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Old 03-10-2022, 10:27 AM   #1
TessaRuth
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Default Hibernation Advice Please

I live in SE England. My torts (two at three years and one at 18years) usually go down for hibernation somewhere in late November to mid-December. They are a good weight and have eaten well the past year. This year, the two three year olds are very lethargic with only one eating and that not much. The other hasn't eaten for two weeks. I'm worried that they seem to be getting ready to hibernate so much earlier than usual. I hibernated them for ten weeks last year as I understand this is appropriate for their age. If they go down somewhere in November then they'll be up somewhere late January/early February (10 weeks), which seems far too early. Any advice please?

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Old 03-10-2022, 11:56 AM   #2
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I live in SE England. My torts (two at three years and one at 18years) usually go down for hibernation somewhere in late November to mid-December. They are a good weight and have eaten well the past year. This year, the two three year olds are very lethargic with only one eating and that not much. The other hasn't eaten for two weeks. I'm worried that they seem to be getting ready to hibernate so much earlier than usual. I hibernated them for ten weeks last year as I understand this is appropriate for their age. If they go down somewhere in November then they'll be up somewhere late January/early February (10 weeks), which seems far too early. Any advice please?
Do they have any heating?
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Old 03-10-2022, 05:43 PM   #3
TessaRuth
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Hello Sandy. I seem to remember you helped me out before. Yes, they have heating and the interior temperature is between 20C and 30C and they have light for around 15 hours a day. They just want to sleep. They are healthy but just seem to want to shut down earlier this year than before. I'm just worried that if I let them hibernate too soon that I'll have to wake them up sometime in January which seems very early. Last year they kept going longer and so didn't start hibernation until the beginning of December. Any advice much appreciated.
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Old 03-10-2022, 08:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by TessaRuth View Post
Hello Sandy. I seem to remember you helped me out before. Yes, they have heating and the interior temperature is between 20C and 30C and they have light for around 15 hours a day. They just want to sleep. They are healthy but just seem to want to shut down earlier this year than before. I'm just worried that if I let them hibernate too soon that I'll have to wake them up sometime in January which seems very early. Last year they kept going longer and so didn't start hibernation until the beginning of December. Any advice much appreciated.
Those temps inside are not high enough, under the heat source the temps should be more like 32c and the ambient temp should be around 25c. Lower temps and your tortoise will go into hibernation mode. Also inside they might well need more light, so any sort of light will help. Temps at night have dropped quite drastically from early September.
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Old 07-10-2022, 08:56 AM   #5
TessaRuth
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Hello and thank you. I have increased both heat and light as you suggested. One tort is now feeding well again but the other is refusing food. However, she is bright and very active. Should I just let her go on like this with a December hibernation in mind? thank you for your help. Tessa.
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Old 07-10-2022, 12:06 PM   #6
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Hello and thank you. I have increased both heat and light as you suggested. One tort is now feeding well again but the other is refusing food. However, she is bright and very active. Should I just let her go on like this with a December hibernation in mind? thank you for your help. Tessa.
You have to let them decide, sounds like one is already wanting to hibernate, so lessen the amount of food given to both. December is quite late, I would think more like late November. A lot depends on the weather, they know temps outside are much cooler, and the days are getting shorter. So think about keeping temps to the daylight outside rather than a set time. And dont panic about tortoises hibernating for longer than 12 weeks, mine bury down naturally outside in my GH soil, and have done for over 20yrs. And each year is different, one female is always the first to go down, and could be as early as mid October or late November. And only come up when the ground outside warms up. So can be 10 weeks to four months. Never the same each year. I hope this helps:0)
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