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Tortoise trust email about hibernation!


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#1 Guest_wuz06_*

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 09:16 AM

Winter Frost Danger
Tortoise Trust23 November 2010
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Free Hibernation Guide by The Tortoise Trust



Safer Hibernation and Your Tortoise is a detailed guide about tortoise hibernation.

You can download a free copy from our
<A href="http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=sbfchrcab&et=1103964648616&s=3623&e=0013BPa0i2CNsTipk-1YgLg-CRs-f0vb-aHl-yA806TZ5ha3cvBLk5yrpBBk3UV5nQcALAJMjyC5Gtf218HHy5E9QnqeYUMb8o5mcQyUsUDuQI_pEd0EX
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Help a Tortoise Tell a Friend
Many tortoises are injured and sight-damaged every winter by being exposed to freezing temperatures during hibernation. Please help us protect tortoises from harm this winter. <A href="http://ui.constantcontact.com/sa/fwtf.jsp?m=1102236947506&a=1103964648616&ea=louy_dipple6@hotmail.com" shape=rect target=_blank>
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Join Our Mailing List! Hibernation Safety Alert
We are issuing this special hibernation safety alert as it is predicted that temperatures in the UK and Ireland will fall below freezing tonight. If you have a tortoise in hibernation in an outbuilding or shed, you should take special notice.
<H3 class=ecxUIIntentionalStory_Message>Winter is approaching in many areas and tortoises that are not protected from freezing conditions are at risk. The winter of 2009 was unusually severe and we sadly received many reports of tortoises that had suffered frost damage or died in the extended freezing temperatures - even those that had survived many previous winters being hibernated in the same manner. We want all your pet tortoises to have a safe hibernation this winter, no matter what the weather brings. So please read the following article, download "Safer Hibernation and Your Tortoise" and ensure that your tortoises and turtles are hibernated safely this winter. </H3>
Even a short exposure of sub-zero temperatures can kill or severely injure a tortoise in hibernation. No amount of insulation will prevent this. It will just slow down the time it takes for your tortoise to suffer frost damage. Outdoor sheds, outbuildings and lofts may not offer anything like enough protection if the temperature drops below zero. If sub zero temperatures are predicted move the tortoise temporarily to a safer location. This saves lives. There is no truth at all in the myth that moving a hibernating tortoise is dangerous. It isn't. It is perfectly safe to do this. What is extremely dangerous is leaving a tortoise where it will freeze to death. We have a simple piece of advice when sub-zero conditions are predicted:

Move it! Don't Lose it!

Practically all of the frost damages tortoises we have seen over a 25 year period were hibernated in sheds, lofts, and outbuildings. These locations will offer protection against light frosts, but are entirely inadequate when temperatures plummet below zero for an extended period. Blindness due to the eyes freezing solid is a particularly tragic consequence of allowing temperatures to fall too low. Other common injuries include frostbite of the extremities.

If very severe cold is predicted, move the tortoise in its hibernation box to a cool room in the house, or to a frost-free conservatory. Monitor indoor and outdoor temperatures regularly. There are some excellent little low cost digital thermometers and electronic 'weather stations' available these days that really make it easy to see what is going on. Don't just guess at temperatures. Measure them.

One approach is to use a frost protection heater in an outbuilding location, but this does have some drawbacks. Firstly, if there is a power outage or fault on the line to the heater any protection is lost, and freezing can still occur. Heaters that use parafin (kerosene) or bottled gas emit toxic fumes that can be lethal in their own right in an enclosed space, so these are completely unsuitable. There is also an obvious fire hazard.

Our recommendation, then, is not to rely upon heaters, but to move the tortoise to a safer location.

Critical hibernation hints:

  • Keep accurate records of the tortoise's weight before, during and after hibernation.
  • Offer your tortoise baths before hibernation. It needs to be well hydrated before going down and this could mean the difference between life and death.
  • Never attempt to hibernate any tortoise if you suspect it may be a tropical variety. Attempted hibernation of species that do not hibernate in nature is likely to lead to death.
  • Do not attempt to feed a tortoise immediately prior to hibernation as if you hibernate it whilst the upper digestive tract contains food it is in serious danger. Tortoises need a fasting period of at least 3 weeks at slightly lower than normal temperatures before hibernating.
  • Remember that (in general) the smaller the tortoise the more likely it is to end up as a hibernation casualty. Very small tortoises must be given a shorter, carefully controlled hibernation.
  • Never attempt to hibernate a tortoise that you suspect is ill. To put a sick or underweight tortoise into hibernation is to condemn it to certain death.
  • Check inside your tortoise's mouth before hibernation, for grasses and remaining food debris. Rotting vegetation is a major cause of mouth infection during hibernation.
  • Never hibernate a tortoise that has had a serious illness during the season. Its immune system will not be very efficient whilst it is hibernating, and infections conquered during the summer could recur.
  • Do not puncture your tortoise's hibernating box with air holes. If the top is covered with newspapers and a sack, enough air will filter in.
  • Never use an outbuilding that may be inhabited by rats. Every year we hear from distressed keepers who have had hibernating tortoises injured or killed by rodents while in hibernation.
  • Always be ready to move the tortoise's box to a different location should the temperature fall too low or rise too high. Do not go away on holiday leaving hibernating tortoises unattended. What will happen if there is a sudden freeze to -15 degrees?
  • Never feed your tortoise and return it to hibernation should it awake during the winter. Once it is up and feeding, it should stay up.
  • Check for signs of urination towards the end of the hibernation period. If it has lost fluid during a warm spell, then it is time to remove it from hibernation.
  • Do not leave your tortoise in hibernation until late April or early May. The tortoise should ideally be up by the end of March.
  • Give your tortoise a long soak in tepid water when it wakes up.
  • Do not expect it to feed if its body temperature is too low. Given that spring weather in temperate climates can be very unpredictable, most tortoises will benefit from having a light to bask under. Then it should not be slow to start feeding.

Further information on refrigerator hibernation, post hibernation problems, and how to keep tortoises awake and feeding over winter is also available on our website.





#2 Guest_wuz06_*

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 09:19 AM

Ok, that didnt quite work!! Anyway, they emailed it to me and it was a really good article!! I thought I could just copy and paste it over but clearly not!! It does say to please forward on to people so if anyone would like the email then I will be more then happy to email it to you!! I imagine you can find it by just going onto the tortoise trust website also!!

Louise

x

#3 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 08:21 PM

Thanks for sharing Louise. :D

Paula x

#4 Guest_wuz06_*

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 07:09 PM

I had good intentions but it never really worked! I am not much of a computer whizz!

You get the idea though - tortoise trust = good place for info!

Louise

x



#5 Guest_Freddy McGavin_*

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 07:27 PM

Hi Louise,
Thank you for posting the Tortoise Trust information. I've read it and it is indeed a most helpful and useful guide. ;)
Kind Regards
Freddy :D




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