NEW, REVISED SAFER HIBERNATION TEXT

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Re: NEW, REVISED SAFER HIBERNATION TEXT

Postby Anne Metcalfe » Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:48 am

I bought two 12 to 14 year old female Horsfield tortoises in August from a reputable dealer. He says they have been raised in captivity. They have had free run of our garden all summer but were housed at night. We were advised to stop feeding them and get them used to cold temperatures about three weeks ago ready for hibernation. They remained alert and active. The dealer told us to put them back in their heated house and feed them which we have been doing for a week. They eat well but are inactive. He also said we need to make sure they have empty stomachs before hibernating them in December. I am so confused. The tortoises are a good weight and very healthy. How do I prepare them for hibernation. Do I continue with regular feeding or not. Do I keep them warm, or not. Help please!
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Re: NEW, REVISED SAFER HIBERNATION TEXT

Postby Sandy » Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:50 pm

Anne Metcalfe wrote:I bought two 12 to 14 year old female Horsfield tortoises in August from a reputable dealer. He says they have been raised in captivity. They have had free run of our garden all summer but were housed at night. We were advised to stop feeding them and get them used to cold temperatures about three weeks ago ready for hibernation. They remained alert and active. The dealer told us to put them back in their heated house and feed them which we have been doing for a week. They eat well but are inactive. He also said we need to make sure they have empty stomachs before hibernating them in December. I am so confused. The tortoises are a good weight and very healthy. How do I prepare them for hibernation. Do I continue with regular feeding or not. Do I keep them warm, or not. Help please!



The dealer is totally wrong!!!
Tortoises need to have empty stomachs before they hibernate. There are full hibernation instructions on the TT main site.
Most of my tortoises (except the smaller ones) have already dug down in my greenhouse for hibernation. The smaller ones will be wound down at the end of this month.
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Re: NEW, REVISED SAFER HIBERNATION TEXT

Postby Daryn » Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:06 pm

Most of us use the advise on this site.

Winding down takes 4 weeks (stop feeding) but give baths every day so they are getting hydrated, this also encourages them to empty their stomachs.

Keep using the basking lamp for the first 2 weeks from the start of this winding down period. and keep bathing/hydrating.

Switch off the basking lamp for the second 2 weeks again keep bathing and encouraging to drink.

By this time they should have emptied their stomachs, if you find they are still poo'ing then keep them going with the baths every day and keep them awake although they should be well empty by this time anyway.

Hoe this helps.

Click on the following link for more information
http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/n ... ation.html
Daryn the happy geordie

http://www.majorcaforum.com/ my pride and joy travel site and forum
http://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/jillmartinfund
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Re: NEW, REVISED SAFER HIBERNATION TEXT

Postby ihave3horsefield » Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:21 pm

hi, im new to this forum and would like some advice,,,, i have 2 male horsefields about 5 years old and 1 female horsefield that is 4... they stopped eating about 4/5 weeks ago. they are still in there insulated hut and they have really wound themselves down and try digging when possible... the past few nights i have put a hot water bottle in there house as im afraid of the frost.... the hot bottle is covered well, so not possible to get burnt or too much heat. they are all asleep... the girl looks fat, 1 boy looks healthy enough but one looks skinny compared to the others... i have set up a fridge for hibernation but im concerned if they have not taken any fluids in.... any advice please.
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Re: NEW, REVISED SAFER HIBERNATION TEXT

Postby Sandy » Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:06 am

ihave3horsefield wrote:hi, im new to this forum and would like some advice,,,, i have 2 male horsefields about 5 years old and 1 female horsefield that is 4... they stopped eating about 4/5 weeks ago. they are still in there insulated hut and they have really wound themselves down and try digging when possible... the past few nights i have put a hot water bottle in there house as im afraid of the frost.... the hot bottle is covered well, so not possible to get burnt or too much heat. they are all asleep... the girl looks fat, 1 boy looks healthy enough but one looks skinny compared to the others... i have set up a fridge for hibernation but im concerned if they have not taken any fluids in.... any advice please.



