Where do turtles go in the cold, Maine, winters? - My wife, Taylor

Good question. I have no idea, but I want to swoon her with my intelligence, faux or otherwise, so I did some research. Living most of my life in Florida and California, the very little I know about turtles really doesn't apply here in Maine. For example, in California, desert turtles, also tortoises - TIMEOUT

Fun fact: all tortoises are turtles. Not all turtles are tortoises. Why? To make us look dumb when we use the terms incorrectly, and also, tortoises are only land creatures. GAME ON.

Desert Tortoise
David Bugenske/TSM Maine

Desert turtles, also tortoises, go into brumation (similar to hibernation, but not quite) inside of burrows when it gets too cold on those desert winter nights. It certainly doesn't get as cold as Maine, though!

Sea Turtle
David Bugenske/TSM Maine

And sea turtles are just living the life pending that they survive birth, which is quite harrowing, and hopefully proceed to enjoy the ocean while avoiding becoming an appetizer for a large shark or killer whale. Again, not helpful when trying to answer how Maine turtles survive winter.

There Are Nine Types of Turtles That Can Be Found in Maine

Really? Did you know that? Either way, lie and say you that you did. I'm not going to question it. And who else will know otherwise. You're reading an article. Feel good about yourself in "knowing" that there are nine types of turtles that can be found in Maine. You also already "know" that seven of them are native to Maine, and the other two types are sea turtles that visit the coast, right? Right.

Townsquare Media/Seneca Riggins
Townsquare Media/Seneca Riggins

To The Point - How Do Turtles Survive Winter in Maine?

Turtles are reptiles, and reptiles do NOT do well in the cold. It is no wonder that my wife Taylor would ask the question, how the heck do turtles survive winters in Maine?

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The sea turtles are easy. They migrate. While typically preferring tropical and sub-tropical waters, these surfing turtles sometimes travel north to Maine and New England when the weather is warm.

Wood Turtle
maine.gov - Wood Turtle

Now the seven native turtles can't travel, so where do they go to avoid the frigid air? This is from none other than maine.gov.

From late fall to early spring, they hibernate underwater in sheltered areas of rivers. No other Maine turtle species makes such extensive use of both aquatic terrestrial habitats.

That simple. They hibernate in the water. For six months, they shut down all systems. How do they breathe while hibernating underwater? I looked that up, too. Butt-breathing. It's all explained here. I can now answer my wife's question, and maybe we all learned a thing or two about our Maine reptile neighbors.

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