Can Box Turtles Swim?- The Facts and Truth Revealed

Want a box turtle as a pet? Then you have to know about the box turtle habitat properly. Every turtle owner asks a common question and that is can box turtles swim? Well, this question are asked often because we all know this turtle spends most of the time on land. So here starts the confusion and people avoid taking this little turtle as a pet. Let’s find out the fact through this article.

Can Box Turtles Swim

Can Box Turtles Swim Or Not? – The Facts is Revealed

Well, here is the fact- box turtles can swim. You will find them swimming without any problem in the wild. But they are clumsy and sometimes you have to force them to swim. Actually, this species lives on land and loves digging. Though they have wed in hands and feet and able to migrate through the water to land, they avoid swimming. If you take them as a pet, create a suitable habitat that comes with surface water.

Which Box Turtles Can Swim?

The origin of the box turtles is from sea turtles and the family line actually comes from the American pond turtle family. By seeing the family line you can say that all the 14 types of box turtles can swim. Actually, they are more experts than each other in swimming.

How Long Do Box Turtles Swim?

As they are not so much used to stay in the water for a long time and for the heavy size they get tired quickly. If you observe the feet you will see that they don’t have a separate flap-like other turtle. The box turtle can swim for 20 to 30 minutes not more than this. If the time exceeds for some reason then the turtle gets tired and drowns.

Can A Box Turtle Swim On The Surface Or Underwater?

Now we know that this box turtle doesn’t like swimming much and not a great swimmer too. What if you let the turtle swim in the deep water? Well, it will swim for few minutes and when it will get tried it will stop and drown in the deep water. As it will survive in the bottom for few minutes so it will not be a good idea to let it swim in the deep water.

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On the other hand, the box turtle will have a safe swimming experience at the water surface level because it will not get drowned after getting tired of swimming.

Do Box Turtles Need Water?

Different turtle requires a different level of water. Some require many and some less. The box turtle also needs water to live but for their swimming capability, it is better to keep the water level less.

This species stays and feed on the surface water level where planktons and aerobic insects are available. The ideal water level should not cross the height of the turtle shell.

Water Type For Box Turtle- Which One Is Best

As the box turtle is a freshwater turtle so you can guess they like to swim in the clean water. So if you want to keep this species as a pet you have to make sure that the aquarium water is clean and should be changed regularly.

By this, the turtle will stay healthy and happy in the aquarium as long as it lives.

You may tend to use tap water as it seems clean and fresh for the turtle. But the shocking truth is the tap water leaves white spots on the shell because it contains chlorine and some other chemicals. But it is not harmful to the turtle.

Unknown fact about box turtles swim

Box turtles are known as land reptiles as they behave like one. They do not like waters like the turtles. When they go to water, they float themselves with their heavy shell. Actually, they do not need water much for a living. You will find them enjoying swimming in the pond water to cool down and drink. So when you take them as a pet, you have to arrange a pond where the water level is 3 feet and 6 inches deep.

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FAQ About box Turtles swim:

Q1. Do All Box Turtles Swim?

Ans: Yes, all of them can swim but the three-toed, eastern and ornate box turtles come with different swimming skills.

Q2. Can A Box Turtle Swim In Tap Water?

Ans: They can but it is better to use distilled water instead of tap water. Because the tap water contains chlorine, fluorides and other additives. Though they are not harmful but the shell gets white spots that look horrible.

Q3. How Much Water Do Box Turtles Need?

Ans:  first thing do not keep them in any deep water. The box turtle needs less water as they are terrestrial. They need water to get food and water. So keep the water level a few inches deep and the body is fit in the water.

Q4. Can A Box Turtle Swim In Deep Water?

Ans: No, they cannot swim in the deep water. They are not a good swimmer and also can’t hold the breath for a long time.

Q5. How Fast Can A Box Turtle Swim?

Ans: Not so fast. Because the box turtle is slow and clumsy in swimming. For short legs and heavy shell, the swimming gets tiring for them. it can swim at the speed of 5.8 mph and if they feel threatened it increases to 22 mph. 


So the answer to the most asked question can box turtles can swim is yes but not much. They are not good and comfortable at it. You have to stay alert when your turtle is in the water. You have to handle and take care of the little one carefully. Try to use distilled water as it doesn’t require much water and let live happily and healthy.

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