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Restless Spur Thigh
Posted: 22/12/2009 by paul W

Hi All

Need some advice. We took in a female Spur Thigh this year- she's about 7 years old and thanks to previous owner and pet shop ignorance she's never been hibernated. She ate well during the summer and gained a good body weight for hibernation. The fridge is at a very consistent 5/6 degrees celsius and she SHOULD be well down... however, this last week she has become very restless and can be heard wandering around her box during the day.

She's lost a gram in weight in the last 4 weeks but I'm concerned with the fact that when checking on her over the last 4 days she's been turning around in her box, head out, legs out, eyes half open and been able to react quickly to my opening the box ie. retreating into her shell in a very awake manner. The thermometer in her box and the fridge both agree that it's the ideal 5 degree temeprature for her to be asleep but she's .. er ... apparently not.

Sorry this is a long post but our little Hermanns is well away this year and I'm wondering if anyone else has experience of spur thighs being restless sleepers or whther we should warm her up and break the hibernation cycle.

Oh and her bedding's dry and unsoiled in any way.

Advice would be gratefully recieved - whilst I'd like her to stay down for a couple more weeks if possible I equally don't want to cause her more damage if she's trying to wake up.


Paul - a man who thought after 8 years he'd be au fait with hibernation by now :D

Re: Restless Spur Thigh
Posted: 24/12/2009 by Dave K

Hi Paul, Dont you just love hibernation!

First off I'll say that my experience is also with Hermanns. I'm very much of the opinion that tortoises are not "asleep" in hibernation. They maintain a degree of awareness that in the wild would allow them to adjust their position is response to changes in temperature around them, attempting to maintain a steady core body temperature high enough to prevent freezing but low enough to prevent an over active metabolism. Its good that the tortoise has experienced virtually no weight loss, personally I'd continue with the hibernation keeping up your regular checks and weighing. I've had tortoises staring at me through their plastic boxes before, it is a bit unnerving but as long as you've got your 5 degrees temperature, the tortoises metabolism should not be able to kick start to a degree where it begins normal bodily function which could lead to an elevated level of waste products in the tortoises system.

Hope this helps a bit!

Re: Restless Spur Thigh
Posted: 24/12/2009 by paul W

Thanks Dave

That actually helps a lot.

Merry Christmas



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