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Hibernation Young Tortoise


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#1 TinaD

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Posted 04 January 2015 - 09:59 PM

My tortoise is 1 year old I was told this was too young to hibernate but I think she is trying to hibernate herself. She is eating much less and when I turn her light/heat lamp she moves away and hides underneath a log. I'm new to this can anyone advise what the issue might be?

#2 crotchetybear

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 03:22 AM

One year old is not too young to hibernate. I have two one-year-olds in the fridge at present. She might be trying to hibernate but they do eat less if the temps drop. You haven't provided much detail about how you're keeping her - enclosure, temps etc - or how long you have had her, which would be helpful.

I'm relatively new to keeping young tortoises but find this forum very helpful - and no doubt someone more experienced than me will be along soon to offer you advice. You need to make the decision whether or not to hibernate but, if you do decide to go down that route she will need a wind down period to make sure her gut is empty. You will find good advice on this under the hibernation topic.

However, if you haven't had her very long or are concerned she might not be 100% fit it might be best to keep her awake and overwinter this year, in which case you will need to maintain suitable temps to keep her eating and active.

#3 Guest_Dolly_*

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 01:27 PM

Hi tinaD

I can't help because I am new also to the keeping of tortoises. I hope you don't mind if I just ask the poster beneath you a question.

Crotchebear why is your tortoise in the fridge?

Samantha

#4 crotchetybear

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 04:19 PM

Hi Samantha,

 

I have three tortoises - one adult I have had for 40 years and two babies just over a year old. All three are in hibernation at present. The adult (Fred) is in a box in the shed but the two little ones are in a fridge as it is easier to keep close control of the temperatures within safe limits.

 

You won't be hibernating your new tortoise this year but might want to think about how you will do it next winter. Opinions on the best method vary but many people recommend hibernating in a fridge because it gives you better control. Have a look at the discussions under the hibernation topic and at the article on hibernation on the home page and you will see what I mean.

 

I hope you are enjoying your new tortoise and he/she is settling in well.

 

Chris



#5 Guest_SueBoyle (was wizzasmum)_*

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 08:44 PM

Hi Samantha,
 
I have three tortoises - one adult I have had for 40 years and two babies just over a year old. All three are in hibernation at present. The adult (Fred) is in a box in the shed but the two little ones are in a fridge as it is easier to keep close control of the temperatures within safe limits.
 
You won't be hibernating your new tortoise this year but might want to think about how you will do it next winter. Opinions on the best method vary but many people recommend hibernating in a fridge because it gives you better control. Have a look at the discussions under the hibernation topic and at the article on hibernation on the home page and you will see what I mean.
 
I hope you are enjoying your new tortoise and he/she is settling in well.
 
Chris


Just wondering why good temps are important for babies but not adults? Torts of all sizes need exactly the same care in hibernation.

#6 crotchetybear

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 12:44 AM

Hi Sue,

 

It wasn't my intention to imply good temps weren't important for adults, just that there's greater control over the temperature range using refrigerator hibernation.

 

I may be wrong but I figured the babies, being of lesser bulk, were likely to be more sensitive to natural variations in temperature. We use a frost heater in the outbuilding where Fred hibernates during cold spells to prevent him from freezing but - when we have a mild spell during the winter (which seems to be happening more and more often these days) - temperatures in his box can sometimes rise above 10 degrees for a couple of days. General opinion - from other postings - seemed to suggest this isn't a major problem provided the higher temps are not prolonged.

 

I guess I thought Fred, due to his size, would have more reserves and be better able to tolerate such fluctuations than the little ones, hence my decision to put them in a fridge. But I'm happy to be corrected if I'm wrong and value the advice of more experienced keepers like yourself. 

 

Chris



#7 Guest_Dolly_*

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 11:29 AM

Hi Chris

I understand now an thank you for explaining . I am trying to learn as much as I can for little Elsie

Samantha x

#8 TinaD

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Posted 07 January 2015 - 11:16 PM

My tortoise (Tina) has a house indoors with a multi bulb heat and light which we have set up so it comes on and off at intervals. She doesn't eat much at the moment but it's been watercress. We put her in her little drinking bowl just to keep hydrated. We got her back in October time and at that point she was very active climbing around her house whereas now she tends to hide away. Thanks very much for the help!

#9 Guest_SueBoyle (was wizzasmum)_*

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Posted 07 January 2015 - 11:34 PM

My tortoise (Tina) has a house indoors with a multi bulb heat and light which we have set up so it comes on and off at intervals. She doesn't eat much at the moment but it's been watercress. We put her in her little drinking bowl just to keep hydrated. We got her back in October time and at that point she was very active climbing around her house whereas now she tends to hide away. Thanks very much for the help!


Hi TinaD
It looks as though your little oneis trying to hibernate. My own little ones do this too and I hibernateall my torts from tiny babies to approx
100 year old breeding torts. As yours is relatively new I would attempt to keep her awake this year, especially if she is from a pet outlet. If from a breeder, then a short hibernation will do her no harm. This is how I do mine and have done for over thirty years www.tortsmad.com/hibernation.htm

#10 JerryMaffz

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 02:06 PM

Perhaps you should direct us to some of these 'different views' Ozric..I'm new to tortoise keeping and have done a lot of research and pretty much all of the sites that give what I would consider sound husbandry advice, also advise hibernation.

 However, I am always on the look out for more information, especially if it allows me to make a balanced judgement on what is best for my tortoise.



