What Is The Meaning Of Different Turtle Symbols?

Meaning Of Different Turtle Symbols

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

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Turtles are not only popular as pets but these animals have spiritual significance. From ancient times, people believed in symbolism, spirit animals, or omens. Turtles as decent creatures have gained a place in people’s sacred belief system. You might have seen wooden or metal turtle totems in shops, offices, open spaces, or even in houses. Have you ever wondered, “What is the meaning of different turtle symbols?”

Different turtle symbols indicate different things. For example, a turtle carrying the world on its back means life, fertility, and patience. Turtles on coins indicate success and progress in life. In most cases, a turtle symbol signifies longevity and fertility.

Isn’t it interesting how these little buddies work as an omen? Dig into this article to get more interesting facts on turtle symbols and meanings.

Turtle Symbol Meaning In Different Cultures

The turtle symbol is quite sacred and significant in most cultures. It indicates different meanings in different places. Here are some examples,

The symbolism of the turtle in China

The symbolism of the turtle in China:

Have you ever heard of Feng Shui? It is a Chinese traditional way of practicing spiritual energy or forces to harmonize our lives. Feng shui upholds the energy of four sacred animals and turtles are one of them. So, you can imagine the spiritual importance turtles hold in Chinese culture.

You know turtles have a long life and some species live more than 500 years. That is why in Chinese culture, the turtles symbolize longevity and endurance. Not only that, different figures of turtles indicate different things. For example, a turtle carrying the world on its back means fertility and family upbringings.

The Chinese used to believe that the shell of the turtle contains the secret of the whole world. The upper shell indicates heaven and the bottom one denotes the earth. So, the ancestors believed that turtles are the bridge between the two worlds and the sign of wisdom. They used to read the shell patterns in order to find out the future events. Even during the Chinese Shang dynasty (-1766 to -1122 BC), this task was very popular.

Even to the present day, the turtle Feng Shui is quite common and popular. People believe this is a good charm and will bring money, good health, fertility, and success. They install the statuette in houses and offices for this reason.

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Different figures of turtle Feng Shui are available. The one with the dragon indicates more power and success, where the 3 stacked one is for the prosperity of the next 3 generations of the family. Here is an article that will help you learn more about Feng Shui and how to install it in your houses or offices.

symbolism of the turtle in Japan

The symbolism of the turtle in Japan:

In Japan, turtles go by the name Kame (カメ). This indicates longevity, good fortune, and wisdom. Turtles are a good omen for the Japanese as they believe this creature will bring 10,000 years of good luck for the master.

In Japan, turtles also symbolize protection from the evil power or the enemy. They represent Gen-bu or a black turtle, which is a combination of a turtle and a snake, as the protector of Kyoto.

The symbolism of turtles in India:

Like most other Asian cultures, turtle symbols have significance in India too. You know the majority of Indians are Hindu and their religion claims the turtle as a holy spiritual animal. Several chapters in their holy book referred to a mystical character Akupara, which supports the earth and sea on its back.

In another sense, the Indians also believe the turtles to be the source of wisdom, longevity, and the secret holders of the unknowns. In one of the religious texts, the world has been indicated as the body of the Kurmaraja, the king turtle.

The Hindu God Vishnu used to take the avatar of Kurma, a giant turtle when incarnating the earth. You will find the symbol of turtles in various Hindu temples all over the world. The Hindus take the turtles as the symbol of femininity.

symbolism of turtles in Polynesia

The symbolism of turtles in Polynesia:

Have you ever heard of the famous Polynesian Maori Turtle Tattoo? This is their tribal tattoo also goes by the name “Marquesan ”. You will be amazed to know that this tattoo tradition is almost 100 years old and most popular among the sailors. But still, people around that area or outsiders carry the turtle symbol just because of the deep meaning it.

The turtle tattoo with various structures and symbols in it upholds the depth of life. It reminds us of the long journey we take at the moment of birth. Also, the Marquesan signifies fertility and the blessing of sound health.

The symbolism of turtles in Amerindians:

The references of turtles are also found in the myths and stories of the native Americans. They believed that the turtles have dived at the bottom of the earth and brought out the mud that created the land we are living on. This is why they take the symbol of turtles as the mother earth or motherhood.