You really needed to do the wind down properly. As now you are not really sure what has happened.
They might have stopped eating, but are their stomach empty?
Exactly why you need to have the first week without food, but normal temps.
Second/third weeks, gradually shorten the day, but switching lights on later and off earlier.
During this time, you do bathe them regularly.
By the last week, they should be ready for hibernation :0)
If you keep records of their weights, this will help to know if they are fat enough for hibernation.
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Re: NEW, REVISED SAFER HIBERNATION TEXT

Postby Tortoise Trust » Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:25 pm

You cite ages for the tortoises... but is this accurate? How long have you actually had them?

What is their history?
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Re: NEW, REVISED SAFER HIBERNATION TEXT

Postby ihave3horsefield » Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:30 pm

I bought my female tortoise in april the person i bought her from had her for 3 years and told me she is 4... she had bought her from a pet shop... the boys were given to me by an elderly couple that could no longer manage the boys as they were to fast for them and they did not have the ability to let them wander round the garden, they bought 1 from the local pet shop and was given the second at a reduced price as he was blind in one eye they told me they are 5 years old...... they are all horsefields....the elderley couple used to breed tortoises.I have owned a tortoise before but he was stolen, he did not hibernate as he lived in spain with me and did not have the urge to wind down.
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Re: NEW, REVISED SAFER HIBERNATION TEXT

Postby Tortoise Trust » Sat Nov 16, 2013 1:55 am

First, what they told you was probably made up on the spot and is totally inaccurate.

Please post photos for accurate ID and age.

Do you have these mixed? In contact? If so, this is extremely dangerous. A high percentage of these imports carry CHV (Chelonian Herpes Virus).

We need to see photos to get the ID's and ages confirmed.
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Re: NEW, REVISED SAFER HIBERNATION TEXT

Postby ihave3horsefield » Sun Nov 17, 2013 2:51 pm

just wondered how seeing a picture can help you put an age on a tortoise..... when I collected these tortoises both separate parties were 50 years plus.... surely they would know the ages...... when I was given my boys they were in poor condition as they had slight pyramiding of the shell and their mouths were slightly deformed they hardly walked as they were so fat and in my opinion were lamp and table babies.... within the summer months these boys exercised vigoresly as they have a large run... they were used to eating pellets and I had to ween them onto flowers and weeds. there mouths do not look that bad now as they are growing into them..... as for the girl she is perfect, shell is smooth and her eating habits are what you would expect...I am in my 40s and I owned a tortoise previously and 5/6 years looks about right for the boys.. my tortoise that I had previously was 7 he reached maturity as his winkle used to come out of his body...which was a shock as a tortoise lady in brighton had told us we had a girl....
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Re: NEW, REVISED SAFER HIBERNATION TEXT

Postby Sandy » Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:53 pm

ihave3horsefield wrote:just wondered how seeing a picture can help you put an age on a tortoise..... when I collected these tortoises both separate parties were 50 years plus.... surely they would know the ages...... when I was given my boys they were in poor condition as they had slight pyramiding of the shell and their mouths were slightly deformed they hardly walked as they were so fat and in my opinion were lamp and table babies.... within the summer months these boys exercised vigoresly as they have a large run... they were used to eating pellets and I had to ween them onto flowers and weeds. there mouths do not look that bad now as they are growing into them..... as for the girl she is perfect, shell is smooth and her eating habits are what you would expect...I am in my 40s and I owned a tortoise previously and 5/6 years looks about right for the boys.. my tortoise that I had previously was 7 he reached maturity as his winkle used to come out of his body...which was a shock as a tortoise lady in brighton had told us we had a girl....



Wear and tear of the shell, size and general condition can give you good clues as to the age. Although it cant be 100% sure.
Wild caught tortoises shell are generally smooth as a babies bottom:0) Most captive bred have some sign of pyramiding in one way or another.
Andy has had far more experience than I, and would be more accurate with this.
If they are horsfields, unless they were bred by the previous owners, they would not know the ages, as they don't come with paperwork.
Med tortoises (pre 1970ies ) did not have paperwork with them, as they were wild caught. After the seventies, all captive bred tortoises have paperwork, say when they were hatched. And its illegal to sell ibera, graeca, marginata and hermans without the cities paperwork.
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