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Hibernation This Year?


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#1 tortlover123

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 07:17 PM

Hi all

This will be my first time hibernating my tortoises, their previous owner has hibernated them every year in a box within in a box in her shed. I'm a bit worried about it as it will be the first time I've ever done it and I want to make sure I do it right for them, so a couple of questions:

1) When is everyone starting hibernation in UK? I'm in South East and the temp is starting to drop now, I've noticed they're starting to come out and eat a bit less.
2) How long should I be hibernating them for? They are 30-40 years old.

Any help would be really appreciated if anyone has a spare moment to help a novice!

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#2 Freddy

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 10:15 AM

Hi Tortlover,
I would wait until they have stopped eating altogether and then give them a 4 week wind-down without any food but with access to water. As soon as wind-down is complete I would place them in their boxes with topsoil for a hibernation period of approx.16 weeks or 4 months. With the weather you get in the south-east they will probably wake up around late February or early March. I would keep their hibernation conditions as close as possible to the way its been done in the past. Be sure to choose a location were temps drop to no less than 2 degrees and reach no more than 8 degrees celsius. Any colder or warmer and this could present problems. I would also use a thermostat to monitor their temps and check in on them from time to time. Hope this helps. Take care.
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Freddy

#3 tortlover123

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 02:42 PM

Thanks so much again for your help, Freddy! You are fast becoming my tortoise oracle!

#4 tortlover123

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 09:40 AM

Hi there, I've got a few follow up queries about this hopefully someone can help me!
It's starting to get very cold and my torts have stopped eating. I'm thinking they are winding themselves down but I am at the moment completely terrified about hibernation.

I'm going to go for 16-19weeks, weighing them once a week and checking their temperature. I'm thinking of starting this in a couple of weeks (start of November). Is there anything else I should be doing other than getting their hibernation boxes sorted? At the moment they are in their hutch in straw, the sun has been coming out every so often and they've been poking their head out but they aren't eating or doing anything else other than waking up. I'm worried about them not drinking etc. I was thinking about weighing them and giving them a bath this afternoon (when they were last weighed two or three weeks ago they were slightly overweight according to Jackson ratio).

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks

#5 jay

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 06:27 PM

Hello
hibernation time is always a worry as we all want to do the best for our torts,on the four week wind down off no food make sure you give plenty of warm baths,my male tort is winding down but the females are still eating okay, hopefully going to start the wind down at the end of this month.
Jaynex

#6 Freddy

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 06:41 PM

Hi There,
I agree with Jayne. If your torts have stopped eating it is probably best to start their 4 week wind-down now and plan for a 16 week hibernation. Warm baths will encourage them to drink, empty their bowels and will hydrate them before their big sleep. You should also provide a dish of clean water during the wind-down period should they need it. Every 3-4 weeks is time enough to weigh adult tortoises especially when using the box method of hibernation as it is not a good idea to constantly disturb them during this period. Furthermore, you will need to keep a close eye on temps at this time. Finally, here is an excellent guide to hibernation which you may find useful:

http://www.thetortoi...bernation04.htm

Should you need any further advice please do not hesitate to ask. Hope this helps. Take care.
Kind Regards
Freddy

#7 tortlover123

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 09:40 PM

Thanks both this is really helpful info! They've not gone down yet, they haven't eaten for 3 weeks now so I think I might need to start them next weekend. We are sorting their boxes out this weekend. I'm so so nervous!! I keep trying to remind myself they know themselves better than I do, they've been doing this with no issues for 40 years but I'm scared about them losing too much week before they start hibernating. :(

Thanks for your help, apologies in advance if I call on you again for more advice!! It's been such a help already

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