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Wind Down Help Please


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#1 Ponge69

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 06:30 AM

We adopted 38 year old Fred whilst he was in hibernation earlier this year. He has lived out his entire life and hibernates using the box method.

I live on the south coast and am fighting the weather almost daily. We had a real cold spell about a month ago and Fred slowed right down and stopped eating. We took him to the vet for a check up and all is well with his weight etc but we were told to keep him going until the end of October and wind him down in November.

So we built a tort table and brought him indoors but he still isn't eating. I get him out daily back into the garden into the sun and bath him daily too, but he still won't eat and I've never seen him drink or wee.

I thought about letting him wind down but our temperature has only been dropping to about 12* degrees at night and I'm concerned he hasn't eaten enough.

Sorry to ramble on but he is such a part of our family we don't want to get it wrong.

Thank you.

Angie

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#2 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 11:25 AM

Hi there

Eating loads now will have no bearing on his hibernation as it will simply be food in the gut and not actual weight gain.  Tortoises that have lived outdoors all their lives cannot usually be tempted to 'keep going' at this time of year as they naturally take a long time to get used to a new setup before they start eating anyway. If he was mine, I would let him wind down now and if you are concerned about his weight, get him up earlier than usual and persuade him to eat indoors before the season starts if possible. Be prepared to offer him extra outdoor heat next season, as although his previous owners kept him outdoors for so long, your garden may not be of the same situation and it can take 20- 30 years to gradually lose condition anyway, so it's in his best interest to give him that extra boost from now on.

Hope this helps

Sue



#3 Ponge69

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 01:18 PM

So should I put him back out in the garden and let him just do it himself? It's still mild here and will be for the next couple of weeks, if it rains we don't see him either, he stays in bed.
Shall I just let him stay in his enclosure and wait until it's cold enough for him to hibernate?
I feel sooo useless, he just won't tell me anything!

#4 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 02:56 PM

I would not put him back in the garden at this time of year as you will have no idea whether he has a suitable hibernation place or not and you could well lose him to frost, flooding etc. You need to change his ways now and offer him extra heat in summer time in the form of a basking lamp in his shed or kennel area for bad weather days, so he can boost his immune system for future years. Because he has hibernated naturally in his previous garden, this does not mean he will do it safely now, unless you have sussed out a suitable area. Is the soil deep enough for him to go deeper if the ground freezes? Is the garden south facing with a suitable south facing spot for him to hibernate safely? Is he likely to get wet down there if it rains heavily? Will he be safe from predators such as rodents? All are things to consider if he is going to survive the winter under natural conditions. I would keep him in for now, not feeding and gradually reducing light and heat over the next four weeks or four weeks from when he last ate. He needs temps of 30 degrees to help him digest any food left in the stomach and to help eliminate waste. I would then proceed with box hibernation, making sure temps cannot drop to freezing and using back up heat on a thermostat just in case it does.



#5 Guest_mediterraneansuze_*

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 01:58 PM

I agree with sue, let him finish winding down indoors now , reduce his lights over the next week of two, in a coolish room,
Don't offer any food now, then switch lights off . Keep bathing him daily to encourage him to poo and keep him hydrated.
He needs at least 3 weeks without food.

#6 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 03:35 PM

At adult size, I would say at least 4 weeks Suze to make sure he is empty ;)



#7 Guest_mediterraneansuze_*

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 04:41 PM

At adult size, I would say at least 4 weeks Suze to make sure he is empty ;)


Oh yes agreed.




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