African Sideneck Turtles, scientifically known as Pelusios castaneus, are fascinating creatures that are native to the freshwater habitats of Africa. These turtles are known for their unique ability to retract their heads sideways into their shells, giving them their distinctive name. While they spend most of their time in water, they do require occasional time on land. In this article, we will explore how long African Sideneck Turtles can be out of water and the factors that influence their ability to survive on land.

Understanding the Natural Habitat of African Sideneck Turtles

Before delving into the time African Sideneck Turtles can spend out of water, it is essential to understand their natural habitat. These turtles are primarily found in freshwater bodies such as rivers, lakes, and swamps across Africa. They are well-adapted to aquatic life, with streamlined bodies and webbed feet that enable them to swim efficiently.

Adaptations for Life on Land

While African Sideneck Turtles are primarily aquatic, they possess certain adaptations that allow them to spend time on land. These adaptations include:

  • Respiration: African Sideneck Turtles have lungs and breathe air, unlike some other aquatic turtles that can extract oxygen from water through specialized glands.
  • Shell Structure: Their shells are relatively lightweight, allowing them to move more easily on land.
  • Limbs: Their limbs are well-developed and equipped with claws, enabling them to navigate various terrains.

Time African Sideneck Turtles Can Spend Out of Water

African Sideneck Turtles are semi-aquatic creatures, meaning they require both land and water to thrive. While they can spend a significant amount of time on land, it is crucial to provide them with access to water for their overall well-being. On average, African Sideneck Turtles can survive out of water for up to 24 hours. However, this duration can vary depending on several factors:

  • Temperature: African Sideneck Turtles are ectothermic, meaning their body temperature is regulated by the environment. In warmer temperatures, they may require more frequent access to water to prevent dehydration.
  • Humidity: These turtles prefer humid environments, and low humidity levels can accelerate water loss from their bodies. Adequate humidity should be maintained when they are out of water.
  • Age and Health: Younger and healthier turtles generally have a higher tolerance for being out of water compared to older or sick individuals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Can African Sideneck Turtles survive without water?

African Sideneck Turtles cannot survive without access to water for an extended period. They require water for hydration, respiration, and maintaining their overall health.

2. How often should I provide water for my African Sideneck Turtle?

It is recommended to provide access to water for your African Sideneck Turtle at least once a day. This will ensure they can drink, soak, and maintain their hydration levels.

3. Can African Sideneck Turtles drown?

African Sideneck Turtles are well-adapted to aquatic life and are excellent swimmers. However, if they are unable to reach the water’s surface to breathe, they can drown. It is essential to provide them with a suitable environment that allows easy access to water.

4. How can I create a suitable land area for my African Sideneck Turtle?

You can create a suitable land area for your African Sideneck Turtle by providing a dry platform or basking area within their enclosure. This area should be easily accessible and large enough for them to rest comfortably.

5. Can African Sideneck Turtles be kept in a fully aquatic setup?

While African Sideneck Turtles are primarily aquatic, they still require access to land. A fully aquatic setup without a land area can lead to stress, health issues, and an overall unsuitable environment for these turtles.


African Sideneck Turtles are semi-aquatic creatures that can spend up to 24 hours out of water. However, it is crucial to provide them with access to water for their overall well-being. Factors such as temperature, humidity, age, and health can influence the duration they can survive on land. By understanding their natural habitat and providing suitable conditions, we can ensure the health and happiness of these fascinating turtles.