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#1 Guest_claire lesley_*

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 10:42 PM

Hi everyone,
My tortoises Chuckie and Angelica have passed a lovely summer in the garden but it's that time of year again :blink:
I didn't do it last year but really wish I had as the poor little fellows just got confused and grumpy.
This year it's definatley happening. I just wanted to ask can any one recommend a good concise set of guide lines to first time hibernation. (box method)
I think they are approx 4 years old.

One other thing I am worried about, both torts used to be the same size up until last year. This year Angelica has grown so much and now is a alot bigger than Chuckie, Not sure if Angelica is growing too fast or Chuckie is not gowing enough!!!!! Both torts are eating well, active and healthy as far as I am aware.

Is there a table I can check their weight to size ratio.
Appreciate your help as always


#2 Guest_Freddy McGavin_*

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 11:17 PM

Hi Claire,
I have hibernated my own tortoise 'Billiejo' using the box method for the past 30 years.Hopefully we're talking about the same thing.Essentially what you need for 2 torts are 3 Boxes - 2 small safe inner boxes and a large, stout and secure outer one. I would fill each of the 2 inner boxes with topsoil and place your torts in each one. I would then secure both boxes and put air ventilation holes in each after placing lids on top.Put each secured box into the larger crate and stuff it with plenty of shredded paper again placing a secure lid on top and providing holes for air. The shredded paper will act as insulation. You will then need to place a thermostat near the box and make sure temps don't fall below 5 degrees or rise above 9 degrees during the hibernation period.If temps fall to dangerously low levels i.e 0 degrees or freezing point or become too warm you will need to move the hibernation box to a milder location. The best place to put the box is in a cool room,(loft, utility or garage) attached to your house as outhouses or sheds can still leave your torts exposed to the outside elements. If you are looking for information concerning the wind down times and length of hibernation for your torts I would suggest clicking on the 'Hibernation' icon on the top of this forum.Also there you will find Jackson Ratio which will help you determine if your torts are the correct weight for their size and are so ready for hibernation.Anyway, Claire I hope this information is of help. It is based on my own 30 years of successful box method hibernation. I'm sure others will be along soon to offer more, helpful advice. Best of luck. ;)
Kind Regards
Freddy :D

#3 Guest_italytors_*

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 10:37 AM

Hi Claire,

Freddy has already said it all regarding hibernation :) . I think you are definitely doing the right thing..... hibernation is an important factor in keeping your tortoise healthy .....and happy.

As for the size, it is common for one of the tortoises to be bigger than the other even though they hatched at the same time and have been having the same food. I have two 'brothers' and one is much bigger than the other ...... (Mind you I find that the smaller one rules the roost!! :D )

Happy packing !! :)


#4 Guest_frenchypompom_*

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 05:41 PM

Hi everyone,

I thought I'd jump onto the hibernation waggon to drop a few questions of my own. One really.
I've had my Charlie for a whole of 7 days now and one of the thing the vet said was not to get her to hibernate for at least the next two years.
What's your view on that?
After reading Claire's message, I am wondering what's best.

Thanks for your opinions.
Take Care

#5 Guest_brucefairweather_*

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 06:25 PM

hi,if i had only kept a tortoise for seven days. i would keep it awake this year get used to your tortoise and next year you will know more about him and have more experince.well thats what i did anyway now i hibernate every year.but its up to you!!!

#6 Guest_cyberangel_*

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 07:43 PM

Try www.thetortoisehouse.com there are at least two ways of hibernating your tortoises on there. And are the instructions I use.

#7 Guest_Freddy McGavin_*

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 07:53 PM

Hi Carine,
Normally in these situations I would agree with Bruce. But chances are Charlie has hibernated before in Slovenia. Although I am unsure about this as I don't know her full history. However if she is healthy and a good weight (See Jackson Ratio above) and you feel confident enough then hibernation would indeed be very beneficial for her. At 4 to 5 years old I don't think her hibernation period would be very long anyway( See Hibernation above).Hope this helps Carine. Best of luck. ;)
Freddy :D

#8 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 08:50 PM

Ooooh I got myself right fuddled there Freddy!! :D :rolleyes: It doesn't take much!! :laugh:

I couldn't work out whether you are advising Carine to keep Charlie up or let her sleep!! The vet said to keep her awake for two years?

Anyway, I have only one hibernation under my belt so not much experience, however from what I have read I would go with Bruce's suggestion of keeping her up this winter, get to know her little habits and then be ready and confident next year.

I agree a hibernation period does them the world of good, but see it as a balancing act between that and the risk involved in being a new keeper and having the experience of knowing what is normal behaviour for your tort and being able to tell that torty is going into hibernation healthy.

Just my opinion!

Paula x

#9 Guest_frenchypompom_*

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 08:54 PM

Thanks guys,

My feelings were to follow my vet's advice.
It's just nice to get reassurance from you guys.
I don't know what I'd do without you.

I hope I can one day pass on all that you are teaching me right now.

And massive thanks from Charlie who's much happier now.

#10 Guest_claire lesley_*

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 10:19 PM

Thank you every one for your advice.... I have just bought a reptile thermometer on line and now looking around for some suitable boxes!!!
Still a little nervous but feeling a lot more confident.


#11 Guest_Pat_*

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 01:42 PM

Hi and welcome

This is my first year of hibernating, I had my 2 babies in September last year and didnt feel confident enough to do it.

You will get some great advice on here and everybody roughly starts the wind-down at the same time.

Mine are still outside at the moment in a sheltered garden with heating so hoping to leave them out until the end of September. (They are still very active and out searching for food every day).

Whatever you decide to do, you will not be doing it alone.

Pat x

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