Best Turtle Tattoos

60 Turtle Tattoos that are Full of Charm and Style – Meanings, Designs and Ideas

If you’re looking for the best turtle tattoos, you’ve come to the right place. Turtles are amazing animals that have roamed the earth for 220 million years, and many people love these unique reptiles. Whether you keep turtles as pets, or just enjoy these animals, turtles are a great subject for turtle tattoos. While these animals are typically depicted as slow, they frequently symbolize perseverance, longevity, and protection. If you want a turtle tattoo, make sure you ask your tattoo artist for references of their previous turtle tattoos. This is particularly important if you are looking for realistic turtle tattoos.

60 Amazing Turtle Tattoos to Inspire Your Next Ink

Best Turtle Tattoos for Men

Turtles are a group of reptiles famous for both their shells and their habit of withdrawing into their shell for protection from predators. Because of this, very few creatures actually predate upon any species of turtle. When it comes to turtle tattoos, the most common is the sea turtle, with the large leatherback sea turtle as the most popular. However, you can use any species you like. as there are over 360 living species of turtle, you have plenty of options. Don’t be afraid to customize any of the basic ideas on this list to your next body art. After all, you should love turtle tattoos you get since you will have it for the rest of your life.

1. Realistic Green Sea Turtle Portrait Turtle Tattoos

Realistic Turtle Tattoos Green Sea Turtle Portrait Turtle Tattoos

This cool tattoo shows the head and upper body of a green sea turtle. The green sea turtle is found all over the world in tropical waters. This means many have seen this species while on vacation. One of these turtle tattoos can be a great way to remember a favorite vacation memory.

2. Sea Turtle with Galaxy in Shell Turtle Tattoos

Sea Turtle with Galaxy in Shell Turtle Tattoos

This amazing tattoo has a turtle swimming through space with a galaxy in its shell. This could be a reference to the old myth of the world existing on the back of a turtle, or the famous Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett. If you love this series or just the image, feel free to get a similar tattoo.

3. Sea Turtle Made of Patterns Turtle Tattoos

Sea Turtle Made of Patterns

This tribal turtle tattoo is a unique image of a sea turtle consisting of patterns. The shell itself features a flower pattern that dictates the shape of the shell. This is a great basis for turtle tattoos since you can use any pattern you like. Just bring references so your tattoo artist can create a unique tattoo for you.

4. Tortoise and Snake Tattoo on Waves Turtle Tattoos

Tortoise and Snake Tattoo on Waves Turtle Tattoos

This tattoo is in a traditional Japanese style. The snake and tortoise is a reference to the old legend of a tortoise that guards the city of Kyoto against dangers from the north. This myth is also found in China, and in The Journey to the West. If you enjoy these myths, this can be a great turtle tattoos subject to your turtle tattoo designs.

5. Green Celtic Knot in Turtle Shape Turtle Tattoos

Green Celtic Knot in Turtle Shape Turtle Tattoos

This is one of the celtic turtle tattoos, and a cool way to have both a Celtic knot and a turtle tattoo in one image. These intricate patterns can be made in many shapes to create a turtle tattoo design, and turtle tattoos can be great for someone who wants a tattoo that refers to protection as celtic turtle tattoos do.

6. Swimming Green Sea Turtle and Fish Turtle Tattoos

Swimming Green Sea Turtle and Fish

This is a wonderful tattoo that has a strong feeling of swimming in the tropics. A green sea turtle is seen swimming towards the viewer with butterflyfish in the background. If you love scuba diving or snorkeling, this turtle tattoo design is a great idea for a tattoo.

7. Tortoise with a Tree Growing on its Shell Turtle Tattoos

Tortoise with a Tree Growing on its Shell Turtle Tattoos

This turtle tattoo design is a cool reference to legends of tortoises with plants growing on their shells. This example has a lovely young sapling in soft greens, browns, and yellows. You could easily mix this turtle tattoo design up with different plants on the back, or base it off a tree in a different season.

