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It's been a while


Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Jul 21, 2010
Location (City and/or State)
San Antonio, TX
Hi guys,

It's been a while. I'll post pictures soon.

Unfortunately, I haven't posted in some time, given that I suffered a tragedy this past winter. Big Gino, the pride of my herd, the big bull male that I raised from a hatchling, the beast who has been with me for a length of time second only to my old man Graecus, my very first tortoise, passed away following a malfunction with the thermostat and backup thermostat on my brumation fridge.

This past winter, both of the thermostats on my brumation fridge failed, causing a freeze that I did not catch for over twelve hours. This was in late December. I work in embroidery, and Christmas time is the busiest time. It means sixteen hour days. So by the time I got back, the frost had done it's damage. After a temperature check upon my return home (it was 23 degrees), I realized immediately that something was wrong. Most of the animals weren't responsive, so I started an early wakeup procedure on everyone so that I could diagnose the problem with the fridge. One by one, over the course of the night, the animals started to come to. By the following evening, all but one were eating.

Big Gino seemed fine at first, even though icicles had formed in the top of his hibernaculum (he was closest to the output at the top of the fridge, so he was coldest longest). Trouble was that he wasn't fully buried. At some point earlier that week, he had dug his way to the top of the box and poked his head above the surface. When the air froze, he just stayed there for some reason. According to the vet who did the necropsy, his soft tissues partially froze, damaging his nose, mouth, and lungs. By the time his body temperature rose to seventy, he was struggling to breathe. He didn't last 48 hours outside the fridge.

I got my baby boy when I was a boy, fifteen years old. Had the kid for over two decades. He was wonderful. And this past winter, I had to bury him.

So yes, after this, with work and business getting busier, I honestly haven't had much interest in posting. I guess it's just the way I deal with this. I've lost tortoises before. Folks who've read my posts know that I've learned how to keep tortoises the hard way. I don't know. It's just that after all this time, and after having made so many mistakes, and having gone so long without losing an animal, especially my beloved Big Gino, I suppose it's new territory, losing a beast with whom I've been through so much.

But yes, I hope to be seeing more of you folks. I can't wait to hear what progress you all have been making on the angulata front. My radiateds have grown quite a bit. Despite Big Gino's absence, life has continued to thrive. What more can we do? But yes, pictures are soon to come.



Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jul 8, 2017
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
TG, I'm so saddened to hear about this. I too use a fridge to brumate. This spring we had an 8 hour power failure. It was long enough that Chug's temp was in the 70's. It was an easy fix...I let him wake up and kept him indoors til the weather cooperated.

But it is always a constant worry, and my heart goes out to you for your loss.

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