What is turtle hibernation?

Hibernation is a natural process used by animals in temperate climates to adapt to inclement or cold weather conditions. When they hibernate, their heart rate and breathing slow down, they stop moving, they don’t eat, they don’t drink, they don’t urinate or defecate.

images related to turtle hibernation

Do all turtles hibernate?

No, they only hibernate according to the outside temperature, so only cold climate species do it, here are some that do hibernate:

  • mediterranean tortoise
  • black turtle
  • russian tortoise
  • Turtles of the genus Gopherus
  • spotted turtle
  • forest turtle
  • tortoise florida

Why are they hibernating?

This allows them to have a metabolic rhythm throughout the year, as they feed better during summer and survive winter temperatures. In addition, the hibernation process guarantees the reproduction of the species.

What to do before hibernation?

Before hibernation you should feed him well during the summer to make sure he doesn’t get sick in the hibernation process. It is recommended 6 weeks before you provide carbohydrates and vitamins in the turtle’s diet. When 2 or 3 weeks remain, the turtle must fast, to help empty its digestive system and not get sick during the torpor.

during hibernation

In the case of tortoises hibernating outside, it is important to have an area of ​​the ground that is springy and moist so they can bury themselves. On the other hand, if they hibernate indoors, we should put a small box with a little moist soil.

It is important for us to maintain some control to observe that everything is working properly. It should be weighed before and during hibernation, observing the eyes, extremities, shell, etc.

If we detect signs of dehydration such as dry skin, weight loss or sunken eyes, you should soak your tortoise for 2 hours at a temperature not higher than 24 degrees.

If he is hibernating outside, it is possible that on the hottest days he will wake up, and that happens, give him water to drink but never eat.

How to wake a turtle that is hibernating?

You have to wake him up by exposing him to the sun in order to synthesize vitamin D and balance his calcium metabolism. It is also very important to keep him hydrated as he will become dehydrated during hibernation. We can offer foods such as tomatoes which are rich in water.

If you want to read more blogs about all kinds of animals click here.


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