Top 10 Tortoises Sleeping Facts, How Tortoises Sleep

In the previous article, we have talked about How tortoises breathe? we all also get queasy right? But is that same for the reptiles or tortoises in particular. That’s exactly what we are going to explore in this article which is related to “how tortoises sleep?”. All their sleeping patterns will get explored considering all the do and don’ts.

Why is my tortoise always sleeping?

Sleep is the basic thing needed for a healthier life. Tortoises and turtles have survived this earth for a very long time and they are among those animals which have walked with dinosaurs as well. So they are quite adaptive to the temperature and the region. Talking about the adaptive strategies sleeping may be considered as one.

Tortoises Sleeping all the time?

The major factor that disturbs the sleep cycle of your tortoise is the imbalance of temperature and light. As reptiles are cold-blooded animals and their body temperature gets very low during the night time so they need the right amount of heat and light to return back to their normal metabolic rate to perform their body tasks. The ideal temperature for basking is around thirty-two to thirty-five degrees. Ultraviolet radiation source should be of intensity T5D = 12%. They should be provided light for at least 12 hours a day. All of these are basics that will help your tortoise in having an adequate amount of sleep and making it clear for you also “how tortoises sleep?”

Enclosure matters of Tortoises:

Enclosures that are quite suffocated will put them in a stressful situation. “Tortoise table” is best for them as it allows air to pass freely while they are sleeping. 

New environment for tortoises:

Sometimes when you own a tortoise just by the moment and you notice that he sleeps way too much that’s because it might be settling himself in the new environment.

Low water consumption for tortoises:

Dehydration is the major cause of slow metabolism in tortoises. It can make them really slow or lazy. Keep the water content high as water makes more of the body than other things.


It’s no wonder that despite following all the instructions your tortoise is sleeping more than you may have to consider a vet for a fecal test to detect any parasites in their gut.

These are the steps or signs that show you how tortoises sleep and make it very easy for you to understand.

Don’t let tortoise sleep too long

All the creatures including the tortoise need a specific diet, exercise, and hibernating pattern at the right time and it varies from breed to breed. The problem begins when the captive tortoise owners don’t have enough information and they are not aware of the effects of over hibernating or oversleeping. The most common mistake made is over hibernating them from October to April. Most of the tortoises don’t have enough food reserves in their body and die during this period due to starving and dehydration. I hereby convince strongly consulting a vet about hibernating. Only your vet has specialized in that particular field and you do not so he can tell what is the best time, place and what should be the best surrounding environment for your tortoise to hibernate. He will tell you when your tortoise has enough diet to hibernate. And also he will tell the best temperature equipment to provide during the hibernation period.

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how tortoises sleep? How long do they sleep?

 Along with the question of how tortoises sleep there comes another one that how long do they sleep. As long as the light and the UV radiation are available they will be awake. If he is an outdoor pet as soon as the sun gets down it’s going to sleep. Sleeping patterns can vary from tortoise to tortoise. A young or a baby tortoise can sleep from 19 -22 hours. It is said that being too small and out there in the wild is the main reason for their long sleeping pattern.

Where does a turtle sleep?

 Having a proper place for your pet to sleep is the best thing you can do for your tortoise and in this article which is about how tortoises sleep, you will get to know this very well. Though tortoises are rough and tough animals, that does not mean that they just randomly sleep anywhere. Sleeping habitat can vary according to the region and the breed of the tortoise. In general, tortoises prefer a place that offers more protection and a darker environment rather than at the place where they just take a nap.


It has been observed that box turtles like to squeeze in leaf litter. It has been mentioned in research that box turtles like to sleep in leaf litter as soon as the winter approach or for hibernating they bury themselves deep in the ground covering them completely with the soil. Similarly, it has been observed that mud turtles leave their natural habitat (water) and start to dig holes for laying eggs and they specifically do it after a rainy day and they come back from their hole until the next rain. It makes sense as the rain softens up the soil making digging, going in and coming out easier.

Size and shape of the hole for tortoises:

It is found out that depending upon the breed of the tortoise they may prefer different burrows and holes. For example, box turtles prefer deep holes and they may hibernate in rotting or tree slumps or they may dig themselves one. To your amazement, a tortoise known as Gopher tortoise is so amazing at digging and making tunnels so that they can even maintain a whole habitat not just for them but for 360 more species including some rare snakes as well.

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Deep branches:

Sometimes some tortoises can’t find a hole or can’t dig a burrow so they just cling themselves to dense tangles of blackberry or grapes to rest upon them. It provides two benefits; first, the thorns of the bushes fade away the danger of some predators and also blackberries are good food before and after hibernation.

Dirty mud for tortoises:

This substrate is mainly used by turtles or some aquatic tortoises to use it as a burrow or a hole to hibernate in. Turtles can get oxygen both by breathing or from the water making them excellent survivors during hibernation. Some turtles like African turtles also make themselves hibernate in the mud when their water resources dry up. They can hibernate for up to 6 months in the mud until the next monsoon.

Infrastructure beneath the water:

Some aquatic turtles may sleep in the small places present in the rocks underneath the water. They can also use man-made structures to hibernate like dams or rip rap etc. there are also some species like alligator turtles which is so large that it does not have many predators and can literally hibernate at the bottom of the pond.

Question and answers

Questions are made in order to clarify them. Many of the people who have pet tortoises have a lot of questions about how tortoises sleep and many more to go. Below are a few questions that will clear up your mind.

How long does the tortoise sleep?

A tortoise can sleep anywhere unless there is no UV lighting present. The tortoise generally hibernates from October to February. They usually sleep after 12 hours whereas the baby tortoise may sleep for 19-22 hours.

How many hours do tortoises sleep?

They sleep for 12 hours or baby tortoises can sleep for 19-22 hours. However, the timing period can vary according to species. if your tortoise is sleeping too much in the day you should adjust the UV lighting to 12 hours a day.

How much time tortoise sleep?

The tortoise can be awake for 12 hours and as long the UV radiation and temperature is not maintained they won’t sleep. The baby tortoises can sleep for 19-22 hours. However, it is not harmful to wake up your tortoise if they have exceeded their sleep limit. 

How often do tortoises sleep?

Tortoises hibernate for 3-4 months whereas in usual routine they sleep for 12 hours. Some aquatic turtles may hibernate in the water at the bottom of the pond. They also require a basking temperature for their sleep so it must have to be maintained.

How long does a tortoise sleep in a day?

Tortoise won’t sleep until the sun is there or the light. They sleep after 12 hours. Sleep is essential for all organisms to maintain a healthy body and to restore energy. During the day the energy is restrained in different activities. To relax and to get back that energy, sleep is essential.

So, this is the article for those who want to know about pet tortoises and also for those who are searching on this species. I hope you find it very helpful for further details you can also check our categories on some other animals. Every kind of animal-related information is available here at

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