How fast does a turtle run?

Updated July 20, 2017

Not surprisingly, most turtles don't exactly "run." Various speeds have been recorded by scientists for different species. Turtles are much faster in the water than on land. The average turtle can swim at 10 to 12mph, with sea turtles able to reach speeds of over 20mph. Sea turtles are the fastest-swimming reptiles. The average turtle can walk at three to four miles per hour, though remember, this is the average for all species.

The River Cooter, native to the Southern US, is generally aquatic, as the name suggests. On land, they move at a little over 1mph.

The Gopher tortoises, native to the Southern US and Mexico, walk at .13 to .3mph.

A male giant tortoise, responding to a potential breeding partner, moved at .23mph. The giant tortoise can be found on tropical islands such as the Galapagos, Timor, Java, Madagascar and the Seychelles.

A fully-grown North American wood turtle can walk at .2mph.

Soft-shelled turtles, found in Africa, Asia and North America, are very quick both in the water and on land. On level ground, North America's smooth softshell turtle can outrun a human being.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author