Jump to content


Another Hibernation Question


  • Please log in to reply
36 replies to this topic

#1 Guest_Tim-Ann_*

Guest_Tim-Ann_*
  • Guests

Posted 07 October 2010 - 11:52 AM

Hi there,

We have Harriet our Horsefield junior she is now about 18 months old weighs in at 136 grams and has put on 38 grams since we got her some five months ago. Our question is should we hibernate her she has not hibernated before.

If we should we plan to start the 4 week cycle soon so she can go down at the end of Nov and hopefully wake up sometime early or mid Feb would this be right as we felt she is a little one and wondered should we keep her in her table over winter indoors, what we will feed her we know not as Dandelion leaves are beginning to disappear so that leaves us with watercress and parsley and whatever winter growth we can forage.

If we are going to hibernate her then we have a spare fridge so we thought we would use that, obviously monitoring the temperature and her for movement. Currently she is in her tortoise table with play sand and compost which is three inches’ deep with a sixty watt heating spot lamp plus as well a ceramic bulb for aditional heat and a UVA strip light, we only bathe her once a week at the moment as she seems to be able to wee and poo okay on her own.

Any thoughts or advice would be much appreciated.

Many thanks, Tim.


#2 Guest_Hettie_*

Guest_Hettie_*
  • Guests

Posted 07 October 2010 - 08:13 PM

Hi Tim,

Hibernation is a scary time for all of us. :wacko: But there are members prepared to offer advice. I have only one hibernation under my belt so not very experienced, but can help a little.
As this is your 1st hibernation I would aim for 8 weeks in the fridge.
I think my littlies went in around 19th Dec last year and got up valentines day. :wub: You should aim to have the big sleep through the coldest months when food is more difficult to find. Dec was warmer than Feb! So if you can keep her awake till then it would be better.
AND it will give you more time to read up! :D
Have a look at our hibernation link at the top of the page. I don't think such a small tort will need a 4 week wind down. There is more info on the link above. Actually the tortoise trust suggest that a 4 week wind down is recommended for torts over 1KG!
http://www.tortoiset...s/induction.htm

When I got my first tort I was also impressed that she had put on weight, but you should be aiming for slow growth, many people recommend around 2-3g per month.
Regarding bathing, a young tort on a table inside dehydrates very quickly under the heat lamps. Again people disagree on how often they should be bathed, but once a week really isn't enough. I bath mine almost every day.
Two of the factors linked to pyramiding (bumps) in torty's shell are poor/excessive diet and dehydration. Have a look in our edible weed section for plenty of ideas that will help you offer a mixed diet.

Any questions ask away, we are a friendly bunch who are happy to help! :laugh:

Paula x

#3 Guest_Tim-Ann_*

Guest_Tim-Ann_*
  • Guests

Posted 08 October 2010 - 08:46 PM

Hi there,

Many thanks for your reply I have gathered that we have not been bathing her enough having spent more time reading we'll move to once per day.

As for hibernating her yes I thought we could aim for mid December I'm now busy trying to spot the correct food source for her, thus far she doesn't have any bumps in her shell and I guess she has put on slightly more weight than the recommended will keep that weight gain in mind. I have to add when we got her she weighed 110 grams then lost weight so she probably has gained weight as per the 2 to 3 grams per month.

Now all we have to do as a family is worry that she will come through her hibernation.

Thanks for all your help we might be back if we can't understand anything.

Again many thanks, Tim & Family.

#4 Guest_cyberangel_*

Guest_cyberangel_*
  • Guests

Posted 09 October 2010 - 07:21 AM

If you can cope with hibernation, its the best thing for his/her long term health. Always stressful the first time, but if followed properly then it will pass very quickly:0)
Keeping small tortoiess awake during this time of supposed hibernation, only makes them put on more weight than they need. As we as keepers always over feed our tortoises, in the wild they eat far less:0)
Yours is only a small tortoise, so will only need three weeks windown. And as you have found out, bathing in small tortoises is vital. I bathe my small ones every day for fifteen minutes. They do scabble about and dont really want it, but as they have fixed temps all day, they can dehydrated very quickly. In the wild they have varying temps through out the day.
If you go to www.thetortoisehouse.com you will find great info on horsfields. Lisa has been keeping and breeding horsfields for over 10yrs.

