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Old 15-10-2018, 06:19 PM   #1
Horacio
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Good evening,

We adopted a tortoise back in May and we think he's a Russian. He (or she...) was healthy and happy. Towards end of a very warm summer, he seemed to dig deeper and look like he wanted to hibernate - his eating had also slowed down. It felt too early and too warm to hibernate him so as soon as the weather changed I got him indoors, bought a heat lamp and tried to get him to start eating again. (No such luck!)

I was lead to believe, from my research, that Russian's didn't need to hibernate but now he has disappeared into his 'bedroom' for the past few days and I'm guessing he's gone for a very long sleep. However, he hasn't really eaten for 2 months, despite being active and 'healthy' and so I'm very concerned that if he sleeps now he won't survive. He's also inside in a tortoise table, so it's warmer than it should be.

I'm rather worried about him - should I wake him up? should I let him sleep where he is? should I move him into a hibernation box and let him continue sleeping?

Would appreciate your help! On one hand tortoises seem so hardy and on the other hand so fragile! I really would like him to survive.
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Old 18-10-2018, 06:35 PM   #2
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Hello and welcome.

Although you posted on 15th it seems to have appeared just today, the 18th. My reply will put this on to today's posts.

Do you know if he is a Horsfield tortoise? IF so they do indeed hibernate.

My two are already down, in spite of the warm weather and have been eating less and less for the past few weeks. However, it does seem a bit early for yours to have started winding down back in August.

There are some very experienced people on here who can perhaps advise in more detail.

It may be useful to say how old he is and do you know what his routine was before you adopted him. Perhaps you could ask the previous owner.
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Old 18-10-2018, 06:58 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Horacio View Post
Good evening,

We adopted a tortoise back in May and we think he's a Russian. He (or she...) was healthy and happy. Towards end of a very warm summer, he seemed to dig deeper and look like he wanted to hibernate - his eating had also slowed down. It felt too early and too warm to hibernate him so as soon as the weather changed I got him indoors, bought a heat lamp and tried to get him to start eating again. (No such luck!)

I was lead to believe, from my research, that Russian's didn't need to hibernate but now he has disappeared into his 'bedroom' for the past few days and I'm guessing he's gone for a very long sleep. However, he hasn't really eaten for 2 months, despite being active and 'healthy' and so I'm very concerned that if he sleeps now he won't survive. He's also inside in a tortoise table, so it's warmer than it should be.

I'm rather worried about him - should I wake him up? should I let him sleep where he is? should I move him into a hibernation box and let him continue sleeping?

Would appreciate your help! On one hand tortoises seem so hardy and on the other hand so fragile! I really would like him to survive.

Sorry to say your research is not so good. In the wild Horsfield tortoises hibernate up to six months of the year. In captivity they are the first species to sense the change in temps, and will bury down at the drop of a hat:0)
Even if kept under too hotter temps:0)

I would make sure you actually have a Horsfield posting a picture will help us to help you:0)
Tortoises have a built in clocks, and they know that from around August onwards they will slow down their eating. As the days get shorter and light levels will drop. And they act accordingly.

You need to find a cold room, to allow him to do what is norm for him. And bury down for hibernation. Having not eaten for two months is ok, but he did need to be hydrated during this time by bathing.
If he is really asleep then do any movement during the evening when its colder, less chance of him waking.
Sleeping in an area where temps are above 5c is asking for problems I am afraid. He needs to be in a frost free area with temps around 5c.
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Old 18-10-2018, 08:45 PM   #4
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This is Horacio (isn't he/she such a babe?)

We think he's about 5 but have no knowledge of previous owner as he was found wandering far from houses and despite local search, no one seemed to claim him.
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Old 18-10-2018, 09:21 PM   #5
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Hmmm....okay - I thought I'd worked out how to post pictures but apparently not.
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Old 18-10-2018, 09:28 PM   #6
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Old 18-10-2018, 09:29 PM   #7
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Definitely a horsfield.
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Old 19-10-2018, 08:41 AM   #8
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As Gordon has said definitely a horsfield:0)
They need a really deep substrate to be able to dig down into. And will stop eating as soon as they know the temps drop.
Looks like the tortoise has been well kept, not too many lumps:0)
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Old 19-10-2018, 10:00 AM   #9
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Maybe one of those garden trug things which are about a fiver https://www.homebase.co.uk/garden-tr...en-42l_p497502 with topsoil in it if you are stuck. The soil would have to not be wet and it would have to be in a cold room where the sun doesn't get to it to heat it up. Insulated with bubble wrap or something round it to keep the temperatures more stable and maybe a sack covering the top and allow some air to get in. Even an unheated room in a house these days is still about 14c though
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Old 19-10-2018, 07:42 PM   #10
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Glad my guess on breed was accurate at least!

Right, so here is the plan...tomorrow, when it's colder, I'm going to carefully move him, without waking him if possible, to a different container. I have a large, solid, cardboard box with straw in it - though I could fill with topsoil, or I could get a something different???

I can move the box outside, to a cupboard near the house, insulate and hope for the best. Or I can put him in an unheated room for the time-being. Or, I can order a mini fridge for him and set at 5 degrees.

Are all options acceptable? Would one be preferable?

Gonna miss the fella for the next 5 or so months
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