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Turtle hibernation: how to deal with it



Hibernation of turtles, and they are not the only ones. Winter is coming and everyone is a bit like turtles, we would like to put our heads in our jackets and keep our necks warm. The hibernation of turtles, however, the real one is another matter entirely and let's find out. For them it is a very delicate period and we must be ready to face it with them, so that they survive and survive well, getting back in shape in spring.

The turtle hibernation causes them to fall into a long period of sleepiness and inappetence often also characterized by a drop in metabolic activity that barely manages to let them survive environmental conditions rigid and to the short and dark days of the season.

During the turtle hibernation digestion stops, blood flow is reduced and the immune system becomes less effective or even non-existent. Here's why this hibernation of turtles it is delicate, it is advisable not to let them go if they are injured or sick, for example, and not even if they are considerably underweight. At the same time, a full stomach is also not recommended for turtle hibernation.

That of animals in captivity is not true hibernation of turtles, it is simply a period in which they fall into a state of sleepiness and inappetence as a result of the changes in humidity and temperature that precede winter.

Returning to the truth turtle hibernation, it does not necessarily require any'hibernation, not for example if the temperature does not drop below 10 ° C or in the case of young specimens. It is also true that if you want them to be reproduced, the hibernation of turtles it is recommended, because it has the effect of rebalancing the reproductive cycle of all reptiles by facilitating "motherhood".

Hibernation of newborn turtles

Speaking of motherhood, the hibernation of newly hatched turtles, it is necessary to wait until the third-fourth year of age is reached. How can you prevent them from going there? We can keep the same first summer temperature, above 10 degrees.

Of course they will still be a bit slowed down and apathetic, normal, but we avoided the turtle hibernation just born. If they stop eating, we have to force feed them: they are small and cannot fast, it is a risk.

Turtle hibernation: how long it lasts

The hibernation of turtles it can last three to eight months, although it usually lasts five to six months. Before evaluating the duration and phase of the hibernation of turtles However, it is good to specify that not all turtles hibernate and it is not the same for all: it depends on the species and climate.

The land tortoises they want a shelter that is not very humid and sheltered from rain, the semi-aquatic turtles tolerate humidity but not the cold, the aquatic ones prefer a large pond, while the exotic ones generally do not go to lethargy.

Lethargy of turtles: the stages

We begin to think about hibernation of turtles around March-April, monitoring their progressive weight gain every 15 days, until June, to see if they are in good health. A preparation of the turtle hibernation with the cycle of deworming against nematodes (roundworms, pinworms, etc ... which represent 80% of the intestinal parasites that can affect turtles).

Obviously all this, from the beginning of the preparation of the hibernation of turtles, must be done by keeping in touch with the veterinarian. Grease a little more in August and September, then it is time for hibernation of turtles with the emptying of the intestine and the increase in the number of hours spent in the sun.

Between October and November it is time to go underground and stop eating, not foreseen during the hibernation of turtles. In the shorter months, the turtles "get stuck" under layers and layers of leaves and earth, or in the padded refuge we have prepared for them, and until February hibernation of turtles it doesn't keep us busy, neither us nor them.

In mid-March we can begin to see if there is a hint of a deadline for hibernation of turtles beginning to observe and remove the layers of leaves. Beyond the month, when the minimum temperatures are a couple of degrees above 10 ° C even at night, the infrared lamp creating a very useful climatic stability in the awakening phase from turtle hibernation.

Turtles lethargy: awakening

When waking up from the hibernation of turtles is anticipated is not a good sign: something is disturbing them or they are not in good health. Or it lacks the right fat reserve to get up to end of hibernation. In any case, hibernation must be stopped immediately.


When you give the stop to hibernation of turtles and you make her eat, then you can't go back. The most suitable time is March, in late April or even May is too late.

The exit from hibernation of turtles you can "celebrate" with a bath in warm water to rehydrate them, freeing them from toxins accumulated in the kidneys. A few days after the end of the turtle hibernation we should see them start eating. If our pet is still cold, let's not keep it fasting: it should be heated with a heater or with a warm light lamp in direct sunlight. It is fed: it must recover, it's spring.

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