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Any Desert Tortoises starting their hibernation yet?

Discussion in 'North American Tortoises (genus Gopherus)' started by JohnnyB65, Oct 11, 2017 at 1:01 PM.

  1. JohnnyB65

    JohnnyB65 Well-Known Member

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    Just curious if any Southern CA High Desert tortoises started their hibernation yet. It’s been a little cold in the mornings and I haven’t seen my DT for a few days. He stopped eating a week ago and I have been keeping his water full, but I think only the birds and squirrels are drinking it. His burrow is completely shaded this time of year so it doesn’t warm up during the day.
  2. BobLaC

    BobLaC New Member

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    I’m in Winchester. Tucker comes out from his multiple hiding places by mid afternoon, eats a little, basks in the sun a lot, and then roams around until he finds his spot for the night. He’s still on antibiotics for an upper respiratory infection, so we’re watching him closely. I just gave him his last injection, but he may need another round.
  3. Grandpa Turtle 144

    Grandpa Turtle 144 Well-Known Member

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    If your tort is on antibiotics, I wouldn’t let it hibernate this year ! There is no law that says you have to hibernate it , let it recoupe this year and if you want hibernate it next year !
    Ciri likes this.
  4. Kenno

    Kenno Well-Known Member

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    Yes, Old Duncan stopped eating at the beginning of October and retired to the burrow. He was moving around in there at first but has now retired to one corner. Usually he goes down in mid October, so he's a little bit early this year.
  5. JohnnyB65

    JohnnyB65 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, I didn't think to listen into his burrow. Tomorrow I'll have to get down on my knees to listen for any movement inside.
  6. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 5 Year Member Platinum Supporter

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    I have a couple young rescues that stopped eating last week. They still come out and sit in the sun, but don't eat.


    It's not a good idea to allow a tortoise that's just getting over being sick to hibernate. I would set him up in an indoor enclosure and keep him awake this winter. Here's how I set up my desert tortoises that I can't allow to hibernate:

    cinder block enclosure b.jpg Cinder Block habitat 4-5-14 a.jpg

    This is on the car port, outside.
    JohnnyB65 and Grandpa Turtle 144 like this.
  7. JohnnyB65

    JohnnyB65 Well-Known Member

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    I just noticed that most of Mr.Ts food is gone and the water was bone dry this morning. I don't know if he ate it or something else, but the water was full yesterday afternoon and he would be the only thing that could drink that much water. The birds also drink it and the wind was blowing pretty hard last night which would dry it out although the birds usually clean his food bowl out pretty good and there was the right amount left in the bowl if Mr T ate it. He might have come out late in the day before dark to eat and drink I suppose. I have ground squirrels and I'm not exactly sure what they eat.
    Honestly I can't wait for him to go into hibernation so I can give the dogs free reign of the yard so I can travel a little. I can count on people to feed the dogs everyday, but Mr T is a pain in the butt to take care of this time of year.
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  8. Kenno

    Kenno Well-Known Member

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    Yes, we love our torts but it's great when they hibernate! We have plans to see Paris, London, and parts of Switzerland in December.
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  9. Grandpa Turtle 144

    Grandpa Turtle 144 Well-Known Member

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    Are your torts sick ?
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  10. Kenno

    Kenno Well-Known Member

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    Grandpa T, my two desert torts are very healthy! Old Duncan has started his hibernation and Alex is nosing around for a place to dig. I have prepared a good place for him and he should go down in about a week, judging by his pattern in the last three years.
    Grandpa Turtle 144 likes this.
  11. JohnnyB65

    JohnnyB65 Well-Known Member

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    Well Mr.T came out today. It warmed up to 87°F and the sun is at that point where it shines a few ft. down his entrance tunnel to the burrow. I was really hoping he would be out for the winter so I can take a little trip. I’m all packed and ready to go but it’s up to him. He isn’t eating and I suppose I could at least get someone to keep his water bowl full.

    How exactly do they go into hibernation? Do they just go into the burrow and go out or is it a slow process? I like to cover his entrance with a little dirt to keep any critters out while he’s sleeping, but I don’t want to cover it too early.
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