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Very New, Seeking Advice :)

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#1 GeoHiccup


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Posted 20 March 2017 - 06:24 PM

Hi all, I've only posted on here once before as I'm currently gathering lots of info whilst saving for my little hermann. I believe I have everything in order other than hibernation which I am currently researching.
Obviously there's varying times on the wind down period and hibernation periods depending on who you ask/what site you visit, however I just wanna get some opinions from actual tort owners and their personal schedules :)


One site, The Tortoise shop, reccomends this (I've shortened it to get the general feel of the page/advice they give):

"The perfect temperature for hibernating is between 3-7°c constantly...We strongly suggest the fridge method for hibernation. We find this to be the safest and most effective method available. A domestic fridge temperature is around 5°c and opening the door for a few seconds daily will ensure adequate air supply....

Whilst going through the starvation period the tortoise must have a full bladder. We recommend daily bathing throughout the wind down process; this will ensure that the tortoise is nicely hydrated.

When your tortoise has an empty gut and a full bladder you need to be sure that you hibernate the tortoise in the right location – where your tortoise isn’t going to freeze but is also not going to wake up early due to warm weather."
Their hibernation time periods are a little bit higher than those I ahve compared them to, also?:

1 year = 3 weeks

2 years = 6 weeks

3 years = 10 weeks

4 years = 16 weeks

5 years and over = 22 weeks
Full page: http://www.thetortoi...ise-hibernation


Secondly, I looked at hermann Tortoise.co.uk :D
This is the general advice they gave sumemd up:

  Starvation / wind down  Hibernation length   Hatchlings 1st winter 14 days Max 8 weeks 2nd winter 18 days 8 weeks 3rd winter 20 days 8 weeks 4th winter 22 days 12 weeks 5 years 26 days 16 weeks 6 years + 28 days

Max 20 weeks

The tortoise is to be given NO food during any stage of the wind down period.
It is very important that they are given ample opportunity to drink and are kept fully hydrated.
Bath your tortoise every other day which as well as hydrating your tortoise it will also
encourage it to empty it's bowels. I do recommend bathing 1 -3 year old tortoises every day. The wind down period should be split into 4 stages.

They then posted this


Age of tortoise

  Stage 1 Stage 2  Stage 3    Stage 4 Hatchlings 1st winter 4 days 4 days 4 days 2 days 2nd winter 5 days 5 days 5 days 3 days 3rd winter 5 days 5 days 5 days 5 days 4th winter 6 days 6 days 6 days 4 days 5 years 7 days 7 days 6 days 6 days 6 years + 7 days 7 days 7 days 7 days


They also have 4 stages to the build up of hibernation which says turning on the basking light should only be in time with the natural sun e.g. it won't be up for many hours in the winter which seemed very realistic to me, is this a good idea granted the temp doesn't go down to dangerous levels, I could get a frost guard or tubular heater to keep him/her warm whilst basking light is off?


The advice I'll take from both of these is probably a happy medium, between them both?


Also, does it matter what time of the year/month you hibernate? Obviously in the winter but when you're only hibernating for only say 6 weeks, does it matter what month as it will still be cold when they wake up?


Sorry for the long read, any advice is welcome :)

Georgia :)

#2 wizzasmum


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Posted 20 March 2017 - 10:50 PM

I'd say first and foremost, ask breeders or long term keepers rather than the pet industry. They rarely give good info as most of it is secondhand. The times given for wind down for certain ages should definitely be ignored. I have a yearling that weighs around 40 grams, whereas a yearling from the outlet you mention would weigh a lot more than this. It's size, not age that is important. Also, anything less than eight weeks hibernation is not worth doing, the reason being that the first few weeks are not hibernation proper, as it takes time to get into the really deep sleep. Again, your second piece of info is also flawed by not mentioning weight, but rather years of winters. The third bit of info you post is very misleading, I personally don't understand what that means, so it would be easy to make a mistake there. I notice that nowhere are temps or humidity mentioned. Gradual reduction of temperature and light is crucial to a healthy wind down. Here's another one to get your teeth into lol www.tortsmad.com/hibernation.htm
Yes it matters what time of year you hibernate your tortoise. Obviously a month or so either side of the popular times between November and March is fine, but to start now and finish mid summer would mess with the natural cycle. Never use heaters during hibernation other than, as yousay, to guard against frost, so it would need to be on a thermostat to kick in at say 5 degrees.

#3 mildredsmam


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Posted 21 March 2017 - 06:25 AM

Hi Georgia,

I agree with Sue to be careful where you get your information all this information above probably hasn't come from experience but text book, there's a few of us on here who do hibernate from hatchlings to adults, with hatchlings i tend to hibernate these in Jan/Feb for 8 weeks starting their wind down in Dec i've done this for the last few years and found it works really well for these i use the fridge method for hibernation. :) 

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