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New to hibernation - help!
Posted: 02/11/2010 by Tarkie

Hi All, I am delighted to find you! I have a Horsfield male tortoise (Tarquin - aka Tarkie) who is apparently about 5 years old. He weighs just under 600g. He has never been hibernated by his previous owners, who handed him to us in May before moving abroad. He spent summer outdoors in a fantastic large enclosure that we enjoyed making. He ate well and was very active, climbing, digging and amusing the children. Lots of wild weeds and a passion for dandelions and petunias.

Things have changed with the seasons! I just can't see how they 'over wintered' him. It's stressful trying to keep him going and I can now see from reading fact sheets and forum posts that he is about 2 weeks into wind down (without telling me!).

I have been bathing him once a week and he stopped eating 2 over weeks ago despite being offered food, no poo or urine for 2 weeks either. He is indoors, with a heat lamp and UV light, which I have started to limit, and seems happy dug into his sand/soil substrate.

I have decided to fridge hibernate him, but I have a few questions:

  • At end Sept he weighed 604g, end Oct 596g - is this normal after summer?
  • Should I follow a more regular bathing pattern?
  • Should he see the vet before I commit him to the fridge, I am worried he's got skinny legs?
  • Any boxes you can recommend? I don't plan to use cardboard.
  • Am going to buy an Exo terra thermometer and get that in the cellar fridge this week to set it up over the next few weeks and check it's cool enough. Is Exo Terra a good choice?

Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks, Sarah (oh and Tarkie!)

Re: New to hibernation - help!
Posted: 03/11/2010 by tpgAli

Hi Sarah,

It sounds like you already know what your doing. His weight seems ok, bathing every other day would be ok but it seems he may of already emptied out. No need to see a vet unless you are worried about him in general. I use really thick cardboard boxes as i find plastic ones tend to create condensation. Im not sure on the thermometer you are wanting to use, is it a digital one? If not then it wont be any good as you need an accurate reading which you will get from the probe.


Re: New to hibernation - help!
Posted: 04/11/2010 by Tarkie

Thank you for the vote of confidence - that's cool. Umm, I was thinking about condensation being a problem too. OK, I'll find a thick cardboard box. Yes, Exo terra have a digital thermometer which also reads humidity, I'm ordering it tonight.

S & T


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