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Hibernating not sleeping?
Posted: 18/11/2009 by Hazel S

Hi I'm Hazel and a new member with another hibernation concern and apologies in advance if it sounds silly. I've owned my tortoise Basil for just over 30 years but this is the first time in years I've hibernated him myself. He used to live in my parents garden and would hibernate himself by digging into the border. As my father died last year my brother in law hibernated him in a box in his garage. This year I'm using the double box method - a tea chest and a smaller lidded box with airholes although it, I used paper wool as the lining and bedding (the pet shop didn't have shredded paper) in my shed. Last Monday I put him in for hibernation but when I checked 4 days later he woke up when I picked him up and again at the weekend, i.e snorted and slowly opened his eyes. Since the temperature went up last week I've followed the advice on this website and put frozen picnic blocks in his box (changing them everyday). Today I checked and found he had completely turned round and when I picked him up he did'nt make his waking up sound and although he was moving legs slightly, his eyes stayed shut. He didn't to be aware of me at all. So my question is, has he started to hibernate rather than sleeping? He stopped eating just over 5 weeks ago, according to the vet he is healthy the right weight and aged 60 to 100 years old! Thanks for any advice.

Re: Hibernating not sleeping?
Posted: 18/11/2009 by tpgAli

Hi Hazel and Click and drag me down to the editor 

It sounds like he might be settling down at last but you really need to stop picking him up so much or you will disturb him, you need to let him settle, you can check him by pulling one of his back legs gently, he will retract it in. They are known to turn round in their box so dont worry about that but if the temps stay mild you may need to put him in a cooler place or leave the shed door open, i used to move my boxes outside at night to cool my lot down, you wont disturb him by doing this. Try not to worry :-)


Re: Hibernating not sleeping?
Posted: 18/11/2009 by Hazel S

Thanks Ali I feel a lot better now. I won't pick him now as often, I thought it was the only way to make certain but will definitely just look to check on him. I forgot to sat that Basil is a Mediterranean Spur thighed tortoise who knows a lot more than me about how to hibernate!

thanks again


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