Are Turtles Nocturnal? (9 Interesting Facts)

When we decide to have a turtle, we must understand their behavior, what they like or don’t like, and other important things. Understanding when they are active and when they are resting will be able to determine a schedule for feeding them or allowing them to be active. Sometimes we can see turtles swimming in the aquarium at night.

Are turtles nocturnal? Turtles are not nocturnal but diurnal. They will do their activities during the day and will rest at night. But some turtles are active at night, and this is not uncommon. Turtles that look active at night are still getting used to their life in the wild and adapt to their new life in the aquarium.

To know for sure whether turtles are nocturnal or diurnal, let’s read this article to the end.

Are turtles nocturnal
Are turtles nocturnal?


Are Turtles Nocturnal Or Diurnal?

Seeing turtles swimming around day or night makes many pet owners ask whether turtles are diurnal or nocturnal. Even though the turtles have slept at night, they will do the rest of the night just like they did in the morning.

Turtles are diurnal because they are rarely seen sleeping during the day. The need for basking in the sun is a sign of them as diurnal animals.

There is no other specific sign to distinguish whether a turtle is diurnal or nocturnal. You can monitor its activity to determine if turtles are more active during the day or the night.


Are Turtles Nocturnal?

Before answering in detail whether turtles are nocturnal or not, we need to know what nocturnal animals are. It is an animal that is active at night and will sleep during the day.

There are many reasons for animals to be nocturnal, but there are some common reasons, such as protecting themselves from predators or living in harsh environments.

Determining sleep time for animals is essential. Every creature needs the best time of rest without any disturbance. For some species, they must be aware of their surroundings to get the best quality rest.

Is a turtle nocturnal? Turtles are not nocturnal because they start in the morning. They will be swimming, eating, basking, mating during the day, and resting or sleeping at night.


Is A Sea Turtle Nocturnal Or Diurnal?

Many ask about sea turtles because they want to know their behavior before caring for them in the aquarium. When living in the wild, sea turtles will rarely be seen unless we understand where they live. If you occasionally see them near the surface during the day, that’s a sign they are diurnal animals.

Are turtles nocturnal? No. Sea turtles need to bask in the sun and swim around to do whatever they want to do. They are more comfortable looking for food during the day because they can’t see clearly at night.

Nocturnal animals will often be seen doing their primary activity such as foraging for food, swimming, or looking for territory at night. No sign turtle does any of these things at night.


Are Sea Turtles Nocturnal?

No, sea turtles are diurnal. Several things make pet owners think that sea turtles are diurnal. Female sea turtles do some of their behavior at night. Female sea turtles will come ashore at night to deposit their eggs.

Are sea turtles nocturnal or diurnal? Sea turtles are diurnal, although there is some activity at night. Several sea turtle species hatch during the night and look for the brightest horizon before doing so.

Knowing the specific sea turtle species will tell which turtles will do some of their activities at night and which ones won’t.


Are Box Turtles Nocturnal?

Box turtles are often seen searching for mates, foraging food, and exploring territory during the day. You will see box turtles resting in shady places such as under leaf piles, rotten logs, or mud at night.

If you see box turtles that seek shade during the day, it’s because they can’t stand high temperatures and are looking for a place to cool off.

Are box turtles nocturnal or diurnal? We can see some activities from box turtles are mostly done during the day. Box turtles will sleep at night as proof that they are diurnal animals.


Are Eastern Box Turtles Nocturnal?

Eastern box turtles that live in the wild will often look active at night to protect themselves from predators. They cannot rest or sleep peacefully because they are worried about predators seeking them in their hiding places.

Are box turtles nocturnal? Most turtle species are diurnal. The sign is that each turtle needs basking time and will look for a cool place when the temperature rises. Nocturnal animals will not bask because they need time to sleep.

Many assume eastern box turtles are nocturnal because they will look for shady places during the day. It’s not because they want to sleep, but because they can’t stand high temperatures.


Are Snapping Turtles Nocturnal?

Snappers or snapping turtles include nocturnal. They will bury themselves in sand or mud to wait for any prey to approach them. You will see active turtles snapping at night in search of food. Snappers don’t do basking as other sea turtles do. They mostly hide in weeds and mud to ambush their prey.

Are turtles nocturnal? The snapping turtle is one of the nocturnal turtle species. They are not like turtles in general, which carry out their activities during the day. Snapping turtles will spend their time underwater and hide their bodies.


Are Musk Turtles Nocturnal?

Another nocturnal turtle species is the musk turtle. Turtles will be seen looking for food in shallow water. Musk turtles are omnivores and seek out insects, algae, tadpoles, seeds, or snails. They don’t bask, and this is one of the main reasons why musk turtles aren’t diurnal.

Nocturnal animals will look for their prey at night, where the prey will sleep or rest at that time. Musk turtles will often be at the bottom of the tank walking around the habitat at a slow pace because they are not very good at swimming.

