How Long Can A Sea Turtle Hold Its Breath?

Sea turtles are the largest of all turtles and they live in tropical or subtropical oceans worldwide. They are mostly found in shallow water on the ocean floor, but many species also enter rivers to lay their eggs. We will answer how long can sea turtle hold their breath in just a few simple steps!

Sea turtles are some of the world’s most iconic animals, and their air consumption is also one of the highest. Sea turtles can actually hold their breath for 7 hours at a time!

What is the Average Sea Turtle’s Breathing Rate?

Sea turtles are among the most aquatic creatures on Earth. They spend their entire lives swimming and diving in the ocean, which means that their breathing rates are quite high.

For a small sea turtle, such as the green sea turtle, the average breathing rate is about 220 breaths per minute. For a larger sea turtle, such as the loggerhead sea turtle, the average breathing rate can be as high as 1,500 breaths per minute!

How Long Can A Sea Turtle Hold Its Breath Underwater?

A sea turtle can hold their breath underwater for up to seven hours! This is thanks to the turtle’s high metabolism and its ability to close off its blood flow to the head.

Their lungs are specially adapted to breathe underwater. The sea turtle’s stomach is also converted into an air tank, which helps them to store air in their bodies while they are underwater.

Sea turtles have a very high water content in their tissues, so they don’t need much oxygen to survive. In fact, they can get by with just 5% of the oxygen that we need!

How does the Sea Turtle Breathing Cycle Work?

The sea turtle’s breathing cycle is a complex process that allows the turtle to survive in water. When the turtle needs to breathe, it opens its mouth and inhales water. This causes the lungs to fill with air and the turtle can breathe again. When the turtle needs to exhale the lungs and gills, they close.

The remaining air in the lungs is then exhaled from the mouth. As the turtle stays underwater and takes in water, this causes a build-up of carbon dioxide (CO2) within the body. This is a normal process for all animals. When it needs to breathe, it will come to the surface and exhale all of this excess carbon dioxide through its nose.

The Effect of Temperature on Breathing Rate

Sea turtles are able to hold their breath for a very long time, but the colder the water is, the shorter their breathing duration will be. The warmer the water is, the more energy it will take to maintain an adequate body temperature. Thus, sea turtles must swim in water that is relatively warm.

The easiest way to keep the water at the desired temperature is to hold their bodies above it. However, since this requires the sea turtle to float on the surface, they must have sufficient buoyancy for deep dives.

In addition, if the water temperature rises too quickly during their stays on top of the water’s surface, their air-filled lungs fill with water and they drown. A particular problem for marine turtles is that during warmer months when temperatures rise above about 85 degrees Fahrenheit, sea turtles tend to lose weight and may suffer from dehydration as a result.

Can Sea Turtles Breathe While They Sleep?

Sea turtles can breathe while they sleep. National Geographic states that “some species of sea turtles can sleep for up to 18 hours at a time.” A sea turtle’s heart rate and respiration rates are usually fairly constant while it is sleeping.”

Sea Turtles Anatomy

Sea turtles have a very flexible neck that allows them to swallow their food whole. Its tongue is soft and can touch its eyes; the tongue also has a filter in it which helps to remove toxins from its mouth. The flipper of a sea turtle can be used to hold on to something while swimming or digging an underwater tunnel.

Where Do Sea Turtles Hide Their Heads?

I always wondered why sea turtles bury their heads in the sand when they are hiding from predators. Turns out, it is not a random act but rather a clever strategy. By burying their heads, sea turtles can reduce the chances of water getting into their nose and lungs, which would cause them to drown.

When a turtle buries its head, it uses its long neck and head to scoop sand into the shell, which creates an airtight seal between the shell and the sand. When the animal comes up for air, there is no water in its nose or lungs, so it can breathe normally again. This technique also allows turtles to cover their eyes with sand as well.

What Do Sea Turtles Eat?

Sea turtles have a long lifespan and can live up to 100 years. They are mostly herbivorous and eat things like sea plants, small fish, and crustaceans. Sea turtles are not cannibals. They will eat other sea turtles but do not eat living beings.


Sea turtles are animals that are known for their incredible diving abilities. They can hold their breath for up to seven hours and dive as deep as 300 feet underwater. In order to achieve these impressive feats, sea turtles need to rack up a lot of oxygen in their blood while they’re underwater. Although they breathe air, sea turtles rely on the water in their lungs and intestines to flush out carbon dioxide.