Wayfarin

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Groveton, NH
Hello again!

As I've been discussing on this forum, we have a red-eared slider, Teresa, who has been a "house turtle" for years.
Her husbandry conditions aren't the best, and keeping her conditions clean constantly is difficult due to this (her housing is too small).

I've been discussing housing her outside for a long time, ideally in an elaborate raised bed aquatic setup.
This idea isn't devoid of its own challenges, though.

We live in northern New Hampshire. We have a "vegetable hardiness zone" of 4, with winters as low as -30 degrees F, although seldom below -20.

Pond sliders originated in the southern states, and online pet care sources say that the turtles require temperatures around 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. This kind of confuses me though, since sliders clearly exist in colder climates in some parts of their range.

Winter weather is not as much of an issue, though, since we can always bring her back inside when the temperatures start to drop (in a better aquarium).
The real problem is actually the spring and summer temperatures. After dark, the temperatures can drop down below 50 degrees, especially in early spring.

Again, I'm kind of confused about the temperature requirements of red-eared sliders. Their native range stretches as far north as Indiana and Illinois, which don't typify the warmest states in the US. They also established themselves in Maine, and are now illegal in our neighboring state.
Doubtless they encounter temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the wild.

But perhaps pet red-eared sliders aren't as resilient as their wild relatives. Whatever the reason, would there be any way to acclimate her to the different conditions outside? Or perhaps we might need to invest in an outdoor pond heater.
But almost all the ones I find online are "deicers" rather than heaters, and I don't even know if these work well during the spring and summer months.

Regardless of the specifics, would there be any way for us to acclimate Teresa to the outdoors? Can she even tolerate the differing conditions?
And should she require supplemental heating, any suggestions for a good, high-performance heater that will work in the summertime?

As is usual, any input would be appreciated.
Thanks! God bless!
 
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mark1

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she'd be much better off/healthier kept outside , even for part of the year ........ as long as they don't freeze and are kept in well oxygenated water they do fine, although your winters are pretty long..... i'd be more concerned with the length ,... i've acquired adult turtles raised in florida and kept them outside in northeast ohio winters (zone 5b)..... there are a few kinds of turtles that live in zone 4 climates , painted turtles and snapping turtles....... i've seen blanding's turtles , spotted turtles, eastern softshell turtles, northern map turtles , eastern box turtles and eastern musk turtles naturally occuring here in zone 5b ......... i've never seen wild red eared sliders here...... they do occur in ohio though

a pond dug into the ground has the ground to help it hold temperature , move the water with an in pond pump, you get some heat from the pump and the water movement, a de-icer adds heat , all that helps keep the pond from freezing too much ...... some freezing is not a problem , freezing too much is ...... a roof over the pond will keep snow out , enclosed will prevent wind chill ........i wouldn't heat the pond beyond keeping it from freezing over ....... a greenhouse like enclosure will shorten your winter ......... i also use lots of rocks to soften the temperature swings ......

i've done this with roll plastic from a diy store . the only goal i have in the winter is to keep the ponds from freezing too much, and not getting too warm on sunny days ..... in northeast ohio in the winter we don't get many sunny days ....

.......
DSCF8445-2.jpg

DSCF8444-2.jpg

DSCF8473-2.jpg

i've had hatchling turtles that i didn't want to leave out in their first winter , i let them go dormant outside and brought them in early in the winter ...i put them in a fridge for more stable hibernation temperatures....
DSCF3931.jpg
 

Wayfarin

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Messages
64
Location (City and/or State)
Groveton, NH
she'd be much better off/healthier kept outside , even for part of the year ........ as long as they don't freeze and are kept in well oxygenated water they do fine, although your winters are pretty long..... i'd be more concerned with the length ,... i've acquired adult turtles raised in florida and kept them outside in northeast ohio winters (zone 5b)..... there are a few kinds of turtles that live in zone 4 climates , painted turtles and snapping turtles....... i've seen blanding's turtles , spotted turtles, eastern softshell turtles, northern map turtles , eastern box turtles and eastern musk turtles naturally occuring here in zone 5b ......... i've never seen wild red eared sliders here...... they do occur in ohio though

a pond dug into the ground has the ground to help it hold temperature , move the water with an in pond pump, you get some heat from the pump and the water movement, a de-icer adds heat , all that helps keep the pond from freezing too much ...... some freezing is not a problem , freezing too much is ...... a roof over the pond will keep snow out , enclosed will prevent wind chill ........i wouldn't heat the pond beyond keeping it from freezing over ....... a greenhouse like enclosure will shorten your winter ......... i also use lots of rocks to soften the temperature swings ......

i've done this with roll plastic from a diy store . the only goal i have in the winter is to keep the ponds from freezing too much, and not getting too warm on sunny days ..... in northeast ohio in the winter we don't get many sunny days ....

