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Member Since 13 Oct 2013
Offline Last Active Jan 08 2016 12:51 AM

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Tortoise Losing Weight...hibernating Or Starving?

08 January 2016 - 12:49 AM

Hello everyone. 


Hibernating our 10-ish year old female Hermann is proving very difficult this winter, as we live on the West Sussex coast and the temperatures have been so mild. The poor thing was in limbo for a long while, being too cold for her to thrive, but not cold enough to go into hibernation. My mum tried to keep her awake until it got cold enough, by keeping her in the shed with the heat/UV lamp on, or in the garden during sunny spells. However she hates the lamp and would just go straight in her box. The weather has also yet to get cold enough. After about approximately the 7th December she stopped eating, did her last poo several days afterwards (my mother estimates about the 15th) and on the 19th my mother gave her a tepid bath, when she was on the brink of hibernation. she has been hibernating since approximately the 20th of December.


My mother weighed her on the 31st of December, and she was 1341 grams. Now on the 7th of January she was 1328 grams, a loss of 13 grams. Is this about the right amount of weight loss for the first few weeks? Before we start putting her box on ice (to get it at the right temperature, it is nowhere near cold enough), I need to know that she is actually hibernating, and not just struggling/starving. 


Unfortunately, I don't know what her weight was in autumn, when she begun to slow down. Combined with poor record keeping and the super-warm winter, I am really worried about her. 


What should we do, put her on ice? It is currently 10 degrees in the garage. I am so concerned. She will be using up all her glucose stores, because she's being hibernated at 10 and above. Should we put ice round her box or give up and wake her up?


This is absolutely terrible. I have not been involved in hibernating this year, as I have been too busy, but I though my mum knew what she was doing as she did it successfully with me last year.