My Desert Tortoise Starting Hibernation

JohnnyB65

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It looks like my Desert Tortoise is getting ready for Hibernation. He hasn't eaten for about 4 days except for a nibble or two. He came out of his burrow today covered in dirt so I know he been redecorating. Last year he was already in to hibernation at this time or at least wasn't coming out and I was worried he would come out too soon in the spring. He did OK though and did not come out early.

MrTbeenWorkingonburrow_1_zps4d27b06b.jpg
 

Yvonne G

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Mine here in the Central Valley of California, are still eating.
 

JohnnyB65

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I’m in the high desert and the weather has changed quite a bit this last week and has dropped 30°F from the week before. The nights have been down to 50°F and lots of heavy dark clouds passing through in the last couple of days. When I first adopted my tortoise I was told they go into hibernation at the end of Oct or beginning of Nov, but mine has repeatedly over the years started in the beginning of Oct.
 

ascott

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I’m in the high desert and the weather has changed quite a bit this last week and has dropped 30°F from the week before. The nights have been down to 50°F and lots of heavy dark clouds passing through in the last couple of days. When I first adopted my tortoise I was told they go into hibernation at the end of Oct or beginning of Nov, but mine has repeatedly over the years started in the beginning of Oct.


Two of the men folk here are obviously feeling the same itch that yours is...but the other two are still eating, though not nearly as much...over the next two weeks I will slowly back off of any supplemental food offerings with anticipated target date Oct 15 as absolute no further supplementals....that of course can change according to many variables....but that is my normal plan of action....based on their behavior of course...

I have to say, I love seeing a tortoise with a dirt back pack...fantastic....
 

JohnnyB65

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It was warm today and my Tortoise was pretty active. He ate a little grass but not really interested in his regular food.

I decided to soak him today one more time before hibernation, but he wasn’t into it at all and I didn't really force the issue.

TortoiseSoak_1_zps8ecd7ce9.jpg
 

TigsMom

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My two guys are slowing down on eating, but still eating. One didn't come out of his burrow all day yesterday. Took alot of coaxing to get him out today. We've cooled down here in Western Arizona, but these two typically don't brumate until closer to Thanksgiving. We'll be warming back up again this weekend. Consistent temps below 70 usually sends them right into brumation, We've had mid to high 60's at night (unusually cool for us at this time of year) which I'm sure is what is slowing mine down. Going to buy a pumpkin this week just for them and the boxies to help clean them out and give them a treat. Who knows what the weather will be by Halloween, these guys just might go to bed early this year. Time will tell.
 

JohnnyB65

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My two guys are slowing down on eating, but still eating. One didn't come out of his burrow all day yesterday. Took alot of coaxing to get him out today. We've cooled down here in Western Arizona, but these two typically don't brumate until closer to Thanksgiving. We'll be warming back up again this weekend. Consistent temps below 70 usually sends them right into brumation, We've had mid to high 60's at night (unusually cool for us at this time of year) which I'm sure is what is slowing mine down. Going to buy a pumpkin this week just for them and the boxies to help clean them out and give them a treat. Who knows what the weather will be by Halloween, these guys just might go to bed early this year. Time will tell.
A pumpkin? Wow I didn't know they would eat one, but I like that idea.
I usually grow squash in my garden but this year my garden was a total disaster and I don't have any idea why. It was almost like someone sprayed herbicide on it because it started out good.
 

TigsMom

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Pumpkin meat, guts and seeds, help torts naturally rid themselves of parasites. My torts enjoy a bit of it, my box turtles go nuts for it. I like to give them some before brumation season in hopes that it helps them a bit. Couldn't prove or disprove it works, but my torts and boxies haven't been ill or shown any signs of problems. There have been a few years that they didn't get their pumpkin because they had stopped eating for brumation, so if I give them some this week they'll be sure to have their fill. If they're still awake and eating well a few days before Halloween, then they can have some scraps from our Jack O' Lantern carvings too.
 

ascott

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So I bought a small pumpkin today and gave it to him, but he just stuck his nose into it and went back inside his burrow. :(

Laughing really hard here (apology)....the torts here don't go crazy over it either....perhaps cut it up some and then cook it a bit so it is soft and then try again....
 

ascott

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It looks like my Desert Tortoise is getting ready for Hibernation. He hasn't eaten for about 4 days except for a nibble or two. He came out of his burrow today covered in dirt so I know he been redecorating. Last year he was already in to hibernation at this time or at least wasn't coming out and I was worried he would come out too soon in the spring. He did OK though and did not come out early.