.......
DSCF8445-2.jpg

DSCF8444-2.jpg

DSCF8473-2.jpg

i've had hatchling turtles that i didn't want to leave out in their first winter , i let them go dormant outside and brought them in early in the winter ...i put them in a fridge for more stable hibernation temperatures....
DSCF3931.jpg
But aren't the in-between temperatures dangerous too? Even in spring and summer?

The temperatures can dip down below 65 degrees Fahrenheit at almost any time even in spring and summer! About the only season that the temperatures are often above 65 at night is mid summer! And spring nights may be as cold as 50 or even 40 degrees Fahrenheit! And what about those bad cloudy days when the turtles can't bask?

(In fact, I was more worried about the spring, summer, and fall temperatures than the winter temperatures when I posted this, because we could easily move her inside the house for the winter.)

Yet, in spite of this, the painted turtles and snapping turtles that nest near the town dump are certainly doing well.
We are well aware that they are tolerant of frost, and they are everywhere in the warmer months.
And feral red-eared slider turtles are abundant in Massachusetts and are even established in Maine.
 

mark1

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if they're healthy and have access to the sun and natural ground they do fine, they use both for thermoregulating......they are experts at using the environment to thermoregulate........depending on the time of year if they can get their body temp up for part of a day they'll eat.....i've seen blandings turtle basking on sunny days in every month of the year, sometimes with air temps in the upper 30's.... water temps hit 50 and they're eating .......

i've helped some of them out in fall and spring for various reasons........ i remember one was on antibiotics in october , i put an infrared heat lamp out while she was on antibiotics , i gradually weaned them off it (they all found it) by putting it on a timer until it no longer came on , they hibernated normally and in the spring she was healthy ......... one year we had a real warm spell early in march , a bunch of them ate , winter came back with a vengeance through entire april...... i put a mercury vapor lamp on a timer in their enclosure , they all used it .......

65 and sunny is summer to them ???? 50 and sunny they'll usually eat if offered food depending on the time of year ...... as far as running out of energy, possibly a wild turtle could..... i think it would take a sick turtle that wasn't eating going into hibernation to run out of energy .... i had a sick wood turtle stop eating in september , came out of hibernation in april and didn't eat until the end of may early june , he was weak but survived too this day(with vet care)........., wild turtles don't get the reserves like a captive turtle can ..... "cold blooded" animals use a fraction of the energy a warm blooded animal does regardless of temp , the energy requirement of a turtle in winter is minute , even when they're active ...... i'm kinda of the opinion , basking occasionally during hibernation is healthy for them , if it's not for some reason they sure do it every chance they get ........
 

Wayfarin

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Joined
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Messages
64
Location (City and/or State)
Groveton, NH
if they're healthy and have access to the sun and natural ground they do fine, they use both for thermoregulating......they are experts at using the environment to thermoregulate........depending on the time of year if they can get their body temp up for part of a day they'll eat.....i've seen blandings turtle basking on sunny days in every month of the year, sometimes with air temps in the upper 30's.... water temps hit 50 and they're eating .......

i've helped some of them out in fall and spring for various reasons........ i remember one was on antibiotics in october , i put an infrared heat lamp out while she was on antibiotics , i gradually weaned them off it (they all found it) by putting it on a timer until it no longer came on , they hibernated normally and in the spring she was healthy ......... one year we had a real warm spell early in march , a bunch of them ate , winter came back with a vengeance through entire april...... i put a mercury vapor lamp on a timer in their enclosure , they all used it .......

65 and sunny is summer to them ???? 50 and sunny they'll usually eat if offered food depending on the time of year ...... as far as running out of energy, possibly a wild turtle could..... i think it would take a sick turtle that wasn't eating going into hibernation to run out of energy .... i had a sick wood turtle stop eating in september , came out of hibernation in april and didn't eat until the end of may early june , he was weak but survived too this day(with vet care)........., wild turtles don't get the reserves like a captive turtle can ..... "cold blooded" animals use a fraction of the energy a warm blooded animal does regardless of temp , the energy requirement of a turtle in winter is minute , even when they're active ...... i'm kinda of the opinion , basking occasionally during hibernation is healthy for them , if it's not for some reason they sure do it every chance they get ........
I've personally observed painted turtles basking in early spring before the end of the frost season.
I couldn't believe it. The sun wasn't very bright and I don't even know why they were basking in the cool air.

