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Old 07-11-2015, 08:45 PM   #11
Stellanne
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I have a few torts who are touching 90yrs old who still hibernate very successfully. They do their own thing and as I have used the same method of 'natural hibernation' for many years I am quite relaxed with it.
I did worry about Bertha when she first came to me. Although she had always hibernated it was 'controlled'. The first few years I had her with my system she 'hibernated' above ground but this year she has herself buried. I feel she has finally followed her instincts. Obviously I know where she is and will be keeping a special eye on her. X x x hugs x x
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Old 07-11-2015, 08:46 PM   #12
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Suze, how are you overwintering your elderly male. Just thinking if that becomes necessary here what I would have to be thinking about as I have a number of torts 80yrs+ x x x hugs x x
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Old 08-11-2015, 07:40 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stellanne View Post
Suze, how are you overwintering your elderly male. Just thinking if that becomes necessary here what I would have to be thinking about as I have a number of torts 80yrs+ x x x hugs x x
I think if your old ones are still coping fine with it, then there's no reason to stop, but Sammy was clearly struggling when coming out of it, so I decided to stop, he might be 100 for all I know! But he's well old! I thought it might be difficult to keep him awake, as he has hibernated all his life, but it's been quite easy, I keep him upstairs, in my bedroom, where it stays nice and warm, night time temps stay above 17c even in the coldest weather, I think that makes a big difference. And obviously he's under a nice warm basking light for about 12 hrs a day. And he has done really well.
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Old 08-11-2015, 08:54 AM   #14
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I used to hibernate my adult Ibera simply because they'd always done so before coming to me and it would have been very hard if not impossible to keep them up. They would stop eating, slow down at the same time each year without any help/choice from me however if you have a tort from the start and choose not to then I think its possible as I think without a hibernation the instinct to do so doesn't kick in if the environment is right for non hibernation. Whether its right or wrong is not for me to say and as long as the owner knows what they are doing and the animal comes to no harm then it can be the owners choice, and to be honest unless you follow a good hibernation guide both before and during then in some cases it can be safer not to. Many still just assume they can leave the tort unchecked for the duration, not know if the tort is healthy enough, don't do a proper wind down or know the correct temps in a fridge and check them everyday and those are the torts that maynot survive. So yes I believe in hibernation and would always suggest doing it but in some cases its better not to.
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Old 08-11-2015, 05:50 PM   #15
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Personally I don't think that a tortoise such as a hermanns has a in-built 'need' to hibernate unless conditions require it.

If the tortoise has been hibernated before then it might be difficult to make it stay up with artificial heat and light and even if owners wanted to keep such torts up it can be a struggle to do it.

I believe that younger ones are not primed for hibernation and can be easily kept up with additional heat and light. Small ones are not a challenge to look after indoors even for months on end.

Bigger and older tortoises can be a challenge to care for in the winter due to the amount of space that they need for a good quality of life.

Tortoises living outdoors will pick up all those cues from nature that signal a coming winter, and this can lead to them slowing down and once they have slowed to a certain degree you maybe could say that they now 'need' to go into hibernation.

As we know, a reptile needs heat for its bodily functions to operate properly. The lack of heat means the tortoise goes into a torpor. Some tortoises have evolved the means to survive adverse conditions by slowing all these processes right down. But they do it to survive and if the adverse conditions do not take place there is no need for them to do it.

What I personally do is "some hibernating". The main reason I do that is that I've got 10 tortoises and even though my enclosures are really quite big I don't think they can all have a great quality of life indoors for such a long period of time.
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Old 08-11-2015, 10:05 PM   #16
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At one time it was thought that by not allowing tortoises to hibernate it shortened their life expectancy does anyone think this is the case? Mary
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Old 08-11-2015, 10:45 PM   #17
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I know I have read varying opinions hence why I asked the question and love to hear peoples opinion - I have read that some people think that as the metabolic rate stays higher when not hibernated it could shorten life but nobody seems to be able to prove this. As tortoises have a long life expectancy (ideally) I guess it is difficult to be sure as there will always be a proportion either way that will die prior to optimum life expectancy. I have heard of people who have kept tortoises for 30+ years and never hibernated them and found no obvious problems and have successfully bred from them also (another belief is not hibernating can cause fertility problems) but there are very convincing arguments on both sides and as stated previously I guess it has to come down to personal choice but it is great hearing everybodys opinions and theories- the more the better:
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Old 09-11-2015, 08:32 AM   #18
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At one time it was thought that by not allowing tortoises to hibernate it shortened their life expectancy does anyone think this is the case? Mary

I would have thought so Mary, but nobody will be around to prove it either way. Well not in my life time:0)
As feeding during times when they would be asleep must have an affect sooner or later. Just like obese humans etc.
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Old 09-11-2015, 10:16 AM   #19
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Yes Sandy it's a shame that we won't be around to prove it one way or the other!
Mary
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Old 09-11-2015, 12:05 PM   #20
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That is a difficult one isn't it because there are so many factors. We over feed our tortoises by 300% it is estimated, but not in a bad way, not sure how you would measure it all. One of my tortoises who came to me was routinely given sausages and toast - she lived to 80 odd, I had corrected her diet and I hibernated her as she always had been and she died coming out of hibernation - was that me ? the conditions? her previous husbandry? old age? I still wonder if I had done something different she would have lived but I will never know and that's what hurts.
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