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#1 NANACAZ

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Posted 01 November 2016 - 09:06 PM

Hi my name is Carol and I have a lovely Tort called Wilbur.. I got Wilbur about 6 months ago, we were told he is about 8 years old. I will be wanting some advice on heating for an outdoor enclosure so if anyone has any ideas please let me know. Thanks.. :)



#2 terrypin

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Posted 01 November 2016 - 09:40 PM

Could you say if this is a Hermanns tortoise or not. Most Hermanns at that age would be hibernating from now until spring. To overwinter away from the house you would need a heated insulated shed or a greenhouse with a heated insulated overnight box. Please give a little more information I hope I can help then.



#3 mildredsmam

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Posted 02 November 2016 - 04:52 AM

Hi my name is Carol and I have a lovely Tort called Wilbur.. I got Wilbur about 6 months ago, we were told he is about 8 years old. I will be wanting some advice on heating for an outdoor enclosure so if anyone has any ideas please let me know. Thanks.. :)

Hi Carol, welcome to the forum.

As Terry has said if you could give us a little more information about Wilbur and what set up you have we will be able to help, for mine I have a heated shed that's been insulated it has two basking lamps in there and also a panel heater on a thermostat for when the temperatures drop too low. x



#4 NANACAZ

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Posted 02 November 2016 - 06:06 PM

Hi Sorry.. he is a Hermann tort, we have him in the house on quite a large tort table that my husband built. It takes two of us to lift it.. lol...He goes outside when the weather permits

We were told he has never hibernated so I hope he doesn't start to bed down as I don't feel confident at the moment.

My husband has built a good size cold frame outside where the sun hits it, even today the temp was 70 inside, we are South facing so the garden gets sun all day when its out.

I want to start to try and get things ready for the spring so he can go outside most of the time if that's possible,.To go with the cold Frame I have bought what they call a Rabbit house the lid opens at the top, I was hoping to get some sort of tube heater fitted so that he can go in when he needs to warm up... tried to attach pic of house but it wouldn't send the post.. I must be doing something wrong.. Any ideas for heating inside or don't you think the house is suitable..Thanks for taking the time your feedback is appreciated.. Carol



#5 wizzasmum

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 01:31 AM

Photos will certainly help Carol. Have a look at the bubble at the bottom of the post marked 'more reply options', this should enable you to post pics ;)

#6 terrypin

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 01:29 PM

Can I say the cold frame will get very hot when the sun hits it. Particularly in the summer, so please be sure your tortoise has the option of an area where he can get some shade,and also perhaps a sunny spot not under glass to do some basking this really is the best way to supply all the UV he needs at least during the summer months



#7 NANACAZ

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 02:16 PM

Hi I am getting the cold frame ready for next year I have some plants in there at the moment that we are growing on, I will make sure he has shade, we have made it so that top tilts right back so he can sun himself without glass,to this I want to add the pet hutch I have bought but I want to insulate it and hopefully put a heat lamp/tube in it for when the weather is a little cooler. I am now attempting to add a pic and a link of it so you can see and let me know if it will be ok..I want this attached to my coldframe.

 

 
Just another quick question I have soil and play sand in his indoor enclosure is this ok...I think before he lived in a glass tank :(


#8 NANACAZ

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 04:42 PM

Is it too late to hibernate Wilbur. I have just been reading up on it and one of the websites says the end of Oct is a good time, I just want to make sure before I reduce/stop his food. I know he has to be hydrated so depending on what you tell me I will be on here quite a lot to make sure I am doing it right..

 

By the way this is a great forum and thankyou for your time and knowledge.. it really is appreciated..

 

Thankyou everyone..

 

Carol x



#9 terrypin

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 04:51 PM

My eldest granddaughter has one similar for her Hermanns tortoise and is really pleased with it. We don't have foxes in the Channel Islands but feel sure they would be safe from predators at night if we did.Getting them to go back in at night can be a job but persevere and eventually they should do it them selves.

#10 NANACAZ

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 05:42 PM

Hi Terry Thanks for your reply do they go in and out as they please as that is what I am aiming for.:)

 

Wilbur is in doors so was wandering if I could start the Hibernation process now or is it too late..