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The native Americans used to believe that the hard shell would protect the world the same way it protects their body. Their myths indicate that during the historical flood mentioned in the religious texts, the humans took shelter on the turtle’s shell.

The Amerindians have also found a connection between the 13 moon cycle and the 13 scute sections on the turtle plastron. For all these reasons, they used the turtle symbol in traditional rituals, the healing process, good luck, and eternal life.

The symbolism of turtles in Africa:

Different African countries have symbolized the turtles with different meanings. For example, the Nigerians believe the turtles as an intelligent animal, which is slow yet have the solution to get away with every danger.

The Egyptian mystical stories mentioned the turtles as a creature of protection against the evil power. Besides, the Africans used to link up turtles as they embody femininity and fertility.

The symbolism of turtles in Maya:

The people of Maya believed the turtles as the link of the water and earth. Sometimes, these creatures are referred to as thunder and noise. The Mayan deity, Pauahtun, used to depict a turtle shell on the head.

The symbolism of turtles in Europe:

Turtles are mentioned in different stories and fables, originating from Europe. Take the popular story of turtle and hare. The turtles are also the symbol of the city Aegina. Even in different old coins, the symbol of turtles was crafted.

The symbolism of turtles in Christianity:

This religion has portrayed the turtle as a burden. The shell indicates the sin and effect of the evil power. This is also the symbol of immortality as turtles have a long life.

The Christians also believe that the shell pattern contains the design of the afterlife. The lines signify how the spirit travels to the world of the unknown, to hell or heaven.

The symbolism of turtles in Celt:

The turtles are not less than a magical character for the Celtic culture. The mystics referred to turtles as the guard and protector of the world of Fey. The Celtic artists used the turtle symbol as the embodiment of fertility, steadiness, and wisdom. The Celtic shamans used to travel through the earth and spiritual world with the help of turtle energy.

Ancient Tree Hugger Turtle Totem

Turtle Symbol As A Totem

A totem is an object or symbol sacred to a group of people. They keep faith in that symbol and keep it close as a reminder of good luck and spirituality. The turtle symbol is quite popular in totemism.

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The turtle symbolizes our relation to the mother earth and the harmony should be kept between the earth and water. It also teaches us that a steady life is not boring but peaceful. To lead a long life, you need to stay closer to the earth and the people.

The shell of the turtle is the symbol of protection. You will often notice turtle totems in houses and offices that are used for protection and prosperity. With the four legs, the turtles carry a burden on its shell. This indicates the reliability of our relationships.

Turtle Symbol As A Spirit Animal

I know it is the twenty-first century, still, a group of people believes in spirit animals. If a turtle symbol pops up as your spirit animal, consider yourself lucky. It means endurance, wisdom, patience, emotional acknowledgment, persistence, and longevity. You might rush with decisions and now is the time to slow down a bit. A steady life will benefit you in all directions.

Turtle Symbol As A Power Animal

Do not think of turtles as weak creatures. They can survive tough situations and endure a lot. Do you know the gravid turtle lay eggs on the shore, leave the place, and never look back? The hatchlings come out of the eggs and make it through life all on their own.

The turtle power animal symbolizes the strength and behavior of these creatures. You can heal through anything by choosing the turtles as your power animal. This creature will help you lead a balanced life between the spiritual and earthly world.

Turtle Symbol In Dreams

Dreaming of a turtle or a turtle symbol is pretty common. But do you know the turtle symbol in a dream actually has meaning? The experts of dream interpretations suggest that dreaming a giant turtle indicates our insecurities of life. Maybe in our subconscious mind, we are questioning our existence and trying to figure out our position.

Dream of a sea turtle, you are playing with a turtle, you are a turtle yourself, are considered as good omens. These dreams mean something good will happen to you and you have the blessing and support of people.

However, dreaming about a dead turtle, a broken turtle shell are bad omens. These indicate that unpleasant events are waiting for you. Maybe the protector of you is in danger. In Islam, the dream of a turtle signifies a hidden secret. The person carrying the secret should open it out to others.


Living in the 21st century, believing the turtle symbol and meaning might sound silly. But still, this creature carries religious and spiritual values for a group of people. Mostly turtles are the protector, the carrier of wisdom and secrets, and the sign of fertility. Besides these, the turtle symbol has different meanings in different cultures.

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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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