Do Yellow Belly Turtles Sleep Underwater?

  • By: Reptilia Planet
  • Time to read: 8 min.

Do yellow belly turtles sleep underwater? Owning a pet turtle is an enjoyable experience for both the reptile and the owner. They are low-maintenance pets that can live up to 50 years if properly cared for.

Turtles like the yellow belly slider spend most of their life in and around water. When they dive underwater they can stay under for a considerable amount of time, and some even lay at the bottom and just sit there doing nothing!

Because of this behavior, many people ask if these yellow belly turtles sleep underwater?

Well, the short answer is Yes! yellow belly sliders do sleep underwater! and they can sleep underwater for 15-20 minutes before they need to come up for air.

However, how and why do yellow belly turtles sleep underwater? all this will be answered in this article.

How Do They Sleep Underwater?

When a yellow belly slider is submerged in water, its metabolic rate slows down which means they use oxygen more efficiently. This saves the turtle from coming up for air every so often and as a result, they can remain underwater for longer.

Sleeping underwater is something yellow belly turtles do quite often. They can sleep anywhere from 15-20 minutes, only sticking their heads above the surface to get some fresh air, and back down they go.

It’s not surprising to know that yellow belly sliders like to sleep in a certain position, your notice that when they sleep underwater it’s always in the same spot and this is usually because that area has the right temperature and humidity and where the slider feels most comfortable.

Freshwater turtles like the yellow belly turtles are also known to bury themselves at the bottom of ponds so that they can sleep with all their limbs extended outwards. This also helps yellow belly turtles stay hidden from predators while sleeping in their natural habitat.

When they bury themselves it also creates air pockets that can prevent them from drowning “This is done without breathing” and is an adaptation that can help the slider survive underwater.

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How Often Do They Sleep Underwater?

This can vary each day but typically yellow belly sliders can sleep range from 3 to 4 or even 5 hours per day depending on their age and size and the condition of the water. If you have a slider, then it’s no surprise that they love being in and around water!

The best way to determine how often your pet turtle will sleep underwater is by observing their daily activities. If your stretch for time try setting up a camera for a few days this way you can check on the amount of time they spend sleeping in the water.

What About At Night?

Turtles can also sleep during the night hours mainly because there are fewer distractions which allows them better chances of getting quality restorative deep sleep. Usually, those under an artificial light source like captive-bred yellow belly sliders prefer sleeping at night.

This is also the case if it’s very humid and the turtle needs to cool down from time to time. however, Sliders will usually sleep longer during the early morning hours and late afternoon, so they can stay active throughout most of the day.

Why Do They Sleep Underwater?

Yellow belly sliders enjoy resting underwater because it allows them a chance to cool down from being exposed in bright sunlight for long periods of time which is why you normally see these turtles floating around on top with their eyes closed as if sleeping!

In fact, some varieties like yellow belly sliders spend more than half their life submerged underwater where they are very well camouflaged due to their mottled skin coloration.

This helps protect them from predators while also allowing them to easily hide when needed too! There’s no doubt that there are many benefits to using this as a natural defense mechanism.

How Do You Know If They Are Sleeping Underwater?

If you’re wondering whether your turtle is sleeping underwater, the best way to find out is to look for any air bubbles coming from their nose.

  • When turtles are submerged underwater every now and then you will see a bubble coming out of their nose. If you see this, then it means that your turtle is sleeping underwater and doing fine!
  • This also happens when turtles go to the surface you will clearly see air bubbles will come out of their nose, so whenever you see this it means that your turtle is still alive
  • There are also other signs to look for if they’re sleeping underwater such as the eyes being closed most of the time or not moving around very much these are clear signs that your pet turtle is sleeping!

Even though yellow belly turtles can sleep both on land in water, they still need enough rest each day which will help them stay healthy!

Can They Breathe Underwater?

You might think that turtles can breathe underwater, but they actually do not have gills like fish. Instead, they take in oxygen from their surroundings like when they bury themselves and create air pockets.

