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hermanns hibernating
Posted: 22/11/2012 by freddy55

Hi, I want to buy a Hermanns, I'm a first time buyer and I'm doing all my research to make sure I know what I'm getting into. My main question is do they need to hibernate? I am getting a lot of conflicting advice, some say they don't need to and if they do it's more breeding reasons because it makes them more fertile. What is the real deal? also I was also considering a horsefileds one, those ones seemt o definitel need hibernating? what is the main difference between the 2 kinds?



Re: hermanns hibernating
Posted: 22/11/2012 by wizzasmum

Hermanns are a Mediterranean tortoise that has evolved to hibernate in winter. Hibernation slows down growth, giving them a resting period which helps the shell to grow more smoothly. Horsfields come from climates that have harsher winters and sometimes hotter summers than the Med and therefore only eat for three-four months of the year, meaning that if we feed them for 12 months in captivity they will most likely be grossly deformed. They are also a burrowing species, so need to be kept on much deeper substrate to accomodate this - see here

So the answer to your question is. they do better health wise if hibernated, regardless of whether you want to breed from them or not.

If you choose not to hibernate a tortoise, then I always recommend that you keep feeding to a minimum over winter to prevent any weight gain until spring. This is very difficiult to do, as when given heat and light, their main aim is to feed. If the heat and light are reduced, to keep feeding to a minimum, you will likely see them wind down naturally to hiberate anyway. They are quite highly geared to hibernation as this is what they have evolved to do. Tortoises kept awake all winter, appear to have more vets visits than those which don't according to many vets. All of my tortoises hibernate and all thrive ;)

Hope this helps



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