NEW, REVISED SAFER HIBERNATION TEXT

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: NEW, REVISED SAFER HIBERNATION TEXT

Postby olly » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:49 am

Tracy , Bigjoe , Daryn
Thanks for your kind encouragement !....It`s well received
It must be water off a ducks back for you "old hands" , but us newbies witter & worry over the smallest thing !
Mind you , the stress levels have come right down now that Toby has come out well from his first hibernation ......phew
I remember only too well the day we got Toby , from a reputable Aquatics & Garden centre , & was sold all the things that couldn`t have been more wrong !
We came home with a vivarium , food pellets , wood chips, a list of foods to feed him inc lettuce , tomatoes & cucumber AND , the best one yet......was told NOT to let him outdoors for 3 years !!
I came home so proud that I was giving him a good start , but I also , thankfully , decided to look at TT to see if there was anything else I could do....
Imagine my horror when everything I came across told me I had all the worse things I could possibly have !!
Having , quickly , corrected all that , I take all my instruction from TT now on & it`s very reassuring to share even the slightest concerns , without feeling such a plonker !
Thanks again
p.s. having looked at Toby`s underside , do you agree with the vet who said he was a boy ??
olly
 
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Re: NEW, REVISED SAFER HIBERNATION TEXT

Postby Joan » Thu Feb 13, 2014 2:13 pm

Good set ups Olly!

I've looked at your photos and I would think Toby is a Tabitha, doesn't look male to me. He old is she?

No need to feel a plonker - remember the only silly question is the one that isn't asked.
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Re: NEW, REVISED SAFER HIBERNATION TEXT

Postby olly » Sat Feb 15, 2014 12:03 pm

Thanks Joan
WOW....our "boy" is a girl !!
She`s 4yrs old now & we had her at 2 1/2....
The vet told us he was most likely a boy , but it was Nadine who said unless he grows very quickly it`s not easy to sex them until they are at least 6 yrs old !
olly
 
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Re: NEW, REVISED SAFER HIBERNATION TEXT

Postby Sandy » Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:07 pm

Just one vital comment on your indoor enclosure, lovely deep substrate, but I can see your tortoise climbing up and over the sides, very quickly. So just be aware.
The outdoor enclosure is great.
I agree with Joan a girl:0)
Sandy
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Re: NEW, REVISED SAFER HIBERNATION TEXT

Postby olly » Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:37 am

Hi Sandy ,
Thanks , and yes , I did have the same thoughts with regard to climbing out the pen...
It took him a while to settle in as it`s new to him , but now he explores all over , which is lovely , but I`ve sat for hours watching him , and I do my ironing in his room , so I`ve had plenty of opportunities to observe him.
I think it doesn`t matter how big you build his enclosure , he`ll go to the nearest corner and try and climb out !
He even does this in the garden !...and you can`t ask for more space than that !
It always amazes me just how strong they are. He pulls himself up with those front legs , craning his neck , but his little back legs are just flailing around, Inevitably , he topples backwards. My natural instinct was to right him , but I needed to know he could do it himself. What a display of strength to see him even using his head to twist himself round. Now , I`ve strategically placed stones , rocks , plants to help brace himself against them to get back upright , but not close enough to the edges to use as a foothold to hoist himself up and over .... I shall keep an eye on him , but we`ve already thought , as he gets bigger , we may add some beading along the top with a bit of an overhang inwards , so he can`t get over it.
P.S......Sorry , we still keep referring to Toby as He/Him .....we tried all weekend to call him her/ Tabitha , but after so long of calling him Toby Boy, we just couldn`t get into it.....so , different tactics now.....Toby has officially become DAISY.....I`m sure we`ll get used to it , and thanks for that , we fully accept our little tortie is a girl...
olly
 
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Re: NEW, REVISED SAFER HIBERNATION TEXT

Postby Sandy » Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:17 am

They will try and escape more, when they can see the other side, if they can see it, they want to be there:0)
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Re: NEW, REVISED SAFER HIBERNATION TEXT

Postby Kerrylou » Tue Sep 23, 2014 6:39 pm

Hi Can anyone advise me please on how I could build/prepare and area outdoors suitable for a tortoise to self-hibernate. I have been on another forum earlier in the year as we have inherited a 60+yr old tortoise. She has always just looked after herself really in a residential garden, she has been given food but generally looked after herself and hibernated herself in the garden. She belonged to my mums 85 year old friend who died earlier in the year. I am told that last year the tortoise hibernated herself in a rubbish heap that had accumulated in the garden. We have quite a big garden but its very flat and grassy and not too many places to give the tortoise shelter for winter. I wondered can I create a large dirt heap and shield it from rain to avoid flooding .. Id feel more comfortable letting her self hibernate as she seems to know what she is doing and cut down eating naturally a few weeks ago. any help much appreciated thank you Kerry
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Re: NEW, REVISED SAFER HIBERNATION TEXT

Postby Tortoise Trust » Tue Sep 23, 2014 7:52 pm

You cannot assume he conditions will be the same.

