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Tipping Over - Is This Normal Behaviour?


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#1 crotchetybear

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Posted 23 February 2015 - 10:44 AM

Hi all,

 

My two juveniles have been out of hibernation for a month and are back to their usually lively selves, rampaging round their enclosure and eating/drinking normally. The (slightly) larger one appears to be deliberately and repeatedly tipping the other one over. She usually manages to right herself so I'm not unduly worried but this has happened four times in the last hour. Is this normal behaviour or something I should be concerned about?

 

Many thanks,

Chris

 



#2 Guest_SueBoyle (was wizzasmum)_*

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Posted 23 February 2015 - 03:04 PM

Could be dominance behaviour depending on the size. If so it happens more in enclosures which are too small. Hibernation does leave them raring to go, so they might need more room and slightly less heat to start with.

#3 crotchetybear

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Posted 23 February 2015 - 10:56 PM

Thanks Sue, you've confirmed my suspicions - I wondered if it might be due to lack of space. They're in the house at the moment in their original enclosure which is a large (4ft x 2ft) guinea-pig run so now admittedly a bit on the small side. I was going to put them back into the greenhouse this weekend but, as the weather's got colder and it only has a frost protection heater, I'm keeping them in for another couple of weeks or so. Then I'll make them a larger indoor enclosure ready for next winter.

 

I don't know if food maybe plays a part as well as most of the "bullying" behaviour seems to happen in the morning. Once they've been fed they seem much more settled.

 

Many thanks as always for your advice,

Chris



#4 Guest_SueBoyle (was wizzasmum)_*

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Posted 23 February 2015 - 11:05 PM

How big are they?

#5 crotchetybear

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Posted 23 February 2015 - 11:38 PM

Ha! Too big, considering they're only 17 months old - but I'm trying to keep their growth slow and steady now. The bully (Custard) is 87mm and when last weighed (11 Feb) was 157g, Roobarb is 89mm but weighed less at 148g.

 

Chris



#6 Guest_SueBoyle (was wizzasmum)_*

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Posted 23 February 2015 - 11:45 PM

Oh right, yes should be around 50 - 80 grams. At that size though too big for the enclosure, so time to get a bigger one to settle things down.

#7 crotchetybear

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Posted 24 February 2015 - 12:13 AM

When I got these little souls (last Feb, when they were only four months old) they were both 70mm and weighed 72g (Custard) and 76g (Roobarb) -  so already huge and, of course, this can't be undone. I want to keep their growth down to a more acceptable level but am mindful they're still only babies and I don't want to starve them. Can you offer any guidance as to the rate of weight gain I should be aiming for? I feed them mainly weeds, supplemented by Florette crispy salad but only when weeds are in short supply.

 

Chris



#8 Guest_SueBoyle (was wizzasmum)_*

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Posted 24 February 2015 - 12:38 AM

If they were mine I would still be aiming for 3-4 grams per month max and nothing at all at this time of year to mimic hibernation, even better hibernate them for a couple of  months. If kept well hydrated they wont starve and will grow more smoothly too.



#9 pompeypoole

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Posted 24 February 2015 - 05:43 PM

from my experience they will eat their belly full and still beg for more. Try to resist overfeeding. I found that keeping a weekly diary of thier weight gave me a good comparison from previous year hatchlings. Try to feed less palatable food on occassion as if they are truly hungery the will eat it. I have 2 the same age as yours that have both been hibernated and weigh just over 40 grams. I have weighed they weekly since they hatched.

#10 crotchetybear

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Posted 25 February 2015 - 12:54 AM

Yes, I know the little gluttons will eat everything put in front of them given the chance! They're getting small quantities once a day at the moment, scattered around so they have to look for it. They have been hibernated from end Nov to end Jan, so awake now for four weeks. They lost virtually no weight in hibernation and, since they woke up, have returned to their pre-wind down weight. I'm guessing this is to be expected as I understand weight loss during wind down is not real weight loss but down to the gut being emptied. As advised, I'll aim to maintain this weight until spring arrives then try to keep to 3-4g a month from then on.

 

Remarkably, given their rapid initial growth, their shells are pretty smooth with no obvious signs of deformity so far :) 

 

Chris






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