Reducing heat and light before hibernation

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Reducing heat and light before hibernation

Postby Mortimer » Sat Nov 28, 2015 9:19 am

He there,
I'm new on this forum, because we are hibernating my daughter's 3 year old Horsfield tort for the first time this year. I've read the T Trust Guidelines inside out and he has now been 'starved' for a week. But it is not clear about exactly how to reduce heat and light. I haven't started to do this yet. He is already sleeping most of the time despite the lamps coming on 12 hours a day. We are no longer taking him out for walks (we don't have an outdoor enclosure), as it is too cold. Today (Sat 28th Nov) I decided to start a reduction programme, reducing the heat and light by 2 hours a day until next Sunday, when it will be on for just 2 hours, then put him in hibernation (provided he continues to self-prepare and doesn't get up.) We are giving him a bath every other day. I'm planning on putting him in 2 boxes with polystyrene insulation, inside a cage, and monitoring the temp at 5 degrees. The room where his enclosure is is not heated much and gets chilly at night.

Could you advise me if I'm getting this right?
Thanks

Mortimer's Keeper!
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Re: Reducing heat and light before hibernation

Postby Stuart » Sun Nov 29, 2015 1:09 pm

Mortimer wrote:...The room where his enclosure is is not heated much and gets chilly at night.

Could you advise me if I'm getting this right?
Thanks


Your light and heat reduction regime sounds OK...(Sandy has recently listed his regime on another thread, if you can find it...)

I'm just concerned about the room you're going to use...you say it gets chilly at night (I'm assuming it'll always be above freezing)...but what about daytime temperatures?
Stuart
Hermanns (old female and 6 home-bred offspring), iberas (two), kbn (rescue), leopard, horsfield (rescue), stars (2 - long term loan), red-eared sliders (5)
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Re: Reducing heat and light before hibernation

Postby Mortimer » Sun Nov 29, 2015 9:02 pm

Hi Stuart,

Thanks for your reply. The room I mentioned is just where his enclosure is, he will go into a much colder lean-to when he's in his box. I just need to make sure it ticks the temperature boxes.

Should I stop bathing him at a certain point in the wind-down? I've been doing it every other day to flush him out and hydrate him, but I think I read somewhere that if they wee in hibernation they can get dehydrated? Rather confusing!

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Re: Reducing heat and light before hibernation

Postby Tortoise Trust » Tue Dec 01, 2015 7:13 am

Let me just re-iterate the key points. The two main things. Both of which I consistently see keepers taking to unnecessary (and potentially dangerous) extremes.

1. There should be no UNDIGESTED food in the upper digestive tract. This does NOT mean the tortoise should be 100% "empty". In fact, being totally empty is potentially hazardous. I promise you they are not 100% empty when them hibernate in the wild. The caution is restricted to UNDIGESTED FOOD ONLY.

2. They should be a good weight, and adequately hydrated.

Really, that's it. It is no more or less complicated than that.

Urination WHILE IN hibernation can be a sign of problems and I would advise any tortoise that does that - get them up, just to be safe.
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Re: Reducing heat and light before hibernation

Postby Mortimer » Tue Dec 01, 2015 2:27 pm

Dear Andy,

Thank you for your v helpful reply. I've just read your advice to someone about putting holes in the hibernation box. My question is, does Mort (the Tort!) need substrate around him in his inner box? I was going to put polystyrene packing chips in between the inner and outer boxes. I would have thought he would want to dig down into something?

Thanks

Mort's Keeper :)
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Re: Reducing heat and light before hibernation

Postby Tortoise Trust » Tue Dec 01, 2015 11:57 pm

You can indeed provide a substrate in the hibernation box. This can reduce 'scratching' and will further improve temperature stability. A light 'potting soil' type material is suggested.
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Re: Reducing heat and light before hibernation

Postby Mortimer » Thu Dec 03, 2015 10:22 pm

Thank you :)
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