8. Minimalistic Sea Turtle from Above Turtle Tattoos

Minimalistic Sea Turtle from Above Turtle Tattoos

This turtle tattoo design is a cool tattoo of a turtle with a bold, minimalistic feel. The shell itself only shows the outline, while the scales on the head and limbs are rendered in dots of black. This is a cool way to have the pattern of a turtle without too much detail that can overwhelm turtle tattoos and age poorly.

9. Green Sea Turtle with Sea Anemone Turtle Tattoos

Green Sea Turtle with Sea Anemone Turtle Tattoos

This is one of the cool turtle tattoos that has a dramatic feel thanks to the angle of the turtle and the dark shade of the water. The anemone gives it a ghostly feel like the depths of the sea. Adding details like this in the background of a tattoo is a great way to make your tattoo more unique.

10. Dramatic Fantasy Bipedal Tortoise Design Turtle Tattoos

Dramatic Fantasy Bipedal Tortoise Design Turtle Tattoos

This tattoo looks like a sketch of a character from a fantasy series, it is one of the cartoon turtle tattoos, just like the teenage mutant ninja turtles. A bipedal tortoise with a detailed shell and plastron is surrounded by swirls that indicate clouds or mist. If you have a favorite character or one you created, you could get a tattoo of them.

11. Giant Sea Turtle with Tree on Shell Turtle Tattoos

Giant Sea Turtle with Tree on Shell Turtle Tattoos

This is another one of the turtle tattoos reference to the legend of a world on the back of a turtle. This one has a fully grown tree and a human as a passenger. Using a person is a great way to show just how large a turtle is supposed to be.

12. Detailed Sea Turtle on Upper Back Turtle Tattoos

Detailed Sea Turtle on Upper Back Turtle Tattoos

This sea turtle is one of the fairly realistic turtle tattoos in style and located on the upper back just under the neck. The shell of a sea turtle is a great place to show off unique patterns if you don’t like the look of a fully realistic tattoo.

13. Sketchy Sea Turtle with Polygonal Style Turtle Tattoos

Sketchy Sea Turtle with Polygonal Style Turtle Tattoos

This is one of the cool turtle tattoos that uses a sketchy style to render a sea turtle. The mostly squared-off edges give it a feel like old video games. The lines coming off of the body art also make it feel more like an tattoo artist’s sketch directly on your skin. Don’t be afraid to go with a style like this for your turtle tattoos if you like the look.

14. Sea Turtle Tattoo in Tribal Style Turtle Tattoos

Sea Turtle Tattoo in Tribal Style Turtle Tattoos

This tribal turtle tattoo uses a style common among the Polynesian people. It shows a turtle made up of traditional patterns that can have deep meaning to the people it originated with. This can be a great way to remember your own heritage no matter how far from home you are.

15. Tropical Beach Scene with Turtle Underwater Turtle Tattoos

Tropical Beach Scene with Turtle Underwater

This whole tattoo feels like relaxing on a tropical beach at sunset. It shows palm trees, birds flying in the air, and life under the sea. Having turtle tattoos like this is a great way to remember a favorite vacation you have been on.

16. Bold Sea Turtle Made of Patterns Turtle Tattoos

Bold Sea Turtle Made of Patterns Turtle Tattoos

This is another one of the turtle tattoos made of patterns. You can use a similar style with different patterns to create a cool tattoo. Because of their shell shape, turtles are a perfect way to show off patterns and texture in a tattoo.

17. Bold Black and White Abstract Turtle Turtle Tattoos

Bold Black and White Abstract Turtle Turtle Tattoos

This cool tattoo is made of heavy blacks and subtle patterns that continue through the turtle and line surrounding it. You could customize this with any pattern you like, just make sure that it isn’t oversaturated or your tattoo may look like a blob as it ages.

18. Black and White Sea Turtle Turtle Tattoos

Black and White Sea Turtle

This is one of the cool monochrome turtle tattoos that shows a turtle swimming over a coral reef. while it uses no color, you still know instantly what this scene should look like. If you don’t like color in your tattoos, this proves you can still get a tropical tattoo.

