How To Revive A Dead Turtle? [CPR Process]

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

As an owner of a turtle, you are obviously attentive to your precious little friend. But it is impossible to keep an eye on your turtle 24/7, right? One fine morning, you may wake up and find your turtle lifeless in the tank. Before losing all hope, you can try reviving your dead turtle. So, how to revive a dead turtle

In this article, I will tell you how you can try to revive a dead. You must know the proper way to perform CPR on your turtle. But CPR on a turtle is not the same as regular CPR on people or other animals. 

Performing CPR On Turtle

If you find your turtle in the water limp for hours, you better check on it. A living turtle will show a response after you poke it. But if it does not move, it has probably drowned or become unconscious. 

Do not get panicked in such kind of situation. It is important to keep your head clear to revive the unconscious turtle. A drowned turtle can be saved within 12 hours of its drowning. 

As you will see, performing CPR on a turtle is not the same as regular CPR. You should not do mouth to mouth to put air inside the turtle. It will do more harm than good to your turtle. The air can damage the internal organ of your turtle and force out the little oxygen from its lungs. 

Here is how you can perform CPR on your turtle: 

  1. First, take your unconscious turtle out of the tank. 
  2. Do not flip the turtle on its back under any circumstances. When you hold it, the tail should be upward, and the head should be downward. 
  3. Use your index figure and thumb to hold behind the ears of your turtle. Then pull to extend the head. 
  4. Then try to open its mouth while keeping the head vertical. It should let out the water inside the turtle. 
  5. When the water stops dripping, lay your turtle on a dry surface. The carapace should be upward and the belly flat on the surface. 
  6. After that, pull the front legs of your turtle outwards until they are fully extended. Then push the legs back towards the shell again. Keep pumping the legs like that continuously for a while. If any water is inside the lungs, this motion will help to get it out. 
  7. Do the same with the rear legs of your turtle. It will get more water out from the lungs of your turtle.
  8. After a few minutes, the water will completely get out. Then your turtle should gasp for air. Let it take a few deep breaths before moving it. 

Even if you successfully revive your turtle from death at home, you must take it to the vet immediately. Otherwise, your turtle may catch pneumonia. The vet will examine the turtle and provide the necessary medication.

How To Take Care of A Revived Turtle? 

After reviving the turtle, you should not let it back into the water for about 24 hours. Put it in a container and place the container on a heating pad. You should also provide a basking lamp. The point is to keep the turtle warm so that it does not get any respiratory problems. 

Offer it food as usual, but do not force it to eat. Monitor it from time to time to ensure it does not develop any breathing problems. If your turtle has any breathing issues, take it to the vet. The vet will administer oxygen to help your turtle. 


Hopefully, you have learned how to revive a dead turtle from this article. You may find your turtle lifeless in its tank someday. But you still have a chance to revive it. The chance of saving your turtle’s life increases when you get its heart and lungs functional again. The steps mentioned above in the article should be able to save your turtle. 

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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