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Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania
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Lithuanian Zoo: a hundred European pond turtles fall into winter sleep


At the Lithuanian Zoo, as many as 101 European pond turtles have fallen into winter sleep in a special room where they have conditions for spending the cold season in a calm, cool and quiet environment.

The European pond turtle is a rare and endangered species. It is found in the Dzūkija region in nature. The Lithuanian Zoo participates in the programme LIVE+ for the increase of the population of these turtles where young turtles are grown for three years from eggs laid in inappropriate places. Following a period of adaptation, they are released to nature in or near the places where their eggs were laid. To ensure smooth adaptation and the ability of the released young to adapt to nature, they are ‘put’ to winter sleep at the Zoo.

The preparation for wintering is a fairly long process. From the second half of November, the light amount and water temperature were being reduced gradually in all the aquaria of the pond turtles. The daylight was shortened by 1 to 2 hours a week. The water temperature dropped also. As soon as the temperature reached 16-18˚C, the feeding of the young stopped. In another few weeks the turtles were moved to boxes with a little water, oak leaves and foam. During that period the turtles did not feed or warm themselves, and were growing slower.

The pond turtles will winter until spring. Young turtles under the age of one year numbering 73 will winter about 12 weeks, and older turtles about 14 weeks.

Since 2011, the Lithuanian Zoo has released a total of 292 European pond turtles into nature.

Communication Division

Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas