Tortoise Hibernation OR Dead? Best Ways To Determine

Tortoise Hibernation OR Dead?

Tortoise Hibernation OR Dead: When your turtle is immobile and buried in soil in your room, it might be a disturbing sight. Your beautiful baby may have just passed away, was your initial thought.

Nevertheless, keep calm. As it becomes chilly outdoors, many animals and reptiles enter a profound slumber. It is known as hibernation.

Your fear is not uncommon since it may often be difficult to identify whether they are indeed dead or are just hibernating.

Let’s first examine how tortoises hibernate, why they do it, and what we can do to assist before examining the telltale indicators that indicate either tortoise hibernation or dead.

It will be simple to determine if a tortoise is dead or hibernating once you have this information at hand.
Describe hibernation.

Tortoise Hibernation OR Dead?

A healthy, long-lived tortoise must hibernate. It’s important to remember that not all torts hibernate. One species that hibernate is the Russian tortoise, however, the leopard tortoise does not need hibernation.

It’s a question of taste and what you feel is best for your tortoise; some individuals, believe it or not, do not hibernate any of their tortoises at all.

A tortoise’s metabolism will decrease to nearly nothing when it enters hibernation. It gives the impression that he isn’t living.

His heart rate will slow down, his temperature will rise, and he will cease eating and drinking. Well, it seems to be dying, but don’t be alarmed. This complete lack of activity is expected.

It’s time for some science now that we’ve calmed your concerns a little. The phrase “hibernation” doesn’t quite capture what torts do

To state that tortoises and many other reptiles brumate is really more correct. Compared to hibernation, brumation involves a separate set of physiological changes.

Of course, calling it hibernating is still OK, and no one will judge you for it.

Participating in your tortoise’s hibernation preparations is the greatest method to determine if tortoise hibernation or dead.

You can ensure your tortoise is secure and healthy while he sleeps by learning how tortoise hibernation works and taking the necessary precautions.

We’ll go through it in more depth here and assist the tortoise caretakers whose animals spontaneously entered brumation. Is that tortoise hibernation or dead? We’ll be here to provide guidance.

Just Why Do Turtles Hibernate?

As some tortoises don’t even go into hibernation, there isn’t a viable solution to this problem. Yet, hibernation is a technique for those that do to reset their bodies.

It informs them of the onset of the seasons. A caged tortoise won’t really have any problems hibernating if there isn’t enough food or it becomes too cold.

Tortoises often start looking for partners and start the courting process after hibernating. It’s similar to taking a long sleep to recharge before getting up to start having kids.

Recommended: Turtle Without Shell, Is It Harmful? Common Possibilities And Guide

What Determines When Your Tortoise Hibernates?

A built-in clock is included with your pet turtle.

He just has a sixth sense about when hibernation is appropriate. You must assist your tortoise in entering hibernation while it is in captivity and in a controlled environment.

A tortoise will typically hibernate in the wild from November or October till it awakens in April or May.

It’s crucial to understand as much as you can about the species and requirements for hibernation of your pet tortoise since this might vary substantially.

Read on to find out how to hibernate securely and offer your tortoise the best possible life if you have a species of tortoise that does so and you believe they are healthy enough to do so.

Should Your Tortoise Hibernate?

Take the time to discuss this with your veterinarian team as it is ultimately up to you and them.

Hibernating tortoises is a popular practice among certain keepers who want to promote behaviors that imitate those seen in the wild. If you ask us, this option appears like the greatest one.

As tortoises are still fundamentally wild creatures, it is up to us humans to provide for their happiness and comfort.

Make sure you are ready for any scenario if you decide to hibernate your tortoise. First, make sure your tortoise is in excellent health and weight.

Find out when your species really hibernate. Ensure that your tort has the ideal surroundings and that you have done your best to simulate what it would encounter in the wild.

What Is The Duration Of Hibernation?

The length of your tortoise’s hibernation will depend on his age and how much weight he can afford to shed. Just 10 percent of a tortoise’s body weight may be lost without serious consequences.

The health of the tortoise may suffer if this percentage rises beyond 10%. When deciding how long to hibernate your tortoise or even whether you should, always consult your exotics veterinarian.

Nonetheless, a tortoise should never hibernate for more than twelve weeks. In general, a tortoise may hibernate for three weeks at one year old, six weeks at two years old, and ten weeks at three years old.

Yet once again, this also relies on the species and health of the tortoise.

How Would You Assist A Tortoise In Hibernating?

Actually, assisting your tortoise while it enters hibernation isn’t that difficult. Yet, there are several considerations.

