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Hibernation....


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#21 Guest_Ozric_*

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 08:52 PM

Blimey Dawn you better get your calculator out to get this mob sorted! Either that or tell 'em to work it out for themselves!! ohmy.gif biggrin.gif

What do we do with a 3" tortoise that weighs XYZ grammes? Surely that would be pounds and ounces! Excuse my cheek I'm just feeling light headed this evening.

#22 Guest_Dawn_*

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 08:53 AM

Funny that, I'm feeling rather light headed myself now after reading that!!!!!!! laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif

Tortsmad - how are you measuring them? You need to push there head against something solid (gosh that sounds harsh!!!!) so that they tuck it in, then mark the end of their shell, and measure this. I will try and find a pic showing you how to do it later!

I use a different method to the jackson ratio as the JR is more a guide and is based on an average tortoise, but all torts vary in shape and size and I find this other method works better, here's the formula:

Take the torts WEIGHT in GRAMS (eg 82g)

Then take their LENGTH in CENTIMETRES (eg 7.5cm)

DIVIDE (/) their WEIGHT by their LENGTH 3 times, eg 82 / 7.5 / 7.5 /7.5 = 0.19

Then using the table below you can work out if they are safe to hibernate;

< 0.16 = Underweight *DO NOT HIBERNATE*
0.17 - 0.18 = Light for hibernation *MONITER WEIGHT CLOSELY*
0.19 - 0.22 = Safe to hibernate
> 0.23 = Overweight *MONITER WEIGHT*


Again this is only a guide but I find it more accurate than the JR (my opinion only!) I have to say that when I first hibernated Tallulah ahe was under 0.16 due to the fact she hadn't eaten for ages but was otherwise healthy so I went ahead and hibernated her anyway and she was fine. On average mine tend to be 0.19 - 0.21
I also use this method to guide me through the hibernation period. Providing they don't fall below 0.16 I leave them. You will find that they don't change an awful lot. I think they say to aim for no more than 1% total bodyweight per month.

Please be aware though that particulary the first couple of weeks they will lose more weight as they tend to move around a lot. I was told (but can't remember who by - think it was Danny from USA) that torts don't actually sleep all the time they are in hibernation and actually spend most of the time awake - so don't be ssuprised if you see little eyes pearing at you when you check them!!!! This is perfectlly normal!!!!

I will re-post this formula on THE hibernation diary when I start it!

#23 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 05:48 PM


Hi Dawn,

Can I just check something? The weight, is this before the wind down weight or the just before the big sleep weight? wacko.gif
(And we haven't even started yet rolleyes.gif )

Paula x

#24 Guest_Robink_*

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 06:09 PM

Hi!! I will be starting wind down I hope November!!!! so be for warned Dawn!!!! laugh.gif

#25 Guest_tortoisemad_*

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 07:47 PM

hello dawn thanks for that chart well what do i do if some of mine are over 0.22

#26 Guest_Dawn_*

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 07:57 PM

I do their weight using this method before windown;

here's Franks diary from winter 2007/2008 hibernation - his length was 11.5cms

Pre-wind down
24/09/07 - 0.20 (317g)
08/10/07 - 0.22 (344g)

Wind down - started 18/10/07
22/10/07 - 0.20 (314g)
30/10/07 - 0.20 (309g)
04/11/07 - 0.20 (306g)

Fridge - 7/11/07
@ 306g (0.20)

Woke up - 10/3/08
@ 293g (0.19)

Total weight loss - 13g


Archie barely lost anything last year whereas Tally lost 22g in 2007 and 23g last year!

#27 Guest_Dawn_*

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 08:00 PM

if they are over 0.22 now start cutting their food down a little bit...

#28 Guest_tortoisemad_*

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 08:34 PM

QUOTE (Dawn @ Sep 22 2009, 09:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
if they are over 0.22 now start cutting their food down a little bit...

thanks for that dawn so there all ok too hibernation so too ask so much but wanna make sure i got right in my head as well ,

#29 Guest_Dawn_*

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 08:39 PM

yeah, they should be fine, did you say the lengths you put on the post are measured the 'right' way? (Tort pushed up to wall/flat surface then measure the length of shell from underneath using a bit of paper......) if so I'll work them out for you...

#30 Guest_tortoisemad_*

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 08:59 PM

that would be great if you would that really nice i off you i have a look at what i put in my records and weight them today so i be back too post in 2 minute


#31 Guest_Dawn_*

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 08:59 PM

QUOTE (tortoisemad @ Sep 22 2009, 09:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
thanks for that dawn so there all ok too hibernation so too ask so much but wanna make sure i got right in my head as well ,


Can I double check your weights/lengths please....

Charlie 582g & 13.9cm (5.5")

Daisy 413g & 11.4cm (4.5")

Justin 158g & 7.6cm (3")

Lumpy 174g & 8.9cm (3.5")

George 334g & 10.1cm (4")

Sam 151g & 8.9cm (3.5")

Are these right????????? Can you confirm for me.....

If they are correct then Daisy, Justin and George are seriously overweight - I have also checked them on the Jackson Ratio, an obese tort would have the same implications as an obese human - strain on the heart etc!!! Charlie & Sam are fine, but Lumpy is also slightly overweight.

