In their natural environment, the turtles' activity is determined by air and water temperatures. This is the characteristic of animals known as ectotherms (improperly called cold-blooded).
In reality, solar energy and the duration of daylight will affect the movement of individuals both in the wild and in captivity; turtles will move from warmer areas to cooler locations and vice versa.
This behavior enables them to regulate their body temperature.
However, when the ambient temperature becomes hostile (too high or too low), the animal will go into a state of low activity and reduce all activities (eating, digestion, movement, mating ...).
When temperatures become too low for the turtles:
the turles enter a state of hibernation
When temperatures become too high for the turtles:
the turtles enter a state of estivation
Hibernation may take place outside, for example, in a pond or indoors in an unheated room or in a container with water or a moist substrate.
Note: The minimum temperature enabling turtles to survive the winter is 4°C.
Tortoises also need the warmth of the sun.
During a heat wave or winter, when the temperature is no longer suitable, reptiles become lethargic and experience a period of decreased activity during which their body temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate decrease.
When weather conditions reach a critical point for survival, the turtles begin to dig and burrow.
For example in our climate, hibernation is induced by a drop in day time temperatures and a decrease in the number of hours of daylight.
Note: During the winter period of decreased activity, the reptile is exposed to environmental temperatures around 5° C.
In nature, the length of hibernation depends on the climate and latitude. For animals bred in captivity, their size, age and general health are also taken into account.