New Plan For Hibernation .

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New Plan For Hibernation .

Postby Tracy33 » Sat Oct 24, 2015 11:58 pm

I may have come up with a new idea . Last hibernation period , i hibernated my tort in a insulated tortoise house , in side a greenhouse , with a tube heater on a thermostat . This went okay , but because it was in a small area the temps were up and down a lot . Plus i worried , as it is being controlled by electric . The thing is , we have a coal shed that is built into the house , and Derrick has recently cleared it all out , and painted it , added shell's ect , it is now a cupboard . The point being is , that it never drops to cold in there , and the temps are very stable . We also have a cold cupboard indoors , if temps do go to 0c .
I thought i could buy a box ( or Derrick make's me one ;) ) about 3ft by 2ft , fill it with sand and soil , so tort can move around and dig down . This way , it would be just like the tortoise house , but without the electric .
Here is a few photo's of the kind of box i had in mind . Any thoughts on this would be great .
ImageImage
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Re: New Plan For Hibernation .

Postby Sandy » Sun Oct 25, 2015 8:22 am

Tracy33 wrote:I may have come up with a new idea . Last hibernation period , i hibernated my tort in a insulated tortoise house , in side a greenhouse , with a tube heater on a thermostat . This went okay , but because it was in a small area the temps were up and down a lot . Plus i worried , as it is being controlled by electric . The thing is , we have a coal shed that is built into the house , and Derrick has recently cleared it all out , and painted it , added shell's ect , it is now a cupboard . The point being is , that it never drops to cold in there , and the temps are very stable . We also have a cold cupboard indoors , if temps do go to 0c .
I thought i could buy a box ( or Derrick make me one ;) ) about 3ft by 2ft , fill it with sand and soil , so tort can move around and dig down . This way , it would be just like the tortoise house , but without the electric .
Here is a few photo's of the kind of box i had in mind . Any thoughts on this would be great .
ImageImage



Have you checked temps over a week. Or so, to see how the temps go?
I would be tempted to insulate either the inside or outside withpolysyreen or the like, to be on the safe side. Also check the inside temps of the bow for a week or two, to see what they read.
Sounds like a good idea if temps are fine:0)
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Re: New Plan For Hibernation .

Postby Bigjoe » Sun Oct 25, 2015 8:24 am

I can't see the type of box pictured as having any problems ,probably cheaper to buy one than make one...the price of timber plus fixings then your time and skill...
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Re: New Plan For Hibernation .

Postby Stuart » Sun Oct 25, 2015 10:31 am

I have a general concern about a container that sits on the ground which has a depth of substrate in it. Yes, the tortoise can dig down if temperatures drop, and it might "think" it was reaching warmer depths - in the ground, in nature, this would be the case. But a container on the surface wouldn't give the same protection. I realised this a few years ago when I hibernated mine on dustbins in a cellar. A great depth in which they could dig, but no protection from low temperatures around or at the bottom of the bin. None if this matters, of course, as long as temperatures are measured carefully and action taken - such as moving to a place that is above freezing - if temperatures drop too much. These days I prefer the more constant temperature of the fridge method, although that presents its own worries and concerns, and is as much reliant on electricity an methods relying on thermostats and heaters to protect from freezing.But whichever method is used, Id certainly recommend using good quality thermometers to monitor temps where the tortoise actually is in the container.
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Re: New Plan For Hibernation .

Postby Tracy33 » Sun Oct 25, 2015 1:47 pm

Thanks sandy , yes i closely monitored the area all last year with a good few thermometers , on the ground , on top of a small cupboard , and on a high shelf .
As you say , i might go fourth with insulating the box .
Each box you see in the pics Joe , cost £35 to £40 . So not to bad . I shall order one shortly .
The idea of this is , i am trying to keep hibernation a little natural , i know i can put him in a small cardboard box , but this way he is free to move about in the soil and sand , as he did the tortoise house .
Like you say Stuart , he will be closely watched , and i will have easy access in reaching into the box to lift him out for things such as weighing him , and if the temps drop to low , then i can move him out . I have a wireless temp gauge , plus many others . But most of all , we do have a cold cupboard in the house , i used this last year when temps droped , so i did not have to worry about the electric . So equally the fridge method worries me the same .
Should i get some holes drilled around the top of this box for ventilatoin ?
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Re: New Plan For Hibernation .

Postby Clara » Sun Oct 25, 2015 6:32 pm

Sounds as though you have it all covered Tracy. Yes - I would drill holes for ventilation. I will be sticking to the fridge method myself as I'm a control freak!! lol

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Re: New Plan For Hibernation .

Postby Tracy33 » Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:52 pm

You cheeky thing Clara . :lol: :lol:
I just asked about the holes , as there is no holes in the tortoise house where he hibernated before . But thanks clara , i shall see to it that the box has ventilation .
Not so worried this year , as this is the second time for hibernation . ;) :D
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Re: New Plan For Hibernation .

Postby Tracy33 » Tue Nov 24, 2015 1:09 am

Well , i have bought a new box , it cost me £45.00 . I have been drying the sand and soil out , getting ready for hibernation . I have plenty of temp gauges to keep an eye on the situation . As you see on the photos , the coal shed has been completly been cleand out , and turned into a cupboard . The area is built within the house , and i have been carefully testing the temps , and it stays a steady 5 to 6 degrees , even when it dropped to 0c outside.
This will be great , and no electric to worry about .Ii will much prefer this to the tortoise house in the greenhouse accross the garden ( in photo ) . :D
ImageImageImageImage
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Re: New Plan For Hibernation .

Postby Tracy33 » Wed Dec 02, 2015 12:57 am

Well so far i am very pleased with the new box i have been monitoring , it has never gone below 5 to 6 degrees , even over night at 0 degrees . The soil is now dry , so my tort will be in there hibernating shortly .
The box is around 3ft x 1ft , so he will have plenty of room to move around .
I was looking for some advice on the holes , as you will see we have drilled some around the top .
Will this be enough for the venterlation ?
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Re: New Plan For Hibernation .

Postby Tortoise Trust » Wed Dec 02, 2015 5:25 am

One possible issue could be CO2 build-up... CO2 is heavier than air, and can "layer" towards the base of a closed container. See this little demo:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvpenpBXAmM

Air holes at the top would not prevent this.

In nature, the surrounding soil is all permeable to some degree. There are no 'sealed' areas. Therefore, some limited oxygen/CO2 exchange does occur continuously.

Without measurements it is hard to know for sure what would happen in a container like this. I would be inclined to put some kind of permeable sub-base in, with a 'CO2' vent.... you'd have to consider effects on temperature, of course...

Some data from a CO2 logger would be useful in designing something like this.
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