Hibernation section

All questions relating to hibernation can be placed here. It will make a good reference source for new keepers and keep hibernation related topics in one place, and easy to find.

Re: Hibernation section

Postby CactusVinnie » Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:30 pm

As long as the soil at the tortoise level doesn't dry up, your hermanni will be just fine. Open top is ok if no CO2 drain holes in the bottom; another variant is top cover (not tight) and a few drain holes in the bottom- that should conserve better the relative moisture needed by Hermanni, also offering a better thermic buffering.

Cheers!
Fabian

http://www.coldhardycacti.freehosting.net
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Re: Hibernation section

Postby AmyGregory84 » Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:57 pm

Hi there Fabian,
Thank you so much for replying to my post.
Sorry, i didn't give many details about the wind down, i was looking more for advice on the length of time. Thank you for helping me with the time scales.
I decreased the temp and light gradually before hibernation and bathed daily, i also kept a very close eye on him and he stopped going to the toliet a while before hibernation.
He has been in the fridge for over a month now and looks pretty happy, i get him out every Saturday and weigh him (no loss as yet), i also check for toliet as well as giving him a little sniff to make sure he is nice and fresh.
As you suggested tho, i may extend the wind down to 4 weeks next year, but i am pretty happy, i feel confident he was all good to go this year and so far, he is doing well.
Looking forward to cing him in March - miss him being in the fridge! :o)
Thank you for the response!
Amy
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Re: Hibernation section

Postby Hermmika » Thu Dec 06, 2012 2:07 pm

Hi
Help, I'm terrified of hibernating my 2 Hermanns! Is there anyone out there in the Staffs, Derby area whom I could pay to do this for me?

A couple of years ago the vet recommended not hibernating until the tortoises were at least 5 years of age, so we have not done so. They now weigh 1300 & 1200g and are around 4 years of age - we think.

After reading the excellent article by Kate Bradley I began to make preparations, checking the temperature in the drinks cooler and beginning the cooling down and reducing food process, however, I've chickened out and aborted the whole process and they are still romping around the house and will spend another Christmas with us!

Please help - is it really necessary to hibernate at this age and am I harming them by not?
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Re: Hibernation section

Postby CactusVinnie » Thu Dec 06, 2012 4:14 pm

Hermmika,

At that weight, they should be much older than 4 years, they are nice mature animals. I hope they are smooth and not deformed- can you post pics? Carapace, plastron, side view.
At the same time, they should have been hibernated before- were they?
The vet advice is wrong, they should hibernate from first winter, only 3 months if you are unsure- but checking them regularly you may extend to 4 months, if they are not losing weight.
Also, don't chicken out! If you keep them outdoors- for more vigour; are they outdoor tortoises, btw?- and respect the wind-down principles, nothing to worry about.
Bottom line: not harming them by skipping a hibernation, but they will benefit a lot if you do it. They are built for that.
Next year!
Fabian

http://www.coldhardycacti.freehosting.net
Testudo ibera
Testudo hermanni boettgeri
Testudo horsfieldi
Sternotherus carinatus
Sternotherus odoratus
Chrysemys picta picta
Apalone spinifer
CactusVinnie
 
Posts: 360
Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:24 pm
Location: Bucharest, Romania

Re: Hibernation section

Postby Charlotte&Norman » Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:20 pm

Hi,

I'm hoping you can help me! I have a Hermans tortoise, unsure exactly on age as he came to me as a rescue tortoise, I was told at the time he was about 2 years old which would make him 6 now. When he arrived he had a very badly broken shell and he has spent the last four years successfully re growing it. For this reason I felt as he was not at full health it would be unfair to hibernate him. Norman now has a lovely shell and is an active and healthy tortoise, so this year I decided to hibernate him for the first time. I've bought a fridge and have followed the instructions from the tortoise trust with the wind down period. Norman hasn't eaten for almost two weeks now, this was his own choice as food was provided but he ignored it, so I assumed he was successfully winding down on his own. I am concerned because Norman has lost what I feel to be a lot of weight, relative to his size. He is 1500mm and in November he weighed 487g. He now weighs 447g (although he did do a poo yesterday I still feel this is a lot of weight?) should I be concerned about this? He is now underweight according to the Jackson ratio and I'm concerned about hibernating him.

Any advice you can give me will be very much appreciated.

Many thanks,

Charlotte
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Re: Hibernation section

Postby Joan » Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:29 pm

When did he last have a bath Charlotte and do you know if he has urinated since 487grms?
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Re: Hibernation section

Postby Charlotte&Norman » Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:51 pm

Hi Joan,

Thanks for your quick reply.

He had a bath yesterday but he hates them and does his best to get out so it was no way near the recommended 15 minutes as he would have ended up upside down which he's done before. He urinated and pooed in the bath. Before that he tends to urinate in his bath once a week so I'd say about four times since the 487g weigh in.

Charlotte
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Re: Hibernation section

Postby CactusVinnie » Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:49 am

Hi Charlotte!

All my tortoises are somehow "underweight", and some of them are healthy reproductive animals. It varies a bit, depending on each tortoise. Important is that Norman should be active and healthy, and he will hibernate just fine.
Keep hydrating him. Weight loss is the most drastical during wind-down, and second, during first month of hibernation- but usually you can keep them at zero or insignificant weight loss.
Hermanni being the most moisture resistent, it is the easiest to keep enough moisture in the hibernation box without worry about their respiratory system- of course, a very, very slight humidity level of the substrate, just to prevent any dehydration. They are still tortoises.

Good luck!
Fabian

http://www.coldhardycacti.freehosting.net
Testudo ibera
Testudo hermanni boettgeri
Testudo horsfieldi
Sternotherus carinatus
Sternotherus odoratus
Chrysemys picta picta
Apalone spinifer
CactusVinnie
 
Posts: 360
Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:24 pm
Location: Bucharest, Romania

Re: Hibernation section

Postby Charlotte&Norman » Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:03 am

Hi and thank you for your advice. Normans weight has now stabilised and he now weighs 441g which isnt a huge drop so I feel better about hibernating him now.

The fridge is ready and I'm hoping to have him settled in this weekend. I'm going to let him dig himself down in a box of top soil inside a box of shredded paper, do you think this will be ok? Also if he digs down does this restrict checking his weight and general health while hibernating or is it ok to dig him out regularly?

Many thanks

Charlotte
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Re: Hibernation section

Postby CactusVinnie » Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:11 am

Hi Charlotte,

Yes, the soil will be a great way to limit dehydration- just a very bit of moisture in it, not dry. Even so, you should check him every 3-4 weeks, to be sure. If preparing the scale, it will take about a minute to weigh, examin and return him to the fridge.

Cheers!
Fabian

http://www.coldhardycacti.freehosting.net
Testudo ibera
Testudo hermanni boettgeri
Testudo horsfieldi
Sternotherus carinatus
Sternotherus odoratus
Chrysemys picta picta
Apalone spinifer
CactusVinnie
 
Posts: 360
Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:24 pm
Location: Bucharest, Romania

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