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Too light for full hibernation

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#1 Guest_Shergar_*

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 01:24 PM

We took Shergar to the vets last week to have a pre-hibernation check. I was aware she wasn't as heavy as last year and was a bit concerned. The vet said with the bad weather this summer, lots of tortoises are not up to weight and we shouldn't risk a full 5 months for her. With her size she should really weigh about 1.7kg and she's actually 1.58kg. We have been told to keep feeding her until the end of the month and then starve her for November before hibernating in December. She can only do 3 months instead of the 5 so we have to get her up at end of February / early March. She hasn't stopped eating but isn't eating much.

I just thought I'd post this in case other people have found the same thing. I'm so glad I got her checked over!


#2 Guest_English Rose_*

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 05:47 PM

Ever since i got my baby tort last year it has been underweight. I have had it to the vet who have advised me not to hibernate it at all. This is my second year with my tort as I got it last June. I am concerned as to why it is always underweight. I feed him when he wants fed... (as he goes to his feeding dish when hungry) so i feed him.
Can anybody give me advice as to what im doing wrong? (if anything)

#3 Guest_joanne5848_*

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 09:18 PM

i don't really know why your tort is not putting on weight, may be he has a fast metabolism! i wouldn't worry if he seems healthy and is active. i'm hibernating my tort this year for the first time and i'm now concerned whether he is the right weight for this. Are pre-hibernation checks expensive and what do they actually involve?

thanks Joanne

#4 Guest_lilacgeorge_*

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 09:39 PM

Have you looked at the Jackson Ratio?? Another way to do it is to divide the weight by the length 3 times ie, weight 308g, length 11.5cms so you would do 308 divide 11.5 divide 11.5 divide 11.5 = 0.20

If your tort is between 0.19 - 0.21 then this is ideal to hibernate. Under 0.16 then tort is underweight so shouldn't be hibernated. These are only guides though but are a good indication to whether or not it is safe to hibernate.

(Ref; Jade, 2006) :P ;-)

#5 Guest_joanne5848_*

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 12:01 AM


i've just weighed and measured Toby and he is 0.25 at the moment. however he still has two weeks left of starvation and so should drop a few more grams. the ideal weight that you gave (0.19-0.21), is this after the starvation period?

also Toby has gone from 93g to 87g in 6 days, is this normal or do you think he is losing too much weight too quickly.

i would appreciate any advice you have


#6 Guest_lilacgeorge_*

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 12:58 AM

[updated:LAST EDITED ON 16-11-07 AT 01:00 AM (GMT)]Hi Jo,

I assume it's the weight that you put them into hibernation, ie after starvation. But I work it out before I start starving then again after they have finished. Its actually quite a big range so they tend to stay within it or near as dam it during the starvation period. According to my notes it goes like this;

<0.16 = underweight, *do not hibernate*
0.17 = light for hibernation - *care*
0.19 = safe/normal for hibernation
0.21 = very good weight
>0.21 = too heavy *care*

Now I don't know what the implications are of hibernating a 'overweight' tortoise - maybe someone else can answer that??? My philosophy is 'do whats right for you and yours!'. As I have said before these are guides as torts (like us humans) vary in shape and size. My recently aquired girl is classed on the above table as underweight - she comes up at 0.169, because she is otherwise healthy and I know her history I decided to go ahead with hibernation. I will leave her in the fridge until she reaches 0.16 (or she signs of ill health) which by my records she can lose at least 15grams. Now, if she does text book hibernation and loses 1% of bodyweight a month then I estimate to have her in the frige for approx 10 wks. I wait with baited breath......

As for weight loss; Frank was 344g on 7/10* and went into the fridge at 306g, Tallulah was 575g on 16/10 and 555g when she went in fridge. Both had 3 wk wind down although they had stopped eating/slowed down before this.(*last recorded weight before wind down started)

Hope this helps - and that I haven't bored you to death! (oops!) :P

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