Honors Program


Date of this Version

Spring 3-12-2018

Document Type



Bausback, Emily. Seasonal Changes in Glucose Levels in Ornate Box Turtles. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 2018.


Copyright Emily Bausback 2018


Glucose regulation in animals is essential for survival. Energy demands, such as activity and other forms of stress, can greatly affect levels of glucose circulating in blood. Some animals experience changing energy demands on a seasonal basis, such as those animals that undergo hibernation. Hibernating reptiles experience a low metabolic rate, inactivity, and no food intake, all of which are factors that can have an effect on blood glucose levels. This examined how glucose levels change with season in ornate box turtles, Terrapene ornata ornata. Blood samples were collected from ten female ornate box turtles during the seasons of fall, hibernation, post-hibernation, and summer. Blood glucose concentration was determined and statistical analyses were performed to test how the season of sampling affected the blood glucose concentration. Our results showed that season does have a significant effect on glucose concentration, with glucose levels being highest in the summer and lowest during hibernation. These results indicate that changes in energy demands between the active months and the hibernation period significantly affect the levels of glucose in the blood. This study helped to better understand physiological responses that hibernating ectotherms experience on a seasonal basis, as this is a topic that has not been extensively studied previously.