How long can African sideneck turtles be out of water

How long can African sideneck turtles be out of water?

African Sideneck Turtles can be out of water for a few hours on a typical day. Shockingly, they can sometimes survive a few weeks without water in dire circumstances. They are aquatic turtles and need water to hydrate themselves again and again. More interestingly, they can live 5 to 8 months without water in their aestivation and brumation periods.

However, species of water turtles are a bit different and can survive a long period without a constant supply of water. This article will be special because I will put “How long can African Sideneck Turtles be out of water?” under the limelight. 

I’ll cover all the facts about how long these aquatic turtles can stay alive without their basic water needs. Let’s roll.

How long can African side neck turtles be out of water?

Usually, marine turtles start suffocating after spending a few minutes out of water. But why are African Sideneck Turtles different? According to studies and research, African Sideneck Turtles can be out of water for the following period:

  • Few minutes in daily routine
  • A complete month in challenging circumstances
  • A few months (5 to 8) in aestivation and hibernation period

African Sideneck Turtles are a unique species of aquatic turtle. They know how to decrease water and food requirements during hardships and aestivation periods. You know these turtles can slow down their metabolism rate. Surprisingly, these abilities help them stay out of water for weeks and even months. Moreover, they do not get dry or overheated during these periods.

African Sideneck Turtles Live in Sub-Saharan Climate:

We all know that African Sideneck Turtles get their names because they live in western and central Africa. Thus, these aquatic turtles inhabit the Sub-Saharan climate. Do you know what it means? It means African Sideneck Turtles get little or no rain at all in most of the months of the year.

Their habitats remain dry throughout the year. In other words, African Sideneck Turtles live in a bone-dry climate where they receive little or no water at all. Their freshwater sources, like ponds, rivers, and lakes, completely dry out in the hot summer.

So, how do these reptiles survive the drought? Simply put, the African Sideneck Turtles maintain their body moisture. Hence, they bury themselves under the mud or soil – a cooler surface helps them save their body moisture.

Read also: Red Bellied Turtle vs. Painted Turtle: A Shell-to-Shell Showdown

What are the signs that tell if an African Sideneck turtle is dehydrated?

There are many signs and symbols that represent an African Sideneck turtle drying and dying due to dehydration. Let’s go through a few signs of dehydration here:

1.Sunken Eyes:

Eyes are always a good sign of telling the truth about a turtle’s health. If the eyes of the aquatic turtles are sunken or closed, the possibility is that the African Sideneck turtle is dehydrated. If you observe minutely, the hollowness near their eyelids clearly shows how dehydrated these turtles are.

2.Less Body Weight:

African Sideneck Turtles face a drastic decrease in body weight if they are dehydrated. This is an early sign that the turtle is suffering from dehydration. You can clearly tell if an African Sideneck turtle is thirsty or not just by weighing it periodically.


Lethargy is a state of inactivity in which an African sideneck turtle becomes lazy and inactive. If you poke or touch their body, limbs, or neck, they show little or no movement at all. Moreover, they do not try to jump, swim, or forage.

4.Wrinkled Skin:

Wrinkled skin is another common sign of dehydration in African sideneck turtles. If you want to check it out, pinch on their skin and observe the results.

  • If their skin returns to its original position within seconds, it’s a sign that your turtle is hydrated.
  • If their skin takes a few minutes to return to normal, it’s a clear sign of dehydration.

So, these are a few common signs of dehydration in African Sideneck turtles. You can also observe indigestion in these turtles if they are dehydrated. Also, they stop eating and basking if their bodies are dry. ~ Source

How long can African sideneck turtles stay underwater?

The African Sideneck turtles can stay 30 minutes underwater. They can remain underwater due to their hydrodynamic bodies. Additionally, their special glands help them remove unnecessary or excessive salt from their bodies. As a result, their body temperature and humidity conditions remain normal.

You know African Sideneck turtles need water to live a happy life. They are not like land turtles. They love to swim in the water of ponds and lakes. If you want to pet an African Sideneck turtle, get ready to put gallons of water in their aquarium or tank to give them a great life experience!

You can also get yellow-bellied sliders and Cumberland sliders for your aquarium. Sliders also love water because they are semi-aquatic reptiles. Read more about Cumberland sliders vs. yellow-bellied sliders here.


1.How long can baby African Sideneck Turtles be out of water?

The baby African Sideneck Turtles can be out of water for a day. This is the maximum time period a baby turtle can stretch up without a single drop of water. They need a constant supply of water and food to stay alive and grow.

You know baby African Sideneck Turtles suffer from nutritional deficiencies, dehydration, and indigestion due to prolonged dryness. Thus, they die within a day or two!

2.How much water does an African Sideneck turtle need?

Ideally, African sideneck turtles need 50 to 100 gallons of water to enjoy their lives. According to many Reddit fellows, if you pour 40 to 75 gallons of water, it would be best for your side necks to swim. However, fill the tank with up to half or three-quarters of water, not more than this.

Also, please give them a dry land area (like large rocks or floating docks) in the water. So, whenever they feel the need to dry their bodies out of water, they can do that without facing any difficulty.

3. How long can African Sideneck turtles go without food?

According to the study of my Reddit fellows, African Sideneck turtles can go 160 days straight (5 to 8 months) without food. Remember, this is only possible when their hibernation mode is activated or they are fully healthy.

4. Do African Sideneck Turtles sleep underwater?

Yes! African Sideneck turtles do sleep underwater. However, they also need dry land, often coming out of water to breathe.


So, how long can African Sideneck Turtles be out of water? They cannot survive a day or two without water. However, it also depends on specific conditions. For example, they can spend weeks and months without water during hibernation. Moreover, how long they can stay out of the water also depends on the following factors:

  • Age: Adult African Sideneck turtles need more water to stay hydrated.
  • Climate: A humid environment is the best option for African Sideneck turtles to absorb enough moisture.
  • Health: An ill or dehydrated turtle cannot survive longer without adequate water.
  • Time of the Year: During the extreme summer and winter seasons, these turtles can slow their ❤ ️ heart and metabolism rate.