Do Turtles Drink Water? Find Out Here!

Quick Answer
Yes, turtles do drink water. They hydrate themselves by absorbing water through their mouth and skin, particularly when they are in their natural aquatic or semi-aquatic environments.

Have you ever wondered whether turtles drink water? It might sounds obvious but the answer may surprise you!

We know turtles do need water to survive, just like any other living creature.

But how do they hydrate themselves? And how much water do they need? Do turtles drink water and how?

Let’s dive in and explore this interesting topic.

How Turtles Keep Themselves Hydrated?

Land turtles, such as box turtles, satisfy their hydration needs by obtaining water from various sources. Providing enough water for turtles is crucial for their well-being.

Turtles need water to survive, and they also require water for swimming, soaking, and maintaining healthy skin.

One way to provide water for turtles is by using a water bowl or dish.

A water bowl should be shallow enough to allow the turtle to drink from it easily. It is important to keep the water clean and fresh, and replenish it frequently.

A water conditioner can also be used to remove harmful chemicals from tap water, which can be used for pet turtles.

Another way turtles obtain water is by absorbing it through their skin. This is especially true for aquatic turtles.

Turtles can absorb water through their skin when they swim or soak in a tank or pond.

Water content is also important for turtles’ hydration, as foods with high water content can help supplement their water needs.

Fun Fact: Turtles can go for long periods without water, as some species are adapted to living in arid environments with little access to water.

How Much Water Do Turtles Need?

Turtles require water to survive. The amount of water they need depends on several factors such as their species, age, and environment.

A general rule of thumb is that turtles should have access to enough water to submerge themselves and swim around comfortably.

Pet turtles may need to drink more water than wild turtles as they often have access to less natural sources of hydration.

A pet turtle should have access to freshwater at all times in a water bowl or dish that is large enough for the turtle to submerge comfortably.

Water for Swimming Turtles

Turtles that swim frequently will require more water than those that are primarily land-dwelling.

As a general rule of thumb, the water in a turtle’s tank should be at least twice the length and width of the turtle’s shell.

This will provide enough water for the turtle to swim around, as well as to submerge and hydrate themselves.

It is essential to make sure that the water is changed regularly and kept clean to avoid bacterial infections that can affect your turtle’s health.

Turtle tanks should be cleaned frequently, with water changes being made every one to two weeks.

Drinking vs. Absorbing Water

Turtles can obtain water through both drinking and absorbing it through their skin.

Drinking is the more common method, but absorption is crucial for turtles that live in environments where water sources are scarce.

Land turtles, such as box turtles, typically drink water from a water bowl or dish. It’s essential to provide enough water for your pet turtle to survive.

A good rule of thumb is to make sure your turtle always has access to fresh water.

Swimming turtles, such as aquatic turtles, not only drink water, but they also need water to swim in. A good practice is to provide a water source that is large enough for the turtle to swim in comfortably.

When it comes to absorbing water through their skin, turtles are adapted to do so in the wild. However, pet turtles may not have access to the same conditions they would in their natural habitats.

If you’re using tap water, it’s necessary to remove the chlorine and other chemicals that are harmful to your turtles. Water conditioners are available for this purpose.

Do turtles drink the same water they swim in?

Yes, turtles drink from the water they swim in. Water is absorbed through their skin, and they may also drink water while swimming.

However, it’s still crucial to provide a separate drinking source for your pet turtle to ensure they have access to enough water to remain hydrated.

Water Sources for Turtles

Turtles have a variety of sources from which they can drink water, including tap water.

While it is safe for pet turtles to consume tap water, it is important to remember to change the water regularly and keep it clean.

Land turtles, such as box turtles, also drink water from shallow dishes or water bowls. Make sure they have access to enough water to survive and thrive. Land turtles may also absorb water through their skin.

For swimming turtles, such as aquatic turtles, water is not just a source of hydration, but also a vital component of their environment. They need ample water to swim and thrive in their tanks or ponds.

Pro Tip: Turtles should never be given saltwater to drink, as it can be harmful to their health. Sea turtles, however, have adapted to survive in saltwater environments and are equipped to drink the same water they swim in.

Sea Turtles and Saltwater

Sea turtles are a unique species of turtles that have adapted to living in saltwater environments.

Unlike freshwater turtles, sea turtles are able to drink saltwater and filter out the excess salt through specialized glands located near their eyes.

These glands excrete the excess salt in the form of tears or through their nostrils.

Sea turtles do still require freshwater to survive, and they may obtain freshwater through their food or by drinking from rainwater or freshwater sources they encounter while migrating.

When keeping sea turtles in captivity, make sure to provide them with clean and fresh water.

The water in their tanks should be changed regularly, and a filter should be used to maintain water quality.

