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#1 Guest_ellie_*

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Posted 18 August 2007 - 08:52 PM

Hi All

I know its a bit early but when the time comes for preparing for hibernation i take it that will be the top subject for a while.( Hope so). Im a bit worried about hibernation as i have not done it yet and i know its beneficial to the tort.

What kind of things do i need to get prepared in advance.???

This May seem silly but....... how can they sleep for so long. ??


#2 Guest_jadums_*

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Posted 18 August 2007 - 09:28 PM

No is not silly at all, the mor ein advance you get ready the more prepared you are :)

Firstly you need to decide which method you want to do:

Box or fridge?

Box: The benefits from the box method seem to be the tort isnt so dehydrated on emergence from hibernation. However, it is very difficult to keep a room/ shed at a particular temp and so if we have a mild winter like last yr the torts will be rising very early.

fridge: the good thing about this is that you can control the temps. The bad things are it appears to cause more dehydration and you cant touch things in the fridge i.e. removing one tort as the whole fridge then has to b stablised again, which with mine took over a day :S

last yr i went on holiday on one of the weeks they were in and my friend was checking on them. However, the temps were so all over the place for who knows what reason, she took them all out and popped them in her drinks chiller with all her torts.

Last yr whilst they were in hibernation i also tested the temps of our shed, which is haklf insulated and has a background heater if needed. the temps didnt drop below 3.5 degrees C the whole winter so I'm doing the box method this yr in there.

After you have decided which method you need to get yourslef a couple of good digital thermometers. I got fridge ones with alarms on.

Then you need to get yourself prepared with boxes. you can put them straight in the fridge with no box but they have more security with a box shoudl the temps drop.

the box needs to be deep enough they cant climb out (washing up tubs are good - 99p at wilkonsons) or you can get free polystyrene boxes from the green grocers which are very good.

Last year mine were in roughly shredded newspaper, however this yr I am going to hibernate my hatchling and my 1yr old and andy highfield said to me the other day that the best way was to do this by letting htem bury in soil. this protects them shoudl the temps drop suddenly.

so my older ones are going to sit in newspaper again and my babies in soil :)

the tortoise trust has brilliant instructions for hibernation btw.

As long as your tort is on the jacksons ratio nicely, doenst show any signs of illness, has bright eyes and pink tongue. dont hibernate if it has been recently treated for anything.

you then follow the wind down method before hibernation.

I'm going to hibernate my babies for december and january and wind down in november. I'm doing all my other torts, weather permitting, probably end of oct. although last yr it was so mild it was more middle-end of november.

sorry for the long post :P

#3 Guest_squirrelann_*

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Posted 18 August 2007 - 09:31 PM

the only thing you can do this far is ahead is to decide whether you are going to use the box method ie have a cold quiete place to keep your hibernating tort or the fridge way, if you decide on the fridge and don,t want to use your house one you,ll need to pick up another, site it somewhere and have it running for several weeks to check it holds its temp, this should be around 4-5c, no lower than 4, put the same box that your tort will be using in the fridge as temps vary depending on the contents, if you are putting him in directly on the shelves its best to line the shelf with cardboard as he can get frostbite if he touches the side so putting him in a shoe box for example is safer again if your using bedding run your fridge exactly as you are going to have it with the tort, an external thermometer with a wire probe is better than keep opening the door although the door will need to be opened once a day for fresh air, I use the box and shed method myself but a lot do use the fridge my problems last year was the warm temp so I ended up with my boxed torts in a metal cabinet to try to keep them colder, checking on them every day and moving the box depending on the shed ( brick ) temps, ie if it got to cold we would put a low heater on and move them far away from it exspecially overnight frosts etc, anyway it was worrying but they all were fine. I,m sure there will be lots of threads as we get nearer.

#4 Guest_squirrelann_*

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Posted 18 August 2007 - 09:34 PM

Jade we seem to be pretty much of similar thoughts you just pipped me with this one but the posts are so similar its a bit uncanny, lol

#5 Guest_jadums_*

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Posted 18 August 2007 - 10:02 PM

they are arent they :) lol, i thought the same thing :D

can i add onto yours tho and add another bit of advice.

pop something in the box that you are going to put the tort in that is roughly the same mass and weight of the tort. complicated i know but its amazing how much the temps change because you've either popped a tort in or the tort is fatter than the bottle of water you put in to get the temps right :)

hope that makes sense :P

#6 Guest_squirrelann_*

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Posted 18 August 2007 - 11:16 PM

I followed Pauls advice ( otherwise known as TT or Terrific Tortoise) I brought my babies from him and he has a really good thread on shelled warriors with pictures and step by step guides, he,s always been only to pleased to help me out with advice etc, I started them in the garage but the garden shed which is a big brick one was colder, although the temps did vary they stayed within the safe range but I did have the heater on its lowest when we had heavy frosts overnight that just stopped the temps from going below 4c, I had to watch the weather forecasts for the night temps and was constantly checking them, the babies had 7 weeks which was shorter than I,d planned but the weather became really warm end jan and they woke so I brought them out, Tootsie my adult spur had 15 weeks and I never had Sid then, that was the babies 1st time were aug hatchlings and didn,t hibernate the 1st winter so would have been about 1.5 yrs old. I must admit I did fuss and worry over them but didn,t want to do anything wrong this year instead of moving them all into the conservatory ( heated ) I hope to leave them in the outdoor enclosures untill they hibernate as I have heating in their houses if it doesn,t work I,ll bring them all in again.

#7 Guest_ellie_*

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Posted 18 August 2007 - 11:41 PM


Think i will go for the box method. If i start researching now then i should havr chilled out by then.


#8 Guest_jadums_*

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Posted 19 August 2007 - 09:59 AM

I dont think you ever chill out its so stressful, but as long as you do everything right then its not too bad. :)

yeah the tortoise trust website is brilliant with their info and if you join the yahoo forum you can ask questions too.

#9 Guest_jay_*

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Posted 19 August 2007 - 03:47 PM

Hi Ellie,this is my first year too and very concerned which method of hibernation to do for hermie,i will try and learn as much as possible from members who use this forum,thanks to this forum i have been learning lots off great information,its a very worrying time for tort owners as we all want to do the best.
Jay and hermie:D

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