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Torts Not Eating


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#1 crotchetybear

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Posted 09 October 2016 - 10:50 PM

Hi,

 

I would be grateful for some advice please.

 

My three-year-olds - Roobarb and Custard - seem to have decided it's time to hibernate. Their indoor enclosure is in a heated greenhouse (with basking light and D3 tube) and they have access (via a sort of catflap arrangement) to an outdoor enclosure planted with edible plants and weeds. Throughout the summer they have had free access to the outdoors and I gave them no additional food. (Previous posts will show they are rather large for their age and I have tried to keep their growth down this year.) Since mid September I've been providing extra food in their indoor enclosure and restricting their access to the outside to sunny days. Last year I started their wind down in November and hibernated them for 12 weeks in the fridge until late March and was planning to do the same this year. However….

 

For the last two weeks or so they have buried themselves for the night at the cool end of their enclosure but shown no inclination to emerge during the day. I have been digging them out and putting them under their lamp, as well as giving them daily warm baths, in an attempt to keep them going for another few weeks. I feel as if I'm fighting a losing battle as they bury down again after an hour or so. I have not seen the larger one (Custard) eat anything at all, Roobarb nibbles at some leaves but doesn't eat a lot. Neither is passing anything in their bath water but there is evidence of urination in their enclosure.

 

Both have lost weight since they were last weighed on 29 August - when Custard weighed 276g (now 258g) and Roobarb weighed 248g (now 240g). Temps are 32 degrees under the lamp and largely between 15 and 20 degrees at the cool end. Although the greenhouse is heated the temps do drop at night but have never dropped below 10.1 degrees at floor level.

 

My questions are as follows:

 

Should I be concerned or are they simply exhibiting normal tortoise behaviour? (Although, having said that, my elderly male is still active and eating.)

 

Should I persevere with trying to keep them awake and active (and if so any suggestions for how I might do that) or would it be better to let them wind down now and go into hibernation early November?

 

Could this be a sign that something is wrong and should I take them to a vet? (I've never needed to take them to a vet but there are two reptile vets reasonably accessible to me.)

 

As usual, any advice gratefully received.

 

Chris

 

 

 



#2 wizzasmum

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Posted 10 October 2016 - 07:14 AM

Hi Chris! It's perfectly natural for this time of years, especially outdoors. They are very aware of the shortening days and will wind themselves down. I've had one missing for a couple of weeks and eventually found her dug very deeply underground, obviously gone for the winter or so she thought. I'd keep up the soaks for a couple of weeks and let them go into hibernation if they were mine. It will mean getting them up a little earlier than you'd planned, but in my experience I've found this to be better than forcing them to keep going longer in order to gave them wake at the normal time. I'd reduce the temps now to avoid weight loss and let nature take its course ;) Hope this helps :)

#3 crotchetybear

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Posted 10 October 2016 - 11:55 AM

Thanks Sue, that's very reassuring. I'll put them into wind down now and let them hibernate early. If all's going well at 12 weeks I can leave them a little longer before getting them up.

(My house-sitter will be pleased. We're going away in March and she copes better with them awake than in the fridge!)

Many thanks for your prompt advice.

Chris

#4 pompeypoole

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Posted 10 October 2016 - 05:22 PM

My preference is also to let them start winding down when they are ready. I find it easier to keep them awake post hibernation than trying to keep them going when they want to hibernate.

#5 wizzasmum

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Posted 10 October 2016 - 05:25 PM

I know what you mean about keeping them going longer, but to be honest, I've found it much harder than the other way round. They seem happy to keep going under the lamps in late winter/early spring too, as opposed to the other way round.




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