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3 min read

Can A Sea Turtle Survive In A Lake?

By ralucabgdn

I was walking in nature the other day, and I saw some turtles in the lake. They were quite big and seemed sea turtles, and I couldn't stop asking myself, Can a sea turtle survive in a lake? I did some research, and the answer is entirely unexpected.

 

A sea turtle can survive in a lake only for a short period. The lake obviously is not its natural habitat and, moreover, the type of water is different, and also it will be hard to procure the right type of food it needs to survive.

 

Let's discover those differences in detail. I mentioned that a sea turtle will not survive for a long time in a lake because of water. This happens because the seawater is salted, whereas the lake water is fresh. For a short among of time, the fresh eater can be beneficial for the sea turtle, cleaning the external parasites.

 

It turns up that this procedure is quite common for all the new saltwater fish when they are brought to the major aquariums and they can survive in this habitat with no problems for a few minutes. But the freshwater is not their natural habitat and the right foods vital for them cannot be found here, therefore a sea turtle will not survive in a lake if it is let there for a long period of time.



How long can a turtle stay in the water?


Sea turtles are aquatic beings, well equipped to stay underwater. They can hold their breath underwater for at least 30 minutes, with no problem. They can hold their breath up to several hours, depending on the level of activity they have. For example, a sleeping sea turtle can hold its breath underwater for 4-7 hours. The same thing happens when it is resting.

In certain cases, specific species of turtles can stay underwater even for months, without going to the surface for a gulp of air. This happens usually when they hibernate. In this case, they will bury themselves into the substrate of the sea, lake, or river bottom, depending on the specie, and the metabolism slows down, allowing them to hibernate, therefore they will have little need of food and oxygen.




Can sea turtles live only in the water?


Sea turtles, as the name suggests, live mostly underwater, in the sea. They will leave the ocean and come on the land-only when they need to lay eggs. But this does not last for long because the mother will quickly let the babies on their own. Other types of turtles also leave the water when they find a pound or a rock, and climb it to enjoy a sunbath. They love the warmth provided by the sun, and this is one of their favorite activities, besides swimming in the water.




How long can sea turtles stay without water?


The answer to this question depends on the specific specie. But, as a general rule, aquatic turtles can stay without water for approx 6-8 hours if they remain in the sun, and if they stay in a cold place, at the shadow, they can remain there with no problems for 2-3 days. You should keep in mind, however, that they are aquatic beings and need water to survive and live a healthy life. Usually, they stay without water on rare occasions and only for short periods. Even when they lay eggs, they don't spend much time on the land and return in their natural habitat quickly.


Can turtles drown?


Turtles aren't fish, so they are not equipped with gills, meaning that they cannot breathe underwater for long periods. They can hold their breath for long periods, as in the case in which they hibernate when they stay underwater for months. But, eventually, they will go out to the surface to breathe air. If this period passes and they have not the possibility to breathe a gulp of air, they will drown. Turtles have lungs and breathe precisely as we do.

1 Response

Riley
Riley

June 10, 2020

I think it’s interesting that sea turtles live in the water but they can’t actually breathe underwater. I had no idea they could hibernate under water! That is fascinating. Imagine if us humans could hold our breath that long!

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