Hibernation is one of the most talked about issues connected with tortoise keeping, and we provide here a series of guides that cover all the major areas of hibernation, including how to assess whether hibernation is appropriate for your tortoise,  the preparation (wind-down) for hibernation, the various methods used to hibernate tortoises,  what to look for during hibernation to ensure that the tortoise is hibernating successfully, and the procedures to follow in waking up a tortoise at the end of hibernation.  Individual keepers will inevitably still have questions, even after reading the guides, please feel free to raise these on the "Hibernation" section of  the TPG Forum or alternatively on our Facebook Forum..

It is imperative to know that the tortoise is a hibernating species, as any attempt to hibernate a non-hibernating species could prove fatal, particularly with tropical tortoises. 

Your tortoise must be in excellent health in order to hibernate.

If there are any doubts DO NOT risk hibernation.  Overwinter the tortoise instead.


Preparation is everything in hibernation, and winding down the tortoise in readiness for hibernation will take several weeks. 

In recent years, the milder winters in cooler countries such as the UK have proved problematic for many tortoise keepers who previously used the box hibernation method, particularly for those who keep young tortoises, which may not be as resilient as adults.  Many new and experienced keepers are therefore now opting for fridge hibernation as an alternative. 

It is important when the tortoise is removed from the hibernation box at the end of hibernation that it is woken up using a recognised procedure to keep problems to a minimum. 

We hope that our documents will guide you safely through the process of hibernation, but even the most experienced keepers have questions about various aspects so please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments you might have after reading our guides.

Preparing the Tortoise for Hibernation (Wind down procedure)

Fridge Method of Hibernation

Box Method of Hibernation

Natural Method of Hibernation

Waking a Tortoise up from Hibernation

All tortoises should start eating within 1 week of waking up from hibernation.  If they do not veterinary help should be sought.


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