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Bring out of fridge??

Discussion in 'North American Tortoises (genus Gopherus)' started by KarenSoCal, Feb 6, 2018.

  1. KarenSoCal

    KarenSoCal Well-Known Member

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    My DT, Chug, has been brumating in a small operating refrigerator in the house since mid Nov, and seems to be doing fine. He is at 46-48 deg F constantly.
    Usually when I check him he is a cold brick...slow response to touch, and obviously wants to be left alone.
    Even though he is not getting temp, sun angle, or length of day cues, the past 10 days he is moving around more, and moves a bit when I open his door.
    I'm thinking he wants to wake up for a time. Once I allow him to warm up to room temp, I can't just put him back in the fridge. It would be a 30 deg drop over a few hours.
    He began his sleep outside in his enclosure in a dirt filled dog crate (his choice). His plants have not sprouted yet, so I could limit him to only hay in case he goes back to sleep. And of course he would have water and soaks.
    I'm thinking put him in his pen in the dog crate (open door) and let him do his own thing. Night temps here are currently high 40's, low 50's, days upper 80's.
    Sounds perfect to me!
    Opinions?
    @Yvonne G @Tom

    Anyone else who has done the fridge method?
  2. KarenSoCal

    KarenSoCal Well-Known Member

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    Added...plus the added benefit that if/when he walks around, I could be enjoying him before the weather is SO horribly hot!!
  3. tglazie

    tglazie Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I brumate my marginated tortoises using the fridge method, and I brought mine out this past Sunday when it reached a sunny 78. My main grazing areas aren't exactly ready either, though many of last year's chickory patches actually survived the freeze, so I'm in good shape with some of the stuff. Plus I have hibiscus and cactus for months, so I'm not especially worried. But yes, I figure with the temps you've described, he should be good to go.

    T.G.
  4. KarenSoCal

    KarenSoCal Well-Known Member

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    Thank you! This was my 1st brumation period, so I have no plants yet. Seeds are in, but no growth so far.
  5. tglazie

    tglazie Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Yes, once you've gotten more established, things will get easier. I planted everything on January 1st, which is always tempting fate, and this year we suffered an ice storm that, fortunately, didn't manage to kill any of my new seedlings. But hey, that's what my twelve tarps are for. Now, everything is growing, from the cherry tomatoes and zucchini that I grow to feed myself, to the lamb's lettuce, chickory, dandelion, dichondra and countless other weeds I grow to supply the tortoises with their spring time graze.

    T.G.
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  6. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    When did he last eat?
    When did he check into his dirt filled dog house?
    Approximately what does he weigh?
  7. motero

    motero Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    We have been in the low 80s in phoenix and one of our desert tortoises came up and sat in the sun today, Been deep underground since Oct. She thinks it is spring too.
  8. KarenSoCal

    KarenSoCal Well-Known Member

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    He last ate hay back in the beginning of Nov. He went into his dog crate and stayed there til mid Nov, when I put him in the fridge, where he is now. He weighs about 1550 gms.
  9. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    I'd leave him in the fridge until at least March. We've had an unbelievably warm winter, but it could still get down to "normal" cold winter temps at any time and stay that way for weeks. Heck we usually have a few days in the 50s in May even.

    I like to go 12-14 weeks for older ones of that size or larger. It would be bad to wake him early, warm him up and then have a cold spell. Unless you have a large heated indoor enclosure he could retreat to if things got cold.
  10. KarenSoCal

    KarenSoCal Well-Known Member

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    Awwww....I was just starting to look forward to seeing his grumpy face!
    Well, at least maybe his weeds and flowers will grow by the time I take him out.
    Til then, sleep well dear Chug!
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  11. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    We had that one little rain a couple of weeks ago and it started all my weed seeds sprouting. I've been having to water every couple of days to keep this years weed's from drying out and dying.
  12. KarenSoCal

    KarenSoCal Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately I've been dealing with some health problems, and didn't get my seeds planted until 2 weeks ago. But hopefully they will sprout. I'm dampening them 2x/day. I have such a black thumb! I'm also praying over them!
  13. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    I don't usually plant anything until March. I was referring to all the weed seeds that grow on their own all over my ranch and in my tortoise pens.
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  14. tglazie

    tglazie Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Given that you and Tom live in the same general region and given his experience with this species, I would definitely defer to his advice. I also didn't elaborate on the fact that I maintain indoor quarters for my animals to ensure that they have a place to stay when spring weather turns squiffy, as it has done for me this past week. I'm not generally known for offering incomplete advice. Apologies for having done so in this particular instance.

