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How Long Can Painted Turtles Be out of Water?

| Updated September 26, 2017

Painted turtles, like many other species of water turtles, are adapted to life in and around the water. They do require time outside of the water to allow their skin to dry and to bask to regulate their body temperature.


Painted turtles must be housed in an aquarium with enough space for them to freely swim. More space is required as they grow (a painted turtle can reach 8 inches in length). Additional requirements include a basking spot and UV lighting.


Depending on the temperature of its surroundings, a painted turtle may spend much of its day basking to warm up. A basking spot should allow the turtle to fully dry itself and reach roughly 90 degrees F.


Painted turtles will eat only in the water and require it to properly swallow their food. Overfeeding can be a problem with captive turtles.

Water Quality

A filtration system will help keep tank water clean, but regular cleaning is necessary for a healthy painted turtle.


Reptiles and amphibians require special care and specific conditions in order to successfully survive in captivity. Research is absolutely necessary before considering a painted turtle as a pet.