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Posted 08 January 2015 - 02:20 PM

As always Jerry it should be what is best for the tortoise, rather than the owner. Do bear in mind that some of the more 'modern' ideas come from keepers who do not have personal experience of breeding more than one generation of tortoises, so there is always the possibility that twenty or so years down the line, it may just show to not be working so,well as we thought ;) I have to confess to have changed things back to thinking like a dinosaur lol when results have shown to have worsened rather than improved. I'd suggest a great book for hermanni keepers called Naturalistic Keeping and Breeding of Hermanns Tortoises by Wolfgang Wegehaupt. It puts a lot into perspective when in doubt!

#12 JerryMaffz

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 03:32 PM

Sue, I have perused Wolfgang Wegehaup's site and already have the book on my 'to buy' list..Fear not, I am taking all views into consideration and successful experience counts for a lot when one has to rely on opinions.

I guess that whatever we do is a compromise compared to what nature has to offer..My breeder strongly advocates the natural approach and I have seen the results.

 That's not to say I necessarily disagree with your view Ozric, many alternative views are proven correct with time..As a novice, however, you must understand my leaning towards established procedure, with half an eye on alternative thinking.

I have learned much, but am always willing to learn more.



#13 Guest_SueBoyle (was wizzasmum)_*

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 05:10 PM

Germany's climate is not so different to ours really, I have relatives there. They can have much harsher winters though.
Re plants being eaten in the wild, yes, we are over cautious with many plants, as we falsely assume that as they are toxic to humans then they will be for torts too. When we did a study of torts in the wild in Turkey, one group were feeding quite vigorously on poppies, others ate young buttercups, which tallied with an old tortoise trust finding that a high proportion of tortoise faeces was made up of ranunculus. When I moved to my present house, which I bought with the tortoises in mind, it was overrun with buttercups. The torts cleared them in less than a week in spring time with no ill effects and went on to have a very good breeding summer. When in Galapagos a few years back, the torts were going mad to get at what we call busy lizzies here in UK and which are considered toxic. The owner of The land they were invading said they did it every year. I have a small video clip of them doing just that on YouTube under wizzasmum if anyone fancies having a look. My own torts feed naturally for a large part but I do not have a huge variety for them to choose from (having to supplement them with stuff I pick from the wild) and the year they cleared the buttercups, being myfirst year here, certainly didn't give them a lot of choice. In the wild they don't always eat a wide variety at any given time, tending more to gorge on one plant when it is seasonal and moving on to a glut of something else when that is finished. So, in conclusion, yes they do need a varied diet, but not necessarily all at the same time. Hope this helps put things into perspective.

#14 Guest_SueBoyle (was wizzasmum)_*

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 06:25 PM

I would like to bet that tortoise had restricted access to water. AH must have lost his studies from the Med then, or maybe it wasn't him! There have been lots of studies on safe foods for tortoises, just not published ones. My own show great diversity compared with those of mammals.

#15 Guest_SueBoyle (was wizzasmum)_*

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 06:42 PM

As I said Ozric, not published ones. Not just recollections either, all noted and shared with other experienced keepers, some of which might surprise you. I did have some good conversations with workers at the Darwin Centre re tortoise diet and their unique digestion process, but from memory (or lack of it) don't remember if they were published or just noted in their records. I'm afraid I'm not interested in heated debates on this forum, as it only puts youngsters and new keepers off posting. I am however always available via email wizzasmum@aol.com if you wish to discuss anything. In the past though, you have not taken me up on this offer. I apologise to other posters for being drawn into this debate.

#16 Guest_SueBoyle (was wizzasmum)_*

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 08:10 PM

Sue, I have perused Wolfgang Wegehaup's site and already have the book on my 'to buy' list..Fear not, I am taking all views into consideration and successful experience counts for a lot when one has to rely on opinions.
I guess that whatever we do is a compromise compared to what nature has to offer..My breeder strongly advocates the natural approach and I have seen the results.
 That's not to say I necessarily disagree with your view Ozric, many alternative views are proven correct with time..As a novice, however, you must understand my leaning towards established procedure, with half an eye on alternative thinking.
I have learned much, but am always willing to learn more.


Haha, I put it on my Amazon wish list ages ago and forgot about it, then was really happy when my daughter saw it and got it as a pressy bless her. Hopefully it will be of use to her if she takes over my tribe lol

#17 pompeypoole

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 08:25 PM

On the subject of hibernation it gets my vote everytime. From adults to 6 month old hatchlings as long as a tortoise is healthy I will always allow my torts to do what nature intended.

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 08:39 PM

On the subject of hibernation it gets my vote everytime. From adults to 6 month old hatchlings as long as a tortoise is healthy I will always allow my torts to do what nature intended.


Me too. As they start to wind down naturally in September/October regardless of the weather, it's obviously right to go along with it ;)

#19 pompeypoole

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 09:14 PM

Slow growth is the aim for my hatchlings and from my experience hibernation benefits this. Yes I agree a tort that is kept an environment with night time temps of 20 degrees will not want to hibernate.
You both are obviously very experienced individuals and I can only hope that one day I can gain a level of knowledge you have.
Good debate. I think :)

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 09:21 PM

I must say this discussion is very enlightening and I think is very informative for new owners of tortoises as it gives a very informed view of reasons for not hibernating and offers a different way from fridges and boxes for tortoises in the winter months. In particular those who are a little bit scared at the thought of the responsibility of wind down and then months in a box weighing and checking and worrying all is ok, because maybe they now think that this needn't happen to keep tortoises healthy.

I have some very healthy old garden tortoises which were in this country in the 1960's. They were left in the garden all year round, and although fed what we now know as a healthy diet, the hibernation process was just to leave them to it. Non of the wind down, weighing, boxing, fridging etc......... And here they are, living in comparative luxury because of the new things we know about their care. Yet they did what they had to do in the garden all those years, doing what they do as naturally as our climate can offer.

I thank you Ozric for offering a very informed different way should we choose not to hibernate our tortoises. X x x hugs x x




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