Hermann tortoise , Information, Care , Hibernation, Hatchlings for sale
 


The Winding Down Period

As already mentioned, no food should be left in the stomach of a tortoise when put into hibernation.
To make sure that your tortoise's stomach is completely empty a starvation of the tortoise prior
to hibernation is essential. The starvation period and hibernation length  will vary depending of the age
of your tortoise.
I would not hibernate a hatchling for more than 8 weeks and I would not hibernate a adult
more than 20 weeks. The hibernation lengths below are a guide.
If everything is going well with the hibernation and the tortoise has not lost too much
weight then you could leave him for a little longer.
This is the good thing about fridge hibernation YOU are in control.

  Age     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.


Stage 1 
At the beginning of the wind down tortoises need to have day length and temperatures
that are the approximately the same as summertime. This will keep their digestive system
working fully and therefore pass any recently eaten food through their system.
You may find that your tortoise is slightly slower than they were in the summer.


Stage 2  
You must keep temperatures the same as stage 1 but in lesser quantities.
Therefore you should be turning the heat/UV lamps on a little later in the morning and off a
little earlier in the evening. This will simulate their shorter day lengths in the wild.
Towards the end of stage 2 make the the daylight shorter still making it a gradual process.  
 

Stage 3 
By stage 3, you will find that your tortoise is coming out from his hiding place less and less.
You can now leave the the basking lights off and just have background heat available using a
frost guard heater or a tubular heater if in a outbuilding or your central heating if its in your house.


S
tage 4
During the beginning of stage 4, any background heating should be turned down to a bare minimum.
You will probably find that your tortoise is not coming out at all now and is inactive.
Towards the end of this stage, give your tortoise its final bath (not warm enough to stimulate
your tortoise) and make sure he is thoroughly dried. Place the tortoise in the box you are
using for hibernating. Then place the box in a cool place such as an unheated room or a safe
outbuilding which will more closely match the fridge temperature (as long as your tortoise isn't
passing anything in his bath water) your tortoise should be ready to go into the fridge.
Make sure you weigh and make a note of your tortoises weight before it goes into hibernation.


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