How Long Can A Tortoise Go Without Water

How Long Can A Tortoise Go Without Water: Dehydrated Tort Facts

The tortoise has dehydration problems due to the conditions they are kept in. So, as a sincere tortoise pet person, we should know the facts behind this dehydration issue because water is a major source of animal living.

So, how long can a tortoise go without water? Although tortoises shouldn’t stay more than 2 days or 48 hours without water, some of them live one week but with a risk of severe health issues. Also, matured tortoises can live for up to a year by rehydrating themselves with water from the food they consume.

That’s not all. Dive deeper into the article to know how your tortoise becomes dehydrated and the signs and symptoms behind such problems. Also, learn some considerable facts to keep the chelonian buddy healthy by offering enough water routinely.

Can A Tortoise Survive Without Water?


Usually, animals get their moisture or water from natural humidity, raindrops, grasses, and wildflowers during the springtime. For example, tortoises reserve water in their bladders and use it to rehydrate. 

Can A Tortoise Survive Without Water

So, yes, tortoises can survive without water for a week to a year. But eventually, they will die if they become dehydrated for lack of food and water.

How Long Can A Tortoise Go Without Water?

How Long Can A Tortoise Go Without Water

If you want to know how long a tortoise can stay out of the water, understand how many days a tortoise can live without food. The reason is they reserve water from food to live. 

  • And in actuality, longer than two days is already difficult for a tortoise as they should take regular food as well as fresh drinking water.
  • However, this is to inform you that a healthy tortoise will stay for 2 days or 1 week with low humidity.
  • Or if you ask, “Do desert tortoises live without water?” The answer is yes, the adult or desert tortoises have more ability to survive without water for around 1 year or more.

What Happens If A Tortoise Doesn’t Drink Water: 5 Major Illness

What Happens If A Tortoise Doesn't Drink Water

Whenever the tortoise avoids drinking fresh water and lacks regular food, it becomes ill. Specifically, they encounter health issues such as:

  1. When the tortoise does not drink enough water, the uric acid becomes solid, gathers in the joints and organs, and causes severe health conditions
  2. Tortoises usually develop deposits of undissolved uric acid when the solid uric acid in their bladder builds up
  3. Articular gout arises as a result of uric acid crystal development
  4. Dehydration can cause kidney failure in your Chelonian buddy
  5. Water deficiency also causes shell and skeletal issues, chemical imbalances, impaction, and constipation
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Can A Tortoise Die From Dehydration?

Yes. Moisture and hydration are essential for the survival of any tortoise or turtle. For example, young adults radiated (Astrocheyls radiata), must require water and absorb moisture through their skin and shell.

Aside from that, any healthy tortoise requires water intake, otherwise, they become ill and yes, there is a risk of death from dehydration.

How To Tell If Your Tortoise Is Dehydrated: 10 Signs And Symptoms

How To Tell If Your Tortoise Is Dehydrated

Water is crucial for metabolism regulation, so such reptiles need regular moisture intake. But if they get dehydrated, some symptoms become visible, such as:

  1. Weight loss and becoming lighter
  2. The eyes become sunken
  3. They usually keep their eyes closed most of the time
  4. The neck will appear skinny
  5. Loss of appetite suddenly
  6. Urine that is less concentrated, thicker, and whitish
  7. Dry feces and skin
  8. Excessive and thick mouth mucus
  9. Muscle tone becomes poor
  10. Inactivity, depression, and lethargy

How Long Can A Baby Tortoise Go Without Water?

Tort normally requires clean drinking water and they should not go more than two days without drinking. And in the matter of Baby tortoises, they require daily soaks of 10 minutes.

How Long Can A Russian Tortoise Go Without Water?

Russian tortoises, in particular, hibernate with less nutrition. But, often we discovered they can stay for one week, but when in hibernation, they at least seek water stay hydrated for a long.

Also, Russian tort does not enjoy drinking water but prefer to live in safety. Even a tortoise owner kept 8 to 15 oz of water in a rock-shaped plastic pool but the tortoise refused to drink. It’s because the species love to drink water a few times a week and remain hydrated through eating.

How Long Can A Russian Tortoise Go Without Water

How Often Do Tortoises Need Water: Important Tips

  • The tort actually needs fresh water every day. 
  • However, they can go without water for at least 7 days in a humid environment. But it’s not acceptable at all! 
  • And bear in mind that lasting two days without water puts the tortoise in danger.
How Often Do Tortoises Need Water

Remarkably, the environment, age, and species will determine the ability of tortoises to survive. For example, young tortoises and turtles do not recover from significant challenges like adults. However, following the given ideas will be enough to keep the tort hydrated all the time.

  • Keep the tort hydrated and clean by soaking twice a week
  • Allow the tortoise to drink fresh water from any large bowl
  • Leave the bowl in the shady place
  • Provide hydrating foods such as baby leaves, kale, rocket, wild leaves, flowers, or weeks such as clover, bramble leaves, or sow thistle
  • People often ask whether tortoises can drink tap water. Well, yes, they drink water directly from the tap and it’s good for them
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Here are a few more additional questions you might be asking now.

Q: How long can tortoises go without food?

A healthy adult tortoise can go 3 to 6 months without eating. Also, some of the rare resilient tortoises can go two to three years without eating.

Q: Do tortoises like cold water?

Excessively hot or cold water is harmful to the tort. Therefore, lukewarm water will be comfortable and suitable for them.

Q: Is it ok to put a tortoise in water?

Yes, putting your Chelonian friend is a good idea. According to the size and particular species of the tortoise, you need to offer approximately one inch of water.


As you’ve read this article, now you know how long can a tortoise go without water. If the tort is young, don’t let them live without food or water for more than two days. But the adult tort case is different, so they’ll be okay for months or even years.

You have also understood that tortoises don’t require water separately every time because they get moisture from their diet. And when you notice the mentioned symptoms and illnesses in your tortoise, ensure you utilize the tips we shared. It will keep the tortoise hydrated and healthy in their long way of life.

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