Tortoise woke from hibernation then died

mylittlecholla

Active Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2020
Messages
219
Location (City and/or State)
Fillmore, California
Hi,
Our tortoise, Turbo was brought ot of hibernation today. He was 4 years old and this is the second year that we hibernated him. We used the fridge method and followed everything we could find on how to hiberate and wake him. We took him out of the fridge this morning and he had half an hour at room temperature before being placed in a lake warm bath. He was responding and seemed happy to see us. After his bath we placed him in his indoor enclosure (where he lives) and he was looking around. We placed food in helps bowl which he showed no interest in, though weren't concerned as we know it can take a couple of days for them to start eating again. He was looking up when we called him and we were relieved all seemed to have gone well. At around 4.30pm (around 6 hours after he'd woken) my husband noticed something was wrong. Turbo looked asleep though his legs were out of his shell and when we touched them he didn't respond. It appears Turbo is dead and we have no idea what we have done wrong. Does anyone have any answers? We've left him in his tank for his last night in some ridiculous hope that we might wake up tomorrow to see he's ok, though we're fairly sure he's left us. :'(
 

mylittlecholla

Active Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2020
Messages
219
Location (City and/or State)
Fillmore, California
Yes, a loving tortoise owner understands. Your little Turbo's response to you when he was first awakened shows that he was personable and affectionate, the same words I'd use to describe my 3 year old Desert Tortoise, who like Turbo, seems to like walking around on the keyboard of my laptop. She hasn't looked me out of it yet, but she's sure "typed" odd things into my documents.

An unexplained loss like your loss of Turbo is especially hard. You have my deep sympathy.
 

Jay's Turbo

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Joined
Jan 12, 2021
Messages
9
Location (City and/or State)
UK
Sorry to hear of your loss.

I have a hard time accepting that only the temperature change did this. I am wondering if something else happened. Could he have aspirated water during the bath? Maybe got too cold during hibernation, or entered hibernation with food in his digestive system?
Thank you for your post. I don't think it would be the water, he only put his head in the water once for a brief drink and didn't appear to have any issues. The fridge was set to 5C, it has a digital display which we never saw fluctuate. I'm as sure as I can be about his tummy being empty as he hadn't eaten for over 2 weeks. Maybe there was an underlying issue we weren't aware of. I guess we will never know.
 

Jay's Turbo

New Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2021
Messages
9
Location (City and/or State)
UK
Yes, a loving tortoise owner understands. Your little Turbo's response to you when he was first awakened shows that he was personable and affectionate, the same words I'd use to describe my 3 year old Desert Tortoise, who like Turbo, seems to like walking around on the keyboard of my laptop. She hasn't looked me out of it yet, but she's sure "typed" odd things into my documents.

An unexplained loss like your loss of Turbo is especially hard. You have my deep sympathy.
Thank you. Wishing you and your cheeky little pal many years of happiness.
 

mylittlecholla

Active Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2020
Messages
219
Location (City and/or State)
Fillmore, California
Yes, a loving tortoise owner understands. Your little Turbo's response to you when he was first awakened shows that he was personable and affectionate, the same words I'd use to describe my 3 year old Desert Tortoise, who like Turbo, seems to like walking around on the keyboard of my laptop. She hasn't looked me out of it yet, but she's sure "typed" odd things into my documents.

An unexplained loss like your loss of Turbo is especially hard. You have my deep sympathy.
 

Jay's Turbo

New Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2021
Messages
9
Location (City and/or State)
UK
I'm sorry for your loss. Hibetnation is the most nerve-wracking time every year.

My russian hibernates every year in the fridge at about 4 to 6 Celsius. Normally I would hibernate him for 2 or 3 months with bi-weekly weight check. It happened twice that when he was active for 7-8 months in a year, he slowed down in summer and we had to hibernate him early. His schedule is sometimes off because he always lives in an indoor enclosure.

When he got out of the fridge, we would leave him for half an hour in the room temperature. Then we put him in the water that is about 5 degree more than his body temperature. We raise the water temperature very gradually until eventually the water temperature is at 27, 28. The whole process takes about 4 hours and we check his body temp and water temp all the time. So far he has taken his hibernations like a trooper.
Thank you. This is really helpful.
 
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