#5 Guest_Queen of Wales_*

Guest_Queen of Wales_*
  • Guests

Posted 03 November 2010 - 09:55 AM

Just thought I would put my two pennies worth in with regard to over-wintering and food supply.

I once had to keep my baby awake over the hibernation period since she had developed quite a nasty eye infection. We tend to get snowed in every winter so a trip into civilisation wasn't an option and no amount of foraging in the snow was going to produce the succulent weeds my little princess desired to get well so, in the end we bought some weed seeds from the tinternet and grew them on the kitchen windowsill.

Obviously, we knew in August that we were going to have to miss out on the whole stressful hibernation experience that year (& BOY! Am I stressing out over this years saga!) so we had plenty of time to establish the plants.

I'm happy to report that her eye infection cleared up beautifully (eye washes everyday and plenty of parsley in her diet for the extra vitamin A) with no long term damage but I am a staunch believer in hibernation for tortoises and wouldn't have kept her over-wintered unless I absolutely had to.

Hope this is of some help for those with poorly tortoises in the future although not much good now since hibernation is upon us and you would be cutting it fine to grow the seeds for this year.

:wub:

#6 Guest_Tim-Ann_*

Guest_Tim-Ann_*
  • Guests

Posted 10 November 2010 - 03:53 PM

Hi there,

Thanks to everyone for your input, we are going to start winding her down at the begining of December and hopefully wake her mid February, fingers crossed now to check out the fridge.

Again many thanks everyone.

Tim & Family.

#7 Guest_jay_*

Guest_jay_*
  • Guests

Posted 10 November 2010 - 05:02 PM

Hi Tim
Best of luck with hibernation,dont hesitate to ask any questions as i think we all tend to worry this time of year,i'm winding two of my torts down on monday and overwintering my new rehomed tort Humpty.


#8 Guest_Tim-Ann_*

Guest_Tim-Ann_*
  • Guests

Posted 17 December 2010 - 03:34 PM

Hi there,

Quick question, my worry now is we have had Harriet on starvation drill for 17 days and her weights are worrying us when we got her we've charted her weight see below, we just can't make sense of the rise in weight through Oct to the beginning of Dec. She does not have a lumpy shell and looks fit and healthy and is still moving around under her heat lamp which is now only on for 4 hours per day the fridge is ready running at 4 degrees.

Do we put her in it and if so we've got a plastic container box drilled holes do we fill it with her soil and sand or shredded paper? I'm sure we'll have more questions and we are prepared to keep her going through winter we have a largish table and access to food but she does seem okay.

13.04.2010 102

20.05.10 90

10.09.10 132

10.10.10 145

10.11.10 151

1.12.10 158

10.12.10 129

17.12.10 124

Any pointers would be appreciated, Tim & Family.

#9 Guest_Tim-Ann_*

Guest_Tim-Ann_*
  • Guests

Posted 21 December 2010 - 03:46 PM

Okay 21 days have gone by last bath heat lamp to dry her off then cooled down and off into the fridge registering 3 degrees temp in fridge now 5.7 degrees,her last weight was 122 grams. This is one of the cruelest things I've done to a family pet I do hope she makes it, I was so tempted to just keep her awake but hopefully this is the best way for her.

Speak to you all in Feb.

Tim.
[/quote]


#10 Guest_Hettie_*

Guest_Hettie_*
  • Guests

Posted 21 December 2010 - 05:09 PM

Horrible time isn't it Tim? :(

My little guys went in on Sunday... sleep well little ones! :wub:

Paula x

#11 Guest_Tim-Ann_*

Guest_Tim-Ann_*
  • Guests

Posted 22 December 2010 - 09:48 AM

Hi there,

Cheers Hettie, it sure is very worrying so the fridge is running at 3.5 degrees C and I went down to see her this morning and her head and feet were all protruding when I picked her up they moved in a little but not much is that all right or should she be all tucked up?

She is on a bed of 6” of topsoil and sand and has thus far chosen not to bury herself again is that normal?

One worried owner but I guess what will be will be.

Tim.

