Hibernation woes

Brittmarie24

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Savannah, Ga
So my first hibernation season has been a disaster. My Russian tortoise is an adult, we’re unsure of age since she was found wondering the streets. The vet said she was probably a young adult, but she was malnourished. Anyways fast forward and she’s a happy health tort with a large 15x15 ft outdoor enclosure. She eats large variety of greens/veggies/ fruits from rec vet list every other day and has been great.
I was worried because she wasn’t burrowing for hibernation and it was starting to get cold at night here in Ga. She had stopped eating and was tucked partially underneath in her normal half burrows she does. I contacted my vet and he said put cypress mulch around her burrow, help with insulation and to cover her up, etc. all went great. Well this past week it dropped to 29 degrees F at night, highs around 40-50 during the day with 98% humidity and off and on hail and lots of cold rain. I freaked out a little, worried about drainage and dug her up last night since her inclosure is near a stream in our backyard and the stream flooded with the massive amount of rain in last week. Her burrow has some water in it but it wasn’t flooded yet.
I put her inside my grave which is insulated so it’s still around 60 degrees or so, I don’t know if that was wrong to do? I didn’t know where else to put her. She’s in an old tank with her cypress mulch and sand under a log decoration that makes it like she’s burrowed.
My question is should I just let her come out of hibernation and keep her inside all winter? She was only down for like 2 weeks, should I warm her all the way and soak her? Or should I put her back out? It’s gona be in the 70s this week and then the next week it’s back down to the 50s so weather really isn’t my friend right now? Not sure what I should do??
 

Brittmarie24

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Well I had posted an older thread about hibernation questions and someone posted in it a link about hibernation indoors so I think I’ll just follow that, but any more help is appreciated since I would prefer not fridging her!
 

mark1

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i'd vote bring her in and try again next year ……. while I don't hibernate Russian tortoises , i'm pretty sure you don't want to hibernate them in a wet spot ….. I think they hibernate in drier well drained spots ……. maybe someone can correct me if i'm wrong ……..
 

Yvonne G

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I don't care what your vet says, in my first hand experience with russian tortoises if you allow them to get wet during brumation, they die.
 

Brittmarie24

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Yea, she’s inside now. I realize in my post I said grave lol, I typed garage! Darn auto correct! She’s in my garage but it’s insulated, I’m just worried how to keep her in hibernation inside. It’s just too warm, even if I turned ac on! I live in South Ga. it’ll be 30 degrees one day then 78 the next, like literally that happened this week alone. I know people refrigerate them but it’s not something I think I can do, my refrigerator gets too cold even on the highest setting plus I’m just super worried about doing that in general. I am trying right now to keep her cypress mulch/reptile sand cool and moist, she hurried herself down in it. It’s around 60 though, and even with an ice pack on top I can’t get it lower. Is it bad to just get her out of hibernation and keep her in the inside tank all winter with uvb lights and heat lamp??
 

mark1

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I think you should not hibernate her ……. taking them out of hibernation with light , heat and humidity is not harmful …… hibernating them improperly is harmful ……. you could hibernate her next year when you are more prepared ……..
 

Tom

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Well I had posted an older thread about hibernation questions and someone posted in it a link about hibernation indoors so I think I’ll just follow that, but any more help is appreciated since I would prefer not fridging her!
Right now you are in a deadly limbo. You need to decide to either make a proper warm and well lit large indoor enclosure, and keep her up for the winter, or you need to take the correct steps, maintain the correct temperatures and hibernate her safely, indoors in controlled conditions. There is not a way to do it safely outdoors where you are, and I would argue its not safe to do it outdoors anywhere based on how many die and for the wide variety of reason they die when outside or when kept inside but too warm.
 
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