Do Red-Eared Sliders Hibernate?

Do you keep a red-eared slider turtle at home as your pet? If so, you know how easy they are to take care of. Nevertheless, like many pet owners, you may also worry whether they can adjust during the cold winter. 

Do you keep a red-eared slider turtle at home as your pet? If so, you know how easy they are to take care of. Nevertheless, like many pet owners, you may also worry whether they can adjust during the cold winter. 

Yes, red-eared sliders cannot withstand very low temperatures as they belong to the amphibian group of the animal kingdom. But they never hibernate in the way that any warm-blooded animal does. It implies that they won’t need any extra care or require to be inside the house during winter. 

Read this article until the end to find out whether red-eared sliders do hibernate. If they do, how do they hibernate? So, let’s start. 

Do Red-Eared Sliders Hibernate?

Red-Eared Sliders Hibernate

No, red-eared sliders are amphibians, and these reptiles technically never hibernate. Instead, they brumate. Brumation is a passive phase of life in the life of reptiles. This takes place at varying degrees based on weather conditions and the unique physiognomy of every such animal.

Do you keep your red-eared slider pet indoors? Is your pet staying in a place with a stable temperature? If so, you may not have witnessed any prominent behavioral changes in your pet throughout the year. 

Nevertheless, if you keep your pet in a place where the seasonal changes are perceptible, like in a pond, you may notice something. You’ll witness a decline in your pet’s overall activities during the cold winter months. 

From October, your turtle will become lethargic, almost the same as what many mammals experience during the hibernation phases. Your turtle must not brumate when held in captivity. Exposing them to harsh, cold temperatures may harm their overall well-being. It’s best to visit your vet if your water temperature exceeds 75 degrees and your pet turtle is brumating. 

If you adopt a red-eared slider as your pet indoors, avoid exposing them to cold temperatures. Never force them into brumation as it affects their health adversely. Brumation is a natural instinct and behavior of red-eared sliders when exposed to cold temperatures. However, it can be fatal to force them into hibernation. That’s because some turtles can be too weak or young to withstand the cold season. 

Red-Eared Sliders: How Do They Hibernate? 

Red-Eared Sliders: How Do They Hibernate? 

To undergo the hibernation process, your turtle must stay in an extremely chilly environment. They hibernate as it gets close to freezing. However, most turtle tanks are insufficient to enable them to hibernate. Things can get extremely dangerous if you allow the water to go down to freezing degrees. 

Red-eared slider turtles hibernate in lake or pond bottoms when they live in the wild. Furthermore, they hibernate when buried in a hole or behind a layer of leaves. What research found out is that they prefer hibernating underwater. Given that, once they choose a convenient site, they will remain there and undergo hibernation for most of the winter.

Once the water hits about 40 degrees Fahrenheit, turtles stop brumating. You need to know a few key details if you own turtles. For instance, it will be entirely OK for them to hibernate if you keep them outdoors, like in a pond. Also, you can keep the turtle indoors until the cold season is over if you want them to avoid hibernation.

Red Eared Slider Turtle: What Happens When It Doesn’t Hibernate? 

Red Eared Slider Turtle: What Happens When It Doesn't Hibernate

There are several kinds of turtles, each of which uses a distinctive hibernation strategy. For instance, red-eared sliders, also referred to as red-eared terrapins, are native to Southeast Asia, East Asia, and North America. Red-eared sliders, unlike the majority of reptiles, won’t perish if they don’t hibernate. 

These amphibians frequently leave their original habitats since they prefer warmer regions. However, if housed in safe environments, they may endure even extremely high temperatures. They will remain in good health even after a couple of months have gone by.

To put emphasis, red-eared slider turtles only hibernate if there is an abundance of food nearby, particularly aquatic plants. But if food is scarce, they might decide to stay active during the entire year. They will prefer this rather than risk starving by going into an inactive state.

Red Eared Slider Turtle: What Happens When It Undergoes Hibernation?

A turtle’s metabolic activity begins to degrade and reduce in colder months. They begin to experience a slowing of their heart as well as other bodily functions. Red Eared Sliders’ pulse typically beats 40-45 times every minute; throughout hibernation, this rate drops to 10 beats / minute. During hibernation, their body essentially slows down in every way.

Red-eared sliders’ bodies need far less oxygen during hibernation. Since they can truly inhale via their butts, they may often live in different environments. They will choose environments without exposure to oxygen and yet last up to 5 months. You should also be aware that turtles don’t require heat production to keep warm.

Since they have cold blood, you should understand both the benefits and drawbacks of hibernation. Turtles may lower their body’s metabolism while hibernating, which is one of their outstanding abilities. But keep in mind that it might potentially affect them negatively.

One drawback is that they have trouble eliminating lactic acid. They will experience muscle spasms whenever they wake up from a long sleep since lactic acid also causes muscle discomfort. They utilize the magnesium and calcium stockpile in the shell chambers to counteract the lactic acid. The inability to accomplish this would prevent them from emerging from hibernation. 

Although magnesium and calcium aid in your pet turtle’s growth, they also eliminate lactic acid from the turtle’s body. Turtles will only expand during their hibernation. Red Eared Sliders can breathe even while submerged because of a gill-like organ called a cloaca.

So, Do Red-Eared Sliders: Brumate Or Hibernate?

So, Do Red-Eared Sliders: Brumate Or Hibernate?

Red-eared Sliders brumate instead of hibernating. They slow down during this time and descend onto the surface in search of oxygen and meals. They occasionally spend the whole winter season at the bottom of ponds and lakes only a few feet deep.

Furthermore, your turtle could want some assistance getting warm when you live somewhere where the winters are really chilly. Place it in a warmer area than usual, and keep drafts at bay. Make sure it isn’t excessively hot or freezing by paying attention to the temperature.

How To Tell If Your Red-Eared Slider Pet Is Hibernating Or Not?

Your pet may be brumating if it’s older than five years old—the age at which they achieve sexual maturity. Also, they brumate when they exhibit a degree of lethargy during the wintertime. If you’re concerned about your pet’s condition, there are many ways to determine if it’s hibernating or lifeless. SInce even in this latent state, they always have sensations in their limbs. 

Assess the healthiness of their limbs to determine whether or not your pet is only brumating. Take it to a vet if it displays symptoms of becoming pale or rotting. By progressively bringing water to room temperature and watching your pet resume its critical functions, you can provoke a reaction from it.

How Much Time Will A Red-Eared Slider Need To Brumate? 

How Much Time Will A Red-Eared Slider Need To Brumate? 

Red-eared sliders can brumate throughout the wild for weeks at a time, where they lie at the bottom of wetlands and drastically reduce the amount of energy they use for survival. A red-eared slider’s brumation period can last anywhere between 8 and 12 weeks, usually between November and February, based on its environment and personal circumstances.


When it gets cold outside, red-eared sliders and practically all freshwater turtles go into a phase of diminished activity called brumation. This is comparable to how mammals hibernate. Their metabolism slows down to help them endure the severe temperatures of the outdoors. It isn’t advised to brumate sliders in confinement because it can be very stressful on their well-being.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *