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Hibernation


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#1 Guest_Inca_*

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 02:38 PM

Hi guys,

For some irrational reason, I am already worried about hibernation for later on in the year.

Is it safe to hibernate a 2.5 year old Hermanns tortoise? He's in good health and wormed by the vet?

Or should I overwinter him/her instead?

Thanks

Inca

#2 Guest_Joanne666_*

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 02:54 PM

Hi Inca,

Hibernation is the most stressful time for a tort owner, its natural for you to be concerened about it. As long as you have a healthy tort, there is no reason for them not to hibernate from birth.
Go to www.tortoisetrust.org for further info on hibernation, the fridge method is considered to be the most stable and safest method.
Its better to be prepared so you feel more confident, so preparing yourself and your fridge for it in plenty time is very sensible :-)

Torts which are over-wintered year after year, even if they are healthy, will grow too quick which will lead to problems later on.

Hope this helps

#3 Guest_Inca_*

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 10:40 PM

Hi Joanne,

I have read the hibernation article - 5c is what seems to be required. Maybe 12 weeks hibernating max?

But what is this about a fridge - you mean put the tortoise in a fridge??!?!?!??!? As in, my home fridge -with all my food and stuff?

Thanks

Inca

#4 Guest_Joanne666_*

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 07:49 AM

LOL breath deeply Inca
If you have a spare salad drawer you wont be using over the winter, then yes he could go in there. If you buy a seperate fridge just for hibernation, you must make sure it DOESNT have and ice compartment at the top, a larder fridge I think they are called.
It sounds terrifying doesnt it..........but its not . A tort must be kept at a constant temp (between 3 and 7 degrees, Hermanns like it around 5 degrees) to ensure it stays asleep safely, and a fridge is the easiest way of keeping it constant. Our warmer winters have greatly fluctuating temps, and hibernating your tort in the shed or garage just isnt reliable enough in most cases.
You can leave your tort down longer than 12 weeks, no more than 20 tho. You weigh him weekly and keep a record of weight loss, this way you will know when to wake him up (if he starts losing too much weight), but we can go into that nearer the time.......first you have to get your head round putting your tort in the fridge .
Hope this helps

#5 Guest_Inca_*

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 10:02 AM

Joanne,

Ooh, I see. I do have a spare salad drawer - didn't think to put the tort in there !!. Just had this vision of my tort crawling around the cheese etc..!!

I imagine it would be like-

cardboard box inside salad drawer with lid off?

I think I will buy one of those thermometers that have an alarm on if they go above or below a certain temp, then I know the little beastie will be okay.

Tortoise in the fridge...LOL

Inca

#6 Guest_emma72_*

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 10:15 AM

hi
i was told not to hibernate mine this winter ..mainly as i've only had him a week and it might be to stessful for him after just getting him . hes 2 years old




Emma

#7 Guest_firefox_*

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 01:28 PM

you would have had him longer in winter though. Mine will hibernate.

#8 Guest_Gwen_*

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 01:34 PM

I have never hibernated my tort Sam and I have had him for 6 years. He has never been well enough to hibernate. I am hoping that when I take him to the vet in the next month or two to get a check up that he gets the all clear and that I can hibernate for the first time. I am petrified but I know it is essential for his good health. I will be buying a beer fridge (the ones with the glass door)to hibernate him in but I need to look for one with a thermostat in it. I bought a video with book about fridge hibernation from the TT web site. It is very good and I am feeling confident about it (beleive that if you like!!!!).

Gwen

#9 Guest_firefox_*

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 03:04 PM

Why has he never been well enough Gwen

#10 Guest_Gwen_*

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 11:36 AM

[updated:LAST EDITED ON 13-07-05 AT 01:11 PM (GMT)]When I first got him he had worms and he was just very unwell. He was 1 year old and was 2" long and weighed 24 gms and continued to steadily lose weight - he was as light as 16 gms at one point! It took a long time to get him over the worms. The vet told me to overwinter him that year which I did. Over the past few years he has had RNS a few times (I think hopefully he is over that because there has been no sign of it for a few years), a really bad eye infection, and lastly pneumonia which almost killed him. He was also underweight for most of the time. Each year I took him to the vet about Sept/Oct specifically to get his advice about hibernating and the vet always suggested overwintering. Last year he was quite well and putting on weight steadily but the vet thought that I should overwinter him just to make sure there was nothing else lurking there. Since then he has been really well, as bright as a button and I am hoping (fingers crossed) to hibernate him this year. Obviously I will get him checked out first. He is now 8.5 cm long (plastron) and weights 264 gms. Do you think this is too heavy? Do you think the vet has given me bad advice about overwintering? I always listened to the vet because together we have dragged that tortoise from deaths door twice and I think the vet is really competent and knows his stuff.