Now we know that two turtles are nocturnal. We will continue to discuss other turtle types.


Are Red Eared Slider Turtles Nocturnal?

Red-eared sliders are basking species that require slightly elevated places such as logs and rocks. They will forage and find mates during the day. That makes red-eared sliders a diurnal.

Red-eared sliders will rest at night. Try not to provide bright lights at night to get a good quality sleep for the red-eared sliders.

Are turtles nocturnal? Red-eared sliders do not include nocturnal. They need basking during the day until they get enough light for their body and shell. Provide a UVB light during the day, and reduce it at night.

Red-eared sliders include turtles that do a lot of movement when they wake up but appear inactive at night. If you want to see the behavior of red-eared sliders, try watching them during the day.


Are African Sideneck Turtles Nocturnal?

African side neck turtles are day-active or diurnal species. Some refer to African side neck turtles as nocturnal, but there is also evidence that they bask at the end of the water.

They appear to be inactive the first time they are transferred to captivity. Turtles will quickly rest while getting used to the new environment.

If you install LED fixtures, you can adjust the lights in the tank to differentiate between day and night settings and keep track of when the turtle is active.

Are turtles nocturnal? Not for African side neck turtles. They need a basking process and look for food during the day. Sometimes they want to rest during the day if they haven’t had enough sleep.

Are turtles nocturnal
Are turtles nocturnal? Are turtles nocturnal in sea? Are turtles nocturnal at home?


Are Green Sea Turtles Nocturnal?

Green sea turtles have a diurnal activity cycle, such as foraging food, searching territory, or finding mates. Even so, green sea turtles can have nocturnal activities such as coming to shore at night to deposit their eggs.

Green sea turtles need about 11 hours of sleep per day. Almost half of the day the turtle used to rest. Sometimes some turtles will sleep half of the normal time and will continue to sleep at other times.

Turtles need to breathe and occasionally come to the surface to take a breath. They can sleep in the water for a short time, and will float back to take a breath.


Are Gopher Turtles Nocturnal?

The gopher turtle is diurnal and spends its time basking and searching for food after emerging from its burrow. If you are caring for gopher turtles, provide a special space for the burrows as a safe place for them to sleep and do other activities.

Gopher turtles don’t like high temperatures. Brands will be more active in warm weather. Starting with looking for food in the morning or late afternoon.

After they finish looking for food, they will be basking before the temperature outside rises. Once it starts to heat up, the gopher turtle will return to the burrow.

There is no sign of any special activity carried out by the gopher turtles. You can check in their burrows whether they are sleeping or going out to do something.

Are turtles nocturnal? Not all turtle species are nocturnal. Gopher turtles are diurnal and will spend most of their time outside the burrow until the temperature rises in the afternoon.


Are Painted Turtles Nocturnal?

Painted turtles are diurnal animals. They will enter the mud or sand to sleep by absorbing oxygen in the water. You can easily find painted turtles during the day while basking in logs, banks, or other open spaces.

In addition to basking, they will look for food, find mates, or look for territory. They will do these activities from the morning until late afternoon before they enter the water to rest.  

Painted turtles do basking every day. They will enter the water when the temperature has started to heat or feel enough for basking.

If you place painted turtles in an aquarium, ensure you provide a basking area with a suitable UVB light for their needs.

We already know some turtle species with their behavior. The table below will distinguish some turtles that are diurnal and nocturnal.

Red eared slidersMusk turtle
Gopher turtleSnapping turtle
Painted turtleEastern Box turtle
Green sea turtle 
African sideneck turtle 


Do Turtles Nocturnal In The Winter?

Turtles do not become nocturnal in winter. Most turtles will reduce their activity to survive the cold temperatures. Turtles do not hibernate. Some turtle species continue to carry out activities throughout the winter without changing their behavior.

What do turtles do in the winter? The turtle’s metabolism will go down, allowing their bodies to endure without eating and drinking for months and withstand even a small amount of oxygen. Turtles perform cloacal breathing by getting oxygen from water passing through blood vessels in the skin.


Final Verdict – Are Turtles Nocturnal

Most turtle species are diurnal. They carry out routine activities such as looking for food, basking, finding mates, or searching the territory. There are several types of turtles that are nocturnal to protect themselves from being targeted by predators at night.

Are turtles nocturnal
Are turtles nocturnal? Are turtles nocturnal in captivity? Are turtles nocturnal in the wild? Are turtles nocturnal in winter?

Turtles become nocturnal because they cannot calm down in guarding themselves in the wild when many predators are looking for prey at night. Unlike the turtle in captivity, which is calm without any threat.

There was no significant difference in activity between diurnal or nocturnal turtles. It’s just that some female turtles will lay their eggs at night, and look for the brightest horizon. Turtles have the best sleep feature that they will sleep like babies and free of any dangers when they are with you.

As a pet lover, make sure to learn about pet more and give your pet turtle a good and comfortable life!

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