Despite the superficial modern stereotypes about turtles being slow and sluggish, ancient people used to deify and worship these mighty creatures. According to different legends and beliefs turtles are filled with various meanings which give a wide area for a tattoo artist to create unique tattoo piece.
Turtle Tattoo Meanings and Symbolism
Those who want a turtle ink should be aware of all the symbolic significances to be sure while choosing the design. Turtles carry a great number of various symbolic senses among such as:
- Longevity and immortality – depending on the species turtles can live for 150 and more years;
- Serenity and calmness – due to turtles’ slowness they are believed as calm and balanced animals;
- Wisdom and knowledge –turtles are seen as really wise creatures, especially, in western world;
- Patience and endurance – turtles are known for their ability to travel long distances;
- Turtle is a symbol of Protection thanks to the hard shell that hides the turtle from the danger;
- Strength and courage –in China imperial army warriors used to put a turtle image on their bodies as a symbol of invincibility;
- Fertility – they can lay more than a hundred eggs at a time.
- Faithfulness – turtles have the ability to come back to their home after traveling for long distances.
You can ink a turtle either alone or with some other complementing details. Tattoos with turtles usually include next images:
- Animals or birds;
- Cosmic tree;
- Sea, waves;
- Sky or space;
- Different aquatic animals – fish, dolphins, whales, frogs;
- Different ornaments etc.
The Features of Sea Turtle Tattoos
The substantial part of turtle inks is done in the black and gray palette; however, you can easily opt to bright colors. Full turtle images, turtle shells, its head could be inked on all possible parts of the body by men and women as well.
The most popular variations of turtles are:
- Tribal turtle designs (Polynesian, Hawaiian, Samoan, and Maori) – usually done with black interweaving curls that form a turtle;
- Celtic turtle inks made of Celtic knots;
- Cartoon-like turtles – can be performed in Old school or Traditional;
- Realistic or 3D turtle tattoos;
- Watercolor turtle designs.
Tribal and Other Turtle Tattoos Designs Ideas
#1. The Unique Turtle with Cosmic Tree Tattoo on the Hip
Native Americans believed that a huge cosmic tree of life was growing out of the turtle’s shell. This tattoo piece carries a deep sense of fertility and new life!
#2. Hyper Realistic 3d Turtle Tattoo on the Hip
This 3D turtle tattoo perfectly transferred the real turtle image onto the skin. Besides its breathtaking beauty, turtle ink can give strength and confidence!
#3. Spectacular Watercolor Turtle Tattoo on the Shoulder
Monochromic tattoo designs seem boring to you? If at least one of the turtle meanings fits your personality, go for this adorable colorful turtle tat on the shoulder!
#4. The Cartoon Turtle Tattoo of Wise Master Oogway on the Arm
“Kung Fu Panda” fans can opt for a colorful tat with turtle character Master Oogway that is the embodiment of wisdom and inner peace and is the most experienced kung fu master.
#5. Sated in Color Polynesian Turtle Tattoo on the Calf
While placed in the perfect circle of Polynesian ornamental patterns, this stunning turtle ink is a powerful symbol of wisdom and serenity.
#6. An Elegant Hawaiian Sea Turtle Tatt on the Side
Turtles are known for their ability to come back home after long journeys away from it. This Hawaiian turtle is a great ink design for those who are far from home and family.
#7. Stunning Tribal Honu Tattoo on the Side
“Honu” is a Hawaiian word for “turtle” that is considered to be the guide for the first Hawaiian settlements. The ink that shows a big sea turtle with its baby turtle has two meanings: fertility and protection.
#8. Incredible Japanese Turtle Tattoo on the Chest
Japanese folklore portrays frogs as vindictive, mischievous creatures but they are excellent sea travelers. Turtle is respected for its longevity and is a symbol of seafaring.
#9. Beautiful Ornamental Polynesian Turtle Tattoo on the Leg
Polynesian turtle tattoos were strong and powerful talismans and meant the protection from the evil and wisdom in a first place. Only the best warriors and hunters had the right to wear these inks.
#10. Marvelous Sea Turtle Ink on the Side
Turtles have an unbelievable ability to lay hundreds of eggs at a time. Tattoos with turtles symbolize fertility for women. Artfully done this turtle ink on the side looks really alluring and sexy!
#11. Simple and Beautiful Dotwork Turtle Tattoo on the Forearm
Do you adore turtles? Are you a tattoo-mad? If you are both, you can’t miss this cute turtle ink. If huge highly detailed tattoos aren’t for you, opt for this little buddy performed in Dotwork!
#12. Delicate Small Baby Turtle Tattoo on the Wrist
This awesome and joyful baby turtle is a great option for those who want a tattoo but are not ready to decorate a body with full sleeves or huge tattoo images.
#13. Enormous Tribal Snapping Turtle Tattoo on the Back
While most of the back is inked with thick black tribal lines, the image of huge snapping tortoise is coming out in all its beauty! Those who wear snapping tortoise ink transmit its enormous strength and endurance.
#14. Really Traditional Turtle Tattoo on the Side
This small-sized floating turtle is an awesome tattoo piece symbolizing peacefulness. Clear black contours, soft shading, black and grey coloring make it look just fantastic!
#15. Ornamental Tribal Sea Turtle Tattoo on the Sleeve
This tribal turtle tattoo is interesting for the variety of spiral patterns, radial patterns, undulating lines. When artfully done tribal turtle tattoo will serve as an incredible decoration and a charm!
#16. Tribal Style Mandala-turtle Tattoo on the Forearm
This amazing intricate mandala-turtle ink contains plenty of radiant and rounded lines with a strict observance of asymmetry. Dotwork shading makes it look more soft and girlish!
