Do Turtles Hibernate in Winter?
Turtles are known for their hardy survival skills, but one of the fascinating things they do is to hibernate in winter. In order to maximize their available food sources and to conserve energy, these reptiles will bury themselves beneath mud and sand and enter into a state of hibernation.
How Do Turtles Hibernate?
Turtles have a unique ability to lower their body temperature, heart rate, and breathing rate. This allows them to hibernate for several months at a time. The process typically begins with turtles looking for areas where the temperature is cooler, like the bottom of rivers, ponds, or lakes. Once they’ve found a safe spot, they bury themselves under mud or sand and remain in this bed until spring arrives.
Are All Turtles Hibernators?
Not all turtles are hibernators. Some species of turtles, such as sea turtles, do not hibernate because they have adapted to live in warmer climates. Additionally, hatchlings and adult aquatic turtles such as red-eared sliders and painted turtles may not hibernate either.
What Can I Do to Help Turtles Keep Warm in Winter?
You can help turtles stay warm in winter by providing the following:
- Shallow water: create shallow areas in your pond that turtles can use to stay cool in the hot summer months and warm in the cold winter months.
- Provide shelter: build or purchase an artificial cave or overhang that turtles can use to burrow into or hide beneath.
- Heat lamps: use a ceramic heat emitter or UV light to create a basking area in your pond.
Turtles are incredible, hardy creatures and you can help ensure that they survive the cold winter months by providing them with a warm shelter, ample food, and easy access to shallow water. If you do all of this, turtles will be able to hibernate through the winter in true reptilian fashion.