How Long Can Turtles Live Without food?

Many people wonder how long a pet turtle can survive without nourishment. It’s an excellent point to consider, especially if you’re planning a vacation or tour. In this essay, I’ll go over how long a pet turtle can go without eating.

Let’s start with a brief and precise answer: a healthy turtle can go on for months without eating.  It won’t be an issue. 

Making sure that your Turtle is regularly nourished will make this possible. When wild turtles hibernate, they do precisely the same thing.

Hibernation is a turtle’s low-activity state. During the colder months of the year, turtles go into hibernation. Their hibernation intensifies if the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The Turtle’s body enters a low-active state during hibernation. They tend to have a very sluggish metabolism rate. Turtles can go months without feeding as a result of this. 

Turtles are excellent pets that are recognized for their low care and resilience. Knowing how much food they need is crucial. They may go months without eating if they are cared for and maintained.

Check out this page for more information on how to care for your Turtle: How to take care of a turtle

How Long Can a Turtle Survive Without Food and water? 

Here’s the quick and straightforward answer:

How Long Can a Turtle Survive Without Food and water

A healthy turtle that has been fed well all of its life should be able to live for several months. Turtles in their infancy will not be able to live as long as adults. Adult turtles require protein-rich meals on a much more regular basis.

Turtles in the wild, believe it or not, may hibernate for extended periods of time without eating. When turtles hibernate, they enter a condition of brumation, which is a type of hibernation. Have a slow metabolism and low exercise level. During the year’s cooler winter months, this occurs.

Pet turtles, on the other hand, rarely brumate because:

  • Owners provide food for their pet turtles regularly.
  • The temperature of the surroundings does not shift dramatically, as it happens outside.
  • All year round, pet turtles are exposed to beneficial UV rays.
  • They may also be unable to consume as much as they would want to. This may occur due to a change in their environment, such as a drought.

For turtles, water is a completely different story. Turtles may adapt well with a lack of food if they have been well-fed previously. They cannot, however, survive for the same amount of time without water. Depending on the species, a turtle’s ability to go without food varies substantially. It may still go for a short period of time without eating.

A turtle can only stay out of the water for a few days or up to 12 hours. They are aquatic species that spend the most of their time submerged. This is based on the outside temperature and humidity.

How to feed your Turtles when you’re on a Vacation?

How to feed your Turtles when you’re on a Vacation

People sometimes buy turtles without giving it much thought. People sometimes forget that they may have to leave their houses for a short amount of time. When the time arrives, they begin to be concerned about their turtle pets. They want to make sure that everything will go smoothly. They want their turtle to live to see another day. More importantly, you do not wish their turtle to suffer any health problems due to the procedure.

You do not, however, need to be concerned. Turtles, as we have seen, can go for long periods without eating. To be on the safe side, you will need to take a few precautions.

Before you leave your house, the first thing you should do is replace the water in your tank. Turtles can survive for long periods without food, but not without clean water. If your turtle is well-fed, it will be fine even if you are gone for an extended period. Assume you’ll only be gone for a week or two. It is not recommended to deprive your turtle of food for an extended period. 

However, if this isn’t an option for you, there are alternative options available to you. Consider adding several small live feeder fish to a larger tank with proper filtration.

Before you leave your turtles with them while you’re gone, make sure they’re eating live fish.

How long can a Turtle go without eating?

How long can a Turtle go without eating

Yes, a pet turtle can survive without food for months. When it comes to going without food and water, though, the answer isn’t as long.

Turtles, like people, require water for digesting, hydration, and metabolism. A turtle can perish in a matter of months if it does not have access to water. The enclosure should always include a water feature if the turtle is a terrestrial turtle like the box turtle. Tortoises, too, require water in their daily lives.

Reptiles are reptiles, and turtles are reptiles. As a result, they don’t have to expend much energy to maintain their internal body temperatures. As a result, turtles do not require nearly as much energy as humans. As a result, turtles do not need as much food as humans do. 

Turtles must consume vegetables daily. The older they become, the less protein they require. There are several scientific reasons for this:

Their bodies need to grow and develop. Hence, young turtles require a high-protein diet. The closer a turtle gets to adulthood, the less protein it requires.

Turtles in the wild do not have constant availability of protein. They are only allowed to eat protein a couple of times per week. As a result, as your turtle grows older, you should offer less protein to encourage natural dieting behavior.

