Where Do Turtles Go When It Gets Cold?

When the temperatures drop, many animals seek out places that offer some form of insulation. Bats stay in caves, chipmunks burrow underground and most turtles hide out under the ice cover of rivers or lakes where they are not subject to freezing temperatures.

Hibernation – Wikipedia

Some reptiles and mammals enter hibernation when it gets cold, which reduces their metabolic rate to save energy and oxygen. During hibernation, they sleep and do not need food or water.

Underwater – Brumation – Wikimedia Commons

Turtles spend most of the winter underwater, diving down to the mud at the bottom of ponds and other bodies of water that are still warmer than the outside air but not frozen. This is known as brumation, and it is a very good way for turtles to survive during the colder months.

One fascinating aspect of turtles living under water is that they are able to move even when their body temperatures are only 1 C. This is possible because of the way their cloaca works – it pumps water into the cloaca and then expeles it out, which helps to extract oxygen from the cloaca.

The cloaca is a unique organ in reptiles that works much like the lungs do. The cloaca is located near the end of their digestive tract, and it is full of blood vessels that can take in oxygen from the water around them.

This is an important factor for turtles to consider when they decide where to spend the winter. As the weather warms, they will resurface and return to their normal activity levels.

They also want to make sure that they are healthy and able to find food in the spring, so it is important for them to get some exercise after a long period of sleep.

A January thaw provides a respite for turtles, giving them a chance to wake up and restock their stores of fat. But if turtles remain in their underwater brumation for too long, they may become hypothermic or suffer from dehydration and possibly even die of thirst.

Unlike most other reptiles, turtles have lungs; however, lungs are not as efficient at taking in oxygen from water as gills. This is why most reptiles that live below water for extended periods of time use cloacal respiration instead of lungs in the winter.

The cloaca is an important part of the turtle’s digestive tract, and it is also filled with blood vessels that can absorb oxygen from the water surrounding them. This is why it is important for turtles to keep their cloaca warm during the winter so that it can function efficiently.

If a turtle’s cloaca is not warm enough during the winter, the cloaca may stop working completely. The turtle can then only take in water through its gills. This is very difficult for them to do because of the fact that water has a significantly lower concentration of oxygen than air does.