What Do Turtles Do In The Winter? Do Turtles Hibernate?

In the fall and winter, most of us are cooped up indoors, which means that the wildlife outside our windows mostly consists of tired and sleepy animals. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule one of which is the common turtle.

Turtles are masters at conserving energy during the colder months, and in particular, they will hibernate in order to save energy. During hibernation, their heart rate slows down, they stop eating and drinking, and their metabolic rate falls by as much as 50%. In fact, a lot of what turtles do during the winter is basically conserved energy so that when spring finally rolls around they can start getting back to their regular habits!

Cold Weather VS Warm Weather

Turtles are cold-blooded animals, so their body temperature changes depending on their surroundings. In cold weather, their layers of fat and muscle contract, making them as dense as possible to keep warm. However, this makes them rather sluggish and they might not move much for days on end.

On the other hand, in warm weather, their muscles expand and they can move around more easily. But their shells might not be able to keep up with their pace of movement and they might get dehydrated. So it’s important to monitor their water intake during the summer and winter seasons!

What Do Turtles Do In The Winter?

In the winter, many turtles hibernate. Some turtles go into a deep sleep while others may move around a little bit but mostly they just stay in one spot. Hibernation is a way for turtles to save energy and prepare for the warmer months ahead.

Some turtles may dig a small hole to hibernate in, but most just curl up in a warm spot. Some turtles will shed their skin and become soft while they are hibernating, but they usually wake up when the weather warms up again.

Some common activities that turtles enjoy in the winter include eating frozen food, basking in the sun, and digging tunnels. Be sure to keep an eye on your turtle friend to make sure they’re getting the proper amount of sunlight and nutrients to stay healthy.

How Long Can A Turtle Live In Hibernation?

Hibernation is a natural process that occurs in many animals, including turtles. Turtles go into hibernation to conserve energy and survive the winter. There are a few different types of hibernation, but all involve a decrease in activity and body temperature.

Turtles go into a slow-moving, deep sleep called hibernation torpor. The muscles around their body contract and their heart rate slow down to about half of its normal rate. The temperature inside their body falls about 10 degrees Fahrenheit, but they don’t lose any water or muscle mass.

Some turtles will sleep for up to six months at a time, but most only hibernate for a few weeks or months. When they wake up from hibernation, their bodies will be ready to start the summer nesting season.

How To Help Your Turtle Survive The Winter

There’s no need to fear the winter for your turtle. In fact, many turtles can actually thrive during these colder months. Here are a few tips on how to keep your turtle happy and healthy during the winter:

  • Keep them warm

Turtles aren’t as efficient as other animals at regulating their body temperature so they need extra warmth to stay comfortable. A good way to do this is by keeping them in an enclosure with a basking area that gets warm from the sun or a heating pad. You can also set up a warm water tank or add a layer of insulation to the tank.

  • Provide fresh water

Turtles need plenty of clean water to stay hydrated, so it’s important to make sure their water dish is always full and fresh. If the weather is cold enough, you can also put a frozen block of ice in their water dish to keep it cold.

  • Avoid drafts

Keep your turtle away from drafts, especially if you have an open window in your home. drafts can cause your turtle to overheat and become sick.

  • Feed them hay

If you can’t provide them with adequate warmth, feed them hay to help keep them warm and fed. Make sure their hay is fresh, though old hay can make your turtle sick.

  • Provide shelter

If the weather outside is bad enough for you, it can be bad enough for your turtle too. Make sure they have a place to hide from the cold and snow, either in an enclosure or in a spot near your home that’s sheltered from the wind.

Why Do Turtles Hibernate In The Winter?

In the winter, a turtle’s body changes to conserve energy. Their shells and skin become much thicker to help them stay warm, and they may hibernate. Hibernation is a type of sleep that a turtle goes through to conserve energy.

Turtles in the wild hibernate during the winter months to conserve energy. In the wild, different species of turtles will hibernate in different ways. Some turtles will burrow into the ground and go into a state of dormancy while others will simply stop eating and spend their days sleeping.

In captivity, some turtles will also hibernate for a period of time as a way to reduce their stress levels. Captive turtles that are kept indoors in climate-controlled environments will usually hibernate by going into a state of “hibernation coma” which is when they slow down their heart rate, metabolism, and breathing. This allows them to conserve energy and stay alive through the cold winter months.

Are All Turtles Able To Sleep Through The Winter Months?

Yes, all turtles can sleep through the winter months. Some turtles might hibernate a little bit more than others, but they all get by. The key is to keep them warm and comfortable. Make sure their enclosure has a warm surface to rest on and provide fresh water and food as needed.

How Do Turtles Hibernate?

Turtles will usually bury themselves in the ground and put a layer of soil over their bodies. They will not move or wake up until spring when they come out of hibernation.

While hibernating, turtles do not eat or drink. They may lose some water through their skin but that is about it. Some turtles will shed their outer layer of skin during hibernation but this is usually only temporary and does not affect their health. This process helps them survive the winter months.

What Do Turtles Eat In The Winter?

Most turtles will eat small insects, worms, and other small creatures that they can find in the winter. Some turtles may also eat frozen food if they can get their hands on it.


Turtles hibernate during the winter, which means they go into a state of suspended animation. This is done to conserve energy and avoid being eaten by predators. While hibernation can last anywhere from two weeks to six months, most turtles will wake up when their environment becomes too warm or dry again. Be sure to check out our other turtle articles for more information about these fascinating creatures!