Hibernation

Tabby0318

Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2018
Messages
32
Location (City and/or State)
England
Hi, I need some advice on hibernating Tabatha. She is a spur thighed testudo graeca graeca, about 80 years old.

After inheriting Tabby this year from my father in law, it will be the first year we have had to get her prepared.
She had free roam of the garden before and pretty much done this herself. However we have had her inside since we have had her, due to living in a terraced house with quite a small garden and being overlooked,
we also have a child next door that likes to throw things into our garden, so it wasn't an option to have her safely outside (we are looking at moving soon and one of the criteria is the garden). We do put her out in the garden at weekends/evenings when we can watch her.

The weather is getting colder and the past couple of weeks she has been sleeping longer and not eating much, so I am assuming she knows it is nearly time for her to hibernate, but we will be having the heating on soon and need some advice on what to do with her.

I have read not to feed her for 4-6 weeks before and make sure her tummy is empty?
She will have a weekly bath and I have been weighing her every month and will start weighing her weekly now.
She is in the dining room at the moment, but we can move her into the spare room, to be able to control the temperature better.
Do I need to gradually reduce the temperature?
When do I put her into hibernation? (she will be put in my mums garage over the winter)
How long would she need to hibernate for? I have read 5 months, so was looking at the end of October?
I have an appointment with the vets next week to give her a once over, but have a concern about her weight.

Any advice / reassurance greatly appreciated.
 

LaLaP

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Tortoise Club
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Jun 25, 2018
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945
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Portland, OR
Hi! I'm new to tortoises and so I can't help you but I just wanted to say how cool it is that you have an 80 year old tortoise! Did your father in law have her all or most of her life? I'd love to see a photo. She must have been well cared for to be happily in her senior years! I hope someone comes along soon to answer all your questions so Tabatha can have a nice long sleep this winter. Good luck :)
 

Tabby0318

Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2018
Messages
32
Location (City and/or State)
England
Hi, thanks for the reply.
My father in law had her for about 11 years and he got her from a friend who's mother had passed away. I believe the previous owner had Tabby most of her life. I am glad we have her, she is such a character ☺
Pic uploaded.

20180909_141902.jpg
 

Tabby0318

Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2018
Messages
32
Location (City and/or State)
England
Hi, thanks for the replies. I think I am just panicking a bit. I have read up on it but wanted to get it right for her.
Her weight is ok, my scales were wrong.
She has a slight eye infection, so need to get that cleared up before hibernating, which I am planning for the end October.
 

JoesMum

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5 Year Member
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Oct 26, 2011
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21,512
Location (City and/or State)
Kent, South East England
Hi Tabby from Kent!

your Tgg is an old-timer just like my Joe and will definitely need to go outdoors.

The temperature MUST be below 10C, ideally around 5C, for a tortoise to hibernate. Your spare bedroom will be far too warm.

If you can rely on steady cold temperatures you could use a shed or garage, but here in Kent I had to give up and buy a fridge to hibernate Joe.

Happy to answer any questions
 

Tabby0318

Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2018
Messages
32
Location (City and/or State)
England
Hi Tabby from Kent!

your Tgg is an old-timer just like my Joe and will definitely need to go outdoors.

The temperature MUST be below 10C, ideally around 5C, for a tortoise to hibernate. Your spare bedroom will be far too warm.

If you can rely on steady cold temperatures you could use a shed or garage, but here in Kent I had to give up and buy a fridge to hibernate Joe.

Happy to answer any questions
Hi Joes mum,
I was going to put her in the spare room just for the 4-6 weeks preperation. I can leave the window open with no heating. I was thinking of buying a small air con unit to control the temp better for the 4 weeks. I don't have anywhere suitable in the garden and no shed or garage. So she will be going to my mums as she has an enclosed passage way between her garage and house. My father in law would put her in a box in the garage, so she is used to that. I could use the air con unit to keep the temp stable.

I have thought about a fridge but have a few worries with that method.

I am in Northamptonshire, so temps won't be too different from Kent. Might have another look at a fridge though if the weather is going to warm up again ☺
 

Tabby0318

Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2018
Messages
32
Location (City and/or State)
England
Thanks, that is certainly helpful. I have lots planned when we can get her outside, especially a small house like the cosy tortoise website. I have spent a lot this year on bushes and plants which are big enough for her not to trample on.
Regards to her hibernation she slowed down her eating a couple of weeks ago when the weather turned. She is weeing every 4-5 days now. I am bathing her once a week and checking her weight.

Here she is having a soak.

Thanks so much for your help and I'm sure there will be more questions ☺
 

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