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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Desert Tortoise Hibernation

One of our California desert tortoises is having a hard time settling down for the winter.


The weather has been cool and windy. The others are fast asleep, but this old female is still up and about.

What causes desert tortoises to enter winter torpor? The science is still out, but it seems to me that it is not one thing. Yes, cool weather is part of it, but it's been in the low 40 degrees F at night for nearly a week. The days have been windy and typically in the low 60s. Still she slowly wanders out to find a place in the sun.

Low angle sunlight, shortening daylight, cold winds, all of these play a role. Yet, this old girl hasn't settled in. 

This is her first winter with us and she just hasn't decided to let down her guard and go to sleep. Despite her grumpiness it is calming to spend time with her. She's probably close to 90 years old. She's a wise one, she'll find a place to sleep away the winter.

Other Earth Minutes with Turtles, Lizards and Snakes
Backyard Breakfast Buddies (desert tortoise and western fence lizard)
Tortoises in Turkey
Hidden Garden - Pierce College Botanical Garden (red-eared slider)
Ring-necked Snake in the Garden
Hike Limekiln Canyon (lizards)
Watching Lizards in Southern California 
Spotting a Lace Monitor in the Wild 

for a weekly Natural Moment 

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