How Quick Can a Turtle Swim? Vet-Reviewed Info & FAQ


one swimming marine turtle underwater in aquarium tank

Dr. Athena Gaffud Photo

The data is present and up-to-date in accordance with the most recent veterinarian analysis.

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Turtles are actually unbelievable creatures which have all the time symbolized knowledge, persistence, and the artwork of sluggish residing. Most fables and kids’s tales depict turtles as sluggish creatures, taking eternally to search out their means on land. Nonetheless, turtles spend most of their lives in water, so how briskly can turtles actually swim?

You can be shocked to be taught {that a} Leatherback Sea Turtle can swim as much as 21.7 miles per hour. This sea turtle is extremely quick and might even dive to nice depths. Most sea turtles depend on their swimming skills to outlive, so hold studying to learn how they handle to swim so quick with their cumbersome our bodies.

Kinds of Aquatic Turtles

We will make a easy division of aquatic and semi-aquatic species when speaking about turtles. Turtles both spend their days out and in of water or inhabit solely water habitats. Whereas some turtle species spend all their days within the water, all of them rely upon the land for sure rituals, equivalent to laying eggs.

In the case of sea turtles, there are seven varieties.

  • Inexperienced Turtle

  • Hawksbill

  • Kemp’s Ridley

  • Loggerhead

  • Olive Ridley

  • Leatherback

  • Flatback

Whereas all of those turtles are distinctive and fascinating, we’ll dwell on the subject of the quickest swimmer within the group, a title that belongs to the Leatherback turtle.

turtle swimming in open water
Picture Credit score: Randall Ruiz, Unsplash

The Quickest Swimming Turtle

The quickest and in addition largest turtle on earth is the Leatherback Turtle. Its title comes from its distinctive look—it lacks a standard turtle shell. As a substitute, its again is roofed by agency, rubbery pores and skin, which appears extra like leather-based than a shell. This turtle is widespread throughout the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, though its numbers are in decline due to the human impression within the final century. Their standing globally is “Weak,” whereas some subpopulations are “Critically Endangered” 1.

The grownup Leatherback turtle can weigh as a lot as 2,000 kilos, making it the biggest turtle species. It is a superb swimmer and diver, diving as much as 4,000 ft underwater 2. They’re additionally recognized to be the quickest swimming turtles, reaching a powerful 21.7 miles per hour.

How Quick Can Turtles Swim In contrast To Different Animals

To higher perceive how briskly the Leatherback can swim, we in contrast their abilities with different animals. Whereas a human’s report in swimming reaches 6 miles per hour, the quickest swimmer on the planet is the Black Marlin which might reportedly attain 82 miles per hour.

For those who’ve ever seen dolphins swimming in sync with a ship, you in all probability witnessed them swimming at round 23.6 miles per hour. Dolphins can attain related swimming speeds as sea turtles, so think about how briskly the Leatherback Turtle can swim!

Human 6 mph
Leatherback Turtle 21.7 mph
Dolphin 25 mph
Orca 34.5 mph
Sailfish 68 mph
Black Marlin 82 mph
Turtle swimming in a fish tank
Picture Credit score: hamdanalderey, Shutterstock

How Lengthy Can Turtles Stay Underwater?

Aquatic turtles spend most of their lives within the water. Nonetheless, a few of them should return to land to put eggs. They present extraordinary skills throughout their time within the water, equivalent to staying underwater for lengthy intervals. When lively, turtles should attain above for air each jiffy. Nonetheless, when they’re in a state of relaxation, they’ll stay underwater with out respiratory for so long as 2 hours. Sea turtles can stay with out oxygen for as much as 7 hours when resting by slowing down their coronary heart charge.

How Are Turtles Such Nice Swimmers?

As a result of swimming is an everyday a part of a turtle’s on a regular basis life, they should be as expert swimmers as attainable to keep away from predators. To attain such spectacular speeds, they use all 4 of their legs or flippers. Most freshwater turtles have webbed ft, an essential asset for paddling and quick swimming.

Alternatively, sea turtles have lengthy flippers as an alternative of webbed ft to propel them via the water. Their again flippers even have the wonderful function of serving to them steer. Feminine sea turtles use their again legs to dig up locations to nest within the sand and lay their eggs.

Closing Ideas

Turtles are fascinating creatures that all the time impress us with their extraordinary our bodies and talents. Whether or not semi-aquatic or aquatic, they possess unbelievable swimming capabilities that permit them to spend their lives safely within the water. After studying how briskly a turtle can truly swim, you in all probability realized it’s best to by no means underestimate these unbelievable creatures.

Whereas they could appear sluggish and unprotected on the land, they’ll discover their means faster within the water than most different animals.

Featured Picture Credit score: Nerify, Shutterstock


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