 

This is what I have read today and want to know if its correct..

 

At the end of October you can start to reduce the night and day temperatures slowly over a couple of weeks until the tortoise shows no signs of feeding due to its body temperature being to cool. Continue reducing the temperature and start counting the days from when they last fed. After two weeks of not feeding at this stage the tortoise should have emptied its stomach contents and will be ready for hibernation.

KEY TO SUCCESS

The main issue of safe hibernation is to be able to maintain the tortoises body temperature between 3 & 7 degree's C and not to allow it to fluctuate. This will keep the tortoises metabolism stable and prevent it burning off calories and losing body weight during hibernation.

I have found in the past when hibernating tortoises the old fashion way in a box with straw, hay or news paper, they frequently wake during the winter months and tend to be in poor condition when they wake up in spring. This is due to our winters being long and generally mild which can fluctuate daily and by keeping your tortoise in straw , hay or paper the air circulating around your tortoise will fluctuate it's body temperature. This will take it in and out of sleep and will unnecessarily burn off calories and lose body weight, it will also cause dehydration which causes kidney failure. Remember that dehydration kills tortoises in hibernation not starvation as many people think.

HIBERNATION TECHNIQUE

The following technique we have been using for many years and have found it to be the most natural and safe way to hibernate your tortoise. Using a large strong plastic box at least 30 cm deep and with a strong clip on ventilated lid, fill it half way with relatively dry garden compost or fine soil. Even when it feels relatively dry to the touch it will naturally have some moisture content which will help prevent dehydration in hibernation.

Once you have gone through the last stages of cooling and your tortoise hasn't eaten for about two weeks it should be ready to be placed in the hibernation box. If the tortoise is still very active try cooling it for another week. Place the tortoise in the box and let him settle for a couple of hours, then put some more lose soil in the box around the edge banked up the sides. As the tortoise moves around over the next couple of days it will bury itself , don't worry it will not suffocate. In fact at this stage there breathing is so slow that enough air will filter through the soil but not enough to cause any problems with fluctuating air temperatures.

Clip on the ventilated lid and place the box somewhere that stays cool between 3 - 7 degree's C. I have found that brick buildings like outside garages are the best places to keep it as it tends to stay very cool and is protected from the frost which is very important. It is a good ideal to use a min- max thermometer just underneath the soil in the hibernation box with the tortoise so that you can check the temperature every couple of weeks. If it is at the lower end of the range { 3 - 4 degree's C} you may wish to place the box higher up away from the floor as it will be one or two degree's warmer away from the floor, or on the other hand if the temperature is at the higher end of the scale { 6 - 7 degree's C} place the box closer to the floor or on the floor. You may wish to check this from time to time during the winter.

 

Do you agree that this method is ok and is it ok to start now..

 

sorry if its long winded..

 

Thanks

Carol x



#11 wizzasmum

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 06:12 PM

Hi I am getting the cold frame ready for next year I have some plants in there at the moment that we are growing on, I will make sure he has shade, we have made it so that top tilts right back so he can sun himself without glass,to this I want to add the pet hutch I have bought but I want to insulate it and hopefully put a heat lamp/tube in it for when the weather is a little cooler. I am now attempting to add a pic and a link of it so you can see and let me know if it will be ok..I want this attached to my coldframe.
 
http://www.petplanet...CFcG6Gwod0esFHw
 
Just another quick question I have soil and play sand in his indoor enclosure is this ok...I think before he lived in a glass tank :(



I would be wary of adding sand and make sure any hide areas have no floor so you can make use of a natural substrate. I actually have one of those for what I call the boys naughty corner garden. It houses a tubular heater too. You will have to remove the legs though or sink them in the ground and not put the floor in. Tortoises don't naturally go higher to retire but dig down, so they would be more likely to hide under the ramp.

#12 NANACAZ

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 07:12 PM

Thats a great tip Sue removing the legs I will keep that in mind when I am putting it in place , I will look for a tube heater over the winter months.. thanks..

