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Died in hibernation
Posted: 13/03/2011 by Lynn1

Henry my pal for forty years didnt make it this year - it was just too cold.  After forty years of successfull hibernation i should have been more vigilant - totally devistated. Click and drag me down to the editor Checking and hoping is clearly not enough.  So sad.

Re: Died in hibernation
Posted: 13/03/2011 by VivTPG

Hi Lynn, I am so sorry to hear Henry didnt make it through hibernation.  It was exceptionally cold this winter, I bet there a lot that havent made it through.

If you dont mind me asking how and where did you hibernate him, as this is valuable information that might help other tort keepers in the future when considering hibernation for their torts.

Big hugs to you, and RIP Henry, regards Vivienne

Re: Died in hibernation
Posted: 13/03/2011 by TPGDarren

Hi Lynn,

Sorry to hear the news about Henry:-( As Viv said, it was a hard winter for tortoises this year. Any idea how old Henry was please?

Kindest Regards
Darren

Re: Died in hibernation
Posted: 14/03/2011 by tortoise7

Hi
So sorry to hear your sad news, thinking of you

Jane, keya & Molly

Re: Died in hibernation
Posted: 14/03/2011 by Lynn1

Thanks Vivienne for your message.  I am happy to share my hard lesson and hope it will help others.  One reason why i joined your site was to hopefully find some other keepers who had experienced similar situations that i find myself in - riddled with guilt - a hard lesson to have learnt - if only i could turn back time. 


Henry had always hibernated in a wooden box, built by my father some 40 years ago, insulated on the base and then packed with dried oak leaves and more recently some hay aswell.  The box was placed on a shelf in the shed and packed with news papers and a rug on top of it, it was not close to the side of the shed for fear of getting too cold.  Henry always went in to hibernation easily towards the end of October and usually woke in March [although it was Feb last year as the weather was warmer].  I checked him in December and he seemed okay although i was suspicious he was waking up.  I checked him again a week later and he seemed to be asleep so i left him alone until early February when i discovered he hadnt made it.  I am really cross with myself, it was really cold this winter maybe i should have moved him into the house and i feel for sure he would be here now.  Click and drag me down to the editor

Re: Died in hibernation
Posted: 14/03/2011 by Lynn1

Hi Darren

Not absolutley sure of Henry's age - I had him for 41 years but have not much idea how old he was when my father bought him for me.  Previous discussions with my late father led me to believe he was probably 6 or 7 when he was bought - no records were kept back in the late 60's. 

Re: Died in hibernation
Posted: 17/03/2011 by TPGDarren

Hi Lynn,

Thank you for sharing this with us. As Viv has already said I'm sure you're not the only one this has happened to and after hibernating him this way for 40 years, during which time there must have been cold winters, you can hardly be blamed for continuing to hibernate him as you always have done.
It is difficult to say 100% for sure why it has happened, there may well have been something amiss that will never be known.
The extreme lengthy periods of cold may or may not have been the reason why this has happened. The one thing many people can perhaps change to compensate for the cold winters we are having is to use soil as a substrate. Despite the insulation inside the box, the airspace may have become cold. Since we seem to be having some of the worst winters on record and the cold spells seem to be getting longer each year, we need to try and make people aware to replace the airspace with soil. This is much denser than air and will insulate a hibernating tortoise to a far greater degree. We've used natural hibernation with baby tortoises here and have left them outside in a rodent-proof box without any problems - both last year and this year. In the wild, many tortoises are subjected to extreme winters, but are protected by hibernating in soil. The freeze rarely goes down more than an inch or two. The downside to this is the checking procedure is virtually impossible as it would mean constantly digging out a tortoise, but with the cold winters were having, its a case of balancing things up.
We really appreciate you sharing this - it must be very difficult, but at the end of the day there is no sure way of telling 100% for sure what happened we can only try and accommodate our shelled friends the best we can.

Kindest Regards
Darren

Re: Died in hibernation
Posted: 17/03/2011 by Lynn1

Hi Darren

Thanks so much for your input - i really value your opinion and that of your colleagues.  The trouble now is that I miss his little face and am fed up feeling sad so i have made my mind up to look for another tort.  Henry will never be replaced but i need to have a tort around, 40 years is a hard habit to give up!!!  Thanks again Click and drag me down to the editor

Regards

Lynn

Re: Died in hibernation
Posted: 18/03/2011 by VivTPG

Hi Lynn, that is so good to hear that your expertise wont be lost and another tortoise will benefit from it.   Please dont be tempted to buy from a petshop or internet dealer, please see this sad story posted today http://www.tortoise-protection-group.org.uk/site/130.asp?tID=9107

We have a list of UK breeders on the site, here is the link http://www.tortoise-protection-group.org.uk/site/34.asp.

Do let us know how you get on, regards Vivienne

Re: Died in hibernation
Posted: 18/03/2011 by VivTPG

Hi Lynn, I just wondered where abouts you are based, incase I know of any good breeders in your area I could put you on to.

Regards Vivienne

Re: Died in hibernation
Posted: 18/03/2011 by Lynn1

Thanks for the info and sites, but i have already been out and purchased a new tort from The Living Rainforest in Rhyl North Wales - they seemed to be well informed.  I read the sad sorry of the family who purchased from a pet shop, oh i hope it works out for me, i didnt realise that there were breeders in and around the area, probable Cheshire will be the nearest to me.  Nontheless we have now got Toby Click and drag me down to the editora seven year old Greek Spur Thigh which makes him a Testudo graeca i think.

I'll post you a photo when i next log in.

Thanks for all your help and advice its been great Click and drag me down to the editor

Re: Died in hibernation
Posted: 18/03/2011 by VivTPG

Hi Lynn, that's good to hear you have a new one.  There are quite a few breeders around Cheshire, you also have a good tortoise specialist vet based in Tarporly (sp?),   You will be able to see if your tort is an imported one, the country/breeder will be mentioned on the Article 10 paperwork you would have been given.

If it is an imported tortoise, I would suggest you have its poo checked by a vet for worms.

Cant wait to see a picture of Toby, regards Vivienne

 

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