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Hibernating Baby


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#1 Reajen01

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Posted 20 June 2015 - 04:52 PM

Hi again,

My new baby has now been named Wimble and he is doing really great. I have adjusted his light/heat times and he burrowed down for bed about 3 minutes before everything went off this afternoon, so another slight adjustment and we will be on track.

I have also removed the hide area of his table and added more substrate for burrowing. Hopefully I have got it almost right now. He seems to want to eat everything I give him so I am providing about the equivalent of a 4cm by 3cm piece of fibrous plantain (mixed older weed leaves) broken up and scattered around, until his next weight date.

My question is about hibernating him this winter. I plan to hibernate him however I am not sure exactly for how long or which weeks of the year to do it. I understand he will naturally slow down in rhythm with the season but as it will be a shorter 'baby' hibernation I am not sure when to start planning this, even though I guess I am actually planning it now!

I have no outhouses for the box method and do prefer the idea of the fridge method where I can easily monitor things on an ongoing basis, so the purchase of a fridge is already on my mind!!

My instinct is to plan it for the coldest months of late December into Jan/Feb, by that time, if I regulate his feeding and he is healthy, he should be 40g (currently 30g and 5cm plastron).

As I have only had him less than a week, and his documentation states he was hatched June 2014, I would welcome any advice. Perhaps I should wait until next year? He will have had faecal tests done by then and I hope to have an idea of his general health, so I will certainly base any decisions on these anyway.

Many thanks in anticipation

#2 mildredsmam

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Posted 21 June 2015 - 03:56 AM

Hi,

 It's good to hear Wimble is doing well, and your getting every thing in place for him, I wouldn't break his food up just put full leaves in as this is better for him. :)

Regarding hibernation I always feel its best to hibernate them, but if this was me I would be inclined to leave him this year with you just getting him and look into it next year, you can still do plenty of research in this time so you feel confident with it, if you leave him this year I think it will just give you more time to get to know him and make sure he's healthy and gaining steady weight.

When the time is right for hibernation they need at least 8 weeks asleep and the correct wind down before hand, once asleep they can always be woken if they loose to much weight etc, I normally wind mine down November and then they hibernate from December a little earlier for the adults, fridge hibernation works really well I've used this method for many years. :)

You might find this helpful.  http://www.tortsmad....hibernation.htm  :)



#3 Reajen01

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Posted 21 June 2015 - 02:58 PM

Thanks, I think it's probably best to leave it for this year, I've been reading up lots and by next year I should know him well enough to hibernate confidently.

I've read that reducing winter time daylight hours and providing less food is the way to go to over winter him, to prevent any 'too rapid' growth. Would this be right?

#4 wizzasmum

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Posted 21 June 2015 - 06:10 PM

Thanks, I think it's probably best to leave it for this year, I've been reading up lots and by next year I should know him well enough to hibernate confidently.
I've read that reducing winter time daylight hours and providing less food is the way to go to over winter him, to prevent any 'too rapid' growth. Would this be right?

Yes, that's right, it's really easy to keep the weight gain over winter to virtually nil. Just feed less and reduce temps slightly ;) you do need to monitor food intake though, but not withhold it as you would on hibernation wind down ;)

#5 Guest_Stella_*

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Posted 21 June 2015 - 08:08 PM

That is great information regarding this years hibernation. It is always better to know your tort. However there is a lot of information to say that a tort can be over wintered very successfully and the pressures to hibernate can be more harmful particularly to an inexperienced keeper.
My torts are hibernated 'naturally' which basically means no fridge or box or supervised starvation...... The advice by those who know is to over winter this year, but i would advise research into ALL options for next year, x x x. Hugs x x x

#6 wizzasmum

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Posted 21 June 2015 - 09:08 PM

Sorry if it sounds pedantic, but I think this can be quite scary advice for a newcomer, who might think its ok to wind down a tort for hibernation and allow some feeding. Eventually this would inevitably lead to a dead tortoise as has happened in some cases. UK wind down is very different to natural habitat wind down. In over thirty years I've not lost one of my torts in hibernation with controlled wind down and I have a fair few, but do know of several deaths others have suffered. This is not to say that some leeway 'might' be ok, but I personally wouldn't risk it with my precious babies.

#7 mildredsmam

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Posted 22 June 2015 - 03:40 AM

That is great information regarding this years hibernation. It is always better to know your tort. However there is a lot of information to say that a tort can be over wintered very successfully and the pressures to hibernate can be more harmful particularly to an inexperienced keeper.
My torts are hibernated 'naturally' which basically means no fridge or box or supervised starvation...... The advice by those who know is to over winter this year, but i would advise research into ALL options for next year, x x x. Hugs x x x

Everyone is different and will give different advice regarding hibernation, I think if the individual does enough research on this they can make there own mind up if they want to or not, I don't see any thing wrong with fridge or box hibernation so not sure where your coming from there, and you say about inexperienced keepers but haven't you had a few torts die maybe you should relook at your methods. :)



#8 Guest_Stella_*

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Posted 22 June 2015 - 05:40 AM

Everyone is different and will give different advice regarding hibernation, I think if the individual does enough research on this they can make there own mind up if they want to or not, I don't see any thing wrong with fridge or box hibernation so not sure where your coming from there, and you say about inexperienced keepers but haven't you had a few torts die maybe you should relook at your methods. :)


That is what I was saying Karen, do the research and decide the best method. I do it a different way and was saying there are alternatives to box and fridge, I also know some keepers never hibernate at all, it is a matter of choice. And for a new keeper it can be a very scary experience.
One of my tortoises died after hibernating using the box method, which is why I changed the way I hibernate them all. The way I do it now is very successful. Bubble died after multiple visits to the vets and a cost of nearly 1000£ because she had a growth which was causing a blockage. She died just before she was to be operated on. This was nothing to do with hibernation and I find it quite upsetting that this has been said.

#9 wizzasmum

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Posted 22 June 2015 - 07:41 AM

I think what is meant is that we do need to remember that we are not in the country of origin and so we absolutely MUST monitor wind down, whatever method we actually use. I've seen this go wrong countless times with other torts, when people insist torts knows best and has done it for many years. Yes they do, if conditions are good, but in their natural habitat, there is absolutely nothing digestible left to eat during this time, which is how they evolved to do it. In this country as we all know, if we do an autumn tidy up of the garden there is a fair bit of green stuff in the bucket, wheelbarrow or whatever at the end of the session. This would obviously be enough to kill a slumbering tortoise. Hibernating while not monitoring wind down is a bit like Russian roulette. Nobody is saying to force a tortoise to starve under normal living conditions, but rather make absolutely certain that temps are consistent with what the wild torts would have at the same time in nature which helps them decide that this is the thing to do.

#10 Beermat89

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Posted 22 June 2015 - 03:50 PM

Hi guys,
Im not saying whos right and whos wrong here in my opinion but the Most crucial part of hibernation in my opinion is the wind down,get this wrong and could go very badly wrong,if i was a newbie like we all were id stick to the book on this one and just follow the correct steps and there isnt much to go wrong if done correctly,as ive gained more years under my belt with torts,yes we tweak things and do things in different ways to others but a controlled wind down in my eyes is a MUST!
Regards matt




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