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Help! I'm scared...
Posted: 13/11/2012 by tobathia

I have a tortoise that I am hibernating for the first time - for me and him.  He is 2 years old and I have had him checked out by a vet and is perfectly healthy.  He livs in a vivarium, and I have been fasting him for a week, intending to hibernate him next week.  We have a safe box and safe summer house to lock him in - I am just terrified I will do something wrong that will harm or even kill him.

I am bathing him daily, and he is still active.  He has slowed down though.  We are intending to fill the box with hay and place him there for 8-12 weeks.  What if he doesn't go to sleep?  What if he starves and I won't realise?  I have looked on so many websites, spoke to various people who own tortoises and everyone does it differently.  I don't know what is right and what is wrong. 

I would really appreciate some feedback so that it goes smoothly and that I can stop worrying about him so much! (Can't believe I love a tortoise so much!!)

Thank you


Re: Help! I'm scared...
Posted: 16/11/2012 by wizzasmum

You are going to find it really difficult, if not impossible to wind a tortoise down in a vivarium habitatas the temperatures need to be gradually cooled. If you take him from a viv and put him into a box of hay, there is  a high chance of losing him. If everyone is doing it differently, then someone is going to have a problem. Have you followed a wind down plan from any website? If not, I suggest you have a look at this one for it's hibernation help. I have some advice here  but whatever advice you follow, I would suggest that you get him used to living out of a viv before attempting to hibernate him. You say you have a safe summer house, were you intending to hibernate him here? Have you checked the temperatures in there throughout winter - you need to be aiming for 5 degrees. If the temperatures freeze, then the tortoise will die and if they rise, such as on a sunny day,  then he will wake and possibly become dehydrated. If he wakes and then goes back to sleep, then he will lose the glycogen boost that tortoises have to the liver to help them get going again after the long sleep. You can see that hibernation is not just a matter of putting them into a box and getting them out again in spring.

Hope this helps


Re: Help! I'm scared...
Posted: 16/11/2012 by wizzasmum

I'm just wondering, did your vet give you any advice for hibernation?


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