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First hibernation in 6 years

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#1 Guest_Stellanne_*

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 05:33 PM

Help please. Going to adopt two new 6yr old torts who have never been hibernated..... What do I do? Will it happen naturally and I will 'go with the flow'. Or is there anything special I need to do. I have been told they are healthy but will get my vet to check them out when I get them x x x hugs x x

#2 Guest_tiggy_*

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 05:54 PM

hi stellanne, im going to hibernate my 2 girls for the first time this year.im new to hibernation so i will be following your advice.im going to be watching this post with interest.....tiggy

#3 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 07:05 PM

Hi there,

Hibernation is a nerve wracking time for us all. :wacko: I only have two hibernations under my belt so still worry!

On the home page of our forums there is a section on hibernation, just click on the tab and there is lots of info to guide you. Then if you have a look through the hibernation forum section you can read the questions we have all asked... and if you still have any questions hopefully someone with lots of experience will come along with the answers! :laugh:

Paula x

#4 Guest_Stellanne_*

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 07:47 PM

Shell has always been hibernated. It is a worry. But she was just 2 and has done it as a natural process. Just concerned these two have never had chance of this natural process. Will they just do it or should I watch out fir stuff x x x hugs x x

#5 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 08:06 PM

Mine have never just got on with it because of their environment. I provide them with UV lighting and additional heat so therefore they don't get the natural urge to do what comes naturally. It depends completely on your set up and how you keep them.
Whether it be right or wrong I control when they hibernate. Late November I start the wind down process. I stop feeding them and over a period of about 4 weeks I reduce their light and lower temps gradually until they are slowed right down before popping them into boxes of topsoil and placing them into the fridge. Length of wind down depends on the size of your torts. Lots of us approach hibernation differently and there are other ways of doing things.
I choose the fridge method because I can control when they hibernate this way. I hibernate when weeds and plants are scarce.

Paula x

#6 Guest_tiggy_*

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 08:14 PM

paula, can i ask... do you use a large fridge as in kitched type or do you use a mini fridge?....tiggy

#7 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 08:23 PM

Hi Tiggy,

I have an under the counter size fridge. If you get one just don't get one with a freezer box in the top.
I did have one of those 'beer' fridge types that I was going to use, but I couldn't get my temperatures to stabilize in it. I have it in my utility and so fluctuating room temperatures made it unsteady. Perhaps it would perform better in a cooler, constant temperature setting? but by then I had 3 torts.. :rolleyes: and it became a little 'snug'! :laugh:

Paula x

#8 Guest_Freddy McGavin_*

Guest_Freddy McGavin_*
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Posted 01 August 2011 - 08:51 PM

Hi All,
I think Paula has given some excellent advice. I have hibernated Billiejo for the past 30 years using the Box Method. Billiejo came from the wild so I used this method to try to keep things as natural as possible for her. I basically put her in a box of topsoil with leaves and place her in a cool,dry and quiet place were temps reach no lower than 1 degree and no higher than 9 degrees. These locations can often include a garage, shed or attic. The only disadvantage with this method is that temps tend to fluctuate and when they go outside the recommended range the hibernation box needs to be moved to a more suitable location.As Paula says because you can control the temps, the fridge method is the most commonly used and one I would recommend for first time hibernations. However, one needs to be careful of power cuts which can affect the fridge temps. As Paula says, there is an excellent guide to hibernation on the home page of the forum. If you follow its instructions to the letter you shouldn't have any problems. Winding down a tortoise for the first time can sound like a daunting task especially if the tortoise has never been hibernated before. But if you follow these instructions like lowering the temps and providing the correct starvation period there is no reason why your torts shouldn't be ready for hibernation. Best of luck.
Kind Regards

#9 Guest_Ozric_*

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 09:34 PM

Like Paula I control the temperature and daylength. After September finishes it becomes impossible for me to keep mine going in their outdoors setup even with extra light and heat.

I bring them indoors once that happens and because there is more heat and light they get more lively again. I then maintain them artificially in Oct and most of Nov. Then I slow them gradually by reducing temps over a month or so and stop feeding.

What I do is artificial but in a way it is a bit like what would happen in the wild.

I used a beer fridge in the past but decided its not ideal and will splash out on a larder fridge for them this year.

I prepare them for hibernation but can change my mind right up to the last moment. For me its important to keep a very close eye on them and look at each individuals weight and health.

Very small ones under 30g I don't hibernate.

But this is just what I do. Some people keep them up all winter. This can get very difficult if you have a lot of them, if the tort is large, or if it had a pattern of hibernating. It would probably be impossible for billy Joe to be kept up no matter what Freddy did. BJ knows when winter is coming. Its easier to trick the younger ones.

Whatever you do, you won't be on your own here!

#10 Guest_jay_*

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 07:24 PM

Hello Stellane
hibernation is always a worrying time i have used the fridge method found it difficult to maintain temps after opening of the door and then in process had a power cut which made it more stressful then the last two years i have hibernated my two torts outside in there home,this year it will be the first hibernation for my rehomed tort if all goes well,i just stop access to there outside enclosure when its time for them not to have any food which is approx end of november,week 1 no food 6 hours of heat/uv,week 2 no food 5 hours of heat/uv,week 3 no food 3 hours of heat/uv,final week no food 2 hours heat/uv,reducing to no heat/light,provided no bowel movements,baths to be increased,last bath to be the day before hibernation,hibernation ideal at 5c.Last winter was very harsh and temps were dropping extremely low so i had to use a tubular heater to keep temps up to 5c which was very difficult some nights i was up twice a night as the alarms were going off and i was having to put heat through there air vents to keep it above 1c,lets hope this winter is not as bad.

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