How Long Can A Painted Turtle Stay Out Of Water?


In this article, I’ll answer how long can a painted turtle stay out of water. So, let’s get started!

A painted turtle can survive a few days without water. Surviving does not mean living. It needs to get in and out of the water a few times a day. In captivity, they should not stay a longer period out of water. The total basking time varies from 6 to 8 hours in a day.

Wild vs Captivity

In the wild, how long can a painted turtle stay out of the water depends on so many factors like- climate, the oxygen level of water, or the availability of food. They bask for several hours in different cycles in a day in the wild.

In captivity, we have a lot of limitations. We recreate the environment for them to survive. We need to keep a close eye to their activities so that they don’t become ill.

The duration of staying in and out water in captivity need to be monitored. Any abnormality will give you clues to find if there is anything wrong with them.

Staying completely out of water is very important for the painted turtle. Every day complete drying up is necessary for the painted turtle to avoid fungus infection. That’s why we give our turtle a proper basking area.

Some Important Pointers

  • Turtles sleep underwater. If you find your turtle is completely underwater for a few hours, there is nothing to worry. S/he might be sleeping. If you feel that the turtle is inactive, refusing food and showing lack of activity then you need to go to the vet.
  • If you find that your turtles don’t want to go underwater, and basking all the time, then check the water temperature immediately. If the water turns cold, the turtle may refuse to go into the water.
  • When it is winter and your turtles are always underwater, that is a sign that your turtles are preparing for hibernation. Don’t allow the young turtles to hibernate. Hibernation is very stressful for turtles.
  • The turtle can constantly be sleeping underwater if the water becomes cold. Check the temperature.
  • In warmer weather, a Painted turtle will like to stay out of water for a longer period. In captivity, you have the freedom to set the temperature. You can easily make your turtle happy by a heat lamp.
  • Baby painted turtles need to be guided to stay out of water. After a few days of training, they will get the process.

To sum-up

Some of us like sunbathing for hours while some can’t stay in the sun for a long time. Some of us are party animal, whereas some are introvert. Every individual is different, yes that is true for turtles too.

Every turtle is different. One may love the handling, whereas another may not.  The same way how long a turtle will be in the water depends on that particular turtle. Handle them with love and slowly you will get to know their behavior.

I hope you have already got the answer to how long can a painted turtle stay out of water. Always remember a longer period of staying in and out of water need close observation. If you find anything abnormal, go-to the vet.



Muntaseer Rahman

I have been keeping turtles as a pet for many years now. I’ve fallen in love with these cute pets from the moment I saw them. That’s why I am writing articles to share my turtle keeping knowledge with you.

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