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Hibernation Issues...

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#1 Guest_lilacgeorge_*

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 08:15 PM

Hi all,

It's coming up to 'THAT' time of year again... has anyone got any issue's or questions they want to discuss or ask? What about any tips? How are you hibernationg your little shelled friend/s?
We've had lots of newbie's of late that I'm sure would welcome some help and ideas.....

#2 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 08:28 PM

Awww I expect everyone is getting jittery, I would be if Hettie was allowed to hibernate. I shall be reading all of your posts ready for when she is better next year. Me 'n' Hettie will miss you all when you go for your big sleeps. Is anyone else overwintering this year?

Paula x

#3 Guest_lilacgeorge_*

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 08:32 PM

Howdy Paula! I knew you'd be the first to reply!!! :P ;-)

I'm gonna hibernate all 5 of mine - it'll be the first time for the two smaller ones (oo-er!). I use the fridge method, tho Tally is trying to hibernate herself outdoors already!!!!!

Hopefully people will continue to post during the big sleep as we still want keep up to date with each other....don't we??????? I for one will continue to post....

#4 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 09:49 PM

Phewy! Glad to hear you will still be around..... I don't know how I'd cope without my 'My hermann fix'!!
The guys I work with used to ask after Hettie. They don't anymore! I suppose what they actually wanted was a "she's fine thankyou"... instead they were treated to medical and weed updates, a tad lengthy perhaps!:7
How will you keep Tally awake?
Is your outside heating going to be warm enough to leave your guys outside until they hibernate?
Will they all be asleep for different lengths of time?
Keep us informed..... you know we like to know!!

Paula x

#5 Guest_victor22_*

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 10:39 PM

I did think about keeping Bentley awake this year, but there's no reason why he shouldn't hibernate and it would mean keeping them seperate during wind down and buying another heat lamp etc, so I will time it so that they go down at the same time, but I will probably wake Bentley up earlier.

#6 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 06:20 PM

Would hibernating help keep a torts shell smooth? I just thought if pyramiding occurs because of unatural growth spurts due to overeating, could having a big sleep help by averaging things out a bit?.... Or have I completely lost the plot!! Please be kind guys, remember yo said no question is a silly one!!:7

Paula x

#7 Guest_lilacgeorge_*

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 07:05 PM

not silly at all!!! Yes there is speculation in the torty world that it does. BUT if your tort is already pyramiding then hibernating him won't rectify it. Once this process has started it can't be reversed but it can be stopped from getting worse with the correct diet & husbandry. But it is thought that this is why they tend to have smooth shells in the wild. I think also they hibernate for longer in the wild...I may be wrong but I think, some breeds do, eg the Horsfield hibernates for about 6 months.....

There, see.....I was gentle with you :P xx

#8 Guest_robink_*

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 07:31 PM

Hello everyone!! I have been given a prezzie of a larder fridge with a small freezer compartment, you know bag of pea size. Its only 2 motnhs old do you think this would be Ok? You know what for, to put my boys/girls to bed for the winter, I know I would have to test the temp first, I think I have read somewhere they aren't any good, ( oh I do hope I miss read that somewhere)

#9 Guest_lilacgeorge_*

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 07:42 PM

My advice to you would be to check the fridge temp everyday as the temps could potentially drop below freezing if it has an ice box in it. Also don't put the torts near the ice box bit. Maybe get some thermometers with alarms so that if the temp drops the alarm will go off...

I had one of those drinks chiller fridges which didn't have an ice box but the temp still kept dropping below freezing! Luckily it was when I was testing it so I dumped it and got a new fridge!

#10 Guest_victor22_*

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 09:47 AM

I'd have thought if you keep the tort near the bottom it should be fine. Moniter it from now to check how it's going and also, of course, when the torts in. I'm afraid mine go in the salad box at the bottom of our kitchen fridge.

#11 Guest_u01nfa5_*

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 11:03 AM

Hey guys!

Tommy's going to be hibernating for the 2nd time this year, so just wondering if I'm going to do it a bit longer this year - last year I think I stopped feeding at start of November and then hibernated for 6 weeks (DEC-Jan)He'll be 2 this year what is recommended?

natalie xx

#12 Guest_lilacgeorge_*

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 02:44 PM

I do my adults for 5 months (Nov - March), the youngest is 3yrs and the babies, I'll probably do them from Dec - March??? (they are both just over a year) not sure yet. The minimum you should really do it for is 6 - 8 weeks. I put mine in and just moniter them, I'm gonna aim for 5mths but it depends on weight etc.