For a novice tortoise keeper, it will be quite a frightening process, and some people advise waiting a year or two before introducing a new tortoise so they can get to know one another.

We think that is excellent counsel. Your tortoise won’t likely suffer any harm from a delayed hibernation, but a forced hibernation may.

Also, it is advised against putting extremely young tortoises into hibernation. They ought to wait till after a few winters to get enough body mass to survive.

As usual, you should talk to your veterinarian about this. Let’s face it—not everything you learn on tortoise discussion boards is helpful advice.

Some hibernating species never grow to be very large at all. The expert is your veterinarian.

The majority of tortoises will begin hibernating in November. This implies that starting in August, you should start keeping an eye on and checking on your tortoise.

You shouldn’t hibernate your tortoise if it is not sufficiently healthy at the time.

To begin with, ask your exotic animal vet about necessary health examinations. You may begin the pre-hibernation procedure when they give the all-clear.

And it’s acceptable if you don’t want to put your tortoise into hibernation. It’s a new, frightening technique, and not all tortoise keepers are suited for it.

Here are some further fascinating facts regarding tortoises and hibernation. Having all the information might put your mind at peace.

These factors could even get you a bit enthusiastic about attempting to assist your little buddy in taking a restful snooze.

Tortoise Pre-Hibernation

The same as with everything else about our slow friends, this procedure will take some time. Depending on its size, you must fast your tortoise for two to six weeks.

Giving the tortoise no food is known as fasting. Regularly weigh your tortoise and maintain a log. He shouldn’t drop too much weight, in your opinion.

Give your tortoise a warm wash every day in a shallow dish of water to aid in the removal of any lingering fecal matter from his digestive tract.

This encourages him to drink a lot and pass excrement, which will help his stomach get better. A tortoise with a full stomach or intestines shouldn’t be allowed to hibernate.

The accumulation of bacteria might make him ill. Maintain a temperature of 53.6 degrees Fahrenheit for your tortoise.

The tortoise will be kept warm enough to continue digesting his most recent meal, but it will also be cool enough to alert his body that brumation time is approaching.

Maintain this temperature for three weeks with your tortoise.

You run a very high risk of killing your turtle if you hurry this step. We recognize that this is frightening, but it is crucial to consider this.

His health depends on making sure his stomach is unclogged and his most recent meal has been completely digested.

If this is not done, the tortoises’ leftover food may decay during hibernation or they may urinate while sleeping and become sick.

There are several resources for tortoise weighing. Two of them are spur-thighed and Hermans tortoises alone should be utilized for calculating the Jackson ratio.

The other is the McIntyre ratio, which may be used for the Russian or Horsfield tortoise. Remember that these are very basic instructions that provide you with an approximation.

Your breeder and veterinarian may provide advice for your particular tortoise.

Winter Hibernation In Turtles

Your tortoise is now prepared for hibernation as you have completed all the required pre-hibernation procedures. A tortoise may be assisted with hibernation in two different ways.

You shouldn’t immediately put your turtle in a frigid environment; instead, you should introduce these techniques gradually.

Reduce the temperature gradually over the course of a week or two until it is at the ideal setting for a sound night’s sleep.

The Fridge Approach

Unbelievable as it may seem, a tortoise may hibernate in the refrigerator. No, we aren’t kidding. But, this has to be kept in a different fridge from your meals.

Never keep a pet tortoise in the refrigerator for food since he can have salmonella on his shell or skin.

Also, the temperature will change if you attempt to hibernate your tort in the family refrigerator every time someone opens the door to fetch a snack. It can be risky for your tort.

You will need a box that is somewhat larger than your tortoise to use this technique. He won’t care whether it seems crowded, so don’t worry.

Consider how little your bed is in relation to the rest of your home. The container might be made of cardboard, wood, or plastic. Plastic is often selected since it is simple to cleanse and clean.

For the tortoise’s safety, make sure the box has a few air holes in it. The substrate should be put into the container. There are many alternatives available.

Although some like to use aspen or sterilized earth, others prefer to use shredded paper. Make sure there is plenty of whatever you choose for the turtle to bury itself.

Verify that the refrigerator’s temperature is steady before putting your tortoise in there to hibernate. To aid with this, place a couple of two-liter water bottles inside the refrigerator.

The ideal temperature range for your tortoise is between 37 and 44 degrees Fahrenheit.

Make sure the temperature never goes below 37 degrees; else, your turtle risks dying from hypothermia or becoming sick.

Similarly, avoid letting the temperature rise beyond 50 degrees Fahrenheit since doing so will cause your tortoise to start consuming the energy it needs to hibernate.