19. Tiny Sea Turtle Made of One Line Turtle Tattoos

Tiny Sea Turtle Made of One Line Turtle Tattoos

This is an interesting, simplistic tattoo about a baby turtle. The turtle is rendered in only a single line. This makes a great way to have a minimalistic tattoo, particularly on a sensitive area like the ankle. Bold turtle tattoos like this with plenty of negative space will look great for years and still be distinctive decades after you get it.

20. Sea Turtle Made of Patterns Turtle Tattoos

Sea Turtle Made of Patterns Turtle Tattoos

This is another bold turtle tattoos made of patterns. The pattern on the shell almost looks like a mask. You could use a mask design you like for the shell, or pick something else you like for your turtle tattoos. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your turtle tattoos.

21. Five Swimming Leatherback Sea Turtles

Five Swimming Leatherback Sea Turtles

This cool tattoo features multiple leatherback sea turtles swimming on this person’s chest. The leatherback sea turtle is the largest turtle alive today, and they are becoming increasingly endangered. If you love these animals, a tattoo like this is perfect for you.

22. Toads Fighting a Sea Turtle Turtle Tattoos

Toads Fighting a Sea Turtle Turtle Tattoos

This is a unique tattoo that shows three toads trying to capture or defeat a sea turtle. Most of the tattoo is black and white, but eyes and the flowers all have color. Using color like this makes the touches of color stand out even more in the turtle tattoos.

23. Abstract Sea Turtle Made of Patterns Turtle Tattoos

Abstract Sea Turtle Made of Patterns Turtle Tattoos

This is a cool take on the idea of a sea turtle made up of various patterns to your next body art. The patterns were chosen to look similar to what is on a real turtle, but it isn’t completely realistic turtle tattoos. This can be a great way to get bold, recognizable turtle tattoos.

24. Sea Turtle Inside Two Rings Turtle Tattoos

Sea Turtle Inside Two Rings Turtle Tattoos

This is a unique tattoo that almost looks like a shield. The turtle itself is abstract and in the center of two rings made up of patterns. You can use any patterns you like to create turtle tattoos with a similar feel without copying it directly.

25. Tortoise with Multiple Eyes and a Flower Turtle Tattoos

Tortoise with Multiple Eyes and a Flower Turtle Tattoos

This cool tattoo features a fantasy design of turtle tattoos with multiple eyes. The third eye like this could refer to psychic abilities. Going with a fantasy feel to your turtle tattoos and could give it a new meaning that is important to you.

26. Sea Turtle Framed by Triangles

Sea Turtle Framed by Triangles Turtle Tattoos

This tattoo has a lovely minimalist feel to it. The turtle is surrounded by bubbles, all framed within large triangles with the points facing downwards. A unique frame like this can give a tattoo a different feeling. Don’t be afraid to switch up the styles to create something you will love.

27. Bold Patterned Sea Turtle Tattoo

Bold Patterned Sea Turtle Tattoo

This is another cool example of turtle tattoos. This one has a sunburst pattern on the shell. Feel free to swap what the shell looks like to create unique turtle tattoos you can enjoy.

28. Tortoise and Snake with Partial Color Turtle Tattoos

Tortoise and Snake with Partial Color Turtle Tattoos

This shows just how much color can change the feeling of a tattoo. Adding color can make the details of a tattoo pop. If you aren’t sure what kind of turtle tattoos you want, you can always ask to leave your tattoo as an outline and try using temporary color to see if you like the look of your turtle tattoos before you commit to it.

29. Master Oogway from Kung Fu Panda Turtle Tattoos

Master Oogway from Kung Fu Panda Turtle Tattoos

This cool turtle tattoo features Master Oogway from the Kung Fu Panda movie series, it is better than the teenage mutant ninja turtles. If you have a character you love, they can make a great tattoo subject for your turtle tattoos. Tattoos are a great way to show off your hobbies and interests. Turtle tattoos are also great conversation starters if you are shy.

