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Successful hibernation
Posted: 09/03/2012 by HelenandBrian

Hi everyone,

Successful hibernation completed!!  Click and drag me down to the editor

Brian is a 4 year old Horsfield, this is the 3rd winter I have had him but I didn't hibernate him for the first year as I only got him in September.  Last year I used the fridge method and he hibernated for 6 weeks until I lost my nerve and woke him up.  This year I stopped feeding him on 15th November and put him into the fridge on 6th December, he weighed 133g.  He maintained a weight of 131g until beginning of March when he dropped to 131g so I decided it was time to wake him up. 

I got him out on 3rd March so that was a good three months, I left him at room temperature for half an hour and then put him in his box away from the heat lamp.  He walked to his heat lamp within a further half an hour so I bathed him.  He got out and ate all his weeds and cucumber!  He literally just carried on with life as if he'd never hibernated!!  Last year it took him 3 days before he ate and one of his eyes didn't open for a couple of days. 

Anyway just wanted to share my story of a happy hibernation with everyone.  I'm now preparing his outdoor enclosure for him, it was really hot during April this year and I'm hoping he'll be outside soon.


Re: Successful hibernation
Posted: 09/03/2012 by HelenandBrian

I meant to say his weight dropped to 130g!!  Hibernation is such a strange and wonderful thing, how is possible to eat nothing for over 3 months and only lose 3 g - only 2.25% of his body weight!

Re: Successful hibernation
Posted: 09/03/2012 by DavidWYork

Phew, a sigh of relief for you.

My 3 mature ibera have gradually surfaced from being in 30 cm of soil,and then not moved in a week. Temperature has not risen above 9.8 degrees C yet where they are. They do respond to touch by slightly withdrawing their legs but they are very torpid. Temperatures, however, are set to rise over the weekend, so I reckon I will warm them up tomorrow (Saturday), and start my torty year. It is a time of some anxiety, I need to get them rehydrated and warm, slowly and meticulously.

I have done this for over 40 years now, but never take anything for granted. It is so rewarding to get them feeding again, and restart the year. Lets hope spring arrives with a warm thrust, and not a stop/start period as happens many years! Time to check outdoor pens and make any modifications based on last years observations. Do they need more shade? Are cloched/ covered areas in the right position to be accessible and warm? Have you got the plants they feed on covered to promote early season growth?

Good luck's hoping for a baking season with nocturnal showers!

Regards, David nr York

Re: Successful hibernation
Posted: 10/03/2012 by tortoise7

Hi Helen
Well done, it is a lovely feeling when they wake up and are back to normal so quickly, it truly is amazing. Thank you for sharing your good news it helps us all when goods news arrives,
David has given us lots to think about, so I will go over my check list.


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