Old Greek waking up from brumation-first time for me!

Moi Hutton

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Hi everyone,
Our Greek tortoise seems to be waking from brumation, he’s currently in the fridge but I can see he has been moving around and heard him rustling about. I live in the South West UK and was thinking of taking him out on Saturday as the temperature should consistently be above 10degrees, however the night temperatures will still be low.
I was wondering if any other uk owners were planning on taking their torts out soon or am I being too hasty?! We also have a greenhouse and were thinking of putting a small parafin heater in there for him at night if it was too cold.
I have a basking lamp ready for him so he can bask if it’s too cold, but this is inside and we only have a small house (big garden!) so I don’t want to keep him inside for too long.
He’s quite a big tort (22inches) so we’ve never had an indoor enclosure...well we only got him last summer so this wasn’t an issue then!
thanks for reading!
 

mark1

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i'm assuming you meant 22cm as opposed to 22 inches ? what wakes them up is temperature , if he's kept at the same temperature he should be no more inclined to wake up now than he has been the entire time ? if he is restless , personally i'd wake him up and provide him with optimal conditions until it's warm enough for him to continue with spring summer behavior ......... i've only ever hibernated land turtles in the fridge a couple times , i waited for the spring ground temps to be averaging the fridge temp above 40F , put them back where i took them from in early winter , i let them begin hibernating outside , so they'd wake up normally where they originally hibernated at ...... the water turtles i've done more often and i waited for the spring pond temps to be in line with the fridge temps and let them wake up on their own where they originally hibernated , they had also began hibernating outdoors ............... coming out of hibernation is the time when turtles are most vulnerable to becoming ill , you want that time period as optimal as possible ..... imo
 

KarenSoCal

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what wakes them up is temperature , if he's kept at the same temperature he should be no more inclined to wake up now than he has been the entire time ?

What you're saying here makes perfect sense, but it is not in line with my experience.

I brumated my DT in a fridge, and the temp stayed consistent from start to finish. But somehow, despite not getting temp and visual seasonal changes, that tort knew when it was time to wake up! I don't know how he knew, but he did.

If the outdoor temps were not cooperating, I put him in a huge cardboard box as a temporary indoor enclosure. I made a makeshift basking light, and a plastic box for a hide.

He was kind of out of it for about a week after waking from brumation, and did not seem to mind being in the box. After the 2nd week, he had had enough of it. But by then the weather had warmed enough for him to go outside.

I had never had an indoor enclosure either, hence the makeshift equipment. But it doesn't have to be perfect. I would not leave him in the fridge if he is awake daily. He will use all his reserves trying to be active in the cold.
 

Moi Hutton

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i'm assuming you meant 22cm as opposed to 22 inches ? what wakes them up is temperature , if he's kept at the same temperature he should be no more inclined to wake up now than he has been the entire time ? if he is restless , personally i'd wake him up and provide him with optimal conditions until it's warm enough for him to continue with spring summer behavior ......... i've only ever hibernated land turtles in the fridge a couple times , i waited for the spring ground temps to be averaging the fridge temp above 40F , put them back where i took them from in early winter , i let them begin hibernating outside , so they'd wake up normally where they originally hibernated at ...... the water turtles i've done more often and i waited for the spring pond temps to be in line with the fridge temps and let them wake up on their own where they originally hibernated , they had also began hibernating outdoors ............... coming out of hibernation is the time when turtles are most vulnerable to becoming ill , you want that time period as optimal as possible ..... imo

thanks! Yep 22cm not inches!
 

Moi Hutton

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What you're saying here makes perfect sense, but it is not in line with my experience.

I brumated my DT in a fridge, and the temp stayed consistent from start to finish. But somehow, despite not getting temp and visual seasonal changes, that tort knew when it was time to wake up! I don't know how he knew, but he did.

If the outdoor temps were not cooperating, I put him in a huge cardboard box as a temporary indoor enclosure. I made a makeshift basking light, and a plastic box for a hide.

He was kind of out of it for about a week after waking from brumation, and did not seem to mind being in the box. After the 2nd week, he had had enough of it. But by then the weather had warmed enough for him to go outside.

I had never had an indoor enclosure either, hence the makeshift equipment. But it doesn't have to be perfect. I would not leave him in the fridge if he is awake daily. He will use all his reserves trying to be active in the cold.
Thanks, that’s helpful. I think we will have to keep him inside or in the heated greenhouse if the temp is warm enough.
 

mark1

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to come out of hibernation when it's still winter here puts those ones are at risk of freezing/getting culled in nature , the end of freezing weather here is usually early may , it has been as early as the end of march .... i've seen some record warm spells in january , february where turtles not in really well insulated hibernacula will come out , the ones in better spots do not... those in more shaded spots come out later than those in sunny spots ....... i can , and do get them out earlier by aiding the ground in warming up faster .......... jan-feb here is 2-3 months too early .... i've seen some record cold winters where they haven't come out until mid may ......... same with going into hibernation , i've seen them disappear in early october and a mild year late november .......... naturally hibernating turtles come out at varying times depending on environmental conditions ...... early cold spells will put them down .......i have put a temp probe in their hibernacula quite a few years , i would be hard to convince that it's not a totally temp driven behavior ..... i would guess if a tortoise or turtle becomes unusually active in the fridge , the conditions they are being hibernated in are not correct to keep them hibernating ..........
 

mark1

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pull back the leaves , sticks , grass clippings (insulation) on sunny warm days ..... in the spring it can be a 70 degree day you stick your hand down in the leaf pile and there can actually be a layer of ice before you get to the ground .............. like opening the lid on a cooler ........
 
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