#13 Guest_alberts_owner_*

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 08:41 AM

me and my fiance had a row this morning about hibernation - it will be the first time we do it after poor health last year. i followed the threads last year knowing this time would come...

hugh thinks that you need to put the tortoises (2 three year olds) in their own separate compartment of a fridge - and has suggested the vegetable drawer and after that you can continue to add food to it and use it as the family fridge. He refused to back down - conceding that you would have to check the temperature didnt fluctuate too much or go below freezing prior to putting them in but didnt seem to think constantly opening the fridge would wake them or that the changing amount of food that goes in there will affect the temp. He says he has read on websites that this is what is done - but he cant name the sites. I think he is BullS-ing but im genuinely concerned he has read this somewhere.

I say you need a new fridge which i have seen on this site you pack out with water bottles to keep the temperature constant. and yoi open the door occasionally to allow oxygen to circulate but not too often or loudly to wake them. and you need to weigh them and check theyve not passed water - is that right?

I am so terrified of hibernation as I regularly see people in the morgue and cant really dissociate what Im doing to my tortoises with that! but i do know its in their best interests and I want to do the best for them.

One extremely stressed tortoise-mummy

#14 Guest_lorrylou_*

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 12:13 AM

"last year I stopped feeding at start of November and then hibernated for 6 weeks (DEC-Jan)He'll be 2 this year what is recommended?"

natalie xx

Hi Natalie,I think that if your tort is fit and well and a suitable weight you should aim to hibernate him for at least 8 weeks. Less than this is probably not worth doing unless of course something isn't right and youhave to wake him up. I would aim for a minimum of 8 weeks and if after that everyhting is going well, keep going for a few more weeks. I will try and keep mine going till about Christmas, then when they wake its not long till they can go outside.

#15 Guest_stargazer_*

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 02:01 PM


Can a tortoise be hibernated if overweight? Tiny is 0.37 worked out on the scale. He is 90mm length and 275gms. He doesn't look particularly big. He always eats well inside and outside, usually floretti or weeds, is active, though the past couple of days hasn't eaten or drank anything so took him for a check up, vet thinks he may be getting ready for hibernation, though hasn't hibernated before. He was quite active at the vet and vet thought he looked ok. Tiny is 3 years old. His shell is lovely and smooth and he poos and wees normally and the little tinker is usually always up to mischief in his table.



#16 Guest_victor22_*

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 03:25 PM

1) Alberts owner. There's no reason why you shouldn't use the family fridge, apart from the fact that some would say it's not very hygenic, I suppose. I can't justify buying a separate fridge, although that would be ideal. I put Victor in aubiose in the salad draw at the bottom last year, but I waited till all visitors had gone after Xmas and left him in there for January and February. (I do tell people he's in a separate fridge, though)
You do need to open the fridge each day to change the air anyway. It took him about a week to go into a deep sleep and then didn't stir until I got him up. Every now and again I'd just touch his leg to make sure he's still alive. Some even take them out to be weighed once a month.
2) Stargazer. If he's stopped eating now it's probably because the days are a bit cool. You really need him eating now for hibernation. Bring him indoors with a heat lamp for part 6-12 hours depending on how warm it is in the room. Mine are eating really well at the moment; in fact probably too well. I wouldn't let them eat this much if we weren't running up to hibernation. I fill their bowl a couple of times a day. I think when they are grazing outside they eat more normally.
I wouldn't worry about hibernating him because he is overweight; I think it's very difficult to say what is overweight. They are all so different in size. It's underweight you need to be more careful of. I would try and getting him eating for a few more weeks. If you've moved him recently, he may be adjusting to new surroundings.

#17 Guest_stargazer_*

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 04:45 PM

Thanks for your reassurance about his weight. He had a couple of leaves this afternoon and goes under the heat lamp occasionally but it doesn't seem to make him want to eat or be active like normal. I might try turning the heating up in the room he's in and give him a warm bath. A bath usually perks him up. But he looks like all he wants to do is sleep. Know how he feels!:) He's gone back to sleep this afternoon, snuggled into his aubiose on his table indoors.

#18 Guest_victor22_*

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 05:14 PM

Try chopping up a bit of cucumber and rolling the weeds in that.

#19 Guest_stargazer_*

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 02:06 PM

Yes I have tried him with some cucumber this week and he ate that, didn't think to wrap it in weeds though so I'll try that aswell. Still goes back to sleep though after eating, basks for a few minutes then burrows down. Have given him a bath but hasn't made him very active.

#20 Guest_victor22_*

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 06:33 PM

Mine aren't active in between times either

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