Should I hibernate this year?

Torch

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I have two juvenile boxies, a three toed and a gulf coast. Both are a little over a year of age and were kept up last winter. They lived strictly indoors with lights and heat.

This past May I built them a very nice outdoor habitat and moved them outside, where they have thrived over the summer. I really don't want to bring them in and fight hibernation if they can safely do it here.

I live in east TN. Winter is usually mild but we do have several weeks of very cold temps and many nights below freezing.

Would it be advisable to let them hibernate naturally in their enclosure? It is totally predator proof, has deep substrate, and plenty of hides.
 

Yvonne G

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I generally keep my little box turtles up their first three years. By that time they are big enough (in my mind) to be able to hibernate outside.

It is perfectly normal for them to hibernate right out of the egg. Quite a few newly hatched turtles and tortoises stay in the nest until spring. I just feel safer giving them some age and size before I allow it.
 
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Sanchez

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Agreed you should keep them inside this winter. Something else to consider is where you live, and whether or not your boxies are native to your area. For example, I live in Chicago and have a Florida box turtle, so I'm probably never going to let it hibernate in the outdoor enclosure. Your three toe could probably survive an TN winter, but the gulf coast I would do a bit of research of winter temps in GCBT wild range to see how they compare to TN.
 

Torch

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Thanks for the replies! I think I will keep them up this year and possibly look at controlled hibernation next year, like in a fridge or basement. I still have all my lighting and whatnot, just need to get them a bigger tote for the winter.
 
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