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Elderly Tortoise....worried About Hibernation


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#1 ShelledWarrior

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 08:18 PM

Hello

 

Iam new to this forum, and would appreciate any advise I can get on our tortoise "Tommy" we have had him for 9 years with no real problems, he is quite old now we got him from a friend who did not want him anymore. We don't know his real age but is about 75 years old but we have noticed this year he has not been eating as well as he normally does even when its been nice and warm, he sleeps alot, generally looking at him he seems fine. But we are worried he has not eaten enough to sustain him through the winter ahead.  We would love to know.

 

Is this old age and normal for a tortoise  ?? Should we hibernate him this year or not ?? Should we take to the vets to be looked at ? Any advise would be helpful

 

Thanks very much

 

 

 



#2 Freddy

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 08:39 PM

Hi There,
I have a 55 year old female THB that I've had for the past 32 years. Her appetite varies from year to year and some years she is lighter than others when she goes into hibernation. I expect it would be the same for Tommy unless he has worms or other health problems. If he is fairly heavy to hold then I don't see a problem to be honest. Besides most adult tortoises lose very little weight when properly hibernated so I can't see any real danger. It is also near impossible to keep an older tortoise awake over the winter period especially when it has hibernated all its life. However, as a precaution I would take 'Tommy' to a reptile vet for a health check. You may also need to bring a poo sample for worm testing. If he has any underlying health problems then a good reptile vet will spot this. It must also be remembered that Tommy is now 75 years old and is unlikely to go on forever, sadly. True, some tortoises can live to a hundred years old if well looked after but the average life span of these creatures in the UK is a lot less. Hopefully, there will be others along shortly to offer you more helpful advice. But for now I wish you the best of luck with Tommy.Take care.
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#3 Beermat89

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 01:44 PM

Hi there
I agree with everything that ozric and freddy have said
I inherited a 65 year spur-thigh back in the spring and looking at her weights from previous years that the man i got her from gave me,she sort of stays around the same weight each year give or take a 200 grams but she doesnt seem to eat much but is the correct weight.
Regards matt

#4 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 05:14 PM

Another thing worth thinking about is the location of your garden where he lives. If he changed locations 7 years ago as you said and the garden gets less sun than his previous home, then 7 years could well be around the time when a difference in behaviour, including eating and digestion would be noticed. He would need to be able to get around to move within the suns rays and have suitable shelter and additional heat for bad weather days. 75 is not really old for a well cared for tortoise. I took one on in average condition many years back, which had started to deteriorate and which now lays eggs regularly, despite being estimated to be around 100 years old. If you think conditions might not have been optimum these last few years, then it would be best not to hibernate if possible, or if he insists, keep it short and intervene after 6 weeks or so, keeping hydration well up and offering a very light, warm location when he does wake.



#5 ShelledWarrior

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 12:37 PM

Hi thanks for all your replies. I took Tommy to the vets for a check last week £165! !!! Gulp, He said he could not find anything major wrong but said it would not be a good idea to hiberanate him to be safe. He has done a full blood count and I managed to take a poo sample with us after a couple of warm baths.
He told me to get a tortoise table and heat lamp, what is the difference between the red bulb and clear bulb which is the best to buy and how long do you have on a day for, thanks

#6 Guest_mediterraneansuze_*

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 01:07 PM

Hi shelledwarrior, I pretty much agree with most of what has been said, the only things I would add is if all is well, eg his weight and general health and you do decide to hibernate him, do it with caution, as ozric said , a controlled hibernation and maybe keep it short, about 8/10 weeks. I have A very old Herman tort, he is in the region of 90/100 years, and last year I decided it was time to no longer hibernate him, as he has been struggling to come out of hibernation on the two previous years, and been slowing up during the summer too. And as has been said they don't last forever, I felt hibernation might now finish him off. Well it was quite easy, to say he has always been hibernated, he came through the winter with ease , and has a new lease of life . He's had a great summer, he seems to have benefited from not hibernating. So I will carry on this way now.

