Can Red-Eared Sliders Breathe Underwater: Fascinating Facts About the Breathing Ability of These Turtles

Red-eared slider turtles can breathe underwater, but only to a certain degree. This is possible because they have a particular lung type called an aquatic pulmonary organ. This allows them to stay submerged for long periods, which is essential for their survival in water.

How Red-Eared Slider Turtles Breathe

Breathing Underwater

Breathing underwater is an important survival mechanism for sliders. When they’re on land, sliders breathe through their noses. However, when submerged in water, they open their mouths to breathe. This breathing process helps them survive in aquatic habitats and stay hydrated.

How Long Red-Eared Sliders Can Stay Underwater

Red-eared sliders can breathe underwater for a short amount of time. However, if they display signs of stress or distress, like excessive swimming or diving behavior, it may be time to bring them out of the water until they recover. Please keep them in fresh water and feed them small prey items regularly to ensure they’re thriving.

Signs a Red-Eared Slider Turtle Is Drowning

If you see your turtle floating around or struggling to breathe, it’s time to call an emergency veterinarian. Turtles can drown in various ways – including when they fall into the water while swimming or diving and cannot get back out. So be extra vigilant, and don’t let your turtle suffer in vain!

Ensure your turtle has a secure enclosure that prevents access to water, and be sure to teach your children about the dangers of drowning turtles.

Why a Red-Eared Slider Won’t Get Out of the Water

If your red-eared slider isn’t getting out of the water, it may be because you need a spot for them to climb out of the water. They may get drowned if you don’t give your slider a spot to climb out of the water. When it’s time to get out of the water, red-eared sliders will climb up a rock or log high enough above the water level.

Why a Red-Eared Slider Is Staying Out of the Water

If you’re seeing your red-eared slider staying out of the water, there may be a reason. First, ensure there’s no debris on the pond surface so the sliders can breathe easily. 

Red-eared sliders need ponds about 6 to 8 inches deep with plenty of plants and aquatic insects to eat. If you see your slider staying out of the water, give it some space, and it will likely move back in soon.

Incorrect Water Temperature

Make sure the water is at a comfortable temperature for your sliders – this should be around 75 to 85 degrees F. If the water is too hot or cold, the red-eared slider will not be able to breathe underwater correctly and could die due to overheating or hypothermia.

Dirty Tank Environment

Red-eared sliders stay out of the water due to a dirty tank environment. You can take some simple steps to solve the issue, such as adding fresh water to the tank daily and regularly cleaning debris from the aquarium. If these measures fail, it might be time to rehome your pet slider.

Bullying by Tank Mates

Bullying by tank mates can be a nightmare for any fish owner, especially if the bullying forms aggression and territoriality toward other fish. 

To prevent this, provide your red-eared slider with a place to stay – preferably an aquarium or tank – and make sure the water level stays topped up. If kept out of water for too long, they may become agitated and aggressive, leading to conflict with their neighbors.

How Much Water a Red-Eared Slider Needs

Red-eared sliders are misunderstood reptiles requiring much less water than many belief. When watering red-eared sliders, wait until the soil is arid before refilling the pot. 

For a quick check on whether or not your red-eared slider needs more water, place one tuber near the surface of the soil; if it sinks slowly to the bottom within a few minutes, then it’s time for a refill. 

Red-eared sliders can live in water as shallow as six inches up to 8 inches deep, but they should be kept away from streams and other bodies of water.

Why Red-Eared Turtles Like to Be Underwater

Being submerged in water gives red-eared sliders a feeling of security and calmness that’s hard to find anywhere else in their environment. 

How Long Red-Eared Slider Turtles Can Go Without Water

Keeping your red-eared slider waterlogged can be dangerous for their long-term health. Keeping them submerged in water is not the best way to help them with hydration, as they will not be able to breathe correctly. 

Instead, keep them adequately hydrated with fresh water available at all times. If you must keep them underwater, make sure they have a container of fresh water available so they can drink and bathe as they need. If their water gets too dirty or they start getting watery eyes or skin, raise the water’s surface for them to crawl out of.

How to Know if a Red-Eared Slider Is Dehydrated

If you have doubts about whether or not your red-eared slider is dehydrated, the best way to determine this is to give them enough water. Their bowl should be half full at all times, and if you still feel unsure, put the slider in a pot of warm water and wait until it floats. 

To tell if sliders are dehydrated, you may also place them in a glass of fresh water for a few hours; once they start drinking again, you will have restored their hydration level somewhat. If the slider isn’t exhibiting any sign of dehydration (e.g., it’s sluggish or doesn’t move much), they are probably fine and do not need further attention.