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Lucky Reptile Herp Ii Nursery/fridge


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#1 crotchetybear

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 09:33 AM

Hello All. I've bought one of these to hibernate my two yearlings as several members suggested it. Anyone got any experience of using one?

 

I'm setting it up today and, in the instruction book it recommends connecting in another thermostat (it suggests the same manufacturer's "Thermo Control II") as an extra safety level (as it doesn't have double thermostat protection). Have others any views on whether this is necessary? I will, of course, be monitoring the temps using internal/external thermometers but, as the unit switches automatically between heating and cooling and can heat up to 60 C, a thermostat failure could be catastrophic.  Obviously I want the best possible hibernation environment for my babies. 

 

The internal dimensions are quite small but I think it should be big enough for the babies (Fred will be entering his 40th hibernation in his box in the shed - as it has served him well so far I see no reason to change things.) But I have a couple of questions please.

 

Can I put both babies in one box or should they have separate ones?

 

Is there a recommended depth of substrate (I plan to use topsoil unless anyone advises differently) and what is the best way of maintaining humidity? (There is a shallow, ridged tray on the bottom which it suggests pouring water into but I've seen others suggest the use of a damp tea towel.)

 

As always, any advice greatly appreciated.

 

Many thanks,

Chris



#2 Guest_SueBoyle (was wizzasmum)_*

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 12:08 PM

I think you have the same dangers with this as with any artificial method and I stopped using a fridge for this very reason. I've heard no bad reports re the lucky reptile herp hibernator and the additional stat is just an extra safeguard, but it does not have to be the same make. Any old in/out stat will be fine. Both can go into one box until older when they will not fit. I'd use the tray for water if it was me.

#3 crotchetybear

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Posted 13 December 2014 - 12:41 PM

One tortoise went into the fridge two weeks ago, the other joined her last Saturday as she was still poo-ing prior to then.

 

The first to go in is fast asleep and does not stir significantly when weighed/checked. I've just checked them today and the second one is awake - eyes open and has been moving around in the box. Weight is exactly as last week when I put her in - 141g. 

 

Temp is 5-6 degrees.

 

Not sure if I should leave her in or get her out and overwinter. Any advice please?

 

Many thanks,

Chris



#4 Guest_SueBoyle (was wizzasmum)_*

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Posted 13 December 2014 - 07:49 PM

It can take a few weeks for them to settle, this why they lose most weight at the beginning of hibernation. They don't just go into hibernation when put into the box, it takes time for the metabolism to change, so no need to change things just yet.

#5 crotchetybear

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Posted 30 December 2014 - 11:24 AM

Hello all,

 

I'm still concerned about the one tortoise. She has been in the fridge over three weeks now and is still not asleep. I check them visually every 2-3 days and weigh them both weekly.  Each time I get this one out to weigh she opens her eyes and, when I looked at them just now (without handling them) this one was awake and there was a fresh poo in the box. (After a four week wind down - extended by a week as she was still poo-ing - prior to going into the fridge). There is no evidence of either of them having urinated. Fridge temp is between 4.5 and 7 degrees.

 

The other one appears to be fast asleep. She's inactive, doesn't open her eyes when handled, and is losing a little bit of weight. I am not concerned about her. This one, however, despite remaining active, has lost no weight at all since she went in at 141g.

 

I was hoping to get to 8 weeks as this is their first hibernation but would welcome advice please as to whether I should persevere or get this one out now. Or is there anything else I should try? 

 

All advice gratefully received,

Chris

 



#6 Guest_SueBoyle (was wizzasmum)_*

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Posted 30 December 2014 - 12:10 PM

Have your temps been stable the whole time? If an active tort is not losing weight it is either picking up moisture from the substrate or eating it. Either your thermometer is not reading correctly or there has been a blip in temps at some point. Does the other one move when handled?

#7 crotchetybear

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Posted 30 December 2014 - 12:46 PM

Hi Sue,

 

Since they went into the fridge the temps have remained between 4.5 and 7 degrees. I think there is a problem with using an incubator/fridge in so far as when the external temperature drops below 5 degrees (the lowest setting for this model), the heater kicks in and, as there's a 2 degree variation for the thermostat, doesn't cut out again until it gets up to 7 - although I've always understood ideal hibernation temp to be less than 10 degrees so thought this would be fine. I've got the unit in the conservatory where - today - it's colder out of the fridge than in it so am currently trying to find room for it indoors to see if that keeps the temperature down closer to 5 degrees.

 

I have an independent thermostat in situ which will switch the whole thing off if the temp rises to 8 degrees. (I tested this before I put the torts in and it does work.)

 

The other tortoise only moves in so far as her legs stretch when I pick her up. She doesn't open her eyes or appear to move about in the box. She is losing approx 0.75g a week.

 

I was nervous about refrigerator hibernation in the first place and hibernate my long standing tortoise in a double box in the shed but, as there can be significant temperature variation due to the vagaries of our British weather, thought it would be safer for the little ones in a fridge. I guess no system is ideal.

 

The substrate in the hibernation box is topsoil. Would she eat that? (I suppose it would explain the poo.) 

 

Do you think I should get her out? I would value your opinion.

 

Chris

 

Since I posted this I checked them again yesterday afternoon - both had their eyes open and appeared to be awake, and there was more poo. They did, however, both appear to be asleep by evening and remain so this morning - although I have resisted the temptation to handle them to minimise disturbance. As well as the independent thermostat there is another max/min thermometer with the probe in their box which indicates the temperature has not been above 7.3 degrees since they went in. There is water in the tray at the bottom of the unit for humidity and their topsoil feels quite damp. Since they went in both tortoises have remained on the top, neither has attempted to burrow down into it. (The temp in the fridge is currently reading 5.4).






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