It is also essential to ensure that the water temperature is within the appropriate range for the specific species of sea turtle.

How to Provide Water for Pet Turtles

If you have a pet turtle, it’s imperative to ensure that it has access to clean and fresh water at all times. Here are some tips on how to provide water for your pet turtle:

Use a water bowl or dish: Land turtles drink from a water bowl or dish, so it’s essential to have one in their habitat. The dish should be large enough for your turtle to soak in and shallow enough for your turtle to climb in and out of easily.

Consider a water filter and conditioner: Turtles also need clean water to survive, so consider using a water filter or conditioner to maintain the water’s quality. Additionally, some tap water may contain harmful chemicals that could be detrimental to your turtle’s health. So always use a water conditioner to neutralize these chemicals.

Provide water to swim in: Turtles are natural swimmers and enjoy submerging themselves in water. So, consider providing a larger enclosure with enough water for your turtle to swim in. Make sure that the water is deep enough for your turtle to swim comfortably, but not too deep that they can’t reach the surface to breathe.

Change the water regularly: Regardless of whether your turtle is drinking from a bowl or swimming in a tank, it’s essential to change the water at least once a week. This ensures that the water remains clean, fresh, and healthy.

Provide fresh water: Always ensure that there is enough fresh water available for your turtle. Turtles are known to consume a lot of water, and so it’s essential to check the water levels frequently and refill as needed.

By following these tips, you can provide your pet turtle with the water it needs to stay healthy and happy.

The Importance of Water for Turtles

Water is a vital component of a turtle’s life. It helps with digestion, temperature regulation, and keeping the turtle hydrated.

Without enough water, turtles can quickly become dehydrated, which can lead to a range of health problems.

Land turtles drink water, just like any other animal, and need enough water to survive. Turtles also need water to swim in, which helps them to exercise and maintain their overall health.

It’s important to keep the water clean for land turtles, as dirty water can lead to health problems. A water bowl or dish should be provided and changed regularly, and a good water conditioner can help to maintain the quality of the water.

Sea turtles are adapted to survive in saltwater environments and they drink the same water they swim in.


Turtles are fascinating creatures, and their drinking habits are no exception.

Whether they drink from a water bowl or absorb water through their skin, observing a turtle hydrate itself can be a fascinating experience.

Throughout this article, we have explored the different ways turtles obtain water, the amount of water they need, and the various sources of water available to them.

We have also discussed how sea turtles are adapted to survive in saltwater environments and the importance of maintaining clean water in their tanks.

Remember to always provide your pet turtle with enough water to survive, and the water they need to swim and stay healthy. Fresh, clean water is necessary to keep them hydrated and happy.

By following the guidance in this article, you can help ensure your turtle lives a long, healthy, and happy life.

Frequently Asked Questions about Turtles Drinking Water

As a turtle owner or enthusiast, you may have a lot of questions about how turtles drink water and their hydration habits. Here are some of the most common questions and their answers:

Do turtles drink water?

Yes, turtles need water to survive just like any other animal. The only exception are desert tortoises, who get enough moisture from the plants they eat.

How do turtles drink water?

Turtles can drink water from various sources such as water bowls or dishes. They may also absorb water through their skin while in the water.

How much water do turtles need?

The amount of water a turtle needs to drink depends on its species, size, and environment. As a general rule of thumb, turtles should have access to enough fresh water to swim in and drink from.

Can turtles drink tap water?

Yes, turtles can drink the same water as humans do as long as it’s clean and free of contaminants. It’s important to change the water regularly to keep it clean.

Do turtles need to swim in water to stay hydrated?

No, turtles don’t need to swim to stay hydrated. However, swimming can help them absorb water through their skin and aid in digestion.

Do turtles need a water dish in their enclosure?

Yes, it’s recommended to provide a shallow water dish in the enclosure for turtles to drink from and soak in. Make sure to clean and refill the dish regularly to prevent bacteria growth.

How often should I change my turtle’s water?

You should change your turtle’s water at least once a week, or more often if it becomes dirty or contaminated. If you have a swimming turtle, you should change the water more frequently to keep it clean and prevent bacterial infections.

Can turtles drink saltwater?

Most turtles cannot drink saltwater as it can dehydrate them. However, sea turtles are adapted to drink saltwater and excrete the excess salt through their tear ducts.

What happens if a turtle doesn’t drink enough water?

If a turtle doesn’t drink enough water, it can become dehydrated which can lead to health problems such as kidney damage and respiratory issues. Make sure to provide your turtle with enough clean and fresh water to prevent dehydration.

About David Nitta

I am a lifelong lover of turtles and have dedicated years of research to understand and care about this wonderful creature. I regularly post blogs, mostly from what I read and my own experience, covering everything from turtle care, health, feeding habits, habitat setup, and so much more.