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does my tort need hibernating

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#1 Guest_wensmith_*

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 11:50 AM


Please can anyone advise me, i own a 6 1/2 year old hermann tortoise, ive been told not to hibernate him saying it would kill him!!! (by prev owner) but ive noticed these last 4 weeks or so that he dont want to eat & just sleeps all the time and dont seem all that interested in life, his temps and lighting are all correct, i have to force him out his house to be bathed and so he can wonder about my house for exercise he loves this usually but a couple of times he founds the nearest spot to stop & go back sleep, do you think i should be hibernating him or is he trying to hibernate himself.

Thank you

#2 Guest_johnherman_*

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 11:56 AM


I am relatively new to tortoise husbandry, I have a 06 hatchling and I have just put him into hibernation for the first time using the fridge method, I still have loads of worries and questions but from doing my own research and looking at different information sites, I would say that your tort is trying to tell you he wants to hibernate, you would still need to do the wind down period with no food and regular baths etc but I would definately hibernate him. Hope this helps a bit, a good person to talk to is lilacgeorge she has given me some great advice and put my mind at rest on more than one occasion......anyhew hope to chat to you again.

Claire x

#3 Guest_wensmith_*

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 12:03 PM


Thanks for replying, could you possibly run through the whole hibernation process, ive read about it so many times its very confusing and i really dont want to do anything wrong, i understand i stop feeding him for 4 weeks, so how many times do i bath him & what should i do re lighting & heat in his house etc as i know this should be reduced etc, sorry for being dim but i'd like to do this correctly.



#4 Guest_johnherman_*

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 12:27 PM


Well all I can do is tell you what I did with John:-

Wk1 No food at all heat/light 10am till 2pm (4hrs) bathed every other day

Wk2 No food heat/light 10am till 12noon again bathed every other day

He seemed to be losing weight quiet quickly at this stage as he was still very active, wk3 I then turned his heat and light off all together but he still would wake as normal and climb round his table looking for food.....my house is too warm so on advice from this site I put him in my garage which is stable at around 10 degrees, my house is about 20 dedrees, he quitened right down and his weight stabilised.

He had two cool baths that week one at beginning and one on the day I put him in fridge, I dried him thoroughly and popped him in his box, I am abviously really nervous but keep checking him.

I have posted a question on this site as this morning I have found that he has pooed but not weed, I know that if he wees he has to come straight out but I have heard that pooes are not too bad, anyhew just waiting for someone to reply on that score.

Hope this has been a bit of a help I am hoping to be more confident next time and if I have a successful hibernation I won't be as worried next time......hopefully

claire x

#5 Guest_lorrylou_*

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 07:25 PM


It is important to check the weight against the length on the Jackson ratio. This can be found on this site. If your tort is about the right weight for his straight line length then it should be safe to hibernate as long as he has been well in recent months.

If hibernating the tort, stop all food and continue to offer water. Reduce the day length as time goes on. The Tortoise Trust website has an artcile on it about the Fridge method of hibernation and this is detailed and I found it good. For a tort this age you would need about 4 weeks starvation at least, from when he last ate.

If you decide to keep him awake you may be able to do so if you keep the temp and light correct all winter. Lots of people find their tort slows down in winter even if they don't hibernate.

Don't panic as there is plenty of time to hibernate this tort if thats what you decide. If he is a good weight now, he can afford to loose some during wind down period. If you go for hibernation then maybe two months would be enough if its your first time.

My own opinion would be that if you are hibernating him use a fridge and keep a close eye on the temp in there. If you keep posting here you will get more advice along the way. Hope it gos well whatever you decide.


#6 Guest_wensmith_*

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 08:46 PM


Thankyou so much for your help and advice, i will keep you posted if i decide to hibernate him but i'm everso worried about doing this as i'm sure most people are on there first time doing this, its quite strange as since ive posted on here the little monster has become active again!

Thanks again

#7 Guest_lorrylou_*

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 11:27 PM

Hi Wendy, if you keeping him up then its important that he continues to feed and remain active. What you don't want is a neither up nor down scenario. Enough light and heat will usually keep them up unless they have gone past a point of no return in winding down.

#8 Guest_Highlight_*

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 11:57 PM

Hi to all

I'm in the same boat as Claire so to speak, have Jake our 2006 hatchling who is a wonderful little guy, we have a good reptile vet
near us, so lucky her has a tortoise himself and he suggested starving Jake for 3 weeks and bathing him every day during this period, he said it didn't matter when I hibernated him, as our daughter wanted him around if possible when she came home from Uni for Christmas he is now in hibernation, I find it very worrying, I think it is human nature, it is sort of alien to do it for the first time for me especially as we have 2 guinea pigs who eat like horses!
I think what Claire has said is right, I have read quite a bit and taken the advice of the vet but I'm not claiming to be some sort of expert.

Jake turned round on day one :7 whic unerverved me a bit, but at least I am warned that they may move about.

Helen of Birstall, Leicester :-)

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