The winter is a hard time for most of us, but it can be even harder on reptiles. Turtles have hard shells to protect them from predators, and they spend much of their lives sleeping. Despite this, they can still be easy prey for hungry predators. This makes it important for them to choose a safe and warm spot in which to sleep. In this article, we’ll explore where do turtles sleep in the winter and how they manage to survive these cold temperatures.
Turtles are ectothermic, which means their body temperature depends on the temperature of their environment. As it gets cooler outside, turtles’ bodies slow down and their metabolisms decrease as well. As a result, they need less food and oxygen to function. In order to prevent their internal temperature from freezing, they find a place where it will be warmer and stay in that area for the winter.
Some turtles, such as eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina), dig in the ground to brumate. Other species, such as painted turtles (Chrysemys marmorata), prefer to hide in tangles of blackberry (Rubus sp.) and mud. This gives them two benefits: the thorns on the blackberry bushes deter some predators and the mud provides insulation.
Regardless of where they sleep, turtles must make sure their brumation spot cannot flood or be easily uncovered by predators. They will also need to be close to a body of water in case their body temperature starts to rise. In addition, they must be able to sense changes in light since their eyes are closed during brumation.