Do Land Turtles Drink Water?

land turtle

Land turtles are another common pet for people as they’re a little easier than semi-aquatic turtles. However, many land turtle owners have made a somewhat concerning observation…

Their land turtle does not drink water!

This brings up an interesting question, is it normal for land turtles to not drink water?

Yes, but it’s rare to see a land turtle drink water because they get most of their water from eating leafy greens and absorb water through their skin. Additionally, land turtles do not require all that much water to survive. Due to all of that, it’s actually rare to see your land turtle drink.

How Land Turtles Get Water

Land turtles have a few different ways that they get water. Remember, every animal on Earth needs water, so land turtles do have ways to receive water.

This section will cover a few of the ways that land turtles get the water that they need to survive.

Land Turtles Absorb Water Through Their Skin

First of all, land turtles can actually absorb water through their skin.


In fact, land turtles can absorb so much water through their skin that they don’t really need to worry about drinking water. It’s a neat evolutionary hack that land turtles have and one that has sort of baffled scientists. With this in mind, here are some ways to help your land turtle out with water.

Soak Your Land Turtles in Water

An easy way to give water to your turtle is to simply plop the turtle down into a small puddle of water. Obviously, you don’t want the water to be below head deep for the turtle.

Really, the water just has to be deep enough that it can get inside the turtle’s shell or even just enough water that your turtle can walk through it.

As mentioned previously, the scaly skin of a land turtle will absorb water. This is especially easy if the water enters inside the turtle’s shell.

Keep Substrate Damp

Another method to help your turtle absorb water through their skin is to keep the substrate damp. You don’t want to keep the substrate soaking wet as mold and mildew will form, which is gross and not good for your turtle.

You just need to spray the substrate with water from one of those squirt bottles and then put the turtle on the wet spot. If the turtle needs water, then it will stay on the damp spot.

Some turtle owners have even been known to get automatic misters that simulate rain. Personally, I find this a little extreme for only a turtle, but if you have plants, then it’s a good idea. It will certainly build a more tropical environment in your tank. Your turtle will certainly love it!

Just watch out for mold and mildew forming due to all the humidity.

Leafy Greens and Fruit Contain Water

Land turtles eat a diet of leafy greens and fruit. Obviously, both of those foods contain a lot of water.

Did you know that fruit is mostly made up of water?

It has enough water in it that your turtle should be fine from the water in fruits and vegetables alone.

Remember, turtles evolved to live in dry environments – they don’t sweat and their body is very efficient in its use of water, so they don’t need much water to survive.

Land Turtles Sometimes Drink Water

The very rare site of a land turtle drinking water.

With all that out of the way, it’s important to note that land turtles still do drink water from time to time.

Is it common for land turtles to drink water?

Not really. There are land turtle owners that have literally never seen their turtle drink water in years of ownership.

However, in certain circumstances a land turtle will drink water. This is mainly if they haven’t had much water-rich food in a long time or if they live in a very dry environment that prevents them from absorbing water through their skin.

Finally, there are times when your land turtle will take a few sips of water and you don’t see it. I would say it’s unlikely you will see your land turtle drink water unless you watch it 24 hours a day – the turtle will take a few sips of water per day to supplement the water in their food. If you miss seeing those few sips, then you will wonder if your turtle ever drinks water!

Closing Thoughts

That covers it for whether land turtles drink water…

Yes, land turtles certainly drink water, but they have other ways of getting water, so it’s rare to see them actually drink water. Further complicating things is the fact that land turtles may only take a few sips of water per day. So, if you miss those few sips, then you will never really see your turtle drinking water.

Happy land turtle owning, folks.

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