Many Red Eared Slider turtle owners want to know whether their turtles hibernate or not?
Do Red Eared Slider Turtles Hibernate?
In the wild, red eared sliders do hibernate. However, this process of hibernating is different than most other animals. It is technically called brumation, and is similar to a semi-conscious sleepy state.
However, pet red-eared sliders do not hibernate. This is because red-eared sliders only brumate when the water temperature approaches freezing. If you have a red-eared slider, you should keep the water temperature between 72-80 degrees fahrenheight the entire year. To learn more, check out my article on what temperature should a turtle tank be?
The only reason a pet red eared slider would need to brumate is if you plan on breeding it. This is because brumation can help with fertility in turtles.
How Does Red Eared Slider Hibernate?
In order for a turtle to undergo the process of hibernation, they must be in a very cold environment. To learn more, you can check out my article on where do turtles go in the winter?
As mentioned earlier, they hibernate when the temperature approaches freezing temperatures. That being said, most turtle tanks are not suitable for them to hibernate. It can also be very risky if you allow your water temperature to drop to freezing temperatures.
When they’re in the wild, red-eared sliders hibernate in the bottom of a pond or lake. Moreover, when they’re in a hole or covered in a pile of leaves. However, it has been observed that they prefer underwater for hibernation. So, once they find a suitable place, they’ll stay there and hibernate for the majority of the winter.
Turtles stop their brumation once the water temperature reaches around 40 degrees fahrenheight.
Being a turtle owner, you must know some important things. For example, if you kept them outside in an enclosure or a pond, it is perfectly normal for them to hibernate. On the other hand, if you don’t want them to hibernate, you can keep them inside until the winter season passes.
What Happens As a Result of Turtle Hibernation?
During the cold weather, the metabolism of a turtle starts to slow down. Along with other body processes, their heart also starts to slow down. Generally, the beats of Red Eared Sliders are between 40-45 times per minute, and it slows down to 10 beats per minute during hibernation. Essentially, everything slows down in their body during hibernation.
When red eared sliders hibernate, their body requires way less oxygen. Sometimes they live in places where they don’t have access to oxygen, but they can still survive up to 5 months because they can actually breathe through their butt. Another important thing you need to know about turtles is they don’t need to generate heat to warm their bodies.
They’re cold-blooded, so you must be clear about the advantages and disadvantages of hibernation. Turtles have the ability to do amazing things during hibernation, such as reducing their metabolic rate. But, remember, it can also have adverse side effects on them.
One of the disadvantages is they find it difficult to get rid of lactic acid. In addition, lactic acid results in muscle soreness, so when they wake up after a long sleep, they’ll get muscle cramps, which isn’t a good thing.
They store calcium and magnesium in the shell cells, and they use them to neutralize lactic acid. If they failed to do so, they wouldn’t wake up from hibernation. So both calcium and magnesium help turtles grow, but they use them to get rid of the lactic acid, which is also crucial.
When turtles hibernate, they will barely grow.
Red Eared Sliders have a gill-like structure called cloaca that helps them breathe even under the water.
Do Red Eared Slider Turtles hibernate? Red eared sliders in the wild do hibernate when the water temperature approaches freezing level. Pet red eared sliders do not hibernate.
Being an owner of the Red-Eared Slider, you must know that your turtle doesn’t need to hibernate. Moreover, hibernation doesn’t have any health advantage for turtles. So, the decision will be yours, whether you want them to hibernate or not.