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Are we too late?
Posted: 12/12/2013 by Mkay

I really hope you can advise me. Our 4 Tetsudo hermanni tortoises are 17 months old and as far as we are aware, didn't hibernate last winter before we got them.

Due to my husbands ill health and hospitalization we have been remiss in dealing with the hibernation this year. My main question is are we too late? They were checked by the vat in August and poo sample showed no problems. We brought them indoors in late September and they are happy and healthy in a very large table top home in a room where the ambient temperature is 22 degrees plus appropriate light/heat.

We had hoped to hibernate them in our cellar that normally has a steady temperature of 8 degrees though over the last week, the temperature has been mild around 11 degrees. All of their Jackson ratios are between 0.26 and 0.29 though I find it can fluctuate a lot depending on bowel movements. I've read so much here in Germany and on uk websites and find that advice varies enormously. I'm now in google overload and simply don't know what to do for the best. Will they be harmed by keeping them awake this winter and fed, bathed and heated as normal? Would their hibernation instinct be normal for next year? I'm concerned that it's highly likely my husband needs further hospitalization this year and it would be easier for our neighbors to monitor the tortoises awake as I will have to also be away from home with my husband. I know there are no quick fire answers but just want to do the best we can in the circumstances.

Many thanks for any advice in anticipation

Re: Are we too late?
Posted: 12/12/2013 by Mkay

Just to add to the confusion re advice, the German general opinion is that the tortoises shouldn't be bathed before hibernation as that wouldn't happen in the wild. We have generally followed the uk advice as it makes more sense to us. This includes us making an open table home for them instead of the normal vivacious herr

Re: Are we too late?
Posted: 12/12/2013 by Mkay

Apologies for predictive text.....I meant the normal vivariums here.

Re: Are we too late?
Posted: 12/12/2013 by Tom

Hello,
I`m sorry to hear about the situation, do what is best for you this year.
They will be ok without hibernation & it will be possible to hibe them next year. The trigger is mainly temperature related, but also reduced daylight & the reduction in the wavelength of light, play their part.
Water shouldn`t be offered in the last few days before hibernation.
8 is too high, aim for 3 - 5 & start with 2 months next year.
With best wishes,
Tom

Re: Are we too late?
Posted: 13/12/2013 by Mkay

Thank you so much for your reply Tom. Such a relief to know that they won't be harmed and we will be better prepared for next year. We're praying for a positive outcome for my husband :-)

Re: Are we too late?
Posted: 13/12/2013 by Mkay

Sorry to add to the questions......

By not hibernating the tortoises this winter, should we change their routine in some way ie

Reduce, heat, light and food so that they slow down albeit not sleep as such? Just thinking how it would be in the wild in a warmer med country.

Many thanks for any tips.

Re: Are we too late?
Posted: 14/12/2013 by Tom

Yes, good thinking. Reduce the heat & light to 4 to 5 hours a day, until the end of Feb., & slowly increase in March. Reduce the overnight temperature to about 15 if possible.
Keep them outside as much as poss next year, they don`t need `perfect` weather.
Try an experimental hibe set up in the cellar & take accurate temp readings. Place it on the floor, the temp should be lower than the air temperature & if it`s low enough, you are prepared for next winter.

Regards,
Tom

Re: Are we too late?
Posted: 16/12/2013 by Mkay

Thank you very much Tom. We will cut down and let them slow down. Well also feed less as I think their JR seems a bit high.

Kind regards

M

Re: Are we too late?
Posted: 16/12/2013 by Mkay

Thank you very much Tom. We will cut down and let them slow down. Well also feed less as I think their JR seems a bit high.

Kind regards

M

 

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