Frost damaged tortoises this winter - YOU can help

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Re: Frost damaged tortoises this winter - YOU can help

Postby Matt » Wed Apr 13, 2011 4:27 pm

Claire Summerley wrote:Andy, Julie, is there anything we can do to reduce this horrible suffering and needless loss of life before next autumn and winter? I agree, we need to reach people who perhaps don't have access to the internet, or wouldn't even consider that the hibernation method they've used for decades is not safe.

I'm happy to print off and distribute the 'Safer Hibernation' guide to vets, petshops, reptile centres etc in my area and am wondering if there's a better method than me copying and pasting into Word (it is 20 pages of A4). Were the Hibernation Guides previously distributed in a similar format to the free A5 size "Taking care of pet tortoises"? I had quite a supply of these and they went down well with shops and friends of friends who were considering buying a tortoise. I'm just wondering if there is a stock of the hibernation guides anywhere, or whether members could do some fund raising, specifically to help with printing costs? I would be happy to help with delivery / posting them out. Perhaps this, along with a nationwide press release with shocking facts and figures, may help some tortoises and their owners that have managed to survive last winter, survive winters in the future.

Claire

Great ideas Claire,

But at the moment that won't help as there is no mention of fridge hibernation in the "Safer Hibernation and Your Tortoise", a "Comprehensive Guide".

Edit: Andy said "This guide was specifically aimed at people who hibernate in sheds and outbuildings."
Which is why I was asking if the fridge method could at least get a mention and hopefully a lot more. As if they don't know about other methods then they won't ever change to something safer like the fridge. Maybe a whole new article is needed ? I would be quite happy to force my local (tortoise selling) pet shop to print off a few hundred copies and leave them for people to pick up.

A shorter version for people who do have access to the internet, with basic information and details of where they can find out more, might be very useful too.
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Re: Frost damaged tortoises this winter - YOU can help

Postby Claris » Wed Apr 13, 2011 5:01 pm

Just what I was thinking too, Matt :D There is so much useful information in the different hibernation articles on the TT website that have been added and amended over the years, that a new, printable 'leaflet' style, combining all the key points would be really helpful to convert stubborn / less well informed tortoise keepers - especially for those people who perhaps struggle with taking in lots of information at once ;) It's just the time required to write it I expect, with everything else going on...

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Re: Frost damaged tortoises this winter - YOU can help

Postby Tortoise Trust » Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:17 am

There is already a condensed print edition. It was last updated in 2009 and does discuss refrigerator hibernation. The text on the website really does not need to go into that subject as it sits right alongside some very detailed separate articles on the topic. We have now sent out (in total) over 100,000 copies of various versions of "Safer Hibernation" by mail. All free of charge. It has had multiple revisions over the years, and is due another one. It will highlight some of the recent tragedies in the hope that people will take it seriously. We will be doing it in full colour this time and will also make a PDF download available and a poster... we will also be running a press campaign before next winter. Prior to (and during) this winter we also sent out 5,000 emails to warn people of the dangers of freezing. We also used Facebook. No doubt, this did help, but unfortunately, not everyone bothers to seek out information on the topic in the first place... until they find their tortoises dead or blinded.
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Re: Frost damaged tortoises this winter - YOU can help

Postby Claris » Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:20 am

Tortoise Trust wrote:There is already a condensed print edition. It was last updated in 2009 and does discuss refrigerator hibernation.


That's OK then Andy :D , I couldn't remember seeing one, but thought this must have been done recently. I'm more than happy to help with distributing the new version, and shall print off copies of the poster when available to send out / deliver to vets and shops. (I could start by targetting all the reptile shops that advertise in Practical Reptile Keeping for example, asking them to display it in their shops). 100,000 copies and 5,000 emails is very impressive... And makes the increasing stories of dead and blinded tortoises this year even more heart breaking.

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Re: Frost damaged tortoises this winter - YOU can help

Postby Tortoise Trust » Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:34 am

It has had, I think, about 11 revisions, Claire (I will go and check). The website one is just one example. We updated it every few years.
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Re: Frost damaged tortoises this winter - YOU can help

Postby insenceaddict » Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:07 am

I recall there also being a DVD so that people can SEE exactly how to do it. think i have it somewhere in my tort stuff.
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Re: Frost damaged tortoises this winter - YOU can help

Postby Tortoise Trust » Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:16 am

Yes, it is temporarily not available but will be again soon. So will the one on refrigerator hibernation.
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Re: Frost damaged tortoises this winter - YOU can help

Postby Matt » Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:13 pm

Tortoise Trust wrote:There is already a condensed print edition. It was last updated in 2009 and does discuss refrigerator hibernation.  

Great :) , could you make that version available to print or give us the link, any other condensed print editions would be very useful too. 
I would like to drop a few off at my local petshop and hopefully they could then print their own out. They know nothing about tortoises. 
Tortoise Trust wrote:The text on the website really does not need to go into that subject as it sits right alongside some very detailed separate articles on the topic.

Am I right in believing that the TT does not really approve of box hibernating in sheds and would rather owners move to other safer methods ? If so you could state this at the start of the article, it might help push people in to reading your other detailed fridge hibernating articles and then deciding not to box hibernate in sheds. 
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Re: Frost damaged tortoises this winter - YOU can help

Postby Tortoise Trust » Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:25 pm

I will get a PDF of the new one up as soon as it is done. Print copies will also be available well in time for next winter.

We will certainly reinforce the point that shed/outbuilding hibernation is probably THE least satisfactory method. That said, trying to explain to some people that many of use use 'fridges is an uphill battle. They react like it must be a joke.
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Re: Frost damaged tortoises this winter - YOU can help

Postby ptcmaggie@gmail.com » Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:49 pm

I live in Minnesota, USA. We use 60 watt light bulbs down in the wells to keep everything thawed. If you are using sheds or out buildings of some sort, could you keep the torts more confined and away from the walls when they hibernate? Build a tent of some sort around them similar to a green house, loosely drop hay or straw on top of the tent and hang a 60 - 100 watt light bulb inside. With a thermometer inside adjust the wattage to achieve a temp below 50 deg but higher than 35 deg. Using about 12 inches of hay or straw on top of the tent insulates quite well. Keeping the tent about 18 to 24 inches above the torts level of cover should be fine. Any other thoughts out there about this?
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