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Worried About Weight

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#1 Guest_Sam-S_*

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 06:02 PM

Hi everyone,

This is the first year that I have ever hibernated a tortoise and I have 3 to do!!
They have been in the wind down process for 2 weeks now I feel really sorry for them when I look at them as I feel like I'm starving them.
Before the wind down process they weighed

Male 500g 131mm
Small Female 506g 140mm
Large Female 1035g 185mm

I know the small female was on the light side for hibernation but they have been healthy all year very active and eating a lot.

I have just weighed them now after 2 weeks of not eating and they weigh

Male 469g
Small Female 480g
Large Female 961g

Is this ok for hibernation?? not done this before and don't want anything to go wrong they all are very healthy and have been eating loads all summer.

Hope someone can help.

Sam :mellow:

#2 Guest_Ozric_*

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 09:12 PM

Hi Sam. There are two measures which are worth a look - first the Jackson Ratio. I like to use this version of it that requires working out the numbers and not using a graph. http://www.britishch...ets/jackson.htm

The other measure that is worth using is the one by Hailey. http://www.ahailey.f9.co.uk/cond.htm

The Hailey measure is possibly better than the Jackson ratio, as there are options for male and female animals and different species as well. Well worth a look.

I haven't done the sums for your tortoises but it is clear they have lost a significant amount of weight. Are you still providing the same amount of heat and light as before? There are different views about this but I personally would be reducung the heat and length of day quite a bit by this point if not already done so. Some keepers worry about part digested food rotting in the tortoise but this is very unlikely for yours for a number of reasons but the main one is that after two weeks the food material will be really quite far along the digestive tract and very unlikely to casuse any kind of problem even if there is anything left in it at all. Your tortoises might just not have any food in them at all after two weeks if you have kept your heat and light at normal levels.

If we keep up normal temps, the tortoise metabolism is galloping along and this means food in the system gets processed quickly and the tortoise will be feeling hungry. If we keep the tortoise running at fell speed for too long it can start to use reserves, so in my opinion we need to reduce heat and light to slow the metabolism and reduce hunger levels.

You might be looking at a total of four weeks wind-down? If so, you have a couple of weeks to go and I would be reducing temperature and day length. This will reduce activity and hunger wil go down. Keep them hydrated. If you are bathng them you will see if they are still producing any poo which is also an indication. The bowel does not have to be completely empty in a tortoise that hibernates.

I hope this helps a bit!

#3 Guest_Freddy McGavin_*

Guest_Freddy McGavin_*
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Posted 22 November 2011 - 11:12 PM

Hi Sam,
I have checked your torts weights using the Jackson Ratio Chart on this forum. They were all a good weight before wind-down. As Oz says they have lost more weight due to being active. You need to decrease light an heat now to slow down their metabolism As they have been eating well for you all summer and appear healthy I would go ahead with hibernation. However, I would weigh them at regular intervals during hibernation and if they lose more than 10% of their overall body weight then I would get them up. As its their first hibernation I would only hibernate them for the minimum 8 week period. Hope this helps. Best of luck Sam.
Kind Regards

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