Do Red Eared Sliders Sleep Underwater

Red-eared sliders are one of the most common species of turtles that are kept as pets around the world. These turtles are known for their distinctive red stripe behind each eye, and they can be found in ponds, lakes, and other bodies of freshwater. One question that many people have about these turtles is whether or not they sleep underwater. We’ll explore the answer to this question and provide you with some additional information about red-eared sliders.

Understanding Red-Eared Sliders

Before we dive into the question of whether or not red-eared sliders sleep underwater, let’s first take a closer look at these turtles. Red-eared sliders are a species of semi-aquatic turtles that are native to the southern United States and northern Mexico. They can be found in a variety of freshwater habitats, including lakes, ponds, rivers, and swamps. Red-eared sliders are omnivores, which means that they eat both plants and animals.

The Sleeping Habits of Red-Eared Sliders

Red-eared sliders are diurnal creatures, which means they are active during the day and sleep at night. However, their sleeping habits can be a bit different than what we are used to seeing in mammals. Red-eared sliders do not have eyelids, so they do not close their eyes when they sleep. Instead, they may appear to be resting or still, with their eyes open and their bodies floating in the water.

Do Red-Eared Sliders Sleep Underwater?

While red-eared sliders do not close their eyes when they sleep, they can sleep underwater. In fact, they are well adapted to sleeping in water and may even prefer it. Red-eared sliders have a specialized area in their lungs called the bursa, which allows them to extract oxygen from the water. This means that they can stay underwater for extended periods without needing to come up for air. When red-eared sliders sleep underwater, they will usually find a comfortable spot on the bottom of their enclosure or on a platform.

Signs that Your Red-Eared Slider is Sleeping

If you are not sure if your red-eared slider is sleeping, there are a few signs to look for. When they are sleeping, they may appear to be completely still, with their limbs tucked in and their heads either resting on their shells or tucked into their bodies. They may also be unresponsive to stimuli, such as tapping on the tank or calling their name.

The Importance of Providing a Proper Sleeping Environment

As with any pet, it’s important to provide a proper sleeping environment for your red-eared slider. This means ensuring that they have a comfortable and safe place to rest, whether it’s on land or in the water. You should also make sure that their enclosure is free from any stressors, such as loud noises or bright lights, that could disrupt their sleep.

Do Red-Eared Sliders Sleep Underwater?

So, do red-eared sliders sleep underwater? The answer is yes, they do. In fact, red-eared sliders are capable of sleeping underwater for extended periods of time. However, it’s important to note that these turtles need to come up for air regularly, even when they’re sleeping. While red-eared sliders are able to sleep underwater, they don’t do so all the time. Like all animals, these turtles require a certain amount of rest in order to stay healthy. When they’re not sleeping, red-eared sliders can often be found basking in the sun or exploring their environment.

Common Misconceptions About Red Eared Slider Sleep

Red eared sliders are popular pets that are known for their fascinating behavior, including their sleeping habits. However, there are some common misconceptions about how these turtles sleep. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at some of these myths and debunk them.

  • Myth #1: Red Eared Sliders Don’t Sleep

One of the most common misconceptions about red eared sliders is that they don’t sleep. This is simply not true. Like all animals, red eared sliders need to rest and recharge, and sleep is an essential part of this process. In fact, studies have shown that red eared sliders spend up to 80% of their time sleeping!

  • Myth #2: Red Eared Sliders Sleep All Day

While red eared sliders do need a lot of sleep, they don’t spend all day snoozing. These turtles are diurnal, which means they are most active during the day. During the daytime, red eared sliders can be seen basking in the sun, swimming, and exploring their environment. However, they do need to rest periodically throughout the day, and they may take short naps.

  • Myth #3: Red Eared Sliders Can Sleep Underwater

Another common myth is that red eared sliders can sleep underwater. While it’s true that these turtles are aquatic and can hold their breath for a long time, they still need to come up for air periodically. Red eared sliders typically sleep on land or in shallow water, and they will often choose a location that is partially submerged so they can easily come up for air.


In conclusion, red-eared sliders are able to sleep both on land and underwater. While they may choose to sleep underwater for extended periods of time, they need to come up for air regularly. It’s important to provide a suitable sleeping environment for your turtle to ensure they are getting the rest they need to stay healthy and happy.