dimecres, 7 de novembre del 2012

Ready for the hibernation

The turtles feel the winter is coming. In September I saw them occasionally. They stopped eating in mid-month. I haven't seen them since then. Maintenance work limits to picking up the leaves that fall on the water.
The hatchlings also remain hidden. Night temperatures are close to the 0ºC, so, I took them out of the tank where I had them to hibernate in a safer place (cold but out of reach of frost). I found all the hatchlings between the roots of  a plant, near the surface.

In the tank, if it was cold enough, frost could reach all the water. They are now in a bucket with little water and algae in a garden shed.

I also weighted and measured them, so, these data are from the first week of November 2012

BirthLength (mm)Width (mm)Height (mm)Weight (g)
August 2011    44,58   41,32   15,4713
August 2012     33,24   31,23   12,146
August 2012     31,65   31,24   12,26
August 2012     30,85   29,51   11,075
August 2012     32,92   31,26   12,116
August 2012     32,58   30,9   12,445
August 2012     31,43   29,52   12,425
Sept. 2012           27,8   26,41   11,854

I am planning to build a new pond for the male. He chases the female whenever he sees her. I think this could be stressful for her, and I don't think this is a normal situation in the wild. In the books they say this species uses different ponds in different seasons. In spring they leave the waters where they have been hibernating and migrate to ponds. These congregation of animals in the same pond are useful in the mating season, when the sexes meet easily. Later, in the laying season, the animals would disperse.
I guess that once the animal have dispersed , males  chasing females would be only occasional, when they met casually. So, I think the best option would be to have a pond for the male and a pond for the female. Probably in the female's pond there could be more than one female. In the male's pond there should be only one male. In spring I would put the male with the female until the laying season.

This November two herpetological conferences will take place in Spain:

The one of the Societat Catalana d'Herpetologia (SCH) about reptiles and amphibians

And the one of the Sociedad Herpetológica Valenciana (SOHEVA) about chelonians

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