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Old 10-12-2020, 03:56 PM   #1
TessaRuth
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Default Baby tortoises

Hello and so grateful for any advice. We took on two 18 month old tortoises last January so this is our first winter with them. I know that such young tortoises shouldn't hibernate but they seem to be doing this anyway. They live in a tortoise table with heating etc, are by a window and we are in southern England. Completely on their own, they have taken themselves off and have not eaten or drunk in the past four days. Otherwise, they are perfectly healthy and have put on nearly half their weight again in the past 11 months. Should I get them up to bathe them every few days? Not at all sure what to do or whether this is just completely normal. How long is is safe to leave them like this? Really appreciate any advice. They are Hermanns.
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Old 10-12-2020, 05:21 PM   #2
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Hello and so grateful for any advice. We took on two 18 month old tortoises last January so this is our first winter with them. I know that such young tortoises shouldn't hibernate but they seem to be doing this anyway. They live in a tortoise table with heating etc, are by a window and we are in southern England. Completely on their own, they have taken themselves off and have not eaten or drunk in the past four days. Otherwise, they are perfectly healthy and have put on nearly half their weight again in the past 11 months. Should I get them up to bathe them every few days? Not at all sure what to do or whether this is just completely normal. How long is is safe to leave them like this? Really appreciate any advice. They are Hermanns.
Hatchling tortoises hibernate from their first year in the wild:0) So it would be normal to do so, but most keepers are scared to do so. But if the correct info is followed its a doddle if a little scary the first time. I have been hibernating tortoises for over 35yrs (hatchlings too) and not lost one to hibernation yet:0)
It does sound as though they are trying to wind themselves down. If you dont want to hibernate (far better for them to do so) then you will have to raise their light levels in their enclosure. As its light that gets them up, and heat gets them going:0) I live in Kent and our light levels have been very low for weeks now. All my tortoises are in hibernation so not such a worry:0)
When I used to have hatchlings and needed more light I just use to use a desk lamp with an ordinary bulb over the enclosure to help:0)
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Old 11-12-2020, 12:00 PM   #3
TessaRuth
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Sandy, thank you so much for your response. We also have an older tortoise whom we got as an adult so we haven't had to deal with the baby problem. With him, we wait til he's stopped eating on his own, remove all food, bathe him every day to empty his gut and then pop him in the fridge. The babies seem to have stopped eating on their own so do you recommend I now bathe them daily? Beginners like me really appreciate you taking the trouble to advise on torty stuff.. Thank you.
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Old 11-12-2020, 12:50 PM   #4
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Sandy, one more thing please. How long should two and a half year olds hibernate for? thank you. Tessa
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Old 11-12-2020, 03:54 PM   #5
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Being by the window allows the tortoises to sense the shorter days/cooler nights. You need to make them think it's still summer (if you don't want them to brumate). 12-14 hour days (lights on).
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Old 11-12-2020, 04:09 PM   #6
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Sandy, one more thing please. How long should two and a half year olds hibernate for? thank you. Tessa
A minimum of eight weeks. If they dont lose weight then another couple of weeks. Keeping them asleep while the weather is cold, is better for them and you. As good food is not always easy to find. Although there is usually a lot of bittercress around:0) This is for first time hibernation as most keepers are stressing. Second hibernation 12 weeks, if still cold and all is well another couple would be fine.:0)
I recommend keeping a thermometer in boxes or fridge so you can monitor the temps at all times. And weigh every two weeks or monthly. A loss over all the hibernation of 10% is a good guide. As they will lose weight in the first week when settling down. I hope this helps:0)
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Old 12-12-2020, 11:51 AM   #7
TessaRuth
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Thank you both for this useful advice. I forgot to ask but should I be bathing them every day before putting them into hibernation? I've heard this is good for getting water into them. Thank you.
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Old 12-12-2020, 12:26 PM   #8
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Thank you both for this useful advice. I forgot to ask but should I be bathing them every day before putting them into hibernation? I've heard this is good for getting water into them. Thank you.
I would bathe for the first couple of weeks, but if you can see them slowing down leave the last week. As sometimes bathing wakes them up more:0)
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Old 12-12-2020, 12:48 PM   #9
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Thank you Sandy. Always appreciate your advice. Tessa.
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