Indoor box turtle wants to hibernate. Is it okay to let her?

JeSee

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I recently rescued a box turtle walking down my suburban street. You could tell she had been a pet by her severely overgrown nails and beak. I've had her for a few months now. Here in CO it's beginning of winter, and as soon as it got cold she burrowed to the bottom of her substrate (soil and peat moss, 6 inches deep) and doesn't want to come out. I have been digging her up once a week to soak her and feed her. Then she just burrows back down.
I took her to the vet and she checks out healthy, perfectly fine. The vet says to continue digging her up once a week or so.
I'm not sure how she knows it's time. I turn her basking bulb on every day, and the house is a consistent temperature.
Any thoughts? I'm new to turtles. We have snakes, and they don't hibernate in the winter. Should I just let her do her thing and stop harassing her?
Thanks
 

Yvonne G

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New-to-you turtles take a bit of time to acclimate to new conditions. It just may be that she's afraid and staying hidden to keep safe. I would make sure the overall temperature in the enclosure is 80F and that the lights are on 14 hours a day. Put food out daily. Every morning place her into a bowl of warm water she can't climb out of and leave her there for 15 minutes. At the end of that time, place her in front of the food and step quickly out of her sight. Then, throughout the day, every time you walk by, dig her up and place her in front of the food, stepping quickly out of her sight. She'll get the message in a couple weeks.
 

JeSee

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Thank you for your response :) I'm not certain that this is fear. She was quite happy for the first 2 months. She would explore, go in her water bowl, bask, etc. She would go in her hide for a day or two, but always come back out to eat. I suppose I thought she was wanting to hibernate because her behavior changed. What do you think? The lights are on 6am to 9pm, and the temp is as you suggest.
Thanks again for replying. I've read a few books, blogs, etc. on box turtles but nothing beats actually speaking with someone! I seem to get a lot of different information from different places. One book I read by a vet said that it's harmful to not let them hibernate.
I really want to take good care of her and be sure of what the right thing is.
 

Yvonne G

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It causes no harm to keep them up during the winter. You may be right. I just figured it was a new-to-you turtle, I guess I missed the part where you had her for a while. You can still do the same things I suggested above.
 

Loohan

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If she's eating when you bring her out, she's not that keen on hibernating.
If she eventually refuses all food for weeks, i would stick her in the fridge a while, personally, if she seems healthy.
Not that i'm an expert but i do have a couple boxies.
 

Tom

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They know its time to hibernate because the photoperiod outside shortens, and the light color changes. There may also be other clues that we don't know about yet, but the fact is, they know.

I think Yvonne's advice was excellent and that is what I would do. A week in between is too long, and your turtle cannot hibernate safely at room temperatures.
 

mark1

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what kind of box turtle is it ? it's pretty dry in Colorado , the care Yvonne suggested sounds excellent to me , I would make sure to keep the humidity up .......maybe not as important if it's a western box turtle , if it's an eastern species , they don't like dry , they'll bury themselves and wait for rain ......
 
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