I live in El Paso, TX and have had a female RES since last April. She had turned up in my mother's yard and since I

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Customer: Hello, I live in El Paso, TX and have had a female RES since last April. She had turned up in my mother's yard and since I didn't know how to take care of them, I started doing research. By the time the weather had turned cold (35 degrees) she had disappeared so I assumed she was hibernating. When she showed up again, I took her home to live in my pond. She is about 10 in. long. My pond is 2 1/2 feet deep in its deepest point, varying to 12 in. at the lowest. Unfortunately, my dog got to her when I was briefly away and injured her shell. I took her to the vet and she is doing very well now. My question is will she hibernate in the pond or (if it's too cold) will she go on land to burrow. Should I bring her indoors and, if so, can I set up a high, plastic container with water in it or can she hibernate in the house (under a sofa, etc.) Don't laugh, I'm asking because of my dog. I don't want the turtle hurt again.
Answered by Jav917 in 1 hour 10 years ago
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Jav917
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27,324 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Reptile Veterinary, Herp Veterinary, Exotic Animal Medicine, Amphibian Veterinary

Hello,

Your pond may be too shallow to hiberate the turtle properly. They need a good amount of mud on the bottom of the pond to be able to dig in and hibernate. From the sound of things the turtle may do better inside for the winter. You can set up a normal tank with a UVB light and a Basking bulb, or you may be able to use a rubbermade tote for het to hibernate. I am going to give you a link on hibernating Red Eared Sliders. This link will give you an idea of how to prepare for her if she is going to hibernate.: http://www.redearslider.com/hibernation.html If the temps do not get low enough the turtle may go into a state of topor, which is dormancy, but not hibernation. The temps really need to be down between 38*-50* for the turtle to go down all the way. You can also read more about hibernation here: http://www.anapsid.org/hibernation.html

I do not think it is funny when you ask about the sofa, because some people use the refrigerator to get the temps correct and some people put their turtles in a box in a cold room in the closet. I have seen many ways of hibernating turtles and basically, I think you would fair the best keeping your turtle inside for this year. This is one more article that you may want to read about Hibernation: http://www.austinsturtlepage.com/Articles/hibernation.htm

Please let me know if you need further help and I will continue to try and help you to decide what needs to be done to give your turtle the best care for the winter. My goal is 100% exxcellent service. Joan

Customer

Thank you for your advice. Here in El Paso, temperatures change from freezing or below to warm afternoons. For instance, yesterday the morning temperature was 39 and by 5 pm it was 73 degrees. It's supposed to be 30 degrees on Saturday or Sunday, and then back to the 40's for the morning next week. Do I wait for temperatures to stay at around 30 degrees to bring her inside? Even then, they would stay real cold only for a month or two. Otherwise, what will happen.


 


PS, when i get off this site, I will check the links you provided.

Hi,

I would keep the turtle inside for now in a tank or a rubbermade set up for the winter. With the drastic weather changes, I am afraid that you will have a sick turtle because with the changes the turtle will shut down and then wake up which can compromise the immune system. You are better to have steady temps which will help and once the weather stays above the 60* mark the turtle can go back out into the pond.

Joan

Hi Berta,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Joan
Customer

Hi Joan, I'm beginning to agree with you but I have one more idea. What if I take her to my mother's (where she hibernated last year) when it starts to get colder. She went into the ground herself around Jan. and came back up in April. The coldest months here tend to be Jan. and February.

Hi,

That can definately work if she did hibernate there last year. We just need to be sure she is in a safe comfortable place to hibernate. The pond you have would be great if it was deeper, but the size makes it prohibitive. I would make sure where ever she is that she will be safe from preditors. That is one of the big issues in the winter, since they are vulnerable during the hibernation time.

Please let me know what you decide.

Joan

Joan41249.1765414583
Customer

Hi Joan, I'm keeping a close eye on the turtle. I plan to bring her inside when the temps start going into the 30's. I would like to keep her in the closet in a room in my house that is unheated and if it starts staying cold around Jan. and February like last year, I'll let her go in my mom's backyard. It's got high rock walls and no animals get in. Lots of leaves and ground for her to dig in. Then, hopefully, she'll reappear in April.

Hi,

That sounds like a good plan. Just remember to give her a good soak about once a week for dehydration and she do well. I know outside in the pond, she would not thrive and staying inside and then your mom's yard is the best.

Joan

Customer

Thank you so much for your advice.

Hi,

It is my pleasure! I hope you have a wonderful Holiday!

Joan

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