Low temperature behaviour.

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Low temperature behaviour.

Postby Tortoise Trust » Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:57 pm

The next time anyone tells you that they need to be heated overnight, have to be over 30 C to feed, or cannot get wet... refer back to this:

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=7747

:!:
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Re: Low temperature behaviour.

Postby Tappers » Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:25 pm

Possibly even more surprising than your recorded nocturnal activity recently (well, the torts that is!)
Paul
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Re: Low temperature behaviour.

Postby Tortoise Trust » Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:40 pm

Yes. We are building up a much more complex picture of their behaviour than was previously believed... all very fascinating indeed.

Some of this stuff is "tear up the textbooks" level.
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Re: Low temperature behaviour.

Postby Stuart » Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:35 pm

Clearly Andy you are "keeping" your Spanish tortoises in sub-optimal conditions. :lol:

You'll be telling us next that you don't feed them with shop-bought salads! :lol:
Stuart
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Re: Low temperature behaviour.

Postby Tortoise Trust » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:54 pm

Amazing how they survive without a "viv", isn't it?

Of course, in a day or two it will be back to around 18C+ and bright and sunny again. I would not suggest that sub 10C, wet and muddy is ideal - certainly not for extended periods. However, for short periods there is no doubt that these conditions are experienced in nature, and they seem to cope incredibly well with it.

I have a few more photos to upload...
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Re: Low temperature behaviour.

Postby jeff » Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:03 pm

That is very interesting stuff,It gos against every thing realy.I must admit im amazed they cope so well.
Jeff
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Re: Low temperature behaviour.

Postby Pam » Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:27 am

Very interesting. Mulling this over, could it be that the tortoises were out and active two days ago when it was 21c and the ground warmed up nicely, then when they retreated for the evening they noticed the temperature drop and tucked well down in the substrate. The ground, having marvellous thermal mass, protected them from a substantial amount of the drop in temperature on the surface. They then emerged for a quick snack and although their carapace temperature was low, their core body temperature had not dropped to an inactive level as the temperature had been maintained in their scrapes, plastron temperature also probably higher.
I expect their is a strong correlation between the ground temperature at the depth the tortoises were at and their ability to be active. It would be wrong to expect this to be effective in the UK as the prolonged lack of sunshine means that the ground has lost it's heat and it takes time to develop this thermal reserve. Also the type of substrate makes a difference as large stones/rocks/boulders on or under the surface keep the heat for longer.
Well. that's my theory.......wish I could be out there researching it with you.
Pam.
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Re: Low temperature behaviour.

Postby Tortoise Trust » Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:47 am

Pam wrote:Very interesting. Mulling this over, could it be that the tortoises were out and active two days ago when it was 21c and the ground warmed up nicely, then when they retreated for the evening they noticed the temperature drop and tucked well down in the substrate. The ground, having marvellous thermal mass, protected them from a substantial amount of the drop in temperature on the surface. They then emerged for a quick snack and although their carapace temperature was low, their core body temperature had not dropped to an inactive level as the temperature had been maintained in their scrapes, plastron temperature also probably higher.
I expect their is a strong correlation between the ground temperature at the depth the tortoises were at and their ability to be active.
Pam.


Actually, no, though I understand the concept you are suggesting.

The ground temperature at the surface was around 4.5 C. The tortoises were not buried deep at all this last week. Most of them were exposed in shallow scrapes. I'll put up some photos of this.

The air temperature was substantially warmer (8-9C) than the surface temperature. I checked their plastron temperatures, and they were also below 5C in every case, so you can safely assume their core temperature was also in that 5C range...

I shall pop out early tomorrow and get some more measurements!
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Re: Low temperature behaviour.

Postby Pam » Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:00 am

Hmm.. fascinating, so many questions.....look forward to the next readings.
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Re: Low temperature behaviour.

Postby Tortoise Trust » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:29 am

Well.. just got back in and have some really interesting data and photos. I will try to get these up very soon. This was an unusual and brief opportunity, as we had this very extreme cold/wet spell for just about 36 hours, and now, warming up as normal again. Bright. Sunny. Warm. It did give us a brief "window" to see how wild tortoises react to this. Taster of what is to come.... below zero on carapace surface... + 7 on underside in undisturbed scrape!!!

:o :o :o

Also have definitive measurements at various depths...
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