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Old 22-03-2018, 02:05 PM   #1
Alan1
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Default The six and a half month hibernation

One of my torts went down on 6th or 8th September I think it was and the other one a month later after a cold summer last year. So that's six and a half months and five and a half months. We have had a few warmer days so decided to take the insulation off. The soil was disturbed but they had obviously be up to the surface and went down again at some point on warmer days. I decided to get them out as I could feel them not far below the surface.

Got them out and they had their eyes open in a minute or so. I let them gradually warm up a bit (this is all in the greenhouse). I put them by the water dish and eventually after about an hour one of them went and sat in the dish for about 20 minutes before I put them both in a basin of 'room temp' water to sit for another half hour. One of them had a few sips of water eventually but they were content to sit there and soak up the water which eventually spread up their legs, neck and head as if it were blotting paper, It also moved up their shells in the same way which I can't say I've ever really noticed before.

I was a bit worried about the length of time they were in there but the weather has only just improved in the past two days after months of minus temps and snow. We are to get more again next week too. Given the fact they have obviously moved around in the soil I wouldn't be keen to use the fridge method. *Edited to just have links to the images as they were too big on the forum.

https://i.imgur.com/rJ5m8Ky.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/oBnmLw5.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/E4RM3eM.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/y2Vnj9M.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/dfgg9Lz.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/jDLQbpc.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/VeOkcnG.jpg

Last edited by Alan1; 22-03-2018 at 09:42 PM.
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Old 22-03-2018, 06:56 PM   #2
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ahhhh huge photos Alan ! nice pickies and what beady eyes. its the first time I have ever had to intervene and really I should have known better as the snow then hit and I regretted it - goes to show nature knows best.

Nice creep you have ! CB
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Old 22-03-2018, 09:20 PM   #3
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Thanks Alan - yes pictures and text appeared very large, but great photos. They look in good condition, if a bit dusty!

Really interested to hear about the length of hibernation. My 2 started winding down early at the end of the summer but then perked up and spend a long time winding down again, so a bit worried they lost a little weight before going down.

Do you know if they lost weight?

My 2 also move around in hibernation in the 3'x2' hibernation chamber - as I call it. No evidence of urinating.

What is interesting is their beaks have grown again. Last year I trimmed them following Gordon's instructions, but haven't done anything so far as I want to see if eating off stone will make a difference.

Final question - did they burrow down so far you couldn't see any evidence they were there?
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Old 22-03-2018, 09:37 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Jan W View Post
Thanks Alan - yes pictures and text appeared very large, but great photos. They look in good condition, if a bit dusty!

Really interested to hear about the length of hibernation. My 2 started winding down early at the end of the summer but then perked up and spend a long time winding down again, so a bit worried they lost a little weight before going down.

Do you know if they lost weight?

My 2 also move around in hibernation in the 3'x2' hibernation chamber - as I call it. No evidence of urinating.

What is interesting is their beaks have grown again. Last year I trimmed them following Gordon's instructions, but haven't done anything so far as I want to see if eating off stone will make a difference.

Final question - did they burrow down so far you couldn't see any evidence they were there?
I never weighed them.
Yes they buried down out of sight and you'd never have known anything was there (back in Sept/Oct) but as I say, soil disturbed at some point since then, probably just in the last few days. It's good to know that they can go 6 and a half months if need be.
You can't choose the picture size unfortunately but I'm going to edit it and just have the links instead as pics are far too big right enough.
I put food down today but they didn't touch it. They were going about their business as normal though more slowly as it didn't get above 31c in the greenhouse. Got the insulation on standby for next week's cold spell.
With those insulation panels all round (they can be seen in a couple of the pics) and 4 duvets over and around it, the temperature in the tub (I have a wireless weather station sensor in there) never really went below 3c or above 7c as far as I can remember and that's just above the soil. Under the soil would be much more stable.

Last edited by Alan1; 22-03-2018 at 09:52 PM.
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Old 22-03-2018, 09:46 PM   #5
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ahhhh huge photos Alan ! nice pickies and what beady eyes. its the first time I have ever had to intervene and really I should have known better as the snow then hit and I regretted it - goes to show nature knows best.

Nice creep you have ! CB
They were amazingly perky considering the length of time they've been down.
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Old 25-03-2018, 09:25 PM   #6
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glad to hear it Alan, I am leaving mine out tonight as all wrapped up and the Horsfields never come in so hopefully they will all fair well. Never know it so cold overnight into springtime for so long. Bet its even colder in Scotland - love Shetland series too, but even colder for sure ! CB
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Old 25-03-2018, 10:08 PM   #7
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I never weighed them.
Yes they buried down out of sight and you'd never have known anything was there (back in Sept/Oct) but as I say, soil disturbed at some point since then, probably just in the last few days. It's good to know that they can go 6 and a half months if need be.
You can't choose the picture size unfortunately but I'm going to edit it and just have the links instead as pics are far too big right enough.
I put food down today but they didn't touch it. They were going about their business as normal though more slowly as it didn't get above 31c in the greenhouse. Got the insulation on standby for next week's cold spell.
With those insulation panels all round (they can be seen in a couple of the pics) and 4 duvets over and around it, the temperature in the tub (I have a wireless weather station sensor in there) never really went below 3c or above 7c as far as I can remember and that's just above the soil. Under the soil would be much more stable.
Thanks for all that Alan.

You do an amazing job in all that cold weather.

A stable soil temperature makes sense, hence why I was a bit reluctant to follow the box or fridge method and try soil. I am learning all the time.
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Old 26-03-2018, 12:44 AM   #8
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Impressive!
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Old 02-04-2018, 10:59 AM   #9
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Hi there,
I haven't posted here for a long time, as perhaps I've become too relaxed after a few years of living with my 4 Hermans.

However, this long winter we've had , and which is still going on, really worries me now. Mine always hibernate themselves inside the unheated cold frame in my garden. They went down early October, and still no sign of movement.
I put their heat lamps on for a few hours the last 2 days, but only one of them seemed to have moved a bit more out of the soil, the others seem to carry on hibernating.

Should I worry about them, and somehow artificially get them up?

Perhaps they know that winter is till not over yet?
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Old 02-04-2018, 11:37 AM   #10
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Hi there,
I haven't posted here for a long time, as perhaps I've become too relaxed after a few years of living with my 4 Hermans.

However, this long winter we've had , and which is still going on, really worries me now. Mine always hibernate themselves inside the unheated cold frame in my garden. They went down early October, and still no sign of movement.
I put their heat lamps on for a few hours the last 2 days, but only one of them seemed to have moved a bit more out of the soil, the others seem to carry on hibernating.

Should I worry about them, and somehow artificially get them up?

Perhaps they know that winter is till not over yet?


Its been a rather cold wet Spring, and my tortoise are nearly the same. Four of my tortoises (hibernating in the GH) came up on their own after a long hibernation. One female dug herself down in my garden (not sure where she was) yesterday I could see a hole forming, so dug around the area and there she was. I dug her up, put her in the heat of the GH to come around in her own time. Bathed her this morning and she is moving around. All but her have been eating well, as its a little soon for her.
If its worrying you, then I would get them up, if you have space and heat to keep them going:0)
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