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Tortoise losing weight during wind down


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#1 Guest_alberts_owner_*

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 12:04 PM

Dear all,

I have a tortoise, Grace, which I am worried about going into the last 6 days of his wind down before I put him intot he fridge.

He has lost 20g during 16 days of his 22 day wind down and now weighs 260g - 10g short of the 'dangerously low weight for his size in the Jackson's ratio.

Although he has been healthy this summer and was wormed in the spring, he has only put on around 40g this year.

I am not sure whether I should hibernate him with the risk that he just might not have enough weight on him to last the hibernation period.

If anyone has any advice I would really appreciate it.



#2 Guest_Ozric_*

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 08:57 PM

Hi, can you say what Graces' stright line length is as I like to use the BCG method not the graph?

Probably very little more weight would now be lost during the rest of wind down, if any. If weight loss was minimal during the hiberntaion itself then if it was me I would personally go ahead although its a very individual decision which everyone has to make. Some keepers take into account the weight and the JR of the tortoise the last time it did hibernate.

#3 Guest_alberts_owner_*

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 02:44 PM

Grace's carapace length is a fraction under 11cm. His hibernation weight last year was around 228g so he really hasn't put on much weight this year. Not sure how much that should be taken into account. I would like to hibernate him - so long as he doesn't lose any more weight over the process now as he has slowed down a fair bit since the 1st 10 days of the wind down.

#4 Guest_wizzasmum_*

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 07:04 PM

Was his SCL the same last year too? If the ratio has lessened as Jonathan says, it's best to go by this. A 200 gram tort would usually gain a fair bit of weight in a year so could there be something underlying here?

#5 Guest_Dawn_*

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 08:36 PM

Hmmm, I tend to go more on how the tort has been throughout the year, the graphs are a guide - like the graphs in kiddies red books, they are based on the average tort, but if you're tort isn't average then they don't necessary work. They certainly don't apply to my lumpy girl!!!! According to them, she is 'dangerously underweight' yet she's had a clean bill of health from the vets, she's been absolutly fantastic through the year, eating well, she feels a good weight, looks healthy etc, so in my mind, she's fit to hibernate.

Just my humble opinion :rolleyes:

#6 Guest_wizzasmum_*

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 11:12 PM

I rarely use the Jacksons ratio, as Oliphant (God rest his soul) devised it using wild tortoises and so, as you say it will not apply to captive reared torts for the main part. It is useful however to compare weights from one year to the next as if a lower ratio is given one year then that particular tortoise has still not come through at the same level as last year, if that makes sense and is therefore not likely fit to hibernate.

#7 Guest_alberts_owner_*

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 10:22 AM

Hi all,

thanks for the advice.

Grace's shell length has probably grown about 1cm this year - which would mean that the length to weight ratio for Grace is probably a lot lower than it was last year.

He probably lost 15-20g in last years wind down (this wind down is a bit longer) but it's more that he was probably a lower ratio weight than he was last year - although he has always been just under the mean weight for his length.

As I say, he has been wormed and he has actually grown a fair amount this year - btu just hasn't put on an awful lot of weight with this. I'm not sure whether this is a normal phenominom.

I guess it is a personal decision whether to put him into hibernation. He does look quite thin - but he has always looked thin - while being healthy...

Would putting him into hibernation earlier than my other tortoise (a female who is almost 200g heavier) help at all - just so he doesn't lose anymore weight?...

#8 Guest_wizzasmum_*

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 03:47 PM

That is what I was thinking ;)

He probably lost 15-20g in last years wind down (this wind down is a bit longer) but it's more that he was probably a lower ratio weight than he was last year - although he has always been just under the mean weight for his length.

As I say, he has been wormed and he has actually grown a fair amount this year - btu just hasn't put on an awful lot of weight with this. I'm not sure whether this is a normal phenominom.

It can be, some do grow a lot more slowly than others, even from the same clutch. It's the lowering of ratio that I would find a concern though.

I guess it is a personal decision whether to put him into hibernation. He does look quite thin - but he has always looked thin - while being healthy...

Male torts are often a bit underweight. especially if you have females around. As you say, it has to be a personal decision as there is no perfect solution.

Would putting him into hibernation earlier than my other tortoise (a female who is almost 200g heavier) help at all - just so he doesn't lose anymore weight?...

Possibly, so long as he is empty as near as you can tell. Make sure he is well hydrated though. Personally I would not wind them down together as the males are very geared to mating whatever the weather and this could make him lose too much weight.
Good luck

#9 Guest_alberts_owner_*

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 05:13 PM

Thanks for all the advice, all very helpful!

I think we shall have to split them up for wind down period next year - providing this year is successful.

I think I will put grace in hibernation a couple of days earlier than Albert.

Cheers,

- Hugh

#10 Guest_cyberangel_*

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 05:46 PM

I always split my male and female adults before winding down for hibernation.
Mine dig down in the soil of my greenhouses. :rolleyes:

#11 Guest_wizzasmum_*

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 10:23 PM

Ooh not seen you around for a while lol




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