how fast can turtles run

How Fast Can Turtles Run?

Turtles are slow-moving creatures that are seldom seen racing through the streets, but they have their own speed limits. Although a variety of factors can influence the running speed of individual turtles, a few general rules of thumb can give us insight into the capabilities of these amazing animals.

The Factors

There are four key factors that can influence the speed of a turtle:

  • Age: Young turtles tend to be naturally faster than their older counterparts.
  • Size: The larger the turtle, the slower they tend to move.
  • Health: If a turtle is injured or otherwise ill, they tend to move slower.
  • Surface: Turtles can move faster on smooth surfaces like sand and slower on rough surfaces like dirt.

The Speed

The average speed for a healthy turtle on a smooth surface is about five to six miles per hour. But that’s not the top speed for a turtle. With the combination of a favorable surface, wide open space and a healthy amount of motivation, some turtles have been recorded reaching speeds of up to 10 miles per hour.

That’s not all too impressive on the surface, but consider that turtles can sustain that speed over long distances. Turtles can run for hours at a time without tiring, and this makes them much faster than you’d expect.

The Record Holder

The land speed record for a turtle is held by a Red-eared Slider named Turbo. Turbo, an Australian Turtle, became a celebrity when he was recorded running an impressive 14 meters in just 18.2 seconds! That’s an absolutely blistering speed of 0.44 meters per second.


So although turtles don’t move quickly by any standard, the combination of endurance, motivation, and speed can make these little critters surprisingly fast. Turtles do not make good racing mascots, but they do have the ability to outrun most predators and reach impressive speeds.

Next time you come across a turtle, you may be surprised by how fast they can actually move.

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