My son got a tiny aquatic turtle last spring and named him Skipper. He fed it a turtles required diet of veggie sticks and freeze dried worms. I cleaned out the cage every two weeks. Skipper is so cute and really fun to watch swim around. In the late fall when the weather began to get cooler we noticed that Skipper was a little less active. A few weeks later he stopped eating all together and I was very worried that he was sick so I googled for info and found very little info. What I did learn was that he was possibly hibernating. I thought it was strange for Skipper to be hibernating indoors, but he only has a small heater in his cage and he is near the window, so he could have definitely felt the temperature dropping. Turtles have an instinct for this too which is probably very true for Skipper since he came from a wild pond rather than bred from a line of pet store turtles. I found out that it is important for turtles to go into hibernation (in reptiles it is called brumation) because their shells need to grow at a particular rate, thus slowing this growth during hibernation is essential to their health.
We put our turtle into hibernation but I am not sure that it was done properly. I could not seem to find any certain steps to follow so we are sort of winging it with our little guy.
We transferred Skipper from his giant aquarium to a small one. We keep it supplied with fresh water and watch him daily. We set his new brumating home in our “sun room” Where there is no heat so that the temperature and sunlight mimic that of the natural weather.
Skipper has been hibernating since November! Occasionally when the sun is out and there is not a thin sheet of ice on his tank water, he will sun himself by stretching his neck out and raise his head to the light. But most of the time he is still and calm at the bottom of his tank. I try to feed him occasionally to see if he is ready to come out of Brumation but he still hasn’t accepted anything. I keep worrying about him, but his colors have never been so bold and he seems in good health!
Skipper has been enduring weather between 1 degree and the low 30’s so far.
I am hoping to bring him inside and bring him back to life with a heater by the end of the month since he has been at it for almost 3 months already! We will bring him indoors to his large tank and gradually raise the water temp back up to the 80’s with a water heater and a heat lamp above his basking rock.
It is kind of scary to not know exactly what to do for our turtle.
Do you know anything about turtles and how they are supposed to brumate?
I would love to know more so leave me some info in the comment section please!