You're in > TPG Members Forum > Hibernation > To Hibernate or Not??

To Hibernate or Not??
Posted: 19/10/2011 by Freddy

I have taken on 3 spurthighed tortoises this summer that have been in the family for over 40 years. Unfortunately one of the males hasn't eaten too well and is underweight for hibernation, this will be the first year he hasn't hibernated and I was after some advice on what is best..... Should I perhaps hibernate him for a short while, or is it safer to not hibernate at all. I didn't want to upset his body clock for future years and am also worried he may not eat if kept awake. Any advice would be much appreciated as I certainly don't want to lose him.    Helen


Re: To Hibernate or Not??
Posted: 20/10/2011 by DavidWYork

Hello Helen. Any recently ill or underweight tortoise should not be hibernated. I would follow hibernation advice on this site for the other two, and keep number 3 awake. He needs to be kept warm and well illuminated, with space to walk about. If you supplement his food with vitamins and minerals, I would not worry too much about UV lighting  for one winter, but if you have it then it will be a bonus. I have used 60 watt reflector bulbs with success, but experiment with the distance above torty to get temps right. He needs easily accessible shade too.You will have to avoid dehydration due to heating and lighting. Bathing a couple of times a week will be beneficial, and he does need to be somewhere warm straight afterwards, to avoid rapid cooling. If you google over wintering a tortoise you will be inundated with advice. Rather than that I would spend an hour or two reading back postings under HIBERNATION on this site. In my time as a member just about every possible question has been asked and answered. This site is a mine of information and expertise. I learn new techniques and tips so often. As for upsetting his body clock, he will cope as long as he has 12 hours brightness and warmth, his pineal gland will fool him into thinking it is still summer and he will suffer no long term effects! Good luck and keep us posted.

Regards, David nr York.


Re: To Hibernate or Not??
Posted: 20/10/2011 by Freddy

Hi David, thank you...that is what I suspected, I will set too and make a "tortoise table" as this will give him the space to move about and he will be able to get away from the heat source. The other 2 will go back to my Mum's where they have hibernated for the last 46 years. They are just under an ordinary reflector bulb when they come out of hibernation as they are early risers!! perhaps he won't notice he hasn't slept.....

Thank you again Helen

Re: To Hibernate or Not??
Posted: 20/10/2011 by DavidWYork

Hi make certain mum keeps an eye on those temperatures this winter. Last year many owners were caught out by the long periods of cold, and lost their long term torty friends. Good luck with over wintering...keep us posted, and don't be worried about asking for advice!

Regards David nr York.


web designer: