Where Do Turtles Go in Winter?
With the cold winter months coming, many of us enjoy settling in with a warm blanket and a cup of hot cocoa. But what about our shelled friends, the turtles? What happens to them when temperatures drop?
Unlike many other species of animals, turtles do not migrate as a group. Instead, each turtle travels individually to areas that provide shelter from the cold winter temperatures. Typically, the temperature range a turtle needs to survive is between 50 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Many turtles will simply burrow into the ground and go into hibernation during the winter. While in hibernation, the turtle’s metabolic rate slows down, its breathing and heart rate decreases, and its body temperature drops.
Wintering On The Bottom Of Lakes
For turtles that can’t make warmer climates in the winter, they compensate by overwintering on the bottom of lakes and ponds. Here they can find temperatures ranging from 33 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Staying in Ponds
If a pond is connected to a larger body of water (like a river), then the aquatic turtles may simply stay in the pond through the winter. The pond usually has enough oxygen for the turtles, and the movement of the water helps keep it from freezing.
Preparing For Winter
In order to survive the winter months, turtles need to put on a little extra weight. All summer long they’ll eat insects, worms, grubs, and other prey, in order to build up a good fat reserve in their bodies.
So if you spot a turtle this winter, don’t worry – it’s probably just getting ready to survive the cold winter months. Turtles are resilient creatures and know just how to stay safe and warm!
Specific Steps Turtles Take to Survive Winter:
- Migrate individually
- Overwinter on the bottom of lakes and ponds
- Stay in ponds connected to larger bodies of water
- Eat as much as possible in the summer