The end of the 2020 summer season came quickly the last few days of October, and nearly all study turtles settled into hibernation by the end of the month. But the first week of November had record high temperatures, and a few turtles moved to new locations.
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2020 Hibernation Sites
The photo shows the 2020 hibernation sites. Many of these sites have soil and air temperature loggers installed and some sites also have iButton temperature loggers, recording every 4 hours, attached to the lower scutes of the turtle's carapace.
Turtles M50(M) and M63(F) traveled and hibernated outside the primary core of the study area.
Turtles M13, M11, M27,M24, M38, M48, M6, M43, M57, and M49 all hibernated at or close to their 2019 hibernation sites.
Not shown is the hibernation of turtle M62, lost in June 2020 due to his travels across the highway out of radio range, but was re-found in April 2021 still underground far west of his last known position. Re-tagged, he will be tracked starting at emergence.
The iButton (green line) shows the exact dates that M27 when under ground and emerged. M27 hibernated in the same place he chooses every fall; an old stump hole in a sheltered woods. The soil logger was placed in the same hole where M27 hibernated with an iButton attached. Neither the few minor periods of snow and ice cover nor the cold air temperature extremes had much effect on temperatures in the stump hole.
Turtle M11 had an iButton attached a couple weeks before she went into hibernation in soft soil in an old stump hole only about 15 feet from the edge of an asphault road. The soil logger was placed in an old stump hole about 20 feet from turtle M11. Both sites were unsheltered and in full sun. M11 chose the site which turned out to be consistantly warmer by at least 1 to 2 degrees for most of the winter months.
The exact date of hibernation is clearly shown by the green iButton line, which also shows the time spent under leaf cover in forms prior to hibernation.
This chart applies to all years, and shows the similarity in daily and hourly winter air temperatures at a number of hibernation sites. The sites where this information was collected varied greatly in elevation, exposure, and aspect.