 

Have you any thoughts on whether I could start to hibernate Wilbur now, as per my previous post.. Thankyou,xx



#13 mildredsmam

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 03:50 AM

Thats a great tip Sue removing the legs I will keep that in mind when I am putting it in place , I will look for a tube heater over the winter months.. thanks..

 

Have you any thoughts on whether I could start to hibernate Wilbur now, as per my previous post.. Thankyou,xx

Hi Carol,

This is just my opinion but with you just getting Wibur you could leave hibernation till next year, this will give you plenty of time to get to know him and make sure he's healthy and gaining weight etc, it will also give you more time to be confident in hibernating him and making sure you have every thing prepared for hibernation, how ever if you do feel confident enough then we can help you with this and you could start the wind down now. x



#14 NANACAZ

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 08:27 AM

Morning, Thanks Karen. I want to try but I also want it t be right, I don't want to lose him, he's adorable..

 

I have weighed and measured him this morning and gone on to the Jackson Ratio calculator, his weight is 800g and he is 6.5 cm in length..which comes out at 2.91 on the calculator, I bath him most anyway so will do him everyday from now on..

 

Your thoughts and anyone else s is very much appreciated..

 

Carol x



#15 NANACAZ

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 08:35 AM

Sorry measured him incorrectly -  his weight is 800g and he is 6.5 cm in length..which comes out at 0.195 on the calculator,

 

Phew - sorry... your thoughts

 

xx



#16 mildredsmam

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 10:22 AM

Morning, Thanks Karen. I want to try but I also want it t be right, I don't want to lose him, he's adorable..

 

I have weighed and measured him this morning and gone on to the Jackson Ratio calculator, his weight is 800g and he is 6.5 cm in length..which comes out at 2.91 on the calculator, I bath him most anyway so will do him everyday from now on..

 

Your thoughts and anyone else s is very much appreciated..

 

Carol x

Hi Carol,

That's great have you decided how your going to hibernate him i.e fridge hibernation or box hibernation, you will need to do a four week wind down with no food at all regular baths and for the first weeks you need full heat as this will help him digest any food he has left,

You might find this a helpful read. x  http://www.tortsmad.com/hibernation.htm 



#17 NANACAZ

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 11:04 AM

Hi Karen we are going to box hibernate him, we have just been out and bought a couple of thermometers, we have a garage so hopefully he will be ok in there and we have a heater in there just in case the weather turns and the temp drops.

 

I will stop feeding from today and bath him everyday.I will not reduce his heat at the moment as you say he will need to digest the food he has had in the last couple of days..

 

Thankyou for the link I will take a look and have a good read..

 

will keep you updated.   

 

Carol x



#18 wizzasmum

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 03:45 PM

Thats a great tip Sue removing the legs I will keep that in mind when I am putting it in place , I will look for a tube heater over the winter months.. thanks..
 
Have you any thoughts on whether I could start to hibernate Wilbur now, as per my previous post.. Thankyou,xx


Yes, it's never too late to hibernate. You just need to wind them down correctly, gradually reducing temps, lighting until they are empty and almost asleep.

#19 wizzasmum

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 03:47 PM

Hi Karen we are going to box hibernate him, we have just been out and bought a couple of thermometers, we have a garage so hopefully he will be ok in there and we have a heater in there just in case the weather turns and the temp drops.
 
I will stop feeding from today and bath him everyday.I will not reduce his heat at the moment as you say he will need to digest the food he has had in the last couple of days..
 
Thankyou for the link I will take a look and have a good read..
 
will keep you updated.   
 
Carol x



Just remember it takes more than a couple of days to digest his food Carol, unlike mammals, that's why the wind down is so long. How heavy is he?

#20 NANACAZ

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 05:56 PM

Hi Sue when I weighed him this morning he was 800g, I bathed him this morning and he did poo. I haven't fed him today (I feel  really bad :() is this ok,,

 

I have been reading up on hibernation and I have also been on the link that Karen sent me earlier.

 

I am really grateful for all the help. this is a great site.

 

Any advice or tips you can give is very welcome

 

Carol x






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