Help. My box turtle keeps coming out of hibernation


New Member
Jan 3, 2019
Location (City and/or State)
I have an ornate box turtle who’s been coming out on days below 50F...and today was cold, rainy and in the 40s.

Some background; she hibernated in the backyard in West Texas for over 10 years. I moved to Central Texas and overwintered her indoors until May, when I finally put her in an 8x4 outdoor enclosure.

I stopped feeding her 2 weeks into October and prepared a corner for her to hibernate in. Put some more organic topsoil in there, dug up the soil to where it was friable, then put a pile of dead leaves on top of that. There’s also a shade cloth over that area.

She’s only semi-buried herself a few times and she’s been periodically coming out of the pile to sit outside or in a clay half-pot. I’m worried something’s wrong with her or the hibernation conditions are wrong...or that she’s going to be caught out on a freezing night and die. Her eyes are clear and there’s no runny nose or anything. What should I do? I’ve attached pictures of the enclosure to sort of illustrate what’s going on here. She’s choosing to stay under a clay pot in 40F weather instead of her leaf pile. I’d really appreciate someone helping me figure this out...


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Well-Known Member
Sep 8, 2018
Location (City and/or State)
Gotta relax a bit. I found two of mine semi-hidden in loose material, with 50% of their shell exposed on the morning after it was 30 degrees. I've found them in mid-January on a "warm" 40 degree day walking around checking things out. Then on sub-freezing days not a trace. They are tougher than we think and instinctively know when to go under. Your set-up looks very nice and when the time and temps are right, that guy will disappear. Been watching them for nearly 50 years now and the sudden disappearance each winter is always fascinating.

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