How Long Can Turtles Go Without Eating (Or Water)?

If you have a vacation coming up and can’t find anyone to watch your turtle, it’s only natural that you’ll worry about how they will survive without your care. You may have already noticed that your turtle doesn’t necessarily eat every single day. So how long can turtles go without eating or drinking?

As long as your adult turtle is healthy and has been fed properly throughout its life, it should be able to survive for months without having to eat anything. This is because in the wild turtles tend to survive long periods of time not eating as they have to hibernate. 

Turtle hibernation is also known as brumation. This is where the turtle enters a state of low activity and low metabolism. It usually happens during the colder parts of the year when the temperature drops dramatically. 

However, it’s worth noting that pet turtles won’t brumate because they have a constant supply of food from you as their owner, they’re around a healthy amount of UV light all year, and the temperature of their environment doesn’t change as drastically as the outside world.

Younger turtles aren’t able to survive for as long without food because they need lots of protein, and they need this a lot more frequently than adult turtles do.

How long can turtles go without food?

So now that we know your pet turtle doesn’t brumate like wild turtles do, how long can they go without having to be fed?

If you’re thinking in terms of days, then an adult turtle can survive roughly 160 days without eating any food. However, it will still be important for them to have access to water during this time, as well as a healthy amount of UV light.

There have even been a couple of instances where turtles have been known to survive for several months and sometimes even years without proper food. 

One pet turtle was discovered under a pile of laundry after a couple of months. It had lost a fair bit of its size during this time and was severely dehydrated, but it had managed to survive these months without food.

Another example involves a pet tortoise that was accidentally sealed off under a house’s foundations when the owners were doing renovation work.

This tortoise managed to survive without a proper food source for around 2 years before it was found. Chances are that it was able to eat any small insects that it found during this time, but that’s still an impressive length of time to go without proper food!

However, this doesn’t mean that your pet turtle can stay at home without anyone looking after them for weeks or months at a time. Your turtle will still need to be fed several times a week, and they will need a clean source of water. They won’t be able to survive very long if they don’t have both of these things.

How long can turtles survive without water?

We now know that your turtle can likely survive a good while without a source of proper food, providing they have a clean source of water in the meantime. But how long can turtles survive without water?

A healthy aquatic turtle can likely survive a good week or more without water. There have even been some cases where they’ve survived for up to a month or more. However, the longer your turtle goes without water, the more dehydrated they will be.

Remember that your turtle will spend most of its time either in the water swimming or basking under the UV light. So they will need a clean water source in order to survive and live a happy, healthy life.

While your turtle may be able to survive anywhere between a week and a month without water, it’s best to just ask a friend or family member to drop in on your turtle a couple of days a week until you’re back from vacation.

It’s also worth remembering that the exact length of time your turtle can survive without water will be dependent on other factors, too. If they also don’t have a food source during this time, they won’t be able to survive as long.

They will also need to have the right temperature and humidity in their aquarium to keep them happy.

Can tap water kill a turtle?

No, it’s unlikely that tap water will kill your turtle. However, using tap water for your turtle’s tank could cause some health related issues in the meantime. This is because certain chemicals are added into tap water, such as fluoride, to help strengthen our teeth.

It will be worth checking with your local authority to find out exactly how your tap water is treated. This should help you to determine whether it’s safe to use tap water in your turtle’s aquarium. 

For most cases, you’ll likely have to use a water conditioner to make sure the water is safe for use with your turtle. These are fairly inexpensive and can quickly and efficiently make your tap water safe for your turtle.

In Summary

So there you have it! Turtles can typically survive for around 160 days without food. There have even been cases of turtles surviving for a couple of months and even years without a supply of proper food! Wild turtles in particular can survive for longer periods because of brumation.

However, they will need to have a regular supply of clean water and UV light during this time. So if you have to go on vacation for a week, it’s best to ask a friend or family member to pop in every other day to make sure that your turtle is happy in their tank.

Turtles can survive anywhere between a week up to a month without a fresh supply of water, however, they won’t be able to survive for very long if they don’t have both food and water. They can likely survive a little while without one of these, but it’s best not to tempt fate.