Habitat - Indoor :: How long can i let my turtle stay out of the water?

Turtle tank setups and other indoor configurations.

Post Posted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 11:28 pm   Re: How long can i let my turtle stay out of the water?

Asking a question like this on an old unrelated thread may not get as many eyes as you want. You're likely better off posting in the general care section and starting a new thread:


That being said, you've come to the right place to find info and get help caring for a RES. welcome!

At 10 years old, your turtle may not realize the fish are food because it has never been exposed to them. In the wild, a turtle that age will be getting most of its nutrition through plant matter. The main site has tons of good information, including a great nutrition section:


If you are new to this, you'll likely have more questions. I'd start new threads to get more eyes on them.
Tobi a RES born in 2012
1 dog, 1 teenager, 3 aquariums filled with fish, snails, shrimp and a bit of algae
User avatar
Posts: 916
Joined: Jul 21, 2012
Location: Near Chicago in IN
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:54 pm   Re: How long can i let my turtle stay out of the water?

Most turtles that are older and wiser know the calories they expend to get the fish dont add up to the calories they get, and they know they will get easier food anyways.
My guys is 10 and I have alot of fish in with him and he doesnt bother any of them,I even have a beta in there and figured he would be total food because they are slow and lazy but even he is of no interest.
Just just him lots of red lettuce and a good turtle pellet diet and he should be good to go.
User avatar
Posts: 27
Joined: Sep 18, 2013
Location: Nova Scotia,Canada
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Sun Nov 02, 2014 12:02 pm   Re: How long can i let my turtle stay out of the water?

michaelg wrote:Like others have said, RES are aquatic turtles, not land turtles. They only go on land to bask and lay eggs.

George never basks, so I imagine it's OK to let her crawl around on this bed of rocks in direct sunlight while I clean her tank, right? She seems OK with it, is crawling around and exploring. It will only be a few minutes... But it does concern me that she is always submerged. Her basking area/lighting haven't been set up yet :cry:

...update: yeah, that didn't work out so well. I approached where she was "basking" on the dry rocks, she clamored toward me and made a raspy gasping sound. Usually she clamors away when I approach, and I've never heard her make an audible sound with her mouth ever in the nearly 3 months we've been together. I'm still a bit startled. She made the sound again and is up on her hind legs, so I immediately returned her to water.

I guess the key is to have the option to bask, not just suddenly be out of your native environment. Sorry, George. :msgreen: She seems more calm now.
Impulse Shopper
Posts: 202
Joined: Aug 17, 2014
Location: California, USA
Gender: Female

Post Posted: Sun Nov 02, 2014 2:27 pm   Re: How long can i let my turtle stay out of the water?

Penny stayed in the water the majority of the time until I got her a hot enough basking lamp, now I'd say it's about 50/50. She hisses if I catch her off guard and grab her too quickly. She enjoys being outside in the front yard exploring. The last two times I've put her in the yard she heads right across the street to the neighbors. I usually let her out for about 30 mins under my careful supervision. You don't dare take your eyes off of her because she'll run off and hide. I've never let her loose in the house. Every couple of weeks she'll get extra rambunctious and I'll take her out, it seems to calm her down.

User avatar
Posts: 86
Joined: Sep 18, 2014
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Sun Nov 02, 2014 5:10 pm   Re: How long can i let my turtle stay out of the water?

Why doesn't she have a basking area setup?
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 29911
Joined: Apr 11, 2005
Location: New York, NY
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Sun Nov 02, 2014 5:20 pm   Re: How long can i let my turtle stay out of the water?

steve wrote:Why doesn't she have a basking area setup?

Working on it.
Impulse Shopper
Posts: 202
Joined: Aug 17, 2014
Location: California, USA
Gender: Female

Post Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:24 pm   Re: How long can i let my turtle stay out of the water?

I know this question is old but I just wanted to add that turtles instinctively try and return to the place where they were born to mate and reproduce. Letting them out just allows them to try and get there. My turtle always splashes around when it sees me, I don't think it's asking to roam around your apartment. They eat and sleep in water not on land.
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 29, 2016
Gender: Female

Post Posted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:38 am   Re: How long can i let my turtle stay out of the water?

Try pellets reptomin. Greens there's a great section of food to feed and not to feed. I'm new also this is a good site/forum learned Alot so far.
Posts: 12
Joined: Mar 23, 2016
Location: Pennsylvania
Gender: Female

Post Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2016 6:19 pm   Re: How long can i let my turtle stay out of the water?

OK I can put this one to rest. Yes some RES can live inside, but it's not common. I live in Baja California and have a pond in my yard. I have between 8 to 12 RES turtles. All of my turtles were hatchling. They range in age between 6 months and 7 years old. All of them were raised in aquariums until they are or were about 4 inches in diameter. My pond is about the size of a swimming pool so I'm really not sure on total population because some turtles are shy and others may have passed away. My turtles can come and go and enter and leave the house as they please. Only 3 actually use the dog door. 1 loves to sleep on a heated mat next to the bed and ventures out 1 or 2 times a week (hand raised 6 year old) this one comes out to do yoga with my wife in the morning . Another does lay to hide under furniture and beds. For the rest of the population half I never see and they run as soon as a person comes near. We have a cat. Most are afraid of the cat but the three turtles that come inside don't care and ignore her.
So the answer is always provide access to and from water and the turtles will let you know if they want in.
Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 25, 2016

Post Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:34 am   Re: How long can i let my turtle stay out of the water?

Mine also loves being out and does not hide. We have three children and a black lab dog and our turtle crawls around in the midst of them all. I can even call our turtles' name, Sigmund-Freud, and he will come across the room straight to my hand, every time. Once in a while Sigmund will sit under the couch with his head fully out just watching everyone. Sigmund loves climbing all my kids toys and literally if everyone moves to another room, such as the kitchen, so will the turtle. I keep Sigmund out for up to four hours at a time before going back to the tank where he has a basking area, which he does use. I am going to build a set-up where he can come and go from his cage as he wants unless I close it. I sometimes will bring Sigmund out a second time, so he can be out of water for a total of 6-7 hours a day...he won't have it any other way, he begs to get out of his cage. I don't think his cage stresses him as when Sigmund does not know anyone is around he is relaxed being in his cage either swimming or basking...when their is activity in the living room he begs to be out, even after he has been fed fish, worms, carrots and sometimes a strawberry. Sigmund is very socialized and not nervous at all. I even made a ramp up to a decorative center block that sits looking out a closed glass window. We live on a super busy road and Sigmund will sit on the rock staring out the window, lots of action to see, and for quite a while. He is a very curious fellow. I can't answer your question on how long they are suppose to be out-of-water however the more he is out the happier and relaxed he is, and Sigmund is not a hider. For the four hours I have him out he is generally only hidden, such as under furniture, for 25% of the time and to can hear him exploring...he is very active generally.
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 27, 2017
Gender: Male


Return to Habitat - Indoor

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: litefoot and 7 guests