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Scared To Death!


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#1 tortoiselover

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 10:46 AM

Hiya my tortoise is about 3 year old and has never been hibernated due to bein in a pet shop. I need some advice as im so scared of it dying or something bad happening! How old should they be hibernated from any any other advice would really help. Thankyou :-)

#2 Freddy

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 11:56 AM

Hi tortoiselover,
Hibernation can be a worrying time for all of us. But your feelings are natural and understandable. In fact we all experience them.
I have been hibernating my tortoise successfully for the past 30 years and still get a little nervous every time.
Tortoises are biologically programmed to hibernate. As long as you are well prepared and follow instructions to the letter there is no need to worry.
Here is an excellent guide to hibernation which you may find useful:

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

I would also encourage you to read some of the other posts in the hibernation section . They may be of relevance to you. Should you have any further questions feel free to ask. We would only be too delighted to help. Take care.
Kind Regards
Freddy

#3 leahcevans

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 05:03 PM

This will be the second time i am hibernating my tortoise. Last year i panicked!! I read through every single article i could find and learnt a lot about it! i suggest you read up on everything you can, as A LOT of people hibernate wrong and end up killing or injuring their tortoise (the thing i was scared about). I am not so worried this year.

I ended up doing this...

Getting him checked by the vets, so it was safe to hibernate ((my advice don't listen to the vet's advice on hibernating (they really only know the basics and its not all right), just check that he/she is healthy)) Then starving him 3/4 weeks before i was going to hibernate him, i started this beginning of November. lowering the temperature in his viv (he is in an indoor tortoise for now) every other day. I also decreased the daylight and uv light hours. All this over 4 weeks, until he was moving very slowly and i could tell he was ready. Daylight hours ended up being about 6 hours a day and no uv light. Then in decemeber, I then put him in a box in a mini fridge, with a thermometer to check the temperature. The thermometer ran from the box to outside the fridge. This also meant there was a slight gap in the seal of the fridge for air to escape/enter. I checked the temperatures daily, as well as checking him every other day to check he hadn't gone toilet. Also allowing air exchange. Temperature should be between 3 and 7 degrees. So preferably about 5. I think My fridge ended up staying at about 6 but this seemed to do the trick. Every where i read i got told to hibernate them for at least 16 weeks, people on here also telling me the same. I didn't do this! The vet told me every year i should increase the number of weeks and start at about 2. This is not long enough!!! They take at least 4 weeks to get settled into a sleep, sometimes longer. As i was new to this i took both sets of advice. I settled for 4 weeks to be on the safe side. When i took him out he was wide awake obviously letting me know that was no where near long enough. This year i am doing it for 8 weeks and the year after i will bring this up to 12 and the year after to the correct amount of 16! Hibernating is a scary thing and if your new to it i recommend this being the best way. If there still a baby hibernating for less shouldn't make much of a difference and will give you peace of mind. My tortoise is perfectly healthy and very active, the 4 weeks didn't upset him and he was perfectly fine after it. I wish i had hibernated him for 8 weeks to start with though. Just don't panic, there used to this, its there nature as long as you make sure all temperatures are ok and starve them first (even thought it seems mean) they will be ok.

Leah (and jay)

#4 Hettie

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 08:25 PM

How long have you had torty?

If he is from a petshop and hasn't been hibernated before, and you have only just got him, I would consider overwintering him for this winter while you get to know him and are confident of his health.

Paula x

#5 Hettie

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 08:29 PM

8 weeks is a good amount of time to hibernate a young tortoise. I think for younger smaller torts 16 weeks would be far too much.
As Leah suggested 4 weeks is not long enough,

Paula x

#6 mildredsmam

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 02:02 AM

How long have you had torty?

If he is from a petshop and hasn't been hibernated before, and you have only just got him, I would consider overwintering him for this winter while you get to know him and are confident of his health.

Paula x

i agree with paula and would leave it untill next year if you,ve only just got him :)

#7 tortoiselover

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 11:21 AM

Hi thanks for all ur advice guys its really helpful i dont know exactly how old he is but on his papers it says 2010. So hes 2 or nearly 3. I was going to wait til next year anyway as im not confident enough and need to get the proper equipment to do it properly. And also get him checked out at the vets.

#8 Harriet

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 02:41 PM

Hi there,

Harriet is now on her third hibernation she is a small Tort now weighing 211 grams but she will go down for at least 8 weeks and perhaps more the trick is to keep weighing them regularly I do it every week and providing they don't lose any more than 10% of their body weight then things should be fine. When you do check them every week it is best to do it somewhere not to warm and to do it as quickly as possible.

As I said this is her third time and I can remember how worried I was the first time now I’m not so concerned but still stick to the rules of no food whilst winding her down for about 19 days a bath every day and water to drink should she need it.

Once you finish hibernation it is best to let them come back to normal temperature slowly and not to worry if they don’t eat or drink for a few days, they will eat eventually and basically it is the reverse of preparing for hibernation a daily bath and some food and water ready for when they are wanting to eat and drink although they sometimes drink whilst in the bath.

It does get a little easier each time but you’ll still worry as we all do. The good thing about checking them is that you can see they are still alive be it very cold and sleepy from all I’ve heard it is the winding down period that is most important and keeping them at a steady temperature between 1 to 5 degrees.

Good luck to you and your tortoise and we look forward to hearing from both you next springtime.

Tim.




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