Red-eared sliders will bask in the winter as well, though usually only in the southern climates.
(These pictures are not mine.)


I've noticed, though, that Teresa has minor "neoteny" in her appearance. She is already almost 15 years old and is still small (8") and "juvenile" in appearance. This could be due to genetics, or due to her undersized housing.
Either way, I wonder if this "stunting" can determine how great her hardiness will be.

And what is she supposed to do if the weather is cloudy? For example, an early spring rain. Sometimes, rainy seasons persist overwhelmingly. Evidently, turtles can cope with cloudy days in the wild. Do they?

(Wait a minute. Did you say that you use heat lamps in their outdoor enclosures?)
 

mark1

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Wait a minute. Did you say that you use heat lamps in their outdoor enclosures?

when i feel it's helpful , why not? i've used infrared heat lamps and che's when i leave them on 24/7 and mercury vapor lamps on timers during the day ...... i only use them when i feel there s a reason, mostly spring when summer weather all of a sudden turns back into winter ...... once in awhile in the fall , for a turtle that is not acting right ........ being able to warm up during the day seems to be sufficient for them..... the temperature swings wild turtles endure here are amazing ......once my turtles stop eating in the fall i never offer them food again until i know it should be spring , if it turns nasty for an extended period i may put a mercury vapor lamp to come on from like 10am-3pm everyday high enough up that it doesn't get hot , just warm maybe 60-70F....

your in zone 4 , not exactly the most ideal situation for turtles , there are definitely turtle species that manage ....i find you can improve the environmental conditions artificially as long as you don't put them to far out of whack..........imo, helping them out in the spring is the most beneficial help you can give them ..... if you look into how turtles become extirpated from areas it's always appears to be the northernly populations that are the most vulnerable ..... makes me think survival in cold climates is a lot more delicate.......

not someone i'd ever buy something from again , but i give credit where credit is due , he does know what he is talking about when it comes to these animals .....

 

Wayfarin

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Messages
64
Location (City and/or State)
Groveton, NH
when i feel it's helpful , why not? i've used infrared heat lamps and che's when i leave them on 24/7 and mercury vapor lamps on timers during the day ...... i only use them when i feel there s a reason, mostly spring when summer weather all of a sudden turns back into winter ...... once in awhile in the fall , for a turtle that is not acting right ........ being able to warm up during the day seems to be sufficient for them..... the temperature swings wild turtles endure here are amazing ......once my turtles stop eating in the fall i never offer them food again until i know it should be spring , if it turns nasty for an extended period i may put a mercury vapor lamp to come on from like 10am-3pm everyday high enough up that it doesn't get hot , just warm maybe 60-70F....

your in zone 4 , not exactly the most ideal situation for turtles , there are definitely turtle species that manage ....i find you can improve the environmental conditions artificially as long as you don't put them to far out of whack..........imo, helping them out in the spring is the most beneficial help you can give them ..... if you look into how turtles become extirpated from areas it's always appears to be the northernly populations that are the most vulnerable ..... makes me think survival in cold climates is a lot more delicate.......

not someone i'd ever buy something from again , but i give credit where credit is due , he does know what he is talking about when it comes to these animals .....

How do you use a heat lamp in an outdoor enclosure? The concept of outdoor turtle basking lights is new to me.
They aren't designed for outside use, are they?
 

mark1

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i use brooder lamps , outside is no problem , wet would be a problem ....... just make sure the bulbs and the top of the fixture are protected from the rain , but make sure you don't block the ventilation holes ......
 

Wayfarin

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Groveton, NH
i use brooder lamps , outside is no problem , wet would be a problem ....... just make sure the bulbs and the top of the fixture are protected from the rain , but make sure you don't block the ventilation holes ......
How do you protect them outside without blocking the ventilation holes?
Do you happen to have any pictures showing how you use your lamps outside?
 

mark1

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How do you protect them outside without blocking the ventilation holes?
Do you happen to have any pictures showing how you use your lamps outside?
i took this at 2pm during a 1.5" downpour , just do whatever it takes the hood itself protects the bulb , just keep water from going in the holes in the top of the hood without blocking the heat from exiting ...... a small piece of tinfoil wrapped around the cord with duct tape sealing the top to keep rain from running down the cord , covering the holes in the hood with enough room between the hood and the tin foil for the heat to escape ........

IMG-1139.jpg

IMG-1143.jpg
 
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