You are currently viewing Why Are Turtles So Slow? What is a turtle’s top speed?

Why Are Turtles So Slow? What is a turtle’s top speed?

Are turtles so slow? Are they the slowest creatures? I don’t think so. Over the years, you might have heard someone refer to them as very slow. Maybe they are right. However, there are slow turtles and some that can move very fast. At times, some turtles may run at speeds, similar to that of race cars when they are striking. It is only that these speeds last for short periods. I am talking about under a second period. We have different turtle species, and each species moves at a different pace. We can, therefore, categorize them to be either slow or fast. Keep reading to know which is the slowest turtle and which one is the fastest. I will also try to compare the speeds of these turtles to other animals’  just to have a better idea of how fast they are.

So, how slow or fast are turtles?

The slowest turtle is said to move at a speed of 0.23 miles per hour while the fastest can reach up to 15 miles per hour. it is a huge difference. in water, the quickest turtle can move at 22 miles per hour. away from the fastest or slowest turtles, generally, turtles will walk at a speed of about 3 to 4 miles per hour and swim at about 10 to 12 miles per hour.

Why Are Turtles So Slow?

Wondering why turtles are so slow? Well, I think the question should be,” Do turtles need to be fast?” I don’t believe turtles need to be quick because most of their survival needs are stationary, such as their food. Turtles are herbivores. They can feed on plants from anywhere. Plants are available pretty much everywhere, and this makes it easy for them. When it comes to the case of proteins, turtles can catch insects and crickets and fish very quickly. Their food is simple to get without a struggle. 

Another reason why turtles are slow is that they have a slow metabolism. The rate of metabolism is a critical factor in determining the speed of an animal. It may seem like a limitation while it is not. Take note that turtles are among the animals that live very long lives thanks to their slow metabolism. Another reason is that turtles do not need to run away from so many predators like other animals do. Turtles are peaceful creatures, and they have their hard shells to protect the vital organs. These thick shells make them immune to attacks. Most of the time, the predators will just let them alone. So basically, the reason why they are slow revolves around their evolution. They found other things that are more important than speed and their bodies adapted.

What Is The Slowest Turtle?

The turtle holding the title of being the slowest is the giant Galapagos tortoise with a top speed of about 0.3 miles per hour equivalent to 0.5 km/h. It is the turtles’ fastest speed recorded. In water, he should be faster than that. I wouldn’t blame it on the turtle, considering that he can weigh up to about 300 kgs and with a length of 1.9 meters. The turtle is big when fully grown. Therefore, no animals pose any danger to him. He can, therefore, walk as slow as he wishes. His slow speeds may seem like a disadvantage, but on the brighter side, the turtle can live for up to 150 years thanks to the slow metabolism. Hardly will you find a human being with that age. Fast metabolism rates lead to the emission of unhealthy metabolic products, which speeds up aging. It is the secret behind their long lives.

What Is Turtles Top Speed?

There are several turtle species. I will list them down together with their average speeds and also try to compare these speeds with other creature speeds.

Green sea turtle- 19 mph. Weighs 100-300kgs

Kemp’s ridley sea turtle-17mph. Weighs 40-80kgs

Loggerhead sea turtle- 15mph. Weighs 150-600kgs

Flatback sea turtle- 15mph. Weighs 80-120kgs

Olive ridley sea turtle- 17mph. Weighs 35-45mph

Hawksbill sea turtle- 15mph. Weighs 80-120kgs

Leatherback sea turtle- 22mph. Weighs 250-750kgs


American woodcock -5mphds

Seahorse -0.01mph

Giant Galapagos tortoise- 1mph

Banana slug – 0.000023m/s


Peregrine falcon -242mph

Black mamba-14mph

Golden eagle-200mph

Leatherback sea turtle-22mph

Black marlin-80mph

Green iguana-22mph





Swordfish- 60mph

With these comparisons, you should have a clear idea of how slow or how fast turtles are.

Can Turtles Run?

Turtles can run just like any creature. It just depends on the circumstances. When turtles are startled, most of them will run for their lives. A good example is the slider turtles and the cooter. The turtles will sprint into the water when they are startled on land. Their speeds increase with several miles per hour. The groper tortoise also falls in the same category. When they feel threatened, they dash to safety. Even though turtles can run, their speed cannot compare to that of a human being running at a slow pace.

What Is The Fastest Turtle On Land?

As we know, turtles move slower on land than they do in the water. So which turtle holds the top speed record? As of now, the soft-shelled turtle is the fastest turtle on land. This turtle ran at a speed of 3 miles per hour, which is equivalent to the average walking pace of a human being. What was the hurry for? Was it running for safety? I am not sure. This speed was calculated by a guy who measured the distance and the time it took for the turtle to reach the other end. I think the reason behind that speed is their lightweight. As their names have it, they have soft shells, which makes them very light compared to the other turtles. The lightweight shell comes with some disadvantages, such as being prone to infections and predator attacks. To overcome attacks, they take advantage of their speed. There are still other fast turtles. For instance, most male turtles will move fast when following a female turtle. I am not sure if this is true, but the snapping turtle is said to reach up to a speed of 174 miles per hour when striking. This speed is as fast as a racing car. You don’t see them move as quickly because these speeds will only last for less than a second.

What Is The Fastest Turtle In The Sea?

Turtles are fast in the sea thanks to their adaptations. The fastest turtle in the sea is the leatherback turtle. This turtle can reach up to a speed of 22 miles per hour. The swift movement in the sea is due to the flippers. Sea turtles have developed flippers over the years to aid in their swimming. Land turtles have no flippers, which makes them somewhat slower compared to the sea turtles. The leatherback turtle ranks as the fastest reptiles in the water.


Why Are Tortoises So Slow?

Tortoises are generally slow since they don’t need to be fast. They don’t need to run away from predators. They carry their armor for defense. They also have stationery food, which means they don’t have to chase food around.

Why Do Turtles Have Shells?

Turtles have shells to help them protect their vital inner organs. That is the primary function. They are heavy, and they make them slow, but that is nothing to worry about since they are looked after by human beings.

Save this pin concerning Why Are Turtles So Slow topic on your Pinterest board:

Why Are Turtles So Slow pin

Leave a Reply