30. Turtle Over Lotus Flower Tattoo

Turtle Over Lotus Flower Tattoo

This lovely turtle tattoo looks much like a pond filled with lotuses and a resident turtle. The turtle has algae growing off the shell, making it look like a common symbol of longevity. Look up the meanings of turtle tattoos like this to create one that is meaningful to you.

Best Turtle Tattoos for Women

31. Sea Turtle Under the Waves Turtle Tattoos

Sea Turtle Under the Waves Turtle Tattoos

This is a lovely turtle tattoo on an ankle. A sea turtle is underwater, with a line of bubbles reaching the surface coming from its head. This is a cool way to help anchor a tattoo. Using elements like this improves the composition of your tattoo. Make sure to talk to your artist about these considerations when you are designing your turtle tattoos.

32. Simple Turtle on Inner Wrist Turtle Tattoos

Simple Turtle on Inner Wrist Turtle Tattoos

This is a wonderful tattoo about a baby turtle that will keep looking good for years. The simple line body art of a turtle will age well over time. Making sure your tattoo has plenty of negative space and bold lines will ensure that it looks good years after you get it.

33. Cute Simple Turtle on Wrist Turtle Tattoos

Cute Simple Turtle on Wrist Turtle Tattoos

This is another example of turtle tattoos that will age well. The simple style of the turtle tattoos is cute and will still be easy to make out even years down the line. If you want a tattoo that will age well, be sure to discuss the topic with your artist. A good artist will be able to tell you what will look best years down the line even without touchups.

34. Sea Turtle Above the Knee Turtle Tattoos

Sea Turtle Above the Knee Turtle Tattoos

This is a more detailed turtle tattoo that should still look good years later. The style is sketchy without being messy. It would look good as-is or in color. Be sure you talk with your artist about the style of your tattoo and your turtle tattoo ideas. Picking a different body art style can dramatically change the look of your turtle tattoo.

35. Turtle with Flower for Shell Turtle Tattoos

Turtle with Flower for Shell Turtle Tattoos

This lovely tattoo blends a sea turtle tattoo with a floral theme. You could use any species of turtle combined with any flower you like. Since each flower can have its own meaning, be sure to do your research to your turtle tattoo ideas to your next body art. You can always go with a favorite flower if you are having trouble deciding on the flower for your tattoo.

36. Tiny Match Polygonal Sea Turtles Turtle Tattoos

Tiny Match Polygonal Sea Turtles Turtle Tattoos

This interesting turtle tattoo features matching polygonal turtles. If you love this turtle tattoo, you could get this turtle tattoo placed anywhere at any size. Feel free to add background elements or color to help make this turtle tattoo unique to you. A basic turtle tattoo like this could be taken in many different directions depending on what you add from our turtle tattoo ideas.

37. Sea Turtle with Patterned Shell Turtle Tattoos

Sea Turtle with Patterned Shell Turtle Tattoos

This is a cute turtle tattoo take on the shell patterns of a turtle. It includes a small heart on it as well as delicate details to give to the turtle tattoo a distinctly feminine feel. You could use patterns or shapes you like to achieve a similar result. The dots around the turtle help improve the composition of the turtle tattoo and give the feeling of bubbles in the water.

38. Cute Sea Turtle on Elbow Turtle Tattoos

Cute Sea Turtle on Elbow Turtle Tattoos

This turtle tattoo is similar in style to another turtle on the list. This turtle tattoo is located on the inner elbow. You can change the placement of a small tattoo like this to any area you like since it should fit in many locations. The added detail in the shell is a nice way to make it unique.

39. Colorful Sea Turtle on Shoulder Turtle Tattoos

Colorful Sea Turtle on Shoulder Turtle Tattoos

This is a lovely sea turtle with a unique shade in each portion of the shell. Using colors like this can make your turtle tattoo more distinctive. Feel free to use any color palette you like to achieve a similar result, check out our turtle tattoo ideas.

