Turtle Tattoo Meaning

Turtle tattoos are not always the most common animal tattoo, but they have different significance depending on who you ask, and in some cases, the turtle will be within a larger tattoo which will have a whole new meaning.

Turtles and tortoises are wide and varied per species, whether you’re looking at an African spurred tortoise or a sea turtle, but all the same, turtles and tortoises are graceful creatures with a long life span. They hold their shelter on their backs, and they can survive many human generations.

The meaning and symbolism behind turtles and tortoise tattoos will vary. In many cases, turtles will be a part of a larger tattoo, versus a sole turtle tattoo.

In Christian society, turtles are a signs of laziness and procrastination, whereas in Asia, the turtle is seen as a sign of longevity and a peaceful life.

To some Native Americans, turtles are sacred; often the turtle is seen in tribal legends with creation. The Huron tribe has a legend about a girl who fell from the sky and landed in a world of water, and the sea animals took the girl to a wise turtle for guidance; the old turtle told them to bring soil from under the water and place it on his shell, where earth was grown.

Polynesian and Hawaiian cultures sea turtles as signs of calmness and tranquility.

In other cultures, the turtle is seen as signs of bravery, fertility, recovery, endurance, wisdom, perseverance, safety, and longevity.

In many cases, those who have turtle tattoos do not choose the turtle for any specific meaning in mind.