Turtle Sleep Patterns (Eyes open, Closed, Health Issues)

Sleep is vital for all animals, including turtles, and if they don’t get adequate sleep, their body systems shut down, which poses a significant challenge to their health. Therefore, every turtle keeper is concerned about their pets’ sleeping habits and routine to see whether there is a need for alarm. We endeavor to find out more about the pet turtle’s sleeping habits.

So, do turtles sleep with their eyes closed? Turtles sleep with their eyes closed. Regardless of where they are or the position they sleep in, you will notice that they keep their eyelids closed when sleeping. In doing so, they can avoid excess light; hence, sleep uninterrupted. They will also have their eyes closed to relax when they are tired from the day’s activities. However, prolonged closing of the eyes may be an indicator of an illness, so you need a vet’s opinion if your pet sleeps longer than average.

Investigating a turtle’s sleeping habits to help understand how, when, and where they sleep is important. As this will give an indication of what it means when they have their eyes closed and whether there is any need to worry about it and seek medical assistance. Usually, turtles have their eyes closed when they are sleeping, but they eventually open them when awake. If your turtles cannot open their eyes, it may imply other conditions.

Other than closing their eyelids when sleeping, if you notice your turtle’s eyes are closed almost all the time, it may be suffering from an eye problem. In such a situation, you may notice swelling, puffiness, and a general inability to keep their eyes open. Similarly, the eyes may be reddish with a fluid secretion.

These symptoms may be due to vitamin A deficiency or other eye problems such as infections. Notably, turtles are susceptible to bacteria when the water quality is low or if one of their internal organs is infected. If you see these or any other eye problems, it is best to ask a vet for guidance.

It may not be easy to detect whether your turtle has an eye problem; therefore, it is necessary to contact a vet for expert advice. Perhaps, your pet may be an avid sleeper, and there is no need to worry; however, it may also be a severe eye illness. It would be best to listen to the vet and follow the instructions to the latter and take the necessary action as advised, and, in due time, your pet will get better and fully open its eyes.

To know your pet’s sleeping routine, you need to see whether it keeps its eyes open or closed when sleeping; this way, you will detect abnormalities. However, you need to monitor them to check for signs of eye illnesses or infections.

Like most reptiles, turtles close their eyes when they sleep. They also do it to relax when they are tired, even if they are not sleeping. After a long day, they get exhausted; therefore, you will find them resting with closed eyes. The advantage of having their eyes closed is that they can avoid excess light and sleep uninterrupted.

As much as it is entirely normal, it may also be an indicator of serious illness. Thus, if you notice any eye abnormality or if they cannot open their eyes for a long time, it is best to call in an expert. Look out for any swelling, redness, or abnormal appearances. With many remedies available, you can help your pets regain their normal eyesight.

How Do Turtles Sleep?

Turtles’ way of sleeping is unique, as seen with most reptiles. By close observation, you can tell that they are sleeping since they appear to be at rest. All they need is a comfortable spot with the best temperature, and they are good to go.

Turtles sleep just like any other animal; however, their habits depend on the species and their age. They sleep for specific lengths of time and in different positions, but most reptiles will choose the coziest place to rest. They may choose to sleep where they bask or sleep while floating in the tank. If your pet is a land turtle, then you may find them retreating to their shells as they sleep. However, if they are aquatic, then their most preferred sleeping spot is on the water surface.

Turtles make perfect pets, and many people are opting to keep one or two in their homes. During the day, a turtle will spend a few hours resting in its habitat. Considering your pet turtle needs to get some rest to refresh its body, you may be wondering what its sleeping routine should look like.

Turtles sleep with their eyes closed. Turtles are nocturnal, meaning they will spend most of their time during the day either sleeping or resting. The turtle will select the perfect place to rest, and it will retract into its shell and sleep with its eyelids closed. It is not common for a turtle to sleep with its eyes open. If your turtle does it, it may have eye problems, and you should consult a veterinarian.

Different animals have different sleeping habits, but many animals share one common trait, sleeping with their eyes closed. Some reptiles will close both their eyes, others will close one and others will sleep with both their eyes open to watch out for predators. Keep on reading to find out more about how turtles sleep, reasons why their eyes will not open, and if they prefer to sleep in the dark.