Gwen

#11 Guest_Joanne666_*

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 02:15 PM

Hi Gwen,

You've really been through the mill together havent you? :-(
I think over-wintering him has been a wise decision, an unwell tort is only going to wake up in a worse condition or not at all.
Was he wild-caught?
Hopefully his good health will continue and he can eventually have a good sleep :-)
You've done a good job pulling him through pneumonia too.

#12 Guest_Gwen_*

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 02:48 PM

It's the same old story! I thought I was buying a captive bred tortoise from a breeder but it turned out he was from slovenia. I had absolutely no idea at the time what that meant as he is my only tort. Once I had him there was no way I could give him back!! He has been really well for about a year now and when he was at the vets about 3 months ago for a check up the vet was absolutely amazed at how well he was.

It has really put me off getting another tort but if I ever feel brave enough to get another one I wont be fooled a second time!!

Take care, Gwen

#13 Guest_cherylgb_*

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 04:40 PM

Hi I am a very new tort keeper and Gwen's message psted last week has scared me somewat. In fact I am now paranoid that everything I do is wrong for Dougal. Dougal and I have been together for 4 weeks now and his certificate says he comes from Slovenia and my husband bought him from a pet shop!! The pet shop did tell my husband a vivarium was the best place to keep tortoises and they cannot live outside. My husband knew I had wished for a tortoise for years now and we repeatedly argued whether they could live outside or not. When the pet shop owner said viivarium I thought I had been wrong all these years but browsing through the messages etc on this site and several others I wasn't. I am going home 2nite to tell my husband he has to put a plank of wood instead of glass doors on the vivarium and also to let him know that this weekend he has to complete the outside enclosure we have been talking about !!!

I visited the petshop last weekend for advice on Dougal as he didnt seem to be very active - couple of hours max in morning and the same in the afternoon. By the time I get home from work during the week (jsut after 5pm) he settled under his "log" for the night and that's it I dont get to see him.

Any advice any1 wishes to give would be gratefully received both by myself and Dougal - can't promise it would please my husband tho!!

Cheryl and Dougal (3yr old hermann)

#14 Guest_Joanne666_*

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 05:50 PM

Hi Cheryl,

Firstly I would get a faecal sample from him and get it checked for worms. In the meantime, become a member of www.tortoisetrust.org this is the most reliable tortoise society in the country, put a post out and ask for the best tort vet in your area, someone will point you in the right direction. Not all vets are knowledgeable about torts and can make matters worse if you get one of them.
There is a high chance his lethargy is down to that, the quicker you get rid of them the better.
Your right about his accommodation too :-( vivs are lethal.
Even a temporary enclosure outside is better than the viv, but do take the doors off asap.......did the pet shop sell you a heat mat too? If so take that straight out, they arent necessary and can be dangerous.
Go to www.tortoises.net you will find everything to need to know about keeping a hermann........but please get him wormed asap.
Hope this helps

#15 Guest_cherylgb_*

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Posted 19 July 2005 - 08:57 AM

Thanks Jo I'll go to tortoisetrust now and ask. Give the pet shop their due they did not provide a heat mat - they said they were unsuitable for tortoises and provided me with a coloured heat bulb. I have purchased a day/night thermostatic regulator (??) to ensure Dougal is warm/cool enough. Regarding the poo issue - the only time I can find any evidance of this is during bath time when there is plenty to choose from !! Is this normal ? I've become very attached to him during our short time together and he is a great character, the last thing I want to do is cause him any discomfort or problems in any shape or form. I have visited the TLady's site and am going to send off for the wild seeds to sow. I already purchased seed trays at the weekend!

Cheryl and Dougal (3yr old hermann)

#16 Guest_Joanne666_*

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Posted 19 July 2005 - 11:13 AM

Hi Cheryl,

Do you have a uvb bulb for inside or did they just give you the red one? These are actually expensive for what they are, a normal household light bulb does the same job. UVB is essential for torts, as you will now know after reading the above links . Dougal does not need any light or heat during the night, even outside unless the temps are due to go below about 8c.
Torts love to use bath time as a toilet ! This is perfectly normal and very easy for you to get a sample :-)

#17 Guest_cherylgb_*

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Posted 19 July 2005 - 11:45 AM

Hi Jo

Yes we have a UVB light. The viv setup is as follows:

3 foot x 15" x 15" box on legs with two sliding doors and one round vent on each side.

Approx 12" strip UVB light bout 10-12" from floor placed in centre of back wall of viv. This in on approx between 8am and 10pm.

