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The rigid winter

Überwintert im Laub
Überwintert im Boden
Überwintert im Boden
Überwintert im Boden

Although today the example of nature should be in the foreground when keeping European turtles, it is not always possible to imitate nature one to one. We must certainly make the greatest compromise when it comes to winter rigor.

Winter temperatures are not only dependent on the location, type and nature of the habitat, but above all on the prevailing weather. Especially in habitats near the sea, the free-living turtles are sometimes exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations. Even temperatures in the minus range or persistent temperatures in the metabolic range are not uncommon in wintering pits.

The turtles have adapted to this in the course of their evolution and have also developed special mechanisms and survival strategies for this. Of course, these mechanisms and strategies only work in the original habitats. For the protected wintering in our care, completely different rules apply, so that we should strive to offer our animals only optimal winter temperatures.

How the wintering of tortoises works in nature and how it should work in human care, I have described in detail in my books "European tortoises, habitat and way of life" and "Natural husbandry and breeding of the Greek tortoise" .



Toskana 03.01.2011
Typischer Überwinterungsplatz
Eingegrabene Schildkröte im Winterquartier.r.
Aus der Überwinterungsgrube herauskriechende Griechische Landschildkröte.

In some areas, such as in the sand dunes on the west and south coast of Sardinia, in the Peloponnese or in the south of Spain, there are populations that cannot go into a freeze over a long period of time due to the very mild temperatures that prevail there. That is why the turtles are mostly active there even in the winter months. The nature there is also in a mild mode and forage plants are plentiful.

Below are a few pictures from habitats in southern Spain. Here the turtles are also active in winter. Even on cloudy days, I found many active turtles. The animals crawl into the undergrowth and undergrowth only during longer periods of bad weather. Between the bushes there are always islands with a variety of forage plants.

November 2018, sonnende Schildröte
Dezember 2018, trotz trübem Wetter sind die Schildkröten aktiv.
Januar 2020, Männchen bemüht sich um ein Weibchen.
Februar 2020, wilder Rucola
November 2018, einjähriges Jungtier beim Fressen
Dezember 2029, die Horste des allgegenwärtigen Halfagrases werden gerne als Unterschlupf genutzt.
Januar 2020, die gelben Lippebblüten und jungen Triebe des Strauch-Dornlattichs werden gerne gefressen.
Februar 2020, zwischen den Büschen verschiedene Futterpflanzen.PG
November 2018, Weibchen beim Fressen.
Dezember 2018, obwohl die Sonne nicht scheint sitzt dieser Schlüpfling in Aufwärmposition.
Januar 2020, junges Männchen mit Panzerverletzung bemüht isch um ein Weibchen.
Februar 2020, vorjähriger Schlüpfling im Pflanzengestrüpp.
November 2018, Schlüpfling
Dezember 2018, nach einem vorangegangenen Regentag sind die Schildkröten besonders aktiv.
Januar 2020, Halfagras und Strauch-Dornlattich.
Februar 2020, auf den kiesig steinigen Kalkflächen wachsen karge Futterpflanzen.
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