To know more, click here: Can turtles live without water.

Can a Box Turtle go without eating? 

With a few exceptions, box turtles are pretty similar to tortoises. Plants and tiny insects are their primary sources of nutrition. The water they drink comes from the herbs they eat, leading you to believe they don’t drink water. In a few moments, I’ll respond. Clean water is a necessity for most turtles, and they require it to survive. Combining this water, heat, and UVB radiation will allow the box turtles to go longer without eating. An adult box turtle who was well-fed as a child and is in good health will be able to go months without eating. Don’t take chances and leave your turtle alone for an extended time. If you will be away for a long time, find someone to look after the turtle.

Box turtles, like all other pets, require water to survive. They need the water to stay hydrated as well as to cool off. The only thing about box turtles concerning is that they are not aquatic turtles and cannot swim. So, if you’re going to build a pool for a box turtle, I’d suggest keeping it shallow. If the pool is too deep, the turtle will drown. The box turtles may still live on the water they get from their diet.

Can tiny adult Turtles go without eating?

As previously said, tiny adult turtles that ate a good diet throughout their childhood will live longer than those who did not. Despite this, they will require water to stay hydrated during their ‘fasting.’ When a pet is dehydrated, it cannot survive. The turtle will become weaker and smaller throughout this time, although they may stay for more than five months, mainly in brumation. Young little turtles may not survive for long periods since they require nourishment to grow. Proteins and food are necessary for their bodies to produce. When tiny turtles have access to clean water, they will live longer. They will perish if they do not have access to water. You should reschedule your vacation or find someone else to look after him if you plan to leave him at home without water. 

Can a baby Turtle go without eating?

Baby Turtles can survive without food for up to four weeks. They can also survive up to three months without food when in hibernation. The baby turtle must be fed and cared for in these conditions while it is a half year old. This will prolong its life. It is dependent on different factors such as age, access to clean water, relaxing area, heat light, and UVB. This is what determines their drought resistance. Make sure that it is solid and free of any previous medical complications.

Factors that determine how long can a Turtle survive without food or water

Many factors will influence how long aquatic turtles can go without feeding. Every turtle is different. They do, however, share a few characteristics in common. Let’s have a look at them. 

Access to clean water 

Turtles can survive in the absence of food but not in the lack of pure water. It’s the single most crucial aspect in determining how long a turtle can go without eating. Turtles require water to drink and to swim. They also utilize water to aid in meal digestion.

Without water, aquatic turtles are unable to feed. As a result, it makes no difference how long turtles can go without eating. This is because they will die quickly if they do not have access to clean water. If a turtle gets dehydrated, it will die. 

Age of Turtle 

Another crucial aspect that may determine the number of times turtles can go without feeding is their age. If you have an adult turtle well-fed all year, it can live for several months without any problems. However, leaving it hungry for so long is not recommended.

Overall health of the Turtle 

On the contrary, you should not leave newborn turtles hungry for long periods. They require regular feedings to grow in the first couple of years. Leaving your newborn Turtle without food for an extended period will result in death.

We all understand how critical our turtles’ general health is. We wouldn’t recommend leaving your turtle alone if it’s in poor health. If you have to leave your house for any reason, consider hiring someone to look after it for you. It’s the only way to make sure everything will work out.

The temperature of the environment 

The body temperature of aquatic turtles depends on the ambient temperature. To maintain an optimal body temperature, they rely on external heat sources. Some of them live in temperature-controlled surroundings. Most aquatic turtles live in habitats with frequent temperature changes. Wild turtles undergo brumation in late fall. This is a moment when all of their physical activities are halted. To conserve energy, all metabolic activities are reduced during this time. They wake up only for water and then return to sleep. 

Until the temperature rises, aquatic turtles can go months without eating. The lack of heat is the primary cause of brumation. Turtles rarely brumate in controlled situations, such as our homes. They have a quicker metabolism. As a result, they won’t be able to go as long without eating as wild turtles.


As you can see, aquatic turtles can go for long periods without eating. We’ve also discovered that just because they can exist without food doesn’t imply they’re healthy.

Look after your turtle. If you’re traveling or going to be gone for a week or two, double-check that everything is in order. The turtle will be healthy, strong, and happy if you follow the rules. Not to mention having a pet buddy who will live a long time. If you’re interested to know more about Turtles, you can check out this article: How smart are turtles.

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