Prepping an outdoor tortoise for fridge hibernation?

RosemaryDW

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Feb 17, 2016
Messages
3,873
Location (City and/or State)
Newport Coast, CA
I plan to fridge hibernate our Russian this winter. My vet isn't a proponent of hibernating them in our very mild climate. He's not opposed, just feels they do fine with a night box or similar. I'll be hibernating her somewhat for my ease of mind; I don't want to be hunting her down in the dark every night to make sure she's safe in her box!

What I'm pondering right now is the period before and after hibernation. I know others isolate their tortoises in indoor or other pens where they can control food and temperature as the tortoises slow down.

We don't have any place cool to do this. Does anyone let their outdoor tortoise acclimate outside, without isolating them first? She dug under and hibernated in our yard last year shortly after we found her, so I know she'll do it if left to her own devices. I can decrease the heat in her night box*, increase soaks, and stop feeding but she is in our yard and currently does some foraging. So I don't know that I can guarantee she's emptied her gut. I'd rather leave her out if I can't be sure she'll be safe to hibernate.

Opinions?

*She's currently in a burrow she dug but we deepened and stabilized. It's where she hibernated last year, so acclimating her totally outdoors while the weather cools down is another option than decreasing the heat in her night box.
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
89,053
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
The days get shorter and the nights cooler. These tell the tortoise to stop eating and allow their G.I. tract to empty. If the tortoise is indoors, then you have to artificially make the days shorter and the nights cooler.
 

JoesMum

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2011
Messages
21,588
Location (City and/or State)
Kent, South East England
Joe does his entire wind down to hibernation outdoors. I use a heat lamp in a dog kennel for him to bask under when the days are cooler, but otherwise he does the whole wind down himself becoming less active and eating less.

As the it becomes obvious that hibernation is close, I increase the soak frequency as he drinks less as well.

Then I clean him up and dry him off before boxing him up. It's not unusual for there to be frost the first night he's been packed away.

We have always double boxed him, but are considering a fridge this year as climate change means our winters are getting ever milder, but not warm enough for him to be fully active.
 
TortoiseSupply.com

New Posts

Top