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He's awake!
Posted: 18/12/2009 by Hazel S

Yep and it's all my fault. Last night with the temperatures already going below what is safe and due to go into minus I charged out to the shed and got basil in. I put in the coldest part of the house which 11 degrees and put wrapped ice packs in with him. My reasoning was an awake tortoise was better than a dead one. And I don't have heating in the shed as I was worried about fire risks and there's no electricity out there. Anyway sure enough this morning someone is moving around his box with his eyes open and now seems wide awake. I'm not set up with indoor equipment yet ( I thought I'd got another 2 months) so I've put my desk lamp over him whilst he's in a large wooden crate. Should I look to get a tortoise table for him? As well as a proper basking lamp and get some weed seeds planted? I know I could probably have left him as he hibernated through snow last year but couldn't risk it this year. Oh and I will shortly be giving him a bath. Thanks for any advice Hazel

Re: He's awake!
Posted: 18/12/2009 by Hazel S

Sorry I just wanted to make clear that I did not intentionally wake him up and knew there was a risk of him breaking hibernation but thought that was preferable to him being frozen to death. Thanks hazel.

Re: He's awake!
Posted: 19/12/2009 by tpgarlene

Hi Hazel

Dont worry, you did exactly the right thing - every year I end up with a tortoise awake earlier than anticipated for one reason or another!

You will need a tortoise table style set up for him, and a proper uv basking lamp, but in the meantime what you are doing sounds fine - his immediate needs are for an open topped enclosure, large enough for him to move around in, and deep enough so he cant climb out, and a basking source to warm up under - this is really important as he wont start to eat until he is warm.  I use the bendy desk lamps and they do work well - you might just need to adjust the height it is at to get a temp of around 30 - 32c underneath.  Make sure the lamp is at one end of the enclosure so that he can move in and out of the basking area, and of course make sure it is secure and not liable to be knocked over :)


Arlene TPG

Re: He's awake!
Posted: 21/12/2009 by Hazel S

Hi Arlene
Thank you I feel a lot better and less stupid! Today he hasn't been that active but he has been quite lively - trying to climb out mainly! He doesn't seem too interested in eating, although today I managed to get him to take have a bite of fig. I don't give him fruit as a rule but I know he is partial to fig.
I will have a read on the website about enclosures and lighting but I am a bit concerned about basking lamps especially leaving it on when I'm not at home as I read a news story about a flat fire caused by a basking lamp that fell into the tortoise enclosure.
I've given him a bath everyday so I know he's hydrated and that seems to warm him up, I just hope he starts eating asap.

thanks for the advice


Re: He's awake!
Posted: 24/12/2009 by Dave K

Hi Hazel,


Just a quickie on your concern about leaving a lamp on all day. If you buy either an Exo Terra Wire lamp holder or an Exo Terra Clamp Lamp holder this will get round the problem of a falling lamp (which is rare if properly fitted) starting a fire by touching the substrate. The wire lamp holder sits the bulb in the mddle of a "cage" and the clamp lamp has an accessory you can buy which is a grille that fits over the business end.

Re: He's awake!
Posted: 07/01/2010 by chuck72

We have just arrived home from being away for a month - our Hermani tortoises have been hibernating for 3 months and havent lost any weight after weighing them last week but I am worried at what temperature drop do we need to bring them in and wake them up? We are approaching -1 C in their double lined box and have continued to buffer around the boxes wtih bubble wrap and extra insulation to keep a buffer but at what temp do I need to call it a day and bring them in and wake them up?

Re: He's awake!
Posted: 08/01/2010 by tpgarlene

Hi - if the temp INSIDE their box is approaching -1C then you need to get them up immediately - these are dangerously low temperatures

Arlene TPG


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