Indoor Turtle Hibernation
A. Winter cool-down is not necessary for your inside turtle. Your outside turtles are doing what comes naturally with decreased ambient and water temperatures and potentially with decreased daylight hours. However, your inside slider lives in a temperature controlled environment, so that he doesn’t get the environmental cues to go through a winter cool-down.
Herps have been hibernating, bruminating or going through a winter cool-down long before herpers have been keeping them as pets, so outdoor herps naturally know what to do. Because your indoor turtle doesn’t need to hibernate, there is no reason for you to go through the paces to successfully and correctly do this.
Let him enjoy his winter indoors, thinking he is a Florida cooter! Just make sure to keep him warm enough as the outdoor temperatures drop. That may mean using aquarium heaters to keep his water warm enough, in addition to having a basking light over his haul-out area.
Margaret A. Wissman, DVM, DABVP has been an avian/exotic/herp animal veterinarian since 1981. She is a regular contributor to REPTILES magazine.
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