Let us know in case of Can Red Eared Slider Turtles drown. All turtles, including the red-eared slider, spend a lot of time submerged in water. Even though red-eared sliders love to swim and submerge themselves, they can drown. Actually, all turtles can drown because they do not have the ability to breathe underwater.
If your red slider stays underwater for too long, it will drown. However, the same goes for any other turtle. Turtles need oxygen from both air and water to live a happy and healthy life. Fortunately, red-eyed sliders are some of the best turtle swimmers, making them unlikely to drown if they are provided with the proper enclosure. (1)
With this information in mind, you probably have some more unanswered questions about your red-eared slider turtle. In this article, we are going to try to tell you everything you need to know to prevent your red-eared slider from drowning.
How long can a Red Eared Slider live under water?
Red-eared slider turtles love water and need access to water in order to be happy and healthy. Under ideal conditions, these turtles spend about 30 minutes underwater while swimming. If the turtle is sedentary, it can sleep for 40 to 45 minutes underwater. At the most, red-eared sliders can spend an hour underwater before they wind up.
This information is based on the average adult red-eared slider. Baby turtles cannot spend that much time underwater. Instead, newborns cannot spend more than 15 minutes underwater before drowning. Similarly, older tortoises may need to come for air more often. (2)
How do red-eared sliders breathe?
Even though red-eared sliders need a lot of water to stay happy and healthy, they still need access to air. Like mammals, these turtles breathe through their nose, which allows air to enter their lungs. They also exhale through the nose.
One thing that makes turtle breath different from human breath is the torso. Whenever you breathe, you can feel your torso expanding and contracting. (3) Turtles, however, cannot move their torso, including the red-eared slider. Instead, their torso is completely surrounded by ribs, which are attached to the turtle’s shell.
Since turtle torso is not flexible, their lungs and muscles are very different from ours. The varied structure allows the red-eared slider to hold its breath longer than other mammals. Not to mention, it is easier for red-eared sliders to breathe due to their distinct structure. (4)
Whenever a turtle breathes through its nose, it will quickly drown if it tries to do so underwater. However, the red-eared slider does have some degree of underwater breathing. (5) These turtles are called cloaca. This opening leads to several parts for the turtle, including the reproductive area, part of the digestive tract, and the urinary tract.
The most interesting thing about the cloaca is that it also helps turtles to breathe underwater. Like a pump, the cloaca can suck up water whenever the turtle is submerged. Then, the oxygen from the water and the water removed from the turtle’s body can be removed. This process is repeated to allow the turtles to stay underwater for longer periods of time.
Why do red eared turtles like to live under water?
If turtles have to come up for air, you might be wondering why they only go underwater. Well, there are a few reasons why red ear sliders enjoy being underwater for long periods of time.
Most notably, red-eared slider turtles have better survival rates underwater. As you probably know, turtles move very slowly on land, but they are fast in water. They can easily escape from predators due to their increased speed by staying under water.
Additionally, rivers and lakes fill with natural food sources for turtles. This includes vegetation and insects. By living underwater, the red-eared slider has greater access to the food and nutrition needed to survive.
On top of survival requirements, red-eared sliders prefer to be underwater only for pleasure. This tortoiseshell type is a great swimmer and enjoys being under water more than it likes to be on land.
sign a turtle is drowning
If you suspect that your turtle is drowning, it is important to get it out of the water and put it on land as soon as possible. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine whether or not your turtle is drowning, as they spend so much time underwater by their liking.
The biggest indicator that a turtle is drowning is that it hasn’t moved for a while. If the turtle has been underwater for more than an hour, it is likely drowned. You can confirm this by looking at the position you find the turtle in. If it floats up or upside down, the turtle may die from drowning.
To help ease your mind, you don’t have to worry too much about the turtle drowning. If you provide your tortoise to sit on the ground, the chances of it drowning are incredibly low. On the other hand, if you don’t provide enough basking area or don’t add netting to the enclosure, the turtle could drown.
How to set up a red eared slider turtle enclosure
To keep your red-eared slider from drowning, you need to set up its enclosure properly. Creating a safe environment for the turtle greatly reduces the chance of drowning, although not impossible. Here’s how to set up a red ear slider turtle enclosure.
fill it with water
Start by filling the tank with water. You want the water to be twice as deep as the turtle’s length. For example, a 4-inch turtle needs 8 inches of water. Red-eared sliders are particularly good swimmers, which means they enjoy deep water and are much less likely to drown than other varieties.
Create a Basking Area
All turtles need a basking area. This basking area provides them with a place to warm up and breathe. The basking area will help prevent the turtle from drowning. This will also prevent the turtle from getting too cold. Stack rocks on top of each other or find a plastic turtle dock. You can add other stones or wood to the basking area or put them in the water for the turtle to play with.
add light and warmth
Red-eared sliders need extra light and warmth in their tank. You want the tank to be between 74 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. The basking spot should be between 90 degrees and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Simply place a heat lamp over the basking area. You can also use a water heater to keep the water warm.
You will also need to install an ultraviolet light in your turtle’s tank. Turtles require exposure to UVA and UVB for proper metabolism and health. Invest in a full spectrum reptile ultraviolet light.
Overall, a red-eyed slider may simply drown because turtles cannot breathe underwater. That being said, a turtle is unlikely to drown if it is given the opportunity to move to a basking area or another area out of the water. Given that red-eyed sliders are really good swimmers, the chances of these turtles drowning are very small.
Without proper enclosure, any turtle, including the red-eyed slider, can drown. Be sure to provide a basking area in your turtle’s tank so that the turtle can get out of the water to breathe, dry out, and warm up.