How Long Can A Map Turtle Be Out Of Water?

when do map turtles lay eggs

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Are you wondering how long your map turtle can be out of water or how long it basks? It is a fundamental question that every turtle owner should know it. Why? Because if you notice your map turtle staying out of water for too long, it might be sick.

A map turtle can survive without water from 2 to 7 days, depending on some factors. But surviving and living comfortably is not the same thing. A map turtle comes out of the water a few times a day and spends a total of 2 to 8 hours basking in the dock.

In this article, I will talk about why a map turtle should not go without water for too long. Also, I will discuss what factors can affect the entire surviving days. So, let’s jump to the main point.

How Can Long Map Turtles Stay Underwater?

Map turtle is a semi aquatic species, which means it spends most of its time underwater. If you have read my previous articles on map turtles, you know they are excellent swimmers and love staying underwater for a long time. However, they have to come to the land area for basking from time to time.

Scientific researches have shown that map turtles spend 75% of their lifetime swimming underwater. If you ask me how long they can stay in the water without coming to the surface, the answer will be around 35 minutes. Whenever the pet needs to breathe, it comes to the surface, inhales air, and dive in the water again.

See also  42 Map Turtle Health Problems & Their Treatments

Map turtles can spend hours underwater sleeping at night. At that time, their body metabolisms drop and so their breathing activities. And that is why the species can stay underwater for several hours while sleeping.

How Long Can Map Turtles Live WIthout Water?

To be honest, there is no particular answer to this question. Throughout my online and offline researches, I have come to know that a map turtle can live without water for a maximum of 1 week. After that, the pet will get dehydrated, and its skin will start drying out.

Two main factors can affect this period. Such as:

  • The climate of the region
  • Age of the species

The climate of the region:

I have already mentioned that map turtle can live around a week without water at its best. But if the environment is humid, the turtle can live for more than two weeks. Some people guess the period can be up to 1 month though there is no solid proof.

This factor is most valid if we are talking about an outdoor living or wild map turtle. Inside the indoor enclosure, we set up everything manually, and so, the outside environment can not affect much. However, if you notice your pet map turtle staying out of water for too long, take necessary actions immediately.

Age of the species:

The time I have mentioned is only for adult map turtles. Baby map turtles have a higher need for water. So, they can not survive for a long period without water.

Why Do Map Turtles Get Out Of Water?

I know all of you will say to bask in the dock. That is absolutely right. But there are some other factors too that force the map turtles to stay out of water. For example:

  1. Security issue: As a responsible turtle owner, it is your responsibility to put the perfect companion for the map turtle in the enclosure. If you fail to do that and the tank mate tries to dominate the pet, it may get out of the water to defend itself. To avoid this issue, always choose the best tank companion for the pet map turtle. Click here to get to know more about the map turtle’s perfect tank companion.
  2. Lack of oxygen: If your enclosure is not perfect and can not fulfill the map turtle’s oxygen requirement, it will get out of the water.
  3. No hiding place: We all know how essential hiding places are for map turtles. Whenever they are stressed, panicked, or in danger, they hide in the places to stay safe. If you do not have enough hiding spots, the pet will get out of the water area to find safe places. Click here to know how to build the perfect habitat for a map turtle.
  4. Food scarcity: Map turtles can not go without food for a long time. If you are out of town or forget to feed the turtles, they will come out of the water to find food. The best solution to this problem is to set up an automatic feeder. You can learn more about a map turtle’s auto feeder by clicking here.
  5. Low water quality: In my previous articles, I have mentioned that map turtles can not live in dirty water. Even the wrong pH level irritates their eyes. So, if the water gets too dirty, the pet gets out of the water. You can use quality filters to keep the water clean. Click here to know which one is the best water filter for a map turtle.
See also  15 Interesting Map Turtle Facts for Owners

Is Getting Out Of The Water Healthy For The Map Turtles?

It depends on the situation. If your map turtle stays out of water for too long, that sometimes indicates that your pet is sick. When your map turtle is suffering from a shell disease or another disease, the vet suggests keeping it in a dry place away from water and soaking its body frequently.

If you do not know about the map turtle’s disease, you can check this article.


Now you know how long a map turtle can be out of the water and other related factors. I hope this information was helpful to you guys.

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About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.


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