40. Tiny Delicate Turtle on Wrist Turtle Tattoos

Tiny Delicate Turtle on Wrist Turtle Tattoos

This is another version of a cute turtle tattoo but rendered in finer lines. Changing the thickness of lines used in a turtle tattoo can give the whole piece a different feel. Don’t be afraid to change details like this to get the turtle tattoo of your dreams. Just ask your artist how fine of a line they can create to your next body art.

41. Detailed Sea Turtle on Wrist Turtle Tattoos

Detailed Sea Turtle on Wrist Turtle Tattoos

This is a more realistic take on a sea turtle for your realistic turtle tattoos. The scutes of the shell are rendered, and soft shading on the head helps make it feel three-dimensional. You can go for more realism if you like and use shading to help make details pop in the final piece.

42. Massive Turtle Back Piece with Lizards Turtle Tattoos

Massive Turtle Back Piece with Lizards Turtle Tattoos

This cool piece shows you don’t have to go small if you know what you want. A detailed turtle takes up most of the back, with mirrored lizards and bold lines to fill the rest of the space.

43. Realistic Baby Sea Turtle Tattoo

Realistic Baby Sea Turtle Tattoo

This is another version of a cute tattoos. Many people love baby sea turtles. They are cute, and a wonderful sight if you are lucky enough to witness them heading out to sea. The soft shading and details make this turtle tattoo a lovely piece anyone would be lucky to have.

44. Single Line Sea Turtle Tattoo

Single Line Sea Turtle Tattoo

This turtle tattoo is another great example of a single-line tattoo. The elegant line forms the unmistakable silhouette of a sea turtle. If you want a bold tattoo that will age well, go with a similar turtle tattoo to your next body art. Be sure not to get it too small, or it will blur over time.

45. Patterned Sea Turtle with Starfish

Patterned Sea Turtle with Starfish Turtle Tattoos

This is a turtle positioned over lines made up of the same patterning. The starfish in a similar style helps give this turtle tattoo a nautical feel. Don’t be afraid to add details to your turtle tattoo to get across the feeling you want for your tattoo. Talk to your artist about your options to your next body art.

46. Matching Single Line Sea Turtles

Matching Single Line Sea Turtles

These sea turtles are rendered in a single-line style. A simple tattoo like this is great for a matching tattoo. Make sure you ask your artist for a few turtle tattoo examples of this style of the tattoo so you are sure you like the one turtle tattoo you go with from the many turtle tattoo designs.

47. Sea Turtle with Continents on Back Turtle Tattoos

Sea Turtle with Continents on Back Turtle Tattoos

This is another cool one of turtle tattoo designs example of the world turtle idea. A sea turtle has the Atlantic on its back with a sailboat crossing the sea. You could use old maps as a reference image for a similar tattoo and to your new turtle tattoo.

48. Sketchy Sea Turtle in Blocky Style Turtle Tattoos

Sketchy Sea Turtle in Blocky Style Turtle Tattoos

This is a similar tattoo to another turtle tattoo on the list. The sketchy turtle tattoo look renders a boxy turtle that looks much like old polygonal body art used in older video games. This turtle tattoo is a cool way to do a turtle tattoo.

49. Tiny Sea Turtle with Waves on Shell Turtle Tattoos

Tiny Sea Turtle with Waves on Shell Turtle Tattoos

This is a lovely tattoo for a surfer who wants one of the sea turtle tattoos. A stylized turtle has waves within its shell. You could change your sea turtle tattoos up with color, or another image in the shell. You could also use different patterns to give to the sea turtle tattoos a different feel.

50. Watercolor Style Sea Turtle Tattoo

Watercolor Style Sea Turtle Tattoo

This is one of a wonderful turtle tattoo designs example of an intentionally messy watercolor tattoo. The colors are a rainbow and create a sea turtle. You could use any color palette you like if you want a more limited palette for these sea turtle tattoos.

