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My tortoise has woken early & is restless!! Advice?

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#1 Guest_dancer79_*

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 02:33 PM

My female herman tortoise has woken early due to the temperature being mild a week ago. She normally does not wake until late March/early April. She is an adult tort, approx 35-40yrs old. We have therefore bought the necessary indoor UV lighting for her and heat lamp and have set her up in an area (large enough to wander about) in the house. However she is so restless! She is constantly looking for a 'way out' and will not sit under or near her heat, and is very active walking around most of the day.

Normally she obviously lives in an outdoor pen with a hutch and full access to the garden. She generally gets up and sits in the morning sun basking, may eat a little and then retreats to wandering around or sheltering under the plants in the heat of the day. About 4-5pm she comes out, eats and then goes to bed. Later in the year (ie October) when it becomes colder we have her in our empty garage, with a heat lamp etc. As it gets colder still she stays in bed more & shuts down for hibernation.

When she wakes from hibernation, she is generally a bit dozy at first, she enjoys the baths and drinks water etc. This time - she was already awake in her box (Jan 12) - that is how we knew she was awake - scratching! When she emerged she wasnt interested in drinking and just wanted to get going, exploring. A week on she is in fine health but we have had to give her water ourselves and she has so far only eaten a tiny amount when offered by hand. She is not ill but restless in the house and we can't get her to 'sit' under her heat and light long enough to get her body wanting to eat & drink etc.

Any advice - we have never had her awake so early before & dont know what to do with her!!

(PS - we have one other herman tortoise who is old & is overwintered (does not hibernate) so we know how to look after them correctly through these months it is just he ENJOYS basking under the heat etc and adjusts well to being indoors throughout the winter)

#2 Guest_cyberangel_*

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 03:31 PM

A lot of tortoises, especially if they are outside most of their lives, dont actually like the extra heat when provided by us:0). I put my adults if they wake up in a box (weather they like it or not) with a heat sorce over them for the first few days. As getting them warmed through is very important.
If you have a room where you can up the ambient temps for a day or two, would help warm her through. Bathing also helps in warmish water.
They need to get rid of any toxins built up while they are in hibernation, so heat and water help do this.

#3 Guest_Freddy McGavin_*

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 07:22 PM

Hi There,
I have never had a tortoise wake up early before from hibernation so I'm not very experienced when it comes to this. I have however had occasion to keep my adult tortoise indoors for a period and it is true that they can become quite restless. I think if your tortoise is active enough to explore then she is probably active enough to eat. I would persevere with offering her food and hopefully she will start to eat eventually. Tortoises can take a while to eat especially when they are just out of hibernation or when they are indoors in unfamiliar surroundings. With regard to her restlessness, again this is a product of unfamiliar indoor surroundings. I'm afraid you will just have to manage as best you can until sunny spring days arrive and you can put her outside for a few hours. Sorry, I can't be of any real help, but as you are finding, it can be quite challenging keeping adult tortoises indoors for any period. I wish you the best of luck.
Kind Regards

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