How Long Can a Tortoise Go Without Water?

Turtles make great pets for families with cat or dog allergies or those who don’t have time to take their pets for walks several times a day. However, if you think turtles are low-maintenance animals that can breed in your small home aquarium, think again. They need a lot of space to roam and require an environment with relatively tight temperature control. Their cages also need to be cleaned quite often.

In addition to giving your tortoise a large enough enclosure, you also need to give it a swimming area. Although turtles are not completely aquatic, they do spend a lot of time in the water. In fact, turtles need water to hydrate and regulate their body temperature. The question of how long a turtle can survive without water ultimately depends on several factors including its age, the particular species, and the temperature of its enclosure. In general, turtles can survive about 8 hours without water in a warm, dry environment.

In this article, we will discuss which species of water turtles make the best pets, why turtles need water, and how to provide your turtles with clean and fresh water.

tortoise-divider

Which Turtle Species Make Good Pets?

turtle in nature

Before buying a pet tortoise, you should know that many tortoises may be small at first, but they can and easily grow larger than a standard tank; some varieties can grow to the size of a trash can lid. There are hundreds of species of tortoise available, but the best tortoise species for beginners are the red-eared tortoise, mud tortoise, musk tortoise, and painted tortoise. All of these species are aquatic or semi-aquatic, which means you should provide them with an adequate swimming area.

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The box turtle is another popular pet turtle species that doesn’t really need an area of ​​water to swim. Instead, they need shallow plates of water for drinking and wading. Box turtles can swim, but they are not very strong swimmers, so if you place them in a deeper swimming area, they are more likely to drown.

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Why Do Turtles Need Water?

red eared slider turtle shell

In addition to drinking and swimming, turtles actually need water to eat. This is because they do not produce saliva; water actually helps them swallow their food. As a result, you will find that turtles spend a lot of time in the water: swimming, eating, drinking, and even defecating. As we’ll discuss, it’s important to keep your turtle’s water clean.

As cold-blooded animals, turtles also rely on their environment to regulate their body temperature. In the wild, they will go to the water to cool off when the sun is too hot. The temperature of your turtle’s water and tank must be properly regulated; if the water is too cold, the turtles can get sick. The water temperature should be between 72-82°F at all times.

How to Give Your Tortoise Fresh Water

turtle aquarium_Piqsels

One of the biggest considerations you should make when setting up a turtle enclosure is the type of water you provide. There are conflicting opinions about whether tap water is healthy for turtles. Chlorine is often added to tap water as a disinfectant, and while any amount of chlorine is safe for humans to drink, it can irritate your turtle. It can also destroy useful bacteria in your turtle’s tank, disrupting the nitrogen cycle. Because of the potential problems ordinary tap water can cause, it’s a good idea to dechlorinate your tap water before you add it to your turtle tank. You can purchase a water cooler which makes the process easier.

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You also need to make sure to clean your turtle tank regularly. Turtles spend a lot of time in the water, and as a result, the water gets dirty very quickly. If you don’t clean the water often, the turtle tank will not only look cloudy and possibly smell bad, but it can also get sick. One way to achieve a clean aquarium is to replace some of your turtle’s water with fresh water on a regular basis. In this way, you can dilute the waste in the water. You should also invest in filters. A good rule of thumb for buying a filter is to choose a filter that is rated for a larger tank than the one you have.

  • Related Read: How Do Turtles Breathe? Can They Breathe Underwater?

tortoise-divider

Conclusion

The specific amount of time your tortoise can go without water depends on its species, age and overall climate. However, if possible, you should always provide your tortoise with clean water; doing so is very important to the well-being of your turtle.

Looking for more turtle articles? Try What Turtles Like To Play!


Featured Image Credit: Piqsels