51. Matching Sea Turtles with Waves Turtle Tattoos

Matching Sea Turtles with Waves Turtle Tattoos

This is a cool idea for a matching tattoo if you want a foot turtle tattoo. The turtle is in an abstract style, and the blue water with yellow pops beautifully to draw the eye. This is another great idea for a surfer since the shapes in the water look much like surfboards.

52. Baby Sea Turtle Swimming to the Surface Turtle Tattoos

Baby Sea Turtle Swimming to the Surface Turtle Tattoos

This lovely tattoo looks like a scene rendered from a photo. A tiny sea turtle is swimming to the surface for air. If you like this idea, feel free to take a photo you like and ask if your artist could make a tattoo based on the image.

53. Sea Turtle Framed with Shapes Turtle Tattoos

Sea Turtle Framed with Shapes Turtle Tattoos

This is a delicate tattoo that depicts a sea turtle with shapes made of light dots around it. Using a unique frame like this can change the feeling of your tattoo. Use images like this as inspiration when designing your unique tattoo.

54. Turtle Swimming Through Outer Space Turtle Tattoos

Turtle Swimming Through Outer Space Turtle Tattoos

This is a lovely image that also draws to mind the world turtle swimming through space. This is a great tattoo if you love space, and you could use any scene you like as the inspiration for the background. Bring turtle tattoo designs examples of what you like to your artist.

55. Rainbow Watercolor Sea Turtle Tattoo

Rainbow Watercolor Sea Turtle Tattoo

This is another one of the great turtle tattoo designs example of a colorful tattoo in this lovely turtle tattoo designs style. If you like it, feel free to go with any colors or placement you like. You could also use a color palette you like, or change the positioning of the turtle.

56. Tiny Turtle with Purple Flowers Turtle Tattoos

Tiny Turtle with Purple Flowers Turtle Tattoos

This cute tattoo shows a turtle standing among the flowers. You could use any flower you like for your tattoo. Using purple does give a nice contrast with the green of the turtle. Be sure to ask your artist about composition when you are designing your tattoo.

57. Black and White Sea Turtle

Black and White Sea Turtle Turtle Tattoos

This is a great example to show that you don’t need color for a great tattoo. The black is lightly shaded to give texture to the turtle’s shell and give it a more realistic feel than many other examples.

58. Realistic Sea Turtle on Shoulder Turtle Tattoos

Realistic Sea Turtle on Shoulder Turtle Tattoos

This is a wonderful example of a realistic turtle tattoo. The shading makes it feel three-dimensional. If you want similar turtle tattoo designs, bring in a photograph of a real turtle in the same pose that you want on your tattoo.

59. Watercolor Sea Turtle and Flowers Turtle Tattoos

Watercolor Sea Turtle and Flowers Turtle Tattoos

This lovely tattoo uses watercolor for a soft feeling. The flowers and stars give some strong lines to contrast with the fading outline of the turtle. Using a more artistic, painterly look like this makes for a great tattoo you are sure to love.

60. Sea Turtle with Soft Colors and Bubbles Turtle Tattoos

Sea Turtle with Soft Colors and Bubbles Turtle Tattoos

This cute tattoo uses yellows, purples, and blues to fill in a sea turtle. You can use any colors you like, just make sure they balance well like this example. Look for color palette ideas and show them to your artist.

60 Stunning Turtle Tattoos that will Turn Heads

As you can see, there are many ways you can take a turtle tattoo. You can use many different turtle tattoo designs and color choices to create your own unique tattoo. Many cultures and media have turtles in them, so look to these turtle tattoo designs for more design inspiration as you narrow down what you would like for your tattoo. Narrow down the style you would like for your tattoo, then look for a tattoo artist that has a similar style to the turtle tattoo designs you want. If you want an art piece, you need to be sure your artist can achieve the turtle tattoo designs you want.

About the Author
Pacho

Based in Miami, FL and I’m a tattoo artist. I work hard and learn new techniques every day to improve my tattooing skills.On my website, you will find an amazing tattoo collection which I use myself too for inspiration and help my clients to find the perfect piece of masterwork.