The 2017 hibernation period started the first part of November as nights turned cold, but as the weather turned warmer near the end of the month, several turtles emerged and moved to new locations. None of the moves were very far, but hibernation dates had to be adjusted as a result.
Winter started on December 8th as an Arctic blast hit and temperatures plummeted. The first snow storm of the season dropped 4 inches of fluffy snow and stayed for about a week. Temperatures really fell sharply during the last half of December and first week in January which was a continuos period of record lows. The remainder of the winter saw oscillating periods of very warm weather and colder than normal periods.
Here's a good reason to choose a deep stump hole for hibernation, and to remember that location for future hibernation. When the winter air temerature is -5 degrees F, this turtle experieced temperatures around 35 degrees F. Turtle M6 hibernates in one of 2 stump holes, only about 20 feet apart, every year.
Eastern Box Turtle
Terrapene carolina carolina
A Relict Population Doomed To Extinction?
Turtle M19 returns to the exact same stump hole he uses every year, reguardless of the distance traveled during the summer. Not all stump holes are the same: compare air and soil temperatures with M6's stup hole in the chart above. Turtle M19 had an iButton attached and was in exactly the same hole as the soil logger, but they didn't always read the same, likely due to things like leaf cover blowing around during the winter, or heavy rains or possibly disturbance by wildlife.
A few turte researchers suggest that Box turtles move up or down in the soil during hibernation, but that has not been observed by any turtles at this site. Some suggest that turtles will even emerge during the winter months, and sometimes get caught in the extreme temperatures and don't survive. That has never been observed here.