Soaking in a colder climate

Paschendale52

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For people who live further north where we have actual cold weather, after soaking your torts in warm water do you put them back outside immediately? I'm in Illinois, and after I soak squirtle (three-toed box turtle) it seems off to put him back in his outdoor terrarium immediately. I know that personally if someone picked me up and put me in a hot tub only to take me out when its 60° F I wouldn't be thrilled. He seems to take in stride however and moves around on the hunt after I soak him. Also, I've seen him enter his pond of his own free will when it is in the 60s or 70s and see perfectly happy with it.

How does everyone else treat their shelled compadres after a good soaking?
 

CanadianTestudo

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I just make sure it is above 18C for my russian tortoise, don't see why it would be different for box turtles who are used to a milder climate anyways
 

Yvonne G

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If my turtles and tortoises are living outside, I don't soak them.
 

Tom

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This is really going to depend on species and climate. I keep my tropical species warm before during and after soaks. My temperate species are hibernating during cold weather, so they don't get soaked when its not warm out. When we have winter cold spells, I don't soak any outdoor tortoises. I wait for it to warm up.

In your case, if its 70 and sunny, your turtle should not have any problem drying off and warming up on its own after a soak.
 

Paschendale52

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I soak him when I see him in his pond doing the little dance of pulling the head, expanding the tail but no poop comes out. Usually I'll soak him in warm water for a few minutes and between that and his running around in the tub he poops pretty quick.
 

Paschendale52

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This is really going to depend on species and climate. I keep my tropical species warm before during and after soaks. My temperate species are hibernating during cold weather, so they don't get soaked when its not warm out. When we have winter cold spells, I don't soak any outdoor tortoises. I wait for it to warm up.

In your case, if its 70 and sunny, your turtle should not have any problem drying off and warming up on its own after a soak.

Last year squirtle waited until it was averaging 50° F days before settling down for the winter. He usually keeps on being active through the 60s. Last year he hibernated from late October to early March, which is about how long it averages below 60° here in champaign.
 

Tom

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Last year squirtle waited until it was averaging 50° F days before settling down for the winter. He usually keeps on being active through the 60s. Last year he hibernated from late October to early March, which is about how long it averages below 60° here in champaign.

I am not speaking from personal experience here, but if I were up there, I would do pre and post hibernation soaks indoors somewhere warmer in this case. I would take the advice of someone who successfully keeps your species in your area over my speculation from afar though…

@terryo keeps boxies in upstate NY. Terry? Please lend us some experience based wisdom.
 

Prairie Mom

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My Sulcata is pretty young, but growing steadily. She's about 16lbs now and I've been thinking about how to do soaking etc as she grows so quickly and isn't a great drinker. I'm keeping my eye on how other members with really large tortoises deal with this issue to plan for the future of my beast.

Anyway, to your question...I've had the exact same concerns that you have, but like you, have also noticed that my tortoise is willing to go in the water when it's cool outside. I have switched to soaking her in the evenings when she is putting herself to bed. She gets a nice hot-tub soak (she does like it pretty toasty), I wrap her in a towel as I carry her to get off the excess water, and put her in her heated hide where she stays for the rest of the night.
 

Keith D.

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Has anyone thought of using like a fish aquarium heater in ponds for the species that live outside in cold climates that don't hibernate?
 

Paschendale52

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Has anyone thought of using like a fish aquarium heater in ponds for the species that live outside in cold climates that don't hibernate?

I've considered it for squirtle and he DOES hibernate : D. The only thing that stops me is thinking the water level is too low, I don't want to take up all of his space in the pond, and I don't know how well it would do buried under the rocks on the bottom.
 

Keith D.

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I've considered it for squirtle and he DOES hibernate : D. The only thing that stops me is thinking the water level is too low, I don't want to take up all of his space in the pond, and I don't know how well it would do buried under the rocks on the bottom.
Hmm I have buried mine under gravel in my fish tanks, as long as the water stays in the pond.
 

Gillian M

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I just make sure it is above 18C for my russian tortoise, don't see why it would be different for box turtles who are used to a milder climate anyways
Personally, I don't think 18 deg C is enough when it gets freezing cold here.
 

terryo

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Here in NY the weather is so sporadic. Today it was in the high 70's and tomorrow it's going down into the high 50's. I never soak any of my turtles and I never soaked my tortoises either. When they wanted to soak they would go into the pond and soak or drink. I stopped feeding my box turtles last week. Now it's up to them to stop hunting for food. They seem to know what to do when it's time to hibernate. The hibernation cave is all ready, filled with leaves and topped with pine hay, so when it's time they'll just go in themselves. Usually all the females will go in first and the last to go in is my alpha male, Pi. When all the females are in the cave he will circle they whole garden a few times to make sure all the females are in, and then he sits outside the cave for almost the whole day until he finally goes in the cave himself. This week they are in the pond more than usual so that means they are emptying their stomachs. Then they will start to go into the cave at night and eventually they will dig deep and just stay there. I don't help with any of this, but I'm always there supervising and watching that they are doing what they are supposed to do. This is just what works for me.
 

Paschendale52

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Here in NY the weather is so sporadic. Today it was in the high 70's and tomorrow it's going down into the high 50's. I never soak any of my turtles and I never soaked my tortoises either. When they wanted to soak they would go into the pond and soak or drink. I stopped feeding my box turtles last week. Now it's up to them to stop hunting for food. They seem to know what to do when it's time to hibernate. The hibernation cave is all ready, filled with leaves and topped with pine hay, so when it's time they'll just go in themselves. Usually all the females will go in first and the last to go in is my alpha male, Pi. When all the females are in the cave he will circle they whole garden a few times to make sure all the females are in, and then he sits outside the cave for almost the whole day until he finally goes in the cave himself. This week they are in the pond more than usual so that means they are emptying their stomachs. Then they will start to go into the cave at night and eventually they will dig deep and just stay there. I don't help with any of this, but I'm always there supervising and watching that they are doing what they are supposed to do. This is just what works for me.

I'd be interested in seeing this hibernation cave. I only have the one box turtle, but he doesn't have a designated "cave". Last year he just took one of his normal hiding spots and dug it deeper himself starting at the beginning of October. By the end of October he buried himself completely about 3 inches deep. At that point I just put about 3 inches of additional dead leaves from the neighboring trees over the top of his hide to help against the Illinois snow.
 

terryo

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I'll try to up load the pictures. For some reason this never works well for me. But here goes. I might have to put one picture in different posts because I don't know how to post multiple pictures

006-71.jpg 010-57.jpg
 
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terryo

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The cave goes back a few feet on one side of the garden, I loosen the soil, then put a load of leaf litter, then some pine hay, I cover it with a board, and them another board that has pool liner stapled on it

012-48.jpg 014-45.jpg
 
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terryo

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That end of the garden is elevated so when the snow melt's it just rolls down into the plants and I have three drain holes so the whole thing doesn't get flooded.
 
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