Does my Russian (Horesfeild) Tortoise have to hibernate?

Olesia.123

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I have had my tortoise for about two years and I have never been quite sure whether putting him into hibernation is required because I haven't been doing so for the past two winters. I have started to realise that when I might go on holiday for a couple of days or so that if someone is looking after him, that he doesn't eat but sits in his hidey hole and doesn't come out till I return, does that have something to do with it? Is that why he doesn't eat when I'm not around?
 

Lyn W

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I have had my tortoise for about two years and I have never been quite sure whether putting him into hibernation is required because I haven't been doing so for the past two winters. I have started to realise that when I might go on holiday for a couple of days or so that if someone is looking after him, that he doesn't eat but sits in his hidey hole and doesn't come out till I return, does that have something to do with it? Is that why he doesn't eat when I'm not around?
Hi and welcome,
Even torts that naturally hibernate don't always do so if the owners choose to keep them awake and keep their lights on and temps up.
My tort is a leopard so they don't hibernate, but from what I have read hibernation can be a risky business and careful planning is needed.
There is a lot of help available here and if your area has a tortoise group they very often have free vet checks to make sure the torts are healthy enough to hibernate.
There may be a few things that affect his behaviour when you leave him.
Do you leave his heating/lighting on when you are away?
Do your tort sitters come to your house or do you move him to theirs? Torts don't like change so he could be sulking if has has been moved.
If you haven't already found it this will help you https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/
 

Olesia.123

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Well, when I am away my tortoise is kept at home and the people come over to care for his daily needs. I had read on a website that my species of tortoise should not be fed in the winter and should hibernate because that is their time period for hibernating and if you do feed them during that time they could have abnormal growth. I always keep on the heating lamp and only switch off the day light at night time. I will check out the link you sent so thankyou for your help. :)
 

Grandpa Turtle 144

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No tort in captivity needs to bermate! In the wild they do cause of weather or lack of food ! [emoji217]
 

RosemaryDW

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It’s not necessary to hibernate if you have a proper setup. Your tortoise may be less active in the winter when the days get shorter (he might be aware of changing light cycles outside if there is a window in his room). But no, you shouldn’t stop feeding him. I’ve never heard of abnormal growth from winter feeding; that’s possibly old advice? It’s wrong in any case.

If your tortoise isn’t eating for strangers it’s probably because they are strange! :) He’ll be fine eating less or even nothing at all for a few days.
 
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