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Hibernation Plan For My Two Years Old Hermann Torts


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#1 babettebeau

babettebeau

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 05:46 PM

Hi there, I thought I would put this hibernation plan on the forum as it could be helpful for other keepers of young Hermann tortoises.

 

SET-UP

·         Windown duration: 2 weeks.

·         Hibernation duration: 8 weeks, may be 9-10 weeks if they are doing very well.

·         Boxes where babies will hibernate: deep plastic boxes with lid. Lid with plenty of holes or one big hole in the center of the lid. One box for each baby.

·         Substrate in the plastic boxes: compacted damp oil at the bottom and sides to suppress thermic bridges. Then above that a deep layer of damp coco coir and a layer of dried oak leaves (from the forest, non treated and cleaned by me).

·         A container with water will be in the fridge for humidity.

·         Fridge: larder fridge, I cleaned it, optimal temp 5 degrees Celsius, tolerable temp range 4-6 degrees Celsius.

·         Digital thermometers with probes. Probes put in several places in the fridge and in the plastic boxes. The thermometers are set up with an alarm outside the fridge when the temp goes out of range.

·         I will set up one of my netcams in front of the digital thermometers to monitor temps when I am at work.

 

 

WEEK 1 - WINDOWN

Weight babies on day 1, 3, 5 and day 7. Weight loss should be due to passing poop and urates, not loss of reserves.

Watch how much they poop and pass urates.

 

Keep usual temps ie:

Temps under Megaray lamps: 30-32 degrees Celsius

Temps away from lamps: about 18-20 degrees Celsius

 

Keep usual lights for this time of year:

Megaray: 7am to 3pm

UV strip: 6:45am to 3:15pm

 

No food

No vitamin/mineral supplement (for example no Netkon MSA)

Remove grass plants and cactus plants as the babies can potentially reach them and nibble on them

Remove any young plant shoots growing opportunistically in the soil in the enclosure

Remove chalk

 

Soak babies daily for 30 minutes in the morning in tepid water, soaking will be from 7:30am to 8am before I go to work. When not in the office I will give them a second bath.

 

Dampen substrate as usual

Let dry the soil a little longer due to lower ambient temps in the winter.

 

Cover babies with substrate at night if they don’t dig in.

 

Watch for anything unusual/abnormal: sneezing, wet nostril, eye irritation etc.

 

 

WEEK 2 - WINDOWN

Weight babies on day 1, 3, 5 and day 7.

Still no food etc.

Watch poop and urates

Watch for anything unusual/abnormal: sneezing, wet nostril, eye irritation etc.

 

Reduce gradually Megaray temps/light daily over 7 days, until no heat, no light.

Reduce gradually UV light daily over 7 days, until no light.

Reduce gradually over 7 days the ambient temp in their room to the coolest possible.

 

Soak babies daily for 30 minutes in the morning in water, temp of water should be at ambient temp, soaking will be from 7:30am to 8am before I go to work. 

 

Dampen substrate as usual

Let dry the soil a little longer due to lower ambient temps in the winter.

 

Cover babies with substrate at night if they don’t dig in.

 

On evening of day 7, make physical inspection (eyes, nostrils, tail etc.), weight babies, put babies in their respective boxes, and put them in the coolest area for the night (ideally between 5-10 degrees). It will most likely be in my cellar, I will make sure they are safe in the cellar for the night.

 

In the early morning of the next day, weight the babies accurately first and write down their weights (weight on that morning should be same as weight of previous evening, make one last physical inspection (eyes, nostrils, tail etc.), check there is no trace of urination, urates or poop in the boxes, and put them back in their boxes and put in the fridge.

 

HIBERNATION (8 TO 10 WEEKS)

·         Every day open and close quickly the door to renew air.

·         Let babies settle on the first two weeks, no need to touch them or weight them during these two weeks.

·         From week 3, weight accurately the babies weekly and write down weight on spreadsheet. Weight should be stable at optimal temp of 5 degrees Celsius. If loss of weight it should be a linear decrease and below 10% in total over the whole hibernation period.

·         Any sudden drop of weight could be urination or a last poop expelled at the end of the colon.

·         If urination happens, the tortoise must come out of hibernation.






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