“Yellow belly turtles are air-breathing reptiles” so they need to occasionally come up for air. If you keep your turtle in an aquarium then it is important that the water level are not too deep as this can drown them!

Freshwater turtles like sliders prefer to swim and sleep in shallow waters so they can easily come up for air when needed!

But, there are some aquatic turtles that breathe underwater they call this Cloacal Respiration! This process takes place when small pockets inside a turtle’s butts store air.

“That’s right” Their butts store air and take in water from pouches on either side which allows them to get some much-needed oxygen through inhalation with each breath cycle.

Some aquatic turtle species can breathe underwater using a process known as cloacal respiration. In this process, the turtles pump water into their cloacal orifice!

The Best Environment For Them To Sleep Underwater

When it comes to yellow belly sliders sleeping underwater, in the wild they do not have much control over the conditions in which they sleep.

However, for pet belly sliders the best and ideal environment for a turtle is a habit that has no temperature fluctuations or extreme weather changes.

Any drastic change in the surrounding temp can cause them discomfort so keeping their environment consistent will help your yellow belly slider get all of their relaxing snoozes!

If you are considering getting a yellow belly slider here are some tips to create their ideal environment in the water…

Use A Big Enough Tank

In order to have a happy and healthy turtle, you will also need to provide them with the proper aquarium size. When it comes time for their daily naps they should be able to move around comfortably in your tank without feeling crowded.

The best thing you can do is make sure that there’s enough room for them to swim! So if you’re going to keep a yellow belly slider as a pet then try buying one of our large aquariums which come complete with an easy access ramp

This way whenever your turtles want to sleep underwater or bask on land, they’ll feel comfortable doing so since it’s their home too! In fact, keeping these simple tips in mind along with providing plenty of water area both above and below the water level will help your turtle sleep underwater whenever they want!

Add Some Plants & Logs

Adding some floating plants to your turtle tank will also help them sleep underwater because it gives their habitat a more natural look. This way they’ll feel right at home with their new surroundings and won’t have any trouble finding the perfect spot to take naps!

Not only that but these beautiful live plants can be used as hiding spots if you want to give your yellow belly slider turtle somewhere else to lay low for a while too!

The best thing is turtles love playing around in the water so giving them different areas of interest like deep water or shallow water along with plenty of rocks & logs  will definitely keep your pet happy which means lots of time sleeping underwater

Use Fresh & Clean Water

It’s very important that you keep the water in your turtle tank clean. That way they won’t get sick from any bacteria which will lead to their death if not treated properly!

Using a filter system is one of the best ways to make sure their aquarium stays clean, but whenever it’s time for a change always use fresh and clean tap water with no chlorine or chemicals at all as this can harm your turtle.

Vacuum The Tank Frequently

When it comes to cleaning your turtle tank, you will need to vacuum the bottom of the aquarium on a regular basis. That way all their poo’s and other waste matter won’t start piling up which can lead to unpleasant odors that are harmful to yellow belly turtles.

Additionally, keeping your filter system running well along with changing out their water frequently will help you control how much bacteria is left in the tank after each cleaning session!

It might sound like an overwhelming task at first but if you keep up with this routine then things should run smoothly and most importantly your turtle will be happy and healthy.

Constant Temperature

As you know, a turtle tank should have a constant temperature of between 72 and 77 F (22 to 25 C) day and night. So don’t use water that is too hot or cold since this might harm them.

When it comes time for a change just fill up the container with fresh and clean tap water before adding in their new rock decor along with plenty of live plants and they’ll feel right at home!

Now if you’re wondering how often to change out their water the answer would be every one to two weeks depending on how many turtles are staying inside. Changing the water will help keep the turtle or turtles safe from harmful bacteria.


So we really hope that this article has answered your question on whether yellow belly slider turtles sleep underwater! In the end, no matter what kind of turtle pet you’re considering keeping as a part of your family, always make sure to provide them with plenty of water so they can take a dip.

Along with changing out their water when you need to, and feeding them the right kind of food and remember to give them plenty of logs & rocks for hiding spots.

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