#7 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 01:18 PM

Hi thanks for all your replies. I took Tommy to the vets for a check last week £165! !!! Gulp, He said he could not find anything major wrong but said it would not be a good idea to hiberanate him to be safe. He has done a full blood count and I managed to take a poo sample with us after a couple of warm baths.
He told me to get a tortoise table and heat lamp, what is the difference between the red bulb and clear bulb which is the best to buy and how long do you have on a day for, thanks

Good grief £165 to tell you all is more or less fine. Along with your heat lamp I would get another vet, that is awful :(  Only use a clear bulb as the main thing is to try to mimic summer as much as possible, so as much bright light as possible. If you can manage it, then add more fluorescent type light too for the feel good factor. Some elderly tortoises are very set in their ways and so providing he is in good health otherwise, you can easily go back to hibernating him next year, after all they do it in the wild with no ill effects ;)



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Posted 14 October 2013 - 01:41 PM

Agree £165 is a rip off, my vet for a quick health check with no medications would probably have just charged a consultation fee which is about £30 for exotics, ( torts)

#9 Beermat89

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 02:16 PM

Blimy i wouldnt use that vet again,thats a heck of alot of money just for a check up!my vets dont charge for their time only for medication if given.

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 02:49 PM

That's like mine Matt, no higher charges for torts than anything else and if they need nothing then the charge is nothing. Too many target  vets out there. It's even better when they let you sit in on what they are doing, then it does become clear how greedy some of them are ;)



#11 Beermat89

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 03:12 PM

Yes exactly sue,most vets think of the welfare of the animals not ours pockets unlike some!yes mine let me sit in so i can see every thing they are doing so i know they have done what they said they were going to do :)

#12 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 06:14 PM

Hello

 

Iam new to this forum, and would appreciate any advise I can get on our tortoise "Tommy" we have had him for 9 years with no real problems, he is quite old now we got him from a friend who did not want him anymore. We don't know his real age but is about 75 years old but we have noticed this year he has not been eating as well as he normally does even when its been nice and warm, he sleeps alot, generally looking at him he seems fine. But we are worried he has not eaten enough to sustain him through the winter ahead.  We would love to know.

 

Is this old age and normal for a tortoise  ?? Should we hibernate him this year or not ?? Should we take to the vets to be looked at ? Any advise would be helpful

 

Thanks very much

 

 

 

Do you generally weigh him before hibernation? If so, how does he compare this year? If not, then weigh him in grams and measure him end to end in a straight line, not over the shell. Looking down on him from above, you need to know the total length of shell in cms, from front to back, not including head. Hope this helps.



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Posted 14 October 2013 - 06:30 PM

That's like mine Matt, no higher charges for torts than anything else and if they need nothing then the charge is nothing. Too many target  vets out there. It's even better when they let you sit in on what they are doing, then it does become clear how greedy some of them are ;)


Wow, wish I had a vet like that, mine would charge you to sneeze if they could. Think I might drop a few hints next time I'm there,
About vets that don't charge extra for tortoises .

#14 Beermat89

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 06:45 PM

Ha yes its worth a try suze :)

#15 Guest_Stella_*

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 06:48 PM

Going off the topic of Tommy's hibernation advise.... My vet charged me £43 when I took in a coughing wild hedgehog.... Now that certainly focus's the mind!!!
I have three torts over 75 which hibernate themselves very successfully.
X x x hugs x x

#16 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 07:24 PM

Wow, wish I had a vet like that, mine would charge you to sneeze if they could. Think I might drop a few hints next time I'm there,
About vets that don't charge extra for tortoises .

I had a tortoise that needed a penile amputation not so long ago. I was warned by many that it would cost hundreds - obviously they were not familiar with tortoise anatomy and their vets were obviously aware of that. I took Hoover in, was asked to hold him and voila the offending appendage was gone, all for thirty pounds lol I think it is quite tragic that some vets put themselves on some sort of pedestal while taking the mickey out of the owners.  



#17 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 07:28 PM

I have three torts over 75 which hibernate themselves very successfully.
X x x hugs x x

Exactly Stella, 75 is not old for a tortoise. When Tilly came from her previous home, she was deemed to be getting old and not hibernating as well as she had, not eating unless hand fed etc etc and yet after around 5 years in her new home, she started to lay fertile eggs and now behaves like a much younger tortoise, hibernating with the rest of them each year. She is estimated to be around 100 too bless her :D






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