#17. Interesting Black Turtle Calf Tattoo
While being one of the most ancient and honorable symbol of wisdom, longevity, calmness and self-confidence this turtle, tattooed in Dotwork style, is eye-catching and stylish!
#18. Yin-yang Henna Turtle Tattoo
Mostly brown colored such temporary henna tatt is great for those who are not sure about permanent tattoo design. This Ying-Yan turtle ink represents the union of opposite forces and harmony!
#19. Green Shell Turtle Tattoo on the Forearm
With unbelievable adaptability to external changes, turtles are seen as exceptional creatures. People who choose turtle tattoos, try catching up its abilities and getting a chance for a change in own life.
#20. Black Swimming Turtle Tattoo on the Leg
Turtles are able to come back home after long traveling, thus, they are often tattooed swimming on different parts of a body as a reminder of a family, home, and devotion.
#21. Ornamental Turtle Tattoo for Men on the Stomach
Fully made of dots which create both counters and shades, this symmetrical sea turtle ink can’t leave you indifferent. The implement of ancient tribal motives in modern Dotwork and Ornamental styles inspires!
#22. Mighty Turtle God Tattoo on the Stomach
Considered as wise and mighty animals turtles have become ones of the most respected creatures. This turtle-god tattoo on the stomach means strength, bravery, and fearlessness!
#23. Colorful Leatherback Sea Turtles Tattoo on the Chest
Seri people believe that a leatherback turtle is one of five creators of the world; they conduct ceremonies dedicated to this respectful animal and ink tattoos in order to transmit turtle’s strength!
#24. Portrait-like Turtle Tattoo Idea on the Hip
Dressed in the gentleman’s suit and the white aristocratic wig this green turtle is put in a vintage frame with intricate curves. The wide area of colors adds this aristocratic turtle tattoo elegance and uniqueness.
#25. Green Turtle with Lilac Flowers Tattoo on the Sleeve
We adore turtles for their calmness, endurance, adaptability and devotion to their native land. If you like turtles and find them symbolic, take awesome tattoo idea into account.
#26. Simple Little Turtle Tattoo on the Ankle
Turtles feel comfortable whenever they are in the sea or on earth. Don’t we need such ability? Get this ink on ankle and it will give you confidence even if you are out of your comfort zone!
#27. Precise Dotwork and Linework Cosmic Turtle Tattoo on the Hip
Using the knowledge of different cultures and imagination tattoo artist can create a unique tattoo design that is one of a kind. Turtle with a city on its shell, different zodiac signs, the moon, unicorn, and bobcat are combined in one amazing black color tattoo!
#28. Colorful Turtle and Tree Tattoo on the Leg
The contours which look like an engraving more are filled with spots of pastel inks splashing like in the watercolor picture. This turtle and tree tattoo mean immortality and endless circle of life!
#29. Marvelous Watercolor Sea Turtle on the Foot
The tatt shows a bright sky full of stars that are seen through turtle’s shell and body. This fabulous design is interesting for those who look for some unusual ideas among turtle tattoos.
#30. Colorful Pokémon Turtle Tattoo on the Forearm
If you remember yourself looking forward to watching a new episode of “Pokémon” cartoon, then this colorful Squirtle ink is for you! Vivid in its colors, interestingly designed this turtle tattoo is awesome!
#31. Black and Grey Hawaiian Turtle Tattoo on the Leg
Pacific turtles are usually portrayed in their natural surrounding like the sea, palm trees, sand etc. The whole ink reminds rhombus and engraved with the help of bold thick outlines, clear streaks and dot shading.
#32. Swimming Turtle and Rope Knot for the Man on the Arm
Turtles are well-known for their perfect navigation ability so sailors ink them to have the same skills in navigation. A rope knot on the wrist is a symbol of docker.
#33. Cute Colorful Turtle Tattoo on the Wrist
Those of you, who like turtle’s symbolism but are not ready to decorate the substantial part of a body with inks, may found this vibrant in the green color ink of a turtle interesting.
#34. Incredible Monochromic Turtle Tattoo on the Back
People choose turtle tattoo pattern either to express their self-confident, enduring and calm identity or to fill the life with new senses. You can be sure that turtle inks look just fantastic in any case!
#35. Geometric Turtle Shell on the Arm
Turtle shell tattoo made of different quadrangles, pentagons and hexagons seems pretty simple but looks really cool, especially on the forearm!
#36. Traditional Emu on a Turtle Tattoo on the Calf
With bold thick outlines and primary color palette, this stunning turtle with an emu-ostrich tattoo is performed in Traditional tattoo style.
#37. An Extraordinary Dotwork Turtle Tattoo on the Arm
Surrounded by waves, water plants, other sea creatures, turtle tattoos look interestingly and naturally. But if you want to add some species to your ink, choose Dotwork tattoo style which will turn your turtle tattoo into original and exquisite body decoration!
#38. An Awesome Big Tribal Turtle Tattoo on the Back
This huge ornamental turtle ink on the back represents different marine inhabitants on its shell. Each of these curves can carry a deep significance so make sure you are aware of what you ink!
#39. Traditional Tebori Minogame Turtle Tattoo on the Leg
This tattoo shows Minogame or ‘a turtle with a straw raincoat’, that is a Japanese mythological giant tortoise with a tail made from water plants and is a symbol of prosperity, wisdom, and longevity.
#40. Little Elegant Turtle Tattoo on the Wrist
Small inks are chosen preferably by females due to the desire of having a special tattoo which would look sexy and meaningful! This turtle ink looks elegant and means longevity and devotion to home!
#41. Black and Grey Realistic Turtle Tattoo on the Leg
By paying attention to the details such as shell bends, skin folds, natural shades, tattoo master can create a tattoo which looks more realistic than the reality itself. This swimming turtle is the best proof of our previous words!