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Juvenile Hibernation

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#1 Guest_Pat_*

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 08:10 PM

Hi, I have had a look at Dawns brilliant hibernation diary. Can somebody experienced do the same for Juveniles please?


#2 Guest_cyberangel_*

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 05:46 PM

Week one
NO FOOD normal heat and light, water available and bathe every day.

Week two
NO Food, heat and light turn on and off an hour earlier and later each day through out the week.
Bathe every day.

Week three
NO FOOD carry on reducing heat and light until no heat and light, bathe once or twice.

Week four
NO FOOD, no heat or light. By this time they should have really slowed down. End of the week place in your choice of hibernation. After weighing for keeping a record during hibernation.

More precise instructions on www.thetortoisehouse.com

#3 Guest_Pat_*

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 03:38 PM

Hi Sandy - thanks for some reason I thought that 4 weeks was a long time for them to starve when they are so little?

If all the same, it seems that just the hibernation time is slightly shorter.

Thanks - we can all stress together after all!

Pat :blink:

#4 Guest_Freddy McGavin_*

Guest_Freddy McGavin_*
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Posted 10 September 2010 - 10:34 PM

Hi Pat,
4 weeks does seem a long time to starve 1 1/2 year old torts. According to the information on this website(click on hibernation icon on the top of the screen), starvation/wind down should last around 10 days for this age group. I could be wrong Pat, but I would check again just in case.Best of luck
Kind Regards

#5 Guest_Pat_*

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 10:48 AM

Thanks Freddy, I will look into it - I did wonder if they would lose too much weight after 4 weeks.

It is my first time hibernating and they are staying outside until early October (they have heating) with a view to hibernating end of December (when my fridge is empty after Christmas!).

Then there are the opinions that med torts dont need to be hibernated at all to keep healthy! Oooh so many decisions!


#6 Guest_Freddy McGavin_*

Guest_Freddy McGavin_*
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Posted 11 September 2010 - 11:50 AM

Hi Pat,
You are right. There is a lot of contradictory and conflicting advice out there. So it can get quite confusing. Personally, I think Darren's hibernation guide ( see hibernation link above) is very accurate and quite good. He is also vastly experienced at hibernating young torts and even uses the fridge method. I don't think you would go wrong following his advice. Anyway Pat, I wish you the best of luck with your girls and feel sure that everything will work out right for you.Take care and talk soon.
Kind Regards

#7 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 04:44 PM

Hi Pat,

Perhaps posting the word juveniles confused things... there are differing opinions as to what a juvenile is and of course the sizes and weights are very different.

I have only one hibernation period under my belt, so not as experienced as others, but this is how I did Bailey and Boo last year using the fridge method.
I have dug out my notes and this is what I did.

I weighed the little guys,

Measure tortys weight in grams, measure the length in cm. Divide the weight by length x3.

Eg Bailey was 68g /6.6/6.6/6.6 = 0.23
Boo was 50g/6.0/6.0/6.0= 0.23

Less than 0.16 = underweight do not hibernate
0.17-0.18= light for hibernation monitor closely
0.19-0.22= safe to hibernate
more than 0.23= overweight monitor closely.

My littlies were 2 years 4 months in December last year weights as above.

No food throughout wind down.

5 days @12 hours heat and light (2.12.09)
6 days @8 hours heat and light
3 days @4 hours heat and light
3 days @ no heat and light
1 day in a cold room
Dec 20th into the fridge 14th Feb out of the fridge

Both only lost 4g while in the fridge. What I didn't note was what I did regards bathing during wind down... more reading for me too!

Paula x

#8 Guest_Pat_*

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 01:40 PM

Oops point noted.

Thanks the notes are great Paula, I must do the same myself this year. I have read that the baths also need to get cooler during the wind down period.

Will just use boxing day as "The Fridge Day" Day 0 and work backwards from there to plus 18 days.

What did you use to keep yours in?


#9 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 05:42 PM

Hi Pat,

This was only how I did it, hopefully others with small torts will post and share their experiences too. How heavy are your torts?

I used 2L Icecream tubs for the littlies and Hettie had a cracker tub. :D All had lids with air holes and filled with soil from their enclosures... thought familiar smells might make them more at ease! :rolleyes: I did wonder whether they would dig down into the soil, but everyone stayed sat on the top. :wub:

I also filled every spare gap with bottles of ... ahem.. water, :D (it being xmas!) to help stablise temperatures.

Paula x

#10 Guest_Ozric_*

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 10:14 PM

Hi Pat. I agree that 4 weeks would be long for smaller tortoises but as Paula says it all depends what we mean by small. Because they all grow at such different rates, a three year old for instance can be a really wide range of weights and be healthy so I reckon its best not to go by age at all.

Personally I don't think its worth doing for less than 8 weeks hibernation.

Last year I used plastic tubs with soil in them and I think this helps the tortoise not to loose weight. I watered the soil slightly to try and provide a damp substrate and I found they kept their weights really well.

Towards the end of wind down you want your bath water cooler because the heat would stimulate the tortoise which we don't want at that stage.

It's important they don't loose too much weight during wind down and I personally think that is a bigger risk than hibernating a tortoise that might have a little digested food really quite far along its digestive system where it doesn't cause a problem anyway.

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