    T.G.
  15. KarenSoCal

    KarenSoCal Well-Known Member

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    Oh, T. G., no need to apologize! I wanted to hear varying opinions, and appreciate you giving yours.
    Chug seems to be more awake in the fridge than he has been...moving more in his box, and more quickly responsive to touch....not just a cold brick anymore.
    But none of the seeds I planted have begun to sprout yet (I have a black thumb). So there's one reason to keep him asleep.
    I really doubt we will have any cold snap here, but if we did, I have no warm place to put him other than the bathtub. And, HE HATES THE BATHTUB!!
    So chilly he stays til March, when he will have been down for a full 3 1/2 months.
    I will admit it's been scary reading posts about owners finding their torts dead. That makes me want to get him up and active, eating, soaking, being absolutely certain he's ok.
    But I will resist, because I believe it's better for him. 20171108_121429.jpg
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  16. KarenSoCal

    KarenSoCal Well-Known Member

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    @Tom

    I posted this thread back on Feb 6, re' bringing Chug out of his fridge, since temps were so warm.
    You advised me to keep him in there til at least March, since we never really know what the weather is going to do.
    I was missing him, so begrudgingly, I followed your advice and kept him cold.
    THANK GOD I did!! It's been in high 30's here at night, and more predicted over the next week. Had I brought him out and warmed him, I would be frantic trying to keep him comfortable in the house...he absolutely HATES the bathtub!
    I want to publicly say thanks, Tom! Once again, when people heed your advice, another disaster has been potentially been avoided.
    I know that you get frustrated and wonder how to convince folks to listen to you...well, I for one think you shouldn't change a thing!
    Honest, straightforward, and not mincing words...but at the same time making an attempt to be kind and respectful.
    That's the approach that has won me over...and I'm not so weird that it shouldn't work for others as well!
    Keep on keeping on!
    20170812_080440.jpg
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  17. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    Thanks Karen. All I want to do is help tortoises and tortoise people. Its a simple goal. Posts like this one are all the reward I need. Thanks for being so thoughtful and insightful enough to see things from my point of view.

    I think we were all caught a little off guard by this frigid weather since its been mid 80s or higher everyday since November. Remember Thanksgiving day? Holy cow was it hot. We all went swimming to cool off!

    As always, wishing the best for you and yours.
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  18. Maro2Bear

    Maro2Bear Well-Known Member

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    In @Tom we all trust, some sooner, some later! Thanks for helping us all learn to do the right thing from the start.
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  19. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    Its a group effort. I've learned so much of what I know form other members here. Yvonne, Will, cdmay, Mr. Zovickian, Maggie, TerryO, MarkW, GB Tortoises, Chris Leone, Kinglsey, Evan, Greg, Egyptian Dan, and sooooooo many more over so many years.

    I appreciate the compliments and thanks, but I can't take credit for what has been a group effort from this whole community. There are so many wonderful people that make up this site. It is unlike any other site I've seen. I'm lucky to be a part of it. I think all of us are lucky to be a part of it.
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  20. KarenSoCal

    KarenSoCal Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I agree! I have learned from other members as well. @Will taught me how to research if a plant is toxic! Given the choice of a fish, or teaching me how to fish, Will was right on! Thanks, Will! And thanks to all others who have given of their time and expertise on this forum!
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North American Tortoises (genus Gopherus) Re' "Bring Out of Fridge?" Mar 25, 2018

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