The main concern among most owners is whether there are chances of their pets drowning while they sleep like this. In reality, turtles can go for long without breathing, and with their low metabolism, it is easy for them to sleep on the water surface. But if they feel the need for more air, they can come up to the surface. Also, their bodies are modified to breathe even when underwater; therefore, you need not worry.

Typically, when they are sleeping, they will be generally inactive and tend to close their eyes. The reptiles are also sensitive to stimuli in their environment; hence, excess light can disrupt their sleep. As an owner, it would help if you switch off the lights when it’s time to sleep; this way, you can create a routine for them.

It is also important to note that sleeping habits vary between different pet species and the usual climate in their habitats. It also depends on your pet’s age and preferences. While land turtles can sleep for a large part of the day, aquatic animals can sleep for approximately seven hours a day. You will also notice that baby turtles sleep for longer than adults.

You may also find that the pets will portray a different behavior than their counterparts in the wild. When in their natural set up, they will hibernate for months when it gets cold. This process is necessary for them to sleep away in these harsh climatic conditions. However, your pet won’t need to hibernate since you can provide them with optimal temperatures.

Lastly, it is necessary to closely monitor your turtle whenever it sleeps. You can learn how long the species takes when sleeping to tell whether there are any abnormalities. They should not sleep for longer than seven hours, and they should not remain awake for long.

It is typical for them to sleep longer and keep their eyes closed if they have an eye infection or illness. If your turtle rests for longer than expected, then the best cause of action is to consult an expert. The vet will establish whether there is a problem or if your buddy is just a heavy sleeper.

Sleep is very important to all animals. Sleep allows the body to recover the energy lost during the day. After foraging and playing around, turtles, like any other animal, will take some time during the day to rest.

When a turtle wants to sleep, it will find a perfect place for it to rest. Turtles do not like disturbances when they are sleeping. A turtle will move to a secluded spot in its habitat and sleep. Turtles love warmth, and they will select an area with the perfect temperature and moisture to rest. If you want to keep turtles as pets, make sure you keep them in a warm and comfortable tank

Turtles are nocturnal, meaning they will spend most of the daytime sleeping. They become active during the night or in the evening when the sun goes down. Hence, you will not have time to play with it if you’re only available during the day. If your turtle is not interested in interacting with you during the day, you should let it rest.

When sleeping, turtles are vulnerable to predators, and, to keep themselves safe, they will sleep under some form of shelter. In the wild, turtles can sleep under anything that can provide safety, such as a piece of wood. In captivity, turtles will move close to rocks or pieces of wood in their tank to sleep. Turtles also use their shell to protect themselves while sleeping.

Terrapins can sleep in any position as long as they feel safe. You can find some sleeping on their backs. Sea turtles can sleep on the surface of the ocean or rocks. Sea turtles are good at holding their breath for a long time; hence, you need not worry that your turtle will drown if it is sleeping in its puddle of water. However, land turtles cannot hold their breath for a long time; therefore, do not let them sleep in a puddle of water.

Some species of turtles hibernate during the winter. They sleep for a long time and will wake up once the warm weather starts. The turtle will dig a hole into the ground and cover itself with dirt or leaves to protect itself from predators.

Turtles can sleep for up to 18 hours a day, but you can encourage your turtle to develop a sleeping routine by turning on and off lights in its tank. It will help them sleep during the night and be active for a few hours during the day.

What Does It Mean When Turtle’s Eyes Won’t Open?

Turtles will keep their eyes when awake and close their eyes when asleep, just like most animals. However, if your turtle is moving around with its eyes closed, something may be wrong with your pet.

A turtle will not open its eyes because of the lack of vitamin A in its diet. Turtles can eat almost anything, but their food must have some nutritional value. If the turtle’s diet lacks vitamin A, the eyes will start to swell. Swollen eyes are painful to open, and your turtle will keep its eyes shut to reduce the pain. Do not perform any diagnosis or treatment without the involvement of a veterinarian.