It’s crucial to consider where you put your tortoise refrigerator. The coldest part of your home should not be where the fridge is located.

As a result, the temperature inside can fall too low. Instead, put it in a temperature-controlled space like your bedroom, home office, or rear room.

Keep an eye on your tortoise and monitor the fridge’s temperature often. To prevent your tortoise from suffocating, open the refrigerator door for a few minutes three or four times each week.

The Box Approach

The box technique is a different approach to hibernating your tortoise. The tortoise is often kept in a safe enclosure outdoors, in the garage, or in a shed.

Ensure sure there are no water or insect problems with the shed or wherever you want to keep the tortoise.

Also, you must make sure that no other creatures may get to your turtle. Also, you must ensure that the temperature in this location does not change often.

With this procedure, two boxes are required. The tortoise has to snuggly fit into one box. To allow him to breathe, it needs to have some openings at the top.

Put a substrate, such as sterilized soil, in this box. This box must fit inside the other one. This one should also have holes in the top. Shredded paper may be used as insulation in the outside box.

The required temperature range for each of these enclosures is 37 to 44 degrees Fahrenheit. similar to the earlier technique.

It’s Time To Get Up

Whichever technique you choose, your tortoise will ultimately have to wake up after the hibernation time is complete. All you have to do to do this is gradually warm up your turtle by soaking it in lukewarm water.

A tortoise should never be brought out of hibernation and placed immediately under a heat source. Her temperature will rise too rapidly as a result, which might put them in shock.

Is A Tortoise Hibernating Or Dead? This Is How To Tell

In the wild, several tortoise species must hibernate. They do this on their own, and the majority of them wake up without incident.

What would happen, though, if your pet turtle decided to hibernate on his own? How can you know if he’s asleep or deceased? How can we be certain that they’re ok?

It’s OK to worry, but try to keep your composure. Here are several methods for determining if your turtle is dead or hibernating.

Just picking up your tortoise is one method to check on him. He will be alright if he maintains muscular control.

It indicates that even if his head and limbs are still inside his shell, he is in control and is just dozing. But, if the tortoise’s legs and head sag and wobble, it is probably dead.

You can then poke him or gently move his legs. Your tortoise should be okay if they are pushing back against you and moving away from you.

If you poke her and she doesn’t react or feels flimsy and loose, she might have passed away.

Holding a feather up to the tortoise’s nose is another way to determine without startling the animal. We don’t want you to tickle her or anything like that.

Just keep an eye out for any feather movement. The feather should hardly move if the tortoise is breathing. When there is no wind, this technique performs well.

Basically, your tortoise is most likely to die if he does not seem to be breathing or if he is drooping, floppy, and unresponsive.

Why Did My Turtle Die When It Was Hibernating?

Although though it happens less often in the wild, tortoises may pass away during hibernating. While it’s a horrible thing to go through, there are many different reasons why it could.

Before hibernation, an untreated disease might have been the culprit. Maybe his stomach wasn’t clean enough, and the food that was still in his intestines made him sick.

He may have suffocated, had an injury, been excessively hot or cold, and depleted his reserve of energy too quickly.

You may help avoid death and disease during the hibernation period if you do your study and make sure your tortoise was ready for it.

Of course, if you’re not at ease doing it, don’t hibernate your tortoise. There is no concrete evidence that you must hibernate your pet tortoise, according to our research.

It has advantages like keeping their bodies on a more normal cycle and sustaining a more realistic way of life as if they were in the wild.

So avoid it if it stresses you out or if you’re unsure that you can manage the responsibilities of preparation and upkeep.

Before attempting to hibernate a pet turtle, just consult your exotics veterinarian.


A tortoise’s hibernation might result in disease or death if done incorrectly. Most torts emerge from their hibernation feeling rejuvenated and content when done properly.

Check on your tortoise periodically to make sure it is still breathing and has responding limbs if you are concerned that it may have perished during hibernation.

Hope you like the information of this article (Tortoise Hibernation OR Dead) provided by the We wish you success and a very happy hibernation to your little tanky friends!


When Tortoises Emerge From Their Hibernation, What Do They Eat?

As tortoises come up from hibernation, they will normally hunt for food sources such as grass, leaves, flowers, and bugs and more importantly they will look for water since their body will most definitely be dehydrated.

What Risks Does A Tortoise Face While It Hibernates?

For a tortoise, hibernation has a number of risks. First, malnutrition, dehydration, and other health issues might result from hibernating.

Second, the tortoise may be attacked by predators when it is hibernating. This may lead to severe damage or death.

Finally, while dormant, the tortoise might become sick. Also, this may result in critical health issues.

  • March 2, 2023