IButton temperature loggers were epoxied to 10 turtles, 1 to 2 weeks prior to hibernation, and soil and air temperature data loggers were put in place at each hibernation site after the sites were selected by turtles. Temperatures were recorded every 4 hours at 00:00, 04:00, 08:00, 12:00, 16:00, and 20:00 daily.
2010 Hibernation site locations.
Most sites, sheltered or not, were closely associated with pines or pine stands. The soil under pines is soft and airy, and easier to work into, compared to the gravelly thin soils elsewhere. The pine soils are composed of layers of horizontal root mats that the turtle can work between without digging.
In this study area, the turtles often prefer to burrow into the soil rather than hibernate under piles of leaves or in stump holes. The autumn leaf fall insolates the hibernacula by covering the forest floor and burrow entrance.
No turtle here has been obverved to be at all active during the winter once their hibernacula is entered in the fall. Hibernacula are located by thread or radio or both and monitored regularly until emergence in the spring.