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Member Since 25 Jan 2014
Offline Last Active Oct 10 2016 11:56 AM

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Torts Not Eating

09 October 2016 - 10:50 PM



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.






Safe To Leave A Bit Longer?

10 March 2016 - 10:54 AM



I was going to get my two-year olds up this weekend but wondered whether it's safe to leave them a bit longer as the weather has turned so cold again? They went into the fridge on 02 Jan after three weeks wind down so will have been in 10 weeks this Sat. I last weighed them a week ago - Custard had lost 2g overall since she went in the fridge (current weight 188g) and Roobarb had lost 5g (now 174g). Neither has urinated, both are responsive to touch.


The guidance says max 8 weeks for the second hibernation so they have already been down an extra 2 weeks (but are large for their age). Should I get them up as planned (they will go into their heated greenhouse where night temps can still go down to 7-8 degrees, but I have a ceramic heat emitter I can put over their sleeping area) or is it safe to leave them where they are for another couple of weeks?


As usual, any guidance gratefully received,


Preparing For Second Hibernation

13 December 2015 - 10:26 AM



Just wanted to check if this sounds OK - still a bit apprehensive about hibernating the youngsters and had some problems getting them to settle last year. 


Roobarb and Custard are now 2 years and two months old. As has been noted before, they are large for their age - but I've managed to keep growth to a more reasonable level this year (approx 45g each since coming out of hibernation at the end of Jan). Roobarb is 10cm and 187g, Custard is 10.2cm and 210g. At the moment they are in their enclosure in the greenhouse (under lamps and with frost protection) and have remained quite active due to the mild weather.


Last year was their first hibernation and it was suggested I give them a slightly longer wind down than recommended -  about 20 days - due to their size, which I did. I tried using a Lucky Herp fridge but had trouble stabilising the temps once the box went in and - eventually - moved them to a standard fridge (in an outbuilding, but with frost protection, where my older tortoise hibernates successfully using the box method) and the temp remained a steady 5 degrees. I plan to use the same fridge again. In total, they were in the fridge(s) for eight weeks and weight loss during hibernation was Roobarb 4g, Custard 5g.


Hoping for no complications this year, I started their wind down yesterday and am proposing three weeks, so they will go into the fridge at new year. I intend to hibernate them for at least 8 weeks, longer if everything still looks OK, up to a max of 12 weeks.


Does this sound about right?


Many thanks,