Sea Turtle Symbolism and Meaning (Endurance & Wisdom)

Sea turtles can symbolize longevity, patience, wisdom, and endurance.

  • Longevity: Sea turtles have incredibly long lifespans, so they can be an inspiration to you if you want longevity.
  • Patience and Wisdom: Sea turtles have mild characters and slow movements that inspire patience as well as wisdom.
  • Endurance: Sea turtles are one of the longest-living creatures, which makes them a symbol of endurance.
sea turtle spirit animal symbolism

Despite the fact that sea turtles are endangered today, they’ve been present on Earth for thousands of years. For many cultures, including Native Americans, sea turtles are even bringers of good luck.

Are you looking to explore what the sea turtle means for you? Then read on and find what this animal can mean, and what it means for different cultures around the world.

Sea Turtle Spirit Animal Symbolism

Here are some symbolic meanings of the sea turtle – some of them are quite expected, while others might be surprising to you.

1. Longevity

You may look upon the sea turtle symbolism if you’re looking for inspiration from them in terms of longevity.

Some sea turtles may live up to 50 years and even longer, depending on an individual. There are some reports that sea turtles may outlive human beings if the conditions are right.

However, it takes a long for the sea turtles to completely mature. Some might take even up to 30 years to fully mature, which is when they start to mate. That’s even longer than compared to us.

If you want to live for longer and you want to have a quality life, then you can look up to the sea turtle symbolism for inspiration. They have a healthy and relatively stress-free lifestyle, so you can adopt one too if you’re looking to have a better life. This is where the sea turtle can inspire you.

2. Going with the Flow

This notion of going with the flow is typical for sea turtles. Very rarely they’ll kick up a fuss – unless they’re getting targeted by other predators actively.

But if that happens, they have strong defensive mechanisms in place that allow them to survive for long.

Sea turtles are a symbol of going with the flow. They prefer to live their life with ease, as they will almost never swim against the current. Instead, they choose to be carried away, but still being mindful of their surroundings and potential threats in their habitat.

However, when they need to, they’re also prolific swimmers. They can travel hundreds of miles before they mate and settle down. The symbolic meaning of “going with the flow” makes the sea turtle incredibly popular. It tells us to live our lives in an easygoing manner and just letting it go without “going against the flow”, which leads to a stress-free life.

Related: What is the Spiritual Meaning of Stars?

3. Patience

To achieve anything, sea turtles must remain patient. They’re not the fastest of animals out there – in fact, sea turtles move around slowly unless they need to hurry up.

And when that happens, they might increase their swimming speeds to up to 20 miles per hour!

But when you see one on land, you might think of them as the slowest animal in the world. This signifies that sea turtles are patient when they go about their goals, and will only hurry when they absolutely need to.

Sea turtle symbolism teaches you to be more patient when you need to achieve things in your life. However, it also tells you not to dwell on your decisions too much when you find the right solution and do it quickly while the time allows it.

Related: Did you know crocodiles eat turtles?

4. Wisdom

Sea turtles are one of the biggest symbols of wisdom.

Because they’ve been around for so long on our planet, they have all the knowledge and have gathered the wisdom of this world, just like an old man does when he lives for a long period.

If you’re seeking wisdom in your life, you can use the sea turtle as your inspiration. It teaches you not to dwell on your emotions for too long and instead, make calculated decisions that are not based on emotions, but rather reasoning. 

5. Endurance

Not only do turtles live for long, but they’ve been around for centuries. In fact, they’re one of the oldest species on the planet.

Some researchers tell us that these animals have been around for longer than 100 million years!

This just goes to show how well they’ve adapted to their habitat throughout their development. They have a strong defensive mechanism that’s hard to breach, especially when the turtle huddles up in its shell. They’re not even hunted on because of that.

The sad thing is though, that these lovely animals are threatened today because of plastic pollution. We’re dumping plastic into the sea on a daily basis, which heavily threatens a species that’s been around for millions of years. Hopefully, the sea turtles find the endurance to survive these difficult times for them.

Read Also: Lemon Symbolism

6. Dreams

Sea turtles will spend most of their time underwater, although they’ll come to the land to hatch eggs and to breed.

And when they spend their time underwater, they become a symbol of dreams to us.

What they do spend above the water level is the minority of their time. This can represent our consciousness that constantly dwells between the underground, the unconscious, and what’s above the ground when we’re present. So the sea turtle can encourage you to tap into your dreams and focus on its meaning.

Also, it tells you not to dwell too much on your subconscious level and become more present in your life. This can be important to improve your interpersonal relationships, as well as your listening capability.

Read Also: A List of Dream Metaphors

7. Peace

Just like the regular turtles, sea turtles are symbolic of peace. They don’t have many natural predators, and they don’t prey on other animals, either.

Instead, they only consume from their environment what they need and to sustain themselves. Some species of sea turtles will eat jellyfish, while others will only eat seagrass.

But you’ll never see a sea turtle fighting with another species, or even fighting between themselves. Because of this behavior, these animals have become symbolic of peace, and are even present as a constant symbol where we use them as a peace symbol.

Native American Sea Turtle Meaning

Native Americans had a special relationship with the sea turtle, just like they did with most other animal species they lived together with.

They liked their peaceful character, and they saw the sea turtle as a bringer of good luck. It was very rare that Native American tribes would hunt this species down because it was a positive omen for them.

Another interesting sea turtle symbolism to observe in Native American culture is in the folklore

Sometimes, North America is referred to in the Native American folklore as the “Turtle Island”. And that’s because there’s an interesting story behind this narrative.

According to the folklore, North America is perched on a large back of a turtle, which volunteered its shell to give them and other beings on the island life. It’s strong enough to support the folks, and this also goes to show the almost heroic symbolic meaning the turtle had for Native Americans.

Sea Turtle Dream Meanings

Dreaming about sea turtles can have some implicit meanings for your life. Explore what it might mean to you here.

Dreaming of a sea turtle, in general, brings a meaning of balance and equality to your life. It means that you’re undergoing spiritual development and that you’re going through progress in your life in various areas.

Being chased by a turtle in your life can mean that you’re postponing something very important but inevitable. Sea turtles are not the fastest of animals, especially on land, which represents that this responsibility is so important that it will not go away. However, being chased by a sea turtle in the sea means you’re being chased by something that needs an immediate decision.

Chasing a sea turtle in your dreams, on the other hand, means that you’re looking for ways to solve problems. However, instead of embracing them yourself, you seek unrealistic solutions and thus develop unrealistic expectations about how to solve a particular problem. 


Sea turtles are one of the most endangered species on the planet. This is due to pollution and the overall plastic dumping that’s happening all around the world. Despite this, the sea turtle symbolism has a lot to teach us.

Sea turtle symbolism can provide you with a meaning of patience and endurance. These historic and ancient animals have been present for millions of years, so surely they can teach us a thing or two about longevity, too.

For Native Americans, sea turtles represented a symbol of good luck and wisdom. Seeing a turtle in your dreams can also have an important meaning, especially the meaning of balance that it may bring to your life.

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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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