MrTbeenWorkingonburrow_1_zps4d27b06b.jpg


I think that you should enter this pic in the calendar contest...a beautiful example of what a burrowing tort should look like 99% of the day...
 

JohnnyB65

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Thanks Angela, I’d like to see a video of them actually digging because I just don’t understand how the dirt gets on top of them unless their ceiling caved in on them. :confused: I mean it's not like their shoveling it out over their back or are they LOL

The photo below is from Sept 2012

DirtyTortoise_1.jpg
 

ascott

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Thanks Angela, I’d like to see a video of them actually digging because I just don’t understand how the dirt gets on top of them unless their ceiling caved in on them. :confused: I mean it's not like their shoveling it out over their back or are they LOL

The photo below is from Sept 2012

DirtyTortoise_1.jpg


Here is what I have observed and figure plays into it alot....so, my question was always "how the he&* to they get the roof of their burrow so exact to their shell"...so I have observed the most recently wild guy here (Ghamara) after he has dug enough for his head and front 1/3 of the shell to go into the ground...he then began to rock (is the best descriptive I can think of, may rub would work also) his shell from side to side and then would turn around, literally turn around scraping the shell into the hole, then he would go back to doing that over and over again....he continued this for some time....and he went further into the hole he would dig with the front and push it back towards his rear legs where he would then push it on out with the back legs.....and this continued....so my guess is that dirt we see on the back is a combination of the front legs flicking the dirt during digging and the shell being the boring tool to get the custom fit....this is what I have observed and seems to bee what the other two torts here who dug their burrows do as well....again, my simple unscientific observation shared here....:D
 

ascott

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of cours different species but still offers the same insight into the digging and flipping of dirt during burrow construction...

This too...however, the narrative is the most entertaining....the realization of the earth movement these guys can do...lol

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/Gopherus_polyphemus#p004h7lz
Well, this one is just awesome ....
 

JohnnyB65

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OMG thank you Angela, those are incredible videos! WOW. The first video defiantly showed how the dirt gets on top. ;)

I found that second video very informative especially about them wanting rain to go in. I sprayed water into my burrow while I was shoving in the dirt. Not to make it muddy, but to give it some consistently so that I could pack it down with the shovel and so it would not be dusty. I’m glad I did now, but I wish I would have added a little more water now that I know the benefit of it.

And that remote controlled car with camera was cool and I may make one of those out of my grandsons RC Cars so I can see what my tortious has done to his place but it’s all over if I see a Rattle Snake in there. LOL

I don’t like snakes and I have some stories to tell about them. I even got bit with a huge Mohave Green, but something was looking out for me that day because I was running at the time and it only got me in the boot and not my skin.
 

majxmom

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It was warm today and my Tortoise was pretty active. He ate a little grass but not really interested in his regular food.

I decided to soak him today one more time before hibernation, but he wasn’t into it at all and I didn't really force the issue.

TortoiseSoak_1_zps8ecd7ce9.jpg
Johnny, could it ask where I might buy a tub like that? Was that designed for turtle soaks, or does it actually have another function? At first I thought it might be the lid for a dog kennel, but now I'm not sure. That looks like that would be perfect for Barstow to have a good safe soak any time he wanted. Thanks!
 

JohnnyB65

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Johnny, could it ask where I might buy a tub like that? Was that designed for turtle soaks, or does it actually have another function? At first I thought it might be the lid for a dog kennel, but now I'm not sure. That looks like that would be perfect for Barstow to have a good safe soak any time he wanted. Thanks!
Yes, it is the bottom section of a plastic dog house sold almost everywhere. I had two of them, but never could get the dogs to use them. I gave one away to a friend and his dog would not use it either so he sold it in a garage sale.:( I saw a stack of them in Barstow at some salvage place, but I can't remember exactly where it was. It might even been in front of someones house that had a bunch of stuff for sale.:confused:
I see them in garage sales all the time and if you keep your eyes open you might find one pretty cheep.
this photo is one from Walmart.
0002969525180_180X180.jpg
 

JohnnyB65

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Majxmom, I was trying to remember where I saw dog houses and you know it might have been in Lenwood along the National Trails Hwy. There must have been about 8 of them stacked up along with a lot of other stuff.
The top could be used a a shade place as well.
 

majxmom

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Thanks, I already have two of them taken apart and stored in my garage! Although they are the biggest size....but maybe that would make him more curious to go in. It will be very easy to just drag it out and place it in the habitat, then see if he uses it.
 
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