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Hibernation of turtles is caused by a decrease in temperature and photoperiod, and by an internal clock. Turtles hibernate in temperate and subtropical regions.
It is a good idea to have the turtle checked by your vet from mid September to mid-October, to verify the absence of disease or treat any existing condition, check that the overweight condition is correct (weighed to the gram ), to make a faecal examination by your veterinarian in anticipation of a preventive treatment.
The 3 main risks: freezing, predation by rats, and drowning.
The previous week before the start of hibernation : There is a decrease in appetite or complete anorexia. It is therefore recommended to restrict or cease feeding at least a few days before the entry into den.
The turtle will not drink during this time. Its hydration can be helped by giving warm baths which will also stimulate bowel movements.
If the turtle is in a vivarium, it will also be necessary to make a gradual reduction of photoperiod and temperature.
Location of hibernation : the den
Free access to the outdoor enclosure ( loose soil , leaf piles … )
The advantage is the autonomy to exit hibernation .
Cardboard box or timber in a cool room ( 0-15 ° max)
Crisper , wine cellar ventilated
The advantage is the control of risks, but there is dependence for the exit of hibernation. It will be necessary to make a precise weighing after hibernation.