60watt coloured bulb for heat. This regulates itself with the aid of the day/night thermostat control unit.

Red bark mix to floor.

Shallow water dish to "cool side"

"log" for cover/shelter rougly middle of viv.

Day/night thermostat set to approx 82 degrees daytime. The sensor for this is placed as low as possible towards back middle of the viv.
We have bought a digital thermometer which we have moved around viv to ensure temps are not too high / too low.

We also purchased a digital thermometer for more accurate temp readings. All readings are taken as close to Dougal height as poss.

You are probably reading the above and cringing with each item! Can't say I blame you after reading the posting on here. How wrongly advised have we been!!

Soon to change though thanks to every1 on here (and other sites I've browsed). I am finding it all mind blowing - lots of info to take in at once - but basically Dougal with eventually have an open indoor enclosure asap with different trays of groundcover i.e. pebbled tray with water bowl in, loam/topsoil mixed with play sand for digging burrowing etc, something to climb over and under (but not too close to sides!), and, when seed arrives and grows, trays of lucious weeds to nibble and graze at his leisure. I do plan on planting numerous trays to enable rotation and constant supply.

I have been weighing Dougal regularly every two weeks and I was told by petshop not to handle him for 2 weeks. 1st fornight he weighted 100g and last Saturday he was 115g. Unfortunately I have not measured him yet. The pet shop did supply a "Care of your Medit Tortoise" sheet which gave directions as to how to set up your viv and what to feed, how often etc. How wrong was that sheet !!?!!

Cheryl and Dougal (3yr old hermann)

#18 Guest_cherylgb_*

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Posted 19 July 2005 - 01:34 PM

Forgot to say that the table top home is only a temp measure until we can sort an area of garden tortoise friendly and safe.

Nipped home at lunchtime to measure him and he is 8cm - done by the wall and paper method. Looking at Jackson Ratio he is dangerously underweight! 115g x 80mm long.

Cheryl and Dougal (3yr old hermann)

#19 Guest_Humphrey_*

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 12:06 AM

Hi All

Just thought Id put my tuppence worth in on this thread, there are a lot of different topics eh!

Inca, with regards to hibernation, yes so long as your tort is healthy you can hibernate. A lot of breeders dont hibernate the first year but some have successfully done this. As for the length of time, in the wild a tortoise hibernates between 8-12 weeks, if you hibernate longer than this then you are placing it at risk. Even more so in a young tortoise because it's body fat reserves are less.
Yes you can place your tort in the salad drawer and this has been done successfully but in my opinion it is best to get a seperate fridge, a larder fridge or one of those little ones with the glass door. If you use your home fridge a lot then you increase the risk of temperature fluctuations. A digital thermometer with max/min, in/out temp readings and an alarm are best. If you need a link for this let me know.

Gwen, the average weight for an 8cm tort should be about 200 gms. This is based on the Jackson Ratio and used for guidance only. If you need a copy of this graph please email me. Another way to calculate (and for use only with Graeca or Hermans)Measure the weight in grams,Measure the Straight Line length in cm
Calculate the weight divided by the length (in cm) cubed-
(weight/ length*length*length) A ratio of 1.90 is good and 1.60 or less is dangerously low. I would be interested to know what treatment you used for RNS at the last point of treatment. It sounds as if your vet is doing ok :-)


Cheryl, Unfortunately torts from Slovenia are prone to be carrying worms from general feedback. Your tort is very underweight and it is urgent that you take your tort to a good vet who understands tortoises as soon as possible. Take a faecal sample with you but your vet will probably worm there and then. Your set up can wait!


HTH

#20 Guest_Gwen_*

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 01:41 PM

Hi All

Cheryl I am so sorry!! I didnt mean to frighten you with my post!! I'm sure that if you take your tort to get wormed everything will be fine. I have just been very unlucky with Sam.

Humphrey, I now have a copy of the Jackson graph, thank you. The last treatment used for Sam for his RNS was me visiting the vet every day and the vet flushing his snares with, I think, Baytril (I couldn't do it myself!). This lasted about 6 days and then I used a dropper to drop antibitoic onto his snares for about 10 days. During his treatment and for about a month afterwards he was kept in his tort table and the only things in it were a half plant pot to sleep in, a water dish, piece of slate, thermometer and the substrate was plain paper. His box was scrubbed (and I mean scrubbed!!) every day without fail, everything in his box was scrubbed with a mild disinfectant and he was scrubbed every day as well (just in case!). I also closed part of the top opening with wood to increase the temp inside the box. This was all advice given by the vet.

Gwen




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