Ok. I’m ready for winter. Now can I go outside, humom??
“I think I see the sun, Humom! Look! “
Sorry Zoya, I think that’s just the reflection of someone’s tail lights on the ice outside the window.
It’s officially spring and its snowing! Clearly you need a shirt celebrating Boston’s latest parade worthy championship: Snowiest winter ever. <— click for my teespring campaign!
I worked hard to design a shirt that truly captures all the crazy that has made this winter historic. In fact, I’ve been thinking if we all wear this shirt, and parade down the street, the snow might just accept its win and move on for the year (it’ll get its duck boats, after all)! Long sleeve shirts and hooded sweatshirts are also available in the campaign since it may never be warm again.
Any funds raised will go directly to paying for the extra heat lamps that acquired to keep Zoya the Tortoise warm. Moreover, I promise not to ship you any snow since I’m guessing you probably have enough of your own. I am happy to provide addresses of people in warm weather locations that deserve snow mailed to them (should that compel you to purchase a shirt)… ok not really… well maybe if you buy all the shirts.. hahaha 😀
Hey guys, humom designed this shirt in honor of Boston’s crazy winter. Pardon the non-tortoise related promotion, but she promised I’d get extra radicchio if she meets her goal.
This winter blows Zoya. Next year we steal our mom’s wallets and rent a trailer in Florida near a Sonic.
YES! I’m in. They have awesome milkshakes. The turtpocalypse tour bus… will you be able to reach the pedals by then???
p.s. I looked it up. Their are lots of Gopher tortoise AIRburrows for super cheap!
While the universal term for “that thing animals do in the winter” tends to be hibernation, technically what turtles do is called brumation.
Unlike mammals who will consume more right before winter. to increase the amount of fat they have to get through the winter, turtles actually stop eating in order to go into their dormant state on an empty gut. While mammals drop in temperature during hibernation, they are still able to regulate their own temperature somewhat. Since turtles can’t do this, they brumate in locations like burrows to maintain as steady a temperature as possible.
Why does this matter? Well, it matters because turtles are particularly vulnerable when in this state. Dramatic changes in temperature (due to environmental changes or due to someone or something disturbing its brumation location) can put a lot of stress on the turtles body, sometimes leading to death before springtime.
The point is, in winter? it’s particularly important to leave wildlife where it is. Turtles are smart ones. They find the best possible location to ‘sleep away’ the winter and disruption of any kind is no good. It’s important to let them stay where they’ve decided to stick things out so as to avoid exposing them to harsher weather than they can handle. Something to think about in relation to global warming (and its accompanying cooling) and construction or development projects taking place during the winter months too.
Check out this article from biologists at The Missouri Department of Conservation discussing area turtles in the winter months.
As winter sets in, some of our wildlife, like turtles, seem to disappear. According to Bruce Henry, a natural history biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), turtles are still here, they just have ways of hiding away to stay safe from the elements.
Instead of hibernating, cold-blooded turtles slow their metabolic processes down tremendously when temperatures drop, he said.
“They’re in a dormant, inactive state,” he said.
When temps drop they seek out environments that will provide the most stable temperature to wait out the winter months. Turtles have to save energy in order to survive the winter, so if they have to endure fast temperature changes, it costs them some of their fat stores, which puts them in danger.
“For example, a common snapper may descend to a deep submerged log pile in a pond or creek and curl up and wait out the winter with little movement, if any,” Henry said, adding that even the turtle’s respiration and heart beat rates will decrease dramatically to help save energy.
“Instead of breathing, aquatic turtles can absorb oxygen from the water through their skin,” he said.
Box turtles dig burrows and red eared sliders burrow into mud at the bottom of wetlands for protection from extreme winter temperatures. They won’t eat as much food throughout the winter either since eating will increase their metabolic rate.
“Slow and steady is the name of the game for a turtle to survive the winter,” Henry said.
Henry said people can help turtles by providing good places for them to hide. They need soil to burrow in the forests, plants to take shelter in in the wetlands, and overall healthy habitat and waters where they can seek refuge from the cold.
“Like us, turtles need a place to take shelter from the cold,” he said. “That shelter can be a rotted-out log on the south slope of an Ozark woods or a downed cypress treetop in a bootheel slough.”
“Turtles and other wildlife are tremendously stressed when temperatures decline to the levels we experience in Missouri,” he said. “The main thing people can do during the winter months make sure they don’t disturb habitat unnecessarily when weather conditions are bad.”
For example, a pond drained in the winter may freeze many of the aquatic species that may have been able to move to nearby wetlands had the temperatures been higher.
“Wildlife can’t survive the disturbances or destruction of habitat while they struggle against adverse weather conditions,” he said.
Team Tracks Threatened Tortoises at Yuma Proving Grounds (AZ)
With November here, the Yuma Proving Ground’s population of Sonoran Desert Tortoises are preparing for brumation, the reptilian equivalent to hibernation.
Humans responsible for their stewardship, however, are celebrating a year of discovery about the desert creatures.
“We learned more this season about tortoises in this region than has ever been known,” said Daniel Steward, YPG wildlife biologist.
To facilitate YPG’s important mission while at the same time conserving the proving ground’s wildlife population, wildlife biologists have actively sought to determine where populations of desert tortoises live, searching for the creatures in plots of land most likely to have them present. Steward says that, unlike the Mojave Tortoise, which isn’t found at YPG, Sonoran Tortoises prefer rocky areas with lots of shelter sites…
(read more: Yuma Sun)
My tortoise is sleeping more than usual, I think. Is this normal or should I be concerned? He has proper heating too.
Is this your first winter with your tortoise or is he/she sleeping more than normal this time of year?
Tortoises are naturally in tune with their environment. Environmental indicators, day length, temperature, along with a badass biological clock, tell them the seasons are beginning to shift and cause a their metabolism to slow. In the wild, this means its hibernation time. In captive tortoises it’s the same thing. Even if kept indoors, under constant temperature, they still slow down a bit. Can you blame them? I don’t know where you live but here in New England I sometimes wonder why I can’t sleep the winter away and just get up for snacks… but that’s an aside.
Its always important to make sure the temperature and humidity are right in their enclosures; but when ‘over wintering’ (aka not hibernating your tortoise) there are a few extra things to look out for. Cold drafts and night time temperatures should be controlled more because its colder. Its also important to remember that heating dries out the air, so checking humidity is important. If its too low, try a warm mist humidifier.
Obvs, Its important to keep a close eye on them when you notice changes in general, but yeah its pretty normal for them to slow down a bit this time of year, Just be sure you’re checking the environment and don’t see any signs of a cold. It takes a while to get comfortable with their seasonal behavior changes. If you do see any sings of potential cold, vet vet vet! Immediately! Better safe than sorry! This is true any time of year.
I hope this helps!
I’m sure it’s way too early for Rocky to be out of hibernation? #turtle #terrapin
Much like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky, This rocky will come out of hibernation when *HE* finds it appropriate.
what a friendly face!!! <3
Flash WAKE UP- I miss you <3
what a friendly face!!! <3
Flash WAKE UP- I miss you <3