#12 Guest_Hettie_*

Guest_Hettie_*
  • Guests

Posted 22 December 2010 - 08:19 PM

Hi Tim,

All of mine are on top of the topsoil. Last year when I was checking on mine I would gently touch their feet, a little drawing in movement reassured me they were alive and ok.
I think it was Lin that once told me one of her little guys slept with his head right out. Mine aren't completely tucked in, just a little snitch on show. She has only just gone into the fridge so I wouldn't disturb her by picking her up just yet. I shall take mine out and weigh them quickly at the end of the 1st week but I believe others leave them a little longer to settle.
Let us know if she tucks in, it will be interesting to hear how she gets on and might reassure others too. :)

Paula x

#13 Guest_Tim-Ann_*

Guest_Tim-Ann_*
  • Guests

Posted 25 January 2011 - 08:11 PM

Hi there,

Well so far so good she is still asleep the fridge alternates between 3 to 4 degrees but all seems well in 4 weeks she has lost 2 grams which seems about right for her weight and she is still on top but does responds to me picking her up.

So not far off waking up time the next worry for us, think we will put her in the airing cupboard to warm up and then bathe her and offer heat, light and food.

Many thanks for everyones help, Tim.


#14 Guest_jay_*

Guest_jay_*
  • Guests

Posted 25 January 2011 - 08:23 PM

Tim
Great to hear all going well with hibernation,when i fetched mine out of hibernation on the morning i put mine in a box in the lounge then i introduced the warm baths,lights and then food within two days they were back to normal eating well.
when will you be waking your little one?
best of luck
Jayne

#15 Guest_Freddy McGavin_*

Guest_Freddy McGavin_*
  • Guests

Posted 25 January 2011 - 08:45 PM

Hi Tim,
Glad to hear everything is going so well for Harriet in hibernation. Best of luck with your little one.
Kind Regards
Freddy

#16 Guest_Tim-Ann_*

Guest_Tim-Ann_*
  • Guests

Posted 27 January 2011 - 10:21 AM

Hi there,

I think I'm going to bring her out on the 18th February, so she will have been in there for 2 months, unless anything untoward happens in the meantime.

Many thanks everyone great to have you here for help and advice it has been very helpful and reassuring.

Again many thanks, Tim.


#17 Guest_Tim-Ann_*

Guest_Tim-Ann_*
  • Guests

Posted 21 February 2011 - 08:13 PM

Hi there,

21st and she is out warmed up by the water tank then a warm bath and back to her table using the UV lamp and heat lamp but hasn't eaten yet, We were going to leave her lamps on all night but thought we should get back to her normal routine, will bathe her twice tomorrow and see if she eats.

She lost about 8 grams during her 8 weeks so let's hope she eats soon but now is just as worrying, thinking the worse, fingers crossed.

But nice to have her around just a pity the weather has begun to get cold again.

Tim.

#18 Guest_Freddy McGavin_*

Guest_Freddy McGavin_*
  • Guests

Posted 21 February 2011 - 08:41 PM

Hi Tim,
It can take a while for a torts system to get back to normal after hibernation. So they might not eat straight away and can often be a bit groggy. However, you seem to be doing everything just fine. Keep her warm with plenty of baths and of course persevere with the food. Congrats again Tim. So glad to hear Harriet made it through safely.
Kind Regards
Freddy

#19 Guest_jay_*

Guest_jay_*
  • Guests

Posted 21 February 2011 - 09:34 PM

Hi Tim
Great to hear that Harriet has made it through hibernation okay,all we need now is some warm weather.
Jayne

#20 Guest_Tim-Ann_*

Guest_Tim-Ann_*
  • Guests

Posted 23 February 2011 - 02:37 PM

Hi there,

Many thanks for those words of encouragement.

Nearly 48 hours since she has been up and still no sign of eating although we have noticed her drinking, both when bathing and at her water bowl on her table. We guess if she can go 8 weeks without food a few days more will not make much difference, well we hope not.

She’s moving around without a problem so far her eyes are open and look fine not been able to look in to her mouth yet.

Again many thanks everyone and now to get on with building her outdoor pen for the great summer we're about to have.

Tim.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users