The soil type could be different. The temperatures/exposure could be different. Either can be the difference between life and death.
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Re: NEW, REVISED SAFER HIBERNATION TEXT

Postby Madtortlady » Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:10 am

Hello Andy and all,
I am in some (by no means not all, for various, often dubious reasons :!: ) Facebook groups. Many do seem to 'mean well' but lack TT's scientific knowledge.

Several people have commented that they NEVER hibernate their tortoises :!: Having said that,
I don't know what species these owners have. Basically, I am asking 'is the current thinking' that tortoises
now do not need to hibernate at all :?: :!: (maybe I'm somewhat 'stuck' in the late 1950s/early 1960s :D when it was always assumed that tortoises did need to hibernate, albeit being too long a period in temperate countries such as the UK).
We all know, I'm sure that back in the late 50s and into the 60s so very many tortoises died in hibernation, or very soon afterwards.

As a family of 3, we each had one in 1959 (1 one believe one 'escaped' when being looked after by a farmer contact after having WOKEN up fine from 1st winter- Told at age 10 'the tortoise died' as another was def. sick! :cry: :cry: :cry: but the other 2 perished - so sad. I don't believe people back then actually realised how long a tortoise's lifespan can - and ought to be :!: (Almost every other child I knew had had a tortoise at some time or another - 'oh he got out' - 'oh he died' :!: :!: )

I've managed - possibly by 'good luck' (CAN'T rely on that :!: ) to keep up with Terry and Tina hibernating every winter since 1960 :!: However, there is no denying this climate change; this winter until recently having bn. too mild for
'box' hibernation (hence so many people now using the refridgeration method - got that info. all printed off, thanks); also the wet, cool, summers - which are forecast to continue..........

I now own 13 Mediterrean Spur-Thighed tortoises (if I had foreseen this climate change when breeding - for myself - some 20 years ago or so, I would not have hatched so many eggs..........and definitely do not breed to sell :!: )

Hence, basically, DO our Med. torts need to hibernate at all :?: :!: :!: I had had some idea over many years that a hibernation of some sort (shorter in native countries, of course) was 'better' - 'natural' for a tortoise and that their metabolism and bodies almost 'require' it. Logistically, we all need sufficient space indoors :!: (I live in a small bungalow with a small conservatory, into which I do often bring cold and/or recuperating tortoises, but I have to keep the males separate from the females :!: ) this is all fine & set up just fine in the back garden........for when weather suitable.

Appreciate your help getting me to this part of 21st Century :!: :D Smiling.........but concerned. Many thanks, Claire Manigrasso
Claire Manigrasso (Madtortlady)! Been keeping Med. spur-thigheds since 30 April 1960. Never ever, sold any! Due to unforeseen circumstances, sadly needing to rehome some of my 'family'!
TORTOISES ARE STILL 'PETS FOR LIFE & BEYOND'!
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Re: NEW, REVISED SAFER HIBERNATION TEXT

Postby Tortoise Trust » Mon Mar 14, 2016 6:19 am

Madtortlady wrote:Hello Andy and all,
I am in some (by no means not all, for various, often dubious reasons :!: ) Facebook groups. Many do seem to 'mean well' but lack TT's scientific knowledge.


Meaning well is sadly not adequate when you are giving advice that can mean life or death or the difference between a long healthy life and a short, ill one. You only have to look at all the "vivarium" tortoises with MBD for an example.

Madtortlady wrote:Several people have commented that they NEVER hibernate their tortoises :!: Having said that,
I don't know what species these owners have.


It is certainly species specific. Indeed, possibly even population specific. So obviously, it would not be a good idea to attempt to hibernate say, a Hingeback tortoise. May species do, however, hibernate (and possibly estivate too) in the wild and this is entirely appropriate for them. The Testudo greaca here do both, for example. It is part of their natural cycle and natural, normal behaviour.

As to the effects of not doing so in captivity vs. following what they do naturally, there are certainly physiological consequences. Hormone cycles...growth rates.. etc. There is also the problem of providing a genuinely suitable environment over winter. Good luck with that one (avoiding heat lamps, for example).


Madtortlady wrote: Basically, I am asking 'is the current thinking' that tortoises
now do not need to hibernate at all :?


No. Not well-informed thinking, anyway. As for what passes for "thinking" on Facebook, I have no idea.

Madtortlady wrote: (maybe I'm somewhat 'stuck' in the late 1950s/early 1960s :D when it was always assumed that tortoises did need to hibernate, albeit being too long a period in temperate countries such as the UK).


That is generally correct.

Madtortlady wrote: (
We all know, I'm sure that back in the late 50s and into the 60s so very many tortoises died in hibernation, or very soon afterwards.


Most of that was due to lack of correct hibernation technique, and the often poor general knowledge then available.

Correctly managed hibernation is very safe in my experience.
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