1st time desert tortoise hibernation/brumation length

Hot Wet Sam

New Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2016
Messages
10
Location (City and/or State)
Rialto, California
Hello all. I have a 4 year old CDT named AJ who went down for his first long snooze November 21st. He lived indoors with a large table setup his first 3 years, but last summer was his first year living outside in sunny SoCal (Inland Empire area). I dug him a burrow to help him avoid the extreme temps and it worked out really well. Using a lot of the advice found on this forum, when he started to slow down I brought him back indoors, soaked and stopped feeding him for a few weeks. Once he had everything cleared out of his gut, I put him in a little box and put him to bed in a dedicated small fridge in our office. The temps are regulated in there at pretty much a constant 45 degrees. I open the fridge every day or two for air circulation, and pull the box out every Saturday to weigh him and check on him. He has done REALLY well, losing only a minimal amount of weight.

My question/concern is about the length of time he has been down. He's going on 15 weeks now if my math is right. He's 4 and very healthy, a good eater all year long, regular soaks. I see many people say their torts sleep from Oct/Nov through March/Apr, but should the fact that it's his first time matter? Am I at all putting him at risk by keeping him down until the weather gets warmer? I've been checking the temps in his burrow and the days just aren't warm enough yet for him to do well outside again. Lately the highs during the day are mid 70's at most, its actually raining as I type this. I do still have the option of bringing him back indoors until the weather warms up if necessary.

Another question for those experienced with this: When he first went down, he would quickly respond with an exhale/hiss if i was checking on him too loudly or touched his leg. Lately he seems to be in a much deeper sleep, and will still exhale/hiss only if I rub his leg to make sure he is ok. Is it normal for their sleep to deepen like this? Am I worrying over nothing?

Just wanted to hear from others to see what their experiences have been like and create discussion. Thanks!
 

Yelloweyed

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2015
Messages
539
Location (City and/or State)
SoCal California
This is the second year my three 6-year-old torts have spent the winter outside. We’re also in the IE. Only one of the three has been up and about. The other two haven’t emerged at all likely due to the iffy weather. Until the nights were consistently over 50, I left my babies inside. I wouldn’t be worried about the hissing. It’s just a startled reaction to you.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
53,368
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hello all. I have a 4 year old CDT named AJ who went down for his first long snooze November 21st. He lived indoors with a large table setup his first 3 years, but last summer was his first year living outside in sunny SoCal (Inland Empire area). I dug him a burrow to help him avoid the extreme temps and it worked out really well. Using a lot of the advice found on this forum, when he started to slow down I brought him back indoors, soaked and stopped feeding him for a few weeks. Once he had everything cleared out of his gut, I put him in a little box and put him to bed in a dedicated small fridge in our office. The temps are regulated in there at pretty much a constant 45 degrees. I open the fridge every day or two for air circulation, and pull the box out every Saturday to weigh him and check on him. He has done REALLY well, losing only a minimal amount of weight.

My question/concern is about the length of time he has been down. He's going on 15 weeks now if my math is right. He's 4 and very healthy, a good eater all year long, regular soaks. I see many people say their torts sleep from Oct/Nov through March/Apr, but should the fact that it's his first time matter? Am I at all putting him at risk by keeping him down until the weather gets warmer? I've been checking the temps in his burrow and the days just aren't warm enough yet for him to do well outside again. Lately the highs during the day are mid 70's at most, its actually raining as I type this. I do still have the option of bringing him back indoors until the weather warms up if necessary.

Another question for those experienced with this: When he first went down, he would quickly respond with an exhale/hiss if i was checking on him too loudly or touched his leg. Lately he seems to be in a much deeper sleep, and will still exhale/hiss only if I rub his leg to make sure he is ok. Is it normal for their sleep to deepen like this? Am I worrying over nothing?

Just wanted to hear from others to see what their experiences have been like and create discussion. Thanks!
If you have a warm indoor enclosure to keep him, you can wake him any time. I use a heated night box with a heat lamp in it for this purpose. If the weather is warm enough and stays warm, I don't use the heat lamp. When the weather doesn't cooperate after waking from hibernation, I use the heater to control ambient and a heat lamp on a timer during the day to allow the tortoise to warm up and function.

I don't mess with mine while they slumber, so I don't know if that is normal.
 
TortoiseSupply.com

New Posts

Top