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Could Anyone Help With Stanley's First Hibernation?

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#1 Stanley the Tortoise

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 06:49 PM

Hi, Can anyone help? I have spend most of this evening reading through posts and I am getting increasingly confused on what to do! Stan is 4 years old, 12cm long and 466g (I didn't realise he was so fat!) I feel that he is getting more and more sleepy and is probably ready to hibernate. Is he too young or too fat?! There is so much information to take in. I was thinking of using the box method, as we don't have a fridge to house him. I was also thinking my conservatory as it is safe, there is no heating but there is heat through the wall from the house. How long should I slow him down? I have read 4 weeks with regular baths. How long should I leave him in the box or do I let him decide? What would be a good filler for the box? I was thinking soil. Do you just place him on the top and see if he digs down? Do I need to weigh him in hibernation? How much weight is too much to lose? Do you dig him up if it is a certain amount?

Lots of questions I know, but I would really appreciate any help!

Thank you,

Lauren and Stan

#2 Kelly


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Posted 18 October 2012 - 07:07 PM

Check out this link:


It'll tell you all you need to know about the wind down period and how to use the box method of hibernation. x

#3 Freddy


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Posted 18 October 2012 - 08:50 PM

Hi Lauren,
Kelly has given you an excellent link to hibernation which you should find useful.
The recommended wind-down or starvation period for a 4 year old tortoise like Stanley is 22 days. Personally, I would only start winding him down when he has stopped eating altogether. So it is important to keep him eating and keep him going for as long as you can.
After wind-down you will need to place him in a box of topsoil which should be double boxed with plenty of air holes. He can then be placed on top of the soil and will have the choice to bury down or not.
The recommended length for a first time hibernation is 8 weeks. So with this in mind, you should be aiming for a minimum 8 week hibernation. You can extend this to 10 weeks if your tortoise has lost little weight and all is fine.
You will also need to have an indoor enclosure ready with suitable heat and lighting should you need to take him out early or when his hibernation period is over.
The place you have chosen, namely your conservatory seems fine as it is attached to at least one wall of your house and so should benefit from some heat preventing the location from freezing which would be dangerous for your tortoise. You will need to monitor temps regularly with a thermostat and make sure they stay within a range of 1C to 8C otherwise this could present problems. Weighing Stanley every 2/3 weeks should be sufficient. If he urinates, which can cause dehydration or loses more than 10% of his total body weight during hibernation you will need to get him up.
I think I have covered most of your questions but if you have any further queries please do not hesitate to ask.
I Hope this information has been of some help. For now, I wish you the best of luck with Stanley's Hibernation and feel sure everything will work out just fine. Take care.
Kind Regards

#4 Stanley the Tortoise

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 07:19 PM

Thank you so much! I feel much more confident now :)

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