Double check those weights and lengths and get back to me wink.gif

#32 Guest_tortoisemad_*

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 09:13 PM

© 595g 13cm
(d) 12cm 434g
(g) 11cm 341g
(s)8cm 155g
(l)8.5cm 179g
(j) 9cm 162g


well what you think

#33 Guest_Hermie + Pebble_*

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 09:20 PM



Well Dawn, according to that mine are .2 and .205 which is smack on. I even had my son (who has just started double A Level Maths) to check it for me, not that I am that bad at math but you can't be too careful with the babies wink.gif (although my son is now stunning me about how he will work it out how we go along wacko.gif I had to ask a bloke didn't I!!)

I do think mine are quite small even though they eat well and are active and clear eyed etc, but I feel much more confident now.

We weigh and measure often but I will keep a chart now (we can always remember so haven't yet) and going on that equation should be able to keep a good check on the run up and actual sleep time.

I am feeling more easy about it now I have read so much, I know I will worry at the time but these sort of details all help us to make the right decisions about how long and when etc.

So again, thanks Dawn. U little tort guru u. lol xx

#34 Guest_tortoisemad_*

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 09:24 PM

i worked it out that © is 0.27
(d) is 0.25
(g) is 0.26
(j) 0.22
(l) 0.35
(s) 0.30

is this right can they still hibernation will it be safe for them

#35 Guest_Dawn_*

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 09:30 PM

QUOTE (tortoisemad @ Sep 22 2009, 10:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
595g 13cm
(d) 12cm 434g
(g) 11cm 341g
(s)8cm 155g
(l)8.5cm 179g
(j) 9cm 162g


well what you think


Charlie - 0.27 (Overweight)
Daisy - 0.25 (Overweight)
George - 0.25 (Overweight)
Sam - 0.30 (Overweight)
Lumpy - 0.29 (Overweight)
Justin - 0.22 (Ok - just!)

(also double checked on the JR)

Blimey!!! What are you feeding them!!!!???? Is it you thats going to the hibernation check? If so I would check with Reg - I was told it was just as risky hibernating overweight torts as it is underweight. BUT if they are not hibernated then you'll in a vicious circle because to not hibernate them would mean to continue feeding which will put their weights up even more!!!

Have any of them been hibernated before? I'm going to guess not, which is why they are so overweight (I apologise if I'm wrong wub.gif ). This is why it is so important to hibernate as torts aren't designed to eat all year round, they need to have this break to regulate their weight and growth.

I think if this was me in this situation I'm afraid I would go ahead and hibernate to break the cycle and to enable them to lose weight. Yes I know it's a risk but surely to continue overfeeding them is just as high a risk.........

#36 Guest_tortoisemad_*

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 09:37 PM

there only been eating weeds but the whole lot of them never stop eating i have too say (c0 and (d) was hibernate last year but for how long i dont know but with © i going to do november to april anyway i going too do (d) november too march and none of my 2 years have done it yet i sure if too do 8 weeks or 12 weeks thank you dawn for helping me with all this dont what do with out you i have too say ,

#37 Guest_tortoisemad_*

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 09:40 PM

maybe when i do the wind down there all lose abit of weight

#38 Guest_Ozric_*

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 10:27 PM

QUOTE (Hettie @ Sep 22 2009, 06:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi Dawn,

Can I just check something? The weight, is this before the wind down weight or the just before the big sleep weight? wacko.gif
(And we haven't even started yet rolleyes.gif )

Paula x



Paula's question is one that I have asked in a number of places and been given various replies. Seems Mr Jackson didn't tell anyone when the weight is meant to be taken. The more cautious way is to take your weights regularly in the run-up to wind-down, do the wind-down and then check the weight at that point against the Jackson Ratio. But some people feel sure its meant to be taken before the wind-down starts and I'm not completely convinced by either way of looking at it. For people who have hibernated their torts before there is info from last year that can guide them.

Remember we can monitor the weight whilst they are hibernating. Last year one of mine started the big sleep above the safe weight line and after 2 months the weight had gone below it so I woke that tort up at that point and she was OK.

Sorry if this seems to make it even more complicated but there is a lot of disagreement about when to take the deciding weight check.

#39 Guest_Dawn_*

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 06:37 AM

QUOTE (Ozric @ Sep 22 2009, 11:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Paula's question is one that I have asked in a number of places and been given various replies. Seems Mr Jackson didn't tell anyone when the weight is meant to be taken. The more cautious way is to take your weights regularly in the run-up to wind-down, do the wind-down and then check the weight at that point against the Jackson Ratio. But some people feel sure its meant to be taken before the wind-down starts and I'm not completely convinced by either way of looking at it. For people who have hibernated their torts before there is info from last year that can guide them.

Remember we can monitor the weight whilst they are hibernating. Last year one of mine started the big sleep above the safe weight line and after 2 months the weight had gone below it so I woke that tort up at that point and she was OK.

Sorry if this seems to make it even more complicated but there is a lot of disagreement about when to take the deciding weight check.


Thats why I use this formula rather than the JR, it has a fair bit of leaway in it so if you use it before starting wind-down they should still be within a didgit or two of the original reading as I showed with Frank, he started pre hibernation at 0.21 (I think - cant see the post tis on other page!), wind down was 0.20 and post hibernation 0.19 so staryed within the safe range

#40 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 04:54 PM


Thanks for your replies chaps, I think I will weigh them at the beginning and see how far into the 'safe zone' they are. If it is borderline after wind down I will panic and make a decision when I need to. I weight them all each week and keep records but have not measured them for some a couple of months now... a job for the weekend I think!

Paula x




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