Box turtle brumating/hibernating already?

turtmcgurt

New Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2018
Messages
15
Location (City and/or State)
Florida
Hi,
so last year was the first year I had my box turtle and I got her in August last year and I didn’t plan on having a turtle that was going to hibernate but she did and it freaked me out hardcore. But she did great and everything worked out well.

So this year I had her outside most of the summer and let her do her thing and had no problem. I brought her inside around mid to late September because it was getting down to 50 Fahrenheit at night and figured it was a little cold.

She has not been a great eater since I got her and she maybe ate a few more times after I brought her inside in September and now she hasn’t eaten in probably 2 weeks. She has also been burrowed for most of the time I brought her inside too. She is still young, not sure of exact age, but maybe 4 years old? Anyways she spends most of her time burrowed anyways.

So sorry for my novel but her is my question: doesn’t it seem early to already start brumating/hibernating?
Honestly I don’t remember when she started last year, but I don’t remember her stop eating at the end of September. If it turns out to be like last year, she didn’t eat again til April. That’s a good six months.
Well here starts my worrying again. Wish me luck.

Thanks
 

Millerlite

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Nov 20, 2008
Messages
2,673
Location (City and/or State)
Southern Calif.
Its not to early, depending on how the weather and temperatures they will start now. If you live in a warmer climate like I do could be later. I keep all my box turtles out year round and even when its warm around this time of year my guys slow down on eating, the day get shorter also trigger them not just temps.

Kyle
 

PJay

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2016
Messages
1,163
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia
Like Kyle stated, the shorter days are really influential in box turtles beginning to slow down this time of year. If you want to keep her awake during the winter make her think its August all the time. Keep her temps around 84F and keep the lights on for 14 hours a day. It can also help to give her warm water (85f) soaks often to bring up her core temp and force her to be active as she scrambles around in the water.
 

turtmcgurt

New Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2018
Messages
15
Location (City and/or State)
Florida
Like Kyle stated, the shorter days are really influential in box turtles beginning to slow down this time of year. If you want to keep her awake during the winter make her think its August all the time. Keep her temps around 84F and keep the lights on for 14 hours a day. It can also help to give her warm water (85f) soaks often to bring up her core temp and force her to be active as she scrambles around in the water.

The crazy thing is that I did all of that last year because I wasn’t going to have her hibernate but she still did. I kept temps up and soaks, offered food and she didn’t perk up til April. I think I just need to accept that she will be hibernating every year. Thanks for your help
 

turtmcgurt

New Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2018
Messages
15
Location (City and/or State)
Florida
Its not to early, depending on how the weather and temperatures they will start now. If you live in a warmer climate like I do could be later. I keep all my box turtles out year round and even when its warm around this time of year my guys slow down on eating, the day get shorter also trigger them not just temps.

Kyle

Ok that’s kind of what I was thinking too but it just freaks me out that she won’t eat for six months. But they do that in the wild so it makes sense. I swear my turtle only gained about 6-10 grams of weight this year. It just scares me. Thanks
 

PJay

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2016
Messages
1,163
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia
The crazy thing is that I did all of that last year because I wasn’t going to have her hibernate but she still did. I kept temps up and soaks, offered food and she didn’t perk up til April. I think I just need to accept that she will be hibernating every year. Thanks for your help
If you find she isnt responding to efforts to keep her active and eating then you need to go in the opposite direction and try to keep her cool enough for successful brumation. A box turtle that stops eating but is kept warm can burn through fat reserves until they become weak and vulnerable to disease, especially respiratory infections. The ideal temp for successful brumation seems to be 45F. In addition to an outdoor enclosure with an area she can easily dig down into to self regulate her temps this can be accomplished through the use of a refrigerator or an unheated basement or shed. I have an unheated portion of my basement that stays close to 45F during an average winter, although lately the unusually warm winters have been playing havoc on my plans.
 

Pastel Tortie

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 31, 2018
Messages
4,264
Location (City and/or State)
North Florida
Hi,
so last year was the first year I had my box turtle and I got her in August last year and I didn’t plan on having a turtle that was going to hibernate but she did and it freaked me out hardcore. But she did great and everything worked out well.

So this year I had her outside most of the summer and let her do her thing and had no problem. I brought her inside around mid to late September because it was getting down to 50 Fahrenheit at night and figured it was a little cold.

She has not been a great eater since I got her and she maybe ate a few more times after I brought her inside in September and now she hasn’t eaten in probably 2 weeks. She has also been burrowed for most of the time I brought her inside too. She is still young, not sure of exact age, but maybe 4 years old? Anyways she spends most of her time burrowed anyways.

So sorry for my novel but her is my question: doesn’t it seem early to already start brumating/hibernating?
Honestly I don’t remember when she started last year, but I don’t remember her stop eating at the end of September. If it turns out to be like last year, she didn’t eat again til April. That’s a good six months.
Well here starts my worrying again. Wish me luck.

Thanks
What part of Florida do you live in? Genetics could play a role in your box turtle's inclination to hibernate. Is she originally from further north? Do you happen to know her subspecies?

I live in the Florida Panhandle, and I have a Gulf Coast box turtle a little over a year old. Her enclosure is inside, at least until we can go all out on the predator proofing for a proper outdoor enclosure. She did not hibernate last year, although she did slow down a bit during the coolest months (December and January). She ate less and slept in more during that time. She kept growing too, but at a dramatically reduced rate. Our GCBT is right about 3.5" now, and it won't surprise me if she tops 7" in a few more years.
 

Millerlite

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Nov 20, 2008
Messages
2,673
Location (City and/or State)
Southern Calif.
The crazy thing is that I did all of that last year because I wasn’t going to have her hibernate but she still did. I kept temps up and soaks, offered food and she didn’t perk up til April. I think I just need to accept that she will be hibernating every year. Thanks for your help
Genetics and instinct is a strong thing. If the turtle is wc vs cb can play a role as well. I'm sure he/she will be fine as long as he has no signs of illness. They slow there metabolism to almost a halt so they can go long periods without food. Also there respiration and just about everything else is slowed drastically saving energy. Some people have weight their turtle before hibernation and after and found almost no loss in weight. Some even say they gained a gram or two during which Is interesting. Either way you go just pick one and stick too it. Living in southern CA my guys only go down for a few months but they do slow down a ton.

Kyle
 
TortoiseSupply.com

New Posts

Top