My Russian Wants To Brumate

Gentledragons

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Joined
Oct 3, 2020
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3
Location (City and/or State)
Massachusetts
Hello all,

Back in April I got a Russian Tortoise named Sprout. At the time I did not realize he was wild caught, but have since learned that he is. According to my and my vet’s estimate, he is around 5 years old. He is kept inside and I don’t have a way to keep him outdoors at the moment.
Here is my dilemma: this boy is dead set on brumating. He has been off food for almost an entire month now, won’t come out to bask, and is constantly sleeping. I took him to the vet and he tested negative for parasites.
I don’t want him to brumate, as I know it’s not wise to let a tortoise brumate your first winter with them. But unless I pull him out he refuses to emerge, and even though his ambient temp is around 75°F and his basking around 100°F he still wants to sleep.
Being wild caught, it seems his natural instincts are too stubborn to combat and no matter how many warm baths I give and food I offer he seems to want to sleep no matter what. I’m looking for advice. Is it safe to keep him at this temperature if he isn’t eating?
Thank you.
 

RosemaryDW

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Is he in a space with natural light? If so, the change in the length of days might be enough to trigger the circadian rythm that tells him it’s time to shut down.

My wild caught is outside so there is no way she isn’t going to dig down once she’s decided it’s time; we fridge brumate.

Someone who is experienced with indoor keeping will give you advice about changing the lighting schedule in your house to see if you can jump start him. Until then I would give him the occasional warm soak to make sure he’s hydrated; that’s a greater risk to him than going off his feed.

I personally find the advice about waiting a year to brumate odd. You’ve got a healthy tortoise on your hands who is used to brumating; why wouldn’t you let him? If the idea freaks you out or you don’t think you have a cold enough space to safely brumate him then for sure take the advice about lighting and temps you are going to get.
 

Blastoise

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Feb 18, 2012
Messages
136
I have one male tortoise that goes into hibernation mode in early September before I bring him in for the winter. I will give him a warm soak and then place him directly next to his favorite lettuce mix (kale and romaine) with a small cherry tomato in it. Works every time. He will eat but then go right back to sleep lol.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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Jan 9, 2010
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54,477
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hello all,

Back in April I got a Russian Tortoise named Sprout. At the time I did not realize he was wild caught, but have since learned that he is. According to my and my vet’s estimate, he is around 5 years old. He is kept inside and I don’t have a way to keep him outdoors at the moment.
Here is my dilemma: this boy is dead set on brumating. He has been off food for almost an entire month now, won’t come out to bask, and is constantly sleeping. I took him to the vet and he tested negative for parasites.
I don’t want him to brumate, as I know it’s not wise to let a tortoise brumate your first winter with them. But unless I pull him out he refuses to emerge, and even though his ambient temp is around 75°F and his basking around 100°F he still wants to sleep.
Being wild caught, it seems his natural instincts are too stubborn to combat and no matter how many warm baths I give and food I offer he seems to want to sleep no matter what. I’m looking for advice. Is it safe to keep him at this temperature if he isn’t eating?
Thank you.
You've got to decide: Do you want to let him hibernate, and are you equipped to do that, or would you rather keep him up all winter, and we can help you with that.
 
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