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Hibernating in the garden - advice
Posted: 13/09/2019 by Danielle8991

Hi there, 

Just wondered if anyone had any advice for hibernating my tortoise in the garden this year. I have friends parents who are very relaxed with hibernating their tortoises in the garden from October to feb-March but I feel very anxious about doing it for this period of time when Iíve never done it before. My tortoise is a Hermann and is approx 13 years old. He lives outside from May-October and I normally bring him in after then for winter. Outdoors he lives in a protected large enclosure with somewhere to go into at night off ground level with insulation which he takes himself in/out of. Any advice would be brilliant advising me if this is ok to attempt to hibernate. Iíve read so many doís/dontís about how to hibernate and if Iím honest the whole thing has just confused me. Heís been to the vets today for a weight check and is gaining weight adaquately but the vet didnít have much reptile knowledge and left me with unanswered questions.
Any advice would be great and appreciated. 
Danielle

Re: Hibernating in the garden - advice
Posted: 28/09/2019 by George Norman

Hi Danielle

I also keep Hermanns and first of all I would say that, as they are a hibernating species, I think itís important that they do have the opportunity to hibernate, although I understand many owners choose not to. 
My tortoises live outside. They have a large enclosed garden and a greenhouse equipped with heat and uv lamps which they happily use on cooler or wet days. They tend to come and go as they please and are all healthy and happy with this lifestyle. 
Mine all wind down outside in autumn and go in the greenhouse at night. The last couple of years they have all hibernated very well in the greenhouse. A couple of mine would much prefer to dig down out in the garden and I have kept a close eye on them and I tend to move them into the greenhouse when they start to do this to encourage them to hibernate in there, as I think they are safer and I know where they are! 
Iím not saying this method is right or wrong and I know other owners prefer the fridge method. One concern I would have about them being outside is if it gets very cold because this obviously can harm them, or worse. In my greenhouse they are protected from frost and extremely cold weather. Itís also secure as we originally laid a concrete base and railway sleepers around in a square under the three feet of soil so I also know nothing can dig into there with them. 
I feel happier knowing they are in there and itís lovely in the spring when they start popping their heads up! 
I realise I havenít really answered your question with a definitive yes or no to letting them hibernate in the garden but I would worry about mine without the shelter and safety of the greenhouse. 
Let us know what you decide to do 😊
Susie. 

Re: Hibernating in the garden - advice
Posted: 28/09/2019 by George Norman

Hi Danielle

I also keep Hermanns and first of all I would say that, as they are a hibernating species, I think itís important that they do have the opportunity to hibernate, although I understand many owners choose not to. 
My tortoises live outside. They have a large enclosed garden and a greenhouse equipped with heat and uv lamps which they happily use on cooler or wet days. They tend to come and go as they please and are all healthy and happy with this lifestyle. 
Mine all wind down outside in autumn and go in the greenhouse at night. The last couple of years they have all hibernated very well in the greenhouse. A couple of mine would much prefer to dig down out in the garden and I have kept a close eye on them and I tend to move them into the greenhouse when they start to do this to encourage them to hibernate in there, as I think they are safer and I know where they are! 
Iím not saying this method is right or wrong and I know other owners prefer the fridge method. One concern I would have about them being outside is if it gets very cold because this obviously can harm them, or worse. In my greenhouse they are protected from frost and extremely cold weather. Itís also secure as we originally laid a concrete base and railway sleepers around in a square under the three feet of soil so I also know nothing can dig into there with them. 
I feel happier knowing they are in there and itís lovely in the spring when they start popping their heads up! 
I realise I havenít really answered your question with a definitive yes or no to letting them hibernate in the garden but I would worry about mine without the shelter and safety of the greenhouse. 
Let us know what you decide to do 😊
Susie. 

Re: Hibernating in the garden - advice
Posted: 30/09/2019 by JoandTommy

Our tortoise is over 50 years old and they are a worrying pet to care for. He stopped eating about three weeks ago. He has a large outdoors  secure enclosure and a dog kennel with lots of hay in which he goes in and out of under his own steam. He is shut in his kennel at night. I hate leabing him in the kennel as I always worry he's cold, but I know he needs to get colder to hibernate. He has a bespoke hibernation box in a box with polystyrene insulation between each box, and he usually digs down into the box three quarters filled with shredded paper at the end of October until mid March.  Please putmy mind at rest that it'snotcrueltoy leavehimiyn his outside kennel until mid to end October! Its not like he can say he's not happy, but he has lived a long time. Any advice gratefully received, andWould it be a good idea to buy a mini  greenhouse for his enclosure next year?

 

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