The changing natural world at our doorsteps | Illustration and text by Patterson Clark
February 2, 2010
Painted turtle brumation
At the bottoms of marshes, lakes and slow-moving streams, painted turtles are brumating in the mud. (Brumation is a reptilian form of hibernation.) During winter warm spells, turtles may emerge and bask in the sun, but they won't eat until the water temperature climbs to 60 degrees.
A turtle’s winter
- ♦ The turtle's metabolism drops 90 percent, and the animal uses stored glycogen for sustenance. (Mammals use stored fat).
- ♦ Without much oxygen in its blood, the turtle's metabolism turns anaerobic, producing lactic acid, which is neutralized by magnesium and calcium stored in the turtle's shell.
- ♦ Painted turtles can survive in 37-degree mud for 150 days, and can even stand freezing temperatures for 11 days.
SOURCE: Davidson College Department of Biology