Dead tortoise!!!!

JaymeR

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OMG I just found my desert tortoise dead!!!! I don’t even know what to say!

I have/had 2 tortoises. One is female and prob late 20s or early 30s. Then I had an almost 12 year old that I have had since it was about 1. He is very active and actually woke up earlier then our big one. I had them hibernating in the garage in a dog kennel because we got some rain and I had to move them. He wanted out a couple weeks ago so I let him out in the back for a few days then we got more rain so to be safe I just put him back in the kennel because the big one was still in there. Sunday I looked in the kennel and it looked like both turtles were laying in a puddle and I assumed one had peed. The weather was nice again so I put them both in the backyard. Yesterday I went to check and the little was sleeping and our big one was roaming. I though to check on the little but didn’t. I just went outside and he was in the same spot so I checked, he wasn’t moving. He doesn’t really look dead but he is, must have died in the last 24 hours! I don’t even know what went wrong, why he would die all of the sudden! I don’t even know what to tell my kids when they get home!
 

Tom

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Inconsistent winter temperatures.

They need to be hibernated all winter long at the correct consistent temperature. I find 50 works well for DTs. But when some days are 85 and some nights are 27, and everywhere in between, and above ground tortoise's body doesn't know what to do. Likely he woke up during the warm weather, ate, and then had no way to warm up and digest what he ate. Food rotted in the gut and killed him. Happens all the time.
 

JaymeR

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Inconsistent winter temperatures.

They need to be hibernated all winter long at the correct consistent temperature. I find 50 works well for DTs. But when some days are 85 and some nights are 27, and everywhere in between, and above ground tortoise's body doesn't know what to do. Likely he woke up during the warm weather, ate, and then had no way to warm up and digest what he ate. Food rotted in the gut and killed him. Happens all the time.
Omgosh, we have had crazy weather days here in CA... freezing then warmer. I’m so sad! I have an older one that I hope is ok.
 

wellington

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So very sorry. I know nothing about DT and hibernating. However, my guess from what Tom said is the probable cause, I would keep your other one awake if he has woken already and has eaten. Set him up in a warm place and keep him warm with a basking area. Not letting him go in and out of hibernation if he has eaten.
@Tom can correct if I'm wrong.
Good luck
 

Tom

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So very sorry. I know nothing about DT and hibernating. However, my guess from what Tom said is the probable cause, I would keep your other one awake if he has woken already and has eaten. Set him up in a warm place and keep him warm with a basking area. Not letting him go in and out of hibernation if he has eaten.
@Tom can correct if I'm wrong.
Good luck
You've got it right. EIther hibernate them at the correct temp and keep them down all winter long, or don't hibernate them at all and make sure they are kept warm enough and active so they can eat, drink, digest, and so their immune system can function through the entire winter.

Its the back-and-forth limbo that kills them.
 

JaymeR

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You've got it right. EIther hibernate them at the correct temp and keep them down all winter long, or don't hibernate them at all and make sure they are kept warm enough and active so they can eat, drink, digest, and so their immune system can function through the entire winter.

Its the back-and-forth limbo that kills them.
Our big one is up and walking around today. It’s warm here and supposed to be warm for a few days. Is there an official date they are usually up and out of hibernation? I never really paid attention.
 

Tom

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Our big one is up and walking around today. It’s warm here and supposed to be warm for a few days. Is there an official date they are usually up and out of hibernation? I never really paid attention.
There is no "official date". I usually put them down in early December and wake them up mid March. But when I wake them, I have a "plan B" for if the weather unexpectedly turns cold again two weeks after I get them up.
 

Alex Z

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So sorry for your loss. Just break it to the kids. Gebtly but tell them. Explain, nature does these things.
 

Beasty_Artemis

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Im sorry! That is so sad to read. Alot of fluctuating temperatures right now.
We have been having some late freezing
temps here on the Oregon coast too. Really warm, then freezing cold. I was panicking when I saw my temps in my tortoise room drop significantly. I'm glad I'm always obsessively checking in there. Stories like this scare the heck out of me!
 

orv

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My experience with CDTs has been that they often come out of brumation about once during the winter months to have a drink. I don't allow them to eat - very important - during this quick time in the sun. Our experience here in the California desert has been that they go down into their deep burrow in early November and return to a normal above ground life sometime in March. So far this year, we've only had a couple of warm days. I expect them to reappear soon should this weather continue. The only tortoise we've ever lost was our original male which i obtained as a small boy in 1952. He was an adult when I began caring for him and he stayed with us for 62 years with the exception of 5 years in the 1960s. He failed to reemerge from brumation in 2013. You can read my original post here on the forum for that complete story.
 
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