Another reason why your turtle will not open its eyes is poor water quality. Standing water is a breeding ground for numerous germs and bacteria. When a turtle swims in that water, its eyes might come into contact with germs and bacteria. When the eyes are infected, they will become swollen or puffy, and the turtle will close its eyes to cope with the pain.

Post-hibernation anorexia is another reason why a turtle will not open its eyes. After hibernation, a turtle will take some time to become fully active. If you wake your turtle up after hibernation and it takes longer to open its eyes, it could indicate that it is suffering from post-hibernation anorexia. Take your turtle to a veterinarian if you believe that your turtle has been in hibernation for too long.

Another reason is the lack of moisture. A turtle will choose to close its eyes because its body and eyes are too dry. Dry eyes are very uncomfortable, and the turtle will close its eyes to keep them moist. Sometimes, the turtle might not have any problem, and it may opt to have its eyes closed. However, if the eyes stay closed for more than 48 hours, you should take your turtle to the veterinarian.

If the veterinarian established the reason is vitamin A deficiency, you should improve your turtle’s diet. The veterinarian might recommend an oral vitamin A treatment or an injection. To avoid such problems, give your turtle foods rich in vitamin A, such as carrots.

If your turtle has an eye infection, you should also regularly replace the water in your turtle’s tank. Also, add some antibiotics into the water to remove bacteria. You can also use eye drops to cure your turtle’s eye infections.

Do Turtles Like To Sleep in The Dark?

Most animals prefer to sleep when it is dark outside. Light can be a source of disturbance, and some pets do not sleep well when exposed to bright lights. However, some pets will sleep at any time, whether it is dark or bright.

Some turtles are nocturnal, meaning that they sleep during the day and will be active at night. They have no problem sleeping when it is bright outside. Some turtles are diurnal, meaning that they can be active during the day and have a few periods of inactivity during the night. Most pet turtles are usually diurnal and will sleep during the night once the lights is turned off. They will take naps during the day when they are basking in the sun.

The reason why most turtles are diurnal is the need for UVB rays from the sun. They can only get UVB rays during the day, where a turtle will walk onto a rock or piece of wood and bask in the sun. Therefore, you should always let your pets bask in the sun for a few hours a day.

You can strategically place their tank in a position where it can get direct sunlight, or you can create a routine where you take your turtles out of the tank and let them move around in the garden and find a spot where they can get some sunlight.

If you cannot find time to take your turtle out to get some sunlight, you can install a turtle light in its tank. Turtle lights are very bright and are an alternate source for UVB rays. Turtles can sleep comfortably under this light if they do not prefer to sleep in the dark.

As long as the light is not too bright, your turtle will sleep peacefully. However, if you look directly into a turtle light for longer periods, it could damage your eyes. Therefore, use it wisely and keep it out of children’s reach.


Your pet needs to get enough sleep for the betterment of their health, and they need to rest after a long day to regain their energy to keep being the active pets you have come to love. As a keeper, you also need to chip in to help your buddies get the sleep they need. First, you need to ensure that their living environment is conducive for them; this way, they can be comfortable and sleep better.

The turtles spend most of their life in water, so they may get ill if something is wrong with the water in their tank. Thus, it would help to check the water’s conditions, temperatures, and pH levels. You also need to provide enough food and continuously check their temperature. Additionally, you need to pay close attention to your pet to ascertain that they get enough sleep and ask for expert help if you feel that something is amiss.

Nocturnal turtles will spend most of their day basking and taking naps. Also, they will choose secluded and hidden places to avoid getting ambushed by predators when sleeping. On the other hand, diurnal turtles will follow the natural cycle of the day.

They will be active during the day and sleep at night. However, they can also spend a few hours during the day sleeping and stay active for a few hours during the night.

Light does not seem to bother turtles if they want to sleep. You can turn off the tank lights during the night to encourage your turtle to develop a uniform sleeping cycle, if it’s diurnal, and vice versa. If you install turtle lights on the tank, make sure they are not too bright. You should also keep an eye on the turtle as some turtle lights produce a lot of heat and may harm your turtle.

Bal Kang

Bal Kang is an owner of several pets including reptiles, cats and dogs. An avid writer, who loves to share her insights into caring for pets.

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