarmed as they pass such information down from different turtles.

A wild turtle will always remain as cautious as possible. This species will try to find a comfortable and safe spot somewhere they will not be visible. 

Another way of protecting themselves while they sleep is by using the technique of camouflage. Some turtles have shells that blend with the shades of their environment. This quirk makes them almost invisible and hard to spot during their sleep. To camouflage themselves for a night of safe sleep, they can also throw sand, mud, or vegetation on their backs to blend with the surroundings.

Unlike humans, turtles do not experience deep sleep. Instead, they have intense resting states. A sleeping turtle has slow heart rate metabolism. This habit allows some species to sleep underwater since they need less oxygen.

Baby turtles usually sleep with their legs extended. They retract themselves in their shells. After finding and settling in its comfortable spot, it will close its eyes to sleep. 

Are Turtles Nocturnal?

Are Turtles Nocturnal

Most turtles are nocturnal. So, they sleep during the day as they need to be aware of their predators during the night. Even their potential predators are nocturnal. But, due to captivity, you can find some pet turtles sleeping at night and being energetic. Some of them are active during the day, indicating that they are diurnal. 

This behavior can result from the constant movement of people and stimulation. Sometimes it is due to the mere fact that you feed them during the day. 

Another reason that a turtle can be diurnal is because of its internal environment.

These are a few reasons that, despite being nocturnal, some turtles can also become diurnal due to captivity.

Why Is My Turtle Always Sleeping?

Despite turtles’ love for sleep and rest, sleeping too much can also be a problem at times! A significant reason your turtle sleeps too much can be because of its species. A turtle’s sleep will differ depending on the species. 

Turtles are sensitive to the change in surroundings and environmental conditions. 

Sometimes this is also a result of low tank temperature. Due to this, you may see your turtles sleeping more than usual. 

You can find turtles sleeping in the wild ore as winter is around the corner because the temperature decreases. 

To avoid your turtles from sleeping more, adjust the water temperature in the tank to 70 F to 75 degrees F. 

Remember, turtles tend to be lazier and less active during winter. 

Another reason your turtle is always sleeping might be old age. Older turtles are less active and sleep and rest more than baby turtles.

If you worry about why your turtle has been sleeping too much, consult a veterinarian. And solve all the questions and worries that you have about the sleeping patterns of your turtle. 

But, understanding that turtles indeed spend a lot of their time sleeping and resting is essential. Please do not worry every time you find your turtle sleeping a little too much.

The Reason Why Turtles Sleep So Much?

If your turtle is older and winter is around the corner, turtles may sleep more than usual. Although it is a significant reason, it is not the only reason why turtles sleep so much. Turtles are cold-blooded. So, their outside environment affects their metabolism. As soon as winter approaches, we start seeing turtles become less active and passive.

Since baby turtles are more active than adult turtles, if they sleep a lot, there might be some things to take care of:

Their tank conditions:

Turtles in the wild usually hibernate during the cold months to keep themselves alive. So turtles will hibernate if their tanks are too complicated. So making sure that a turtle’s tank is always at the perfect temperature is essential. Different turtles have different temperature requirements. 

Common snapping turtles should be in the tank where the temperature is between 75 F to 80 F. 

Red-eared sliders need the tank temperature to be around 75 F.

Turtles might be sick:

UV light is essential for turtles to survive. So, a perfect tank is well equipped with a UV light bulb above the basking area since the basking area has to be warmer than the other parts of the tank. 

At the same time, turtles also need dechlorinated water to swim, drink, eat healthy food. Remember to do a regular water change to clean up their mess.

Lack of Basking Area:

A basking area to get enough UVA and UVB rays is essential for turtles. Basking helps them maintain a proper body temperature. In the wild, they get an appropriate amount of UV rays from the sun. Hence in captivity, if there is a lack of basking spot, your turtle might feel cold and sleep for much longer.

The absence of these things can result in your turtle becoming sick. 

Is My Turtle Healthy?

Turtles cannot always be as active as they are in their infant stages. They often have days where they are less active and passive. But, it doesn’t always mean something is wrong. But, there are a few ways turtle owners can check whether a turtle is safe and healthy.

Try offering some new food consisting of protein or insects or worms to get a sleeping turtle’s attention.

Another essential thing to check is the water temperature. If you do not have a water heater yet, it is better to get one for the colder months so that your turtle is healthy and away from any diseases. A water heater will give comfort to your pet when your turtle is sleeping.

Also, beware of the air pressure or air temperature dropping. Reptiles are pretty sensitive to drops or changes in factors such as air temperature or air pressure dropping.

Make it a point to check whether the water and air temperature in the tank is perfect and if the UV light is working well. All this will reduce the chances of your turtle becoming inactive.


So far, we’ve come to the conclusion that no one can love sleeping and resting more than turtles, so don’t panic too much! Turtles love to sleep a lot. Additionally, as the turtle starts aging, it starts sleeping more than usual. Since their life span is longer than other pets, it’s natural to expect them to sleep and rest for more extended periods. Turtles and their sleeping patterns are quite different and exciting; so, what may seem like a concern for you may be a turtle’s resting time!
Are you interested to know more about turtles? Also, read whether turtles need a heat lamp or how to be sure if your turtle is pregnant.

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