Can you keep Russians outdoors year round without them hibernating?

TechnoCheese

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Hey! Long time no see :p
I’m going off to college soon, and the tortoises are staying home. Button, my Russian, stays outside 8-10 months of the year in his 8x8 outdoor enclosure. In the winter, I keep him in a 28 square foot kiddy pool. However, this gets mulch all over my room and my sister is stealing my room, so I kinda want to get rid of it since it only gets used about 4 months of the year.

Is it possible to keep Russians outside year round with a heated night box without them just hibernating? Or is hibernation inevitable when outdoors? I’m not sure I’m confident that I could get him safely into brumation when I’ll be away at school most of the time.
 

mark1

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I’d think so too, but we do get down to 28-40 in the winter
you need to understand what they need .......... i'm relatively certain your ground never freezes ?

Testudo hermanni account.

Testudo hermanni is active with a minimum Tb from 12.3ºC (Huot-Daubremont 1996), is fully active at a Tb of 25°C (Meek 1984, 1988a; Willemsen 1991) and has a thermal preference between 25 and 30ºC (Cherchi 1956; Huot-Daubremont 1996). Most behaviors occur within this range of Tb , apart from nesting when Tb may be higher (to 32.1ºC; Meek 1988b; Huot-Daubremont 1996). In the same thermal environment, Tb in females is lower than in males (Paglione 1988; Panagiota and Valakos 1992; Carretero et al. 1995; Huot-Daubremont 1996). Cherchi (1956) found that the overall temperature tolerance of T. hermanni is from -2 to 44°C. In the field no voluntary Tb over 38°C has been found (Meek 1984, 1988a, b; Paglione 1988; Wright et al. 1988; Willemsen 1991; Panagiota and Valakos 1992; Carretero et al. 1995) and not over 39.9ºC in semi-captive conditions (Huot-Daubremont 1996). The lowest Tb recorded is -0.4ºC (Cherchi 1960). During hibernation Tb is higher than 0ºC (Huot-Daubremont 1996, 2002); hibernating tortoises are able to endure exceptional winter conditions with air temperatures below -18ºC in Provence (Cheylan 2001) and -23ºC in Munich (Hediger 1958).
 

TechnoCheese

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you need to understand what they need .......... i'm relatively certain your ground never freezes ?

Testudo hermanni account.

Testudo hermanni is active with a minimum Tb from 12.3ºC (Huot-Daubremont 1996), is fully active at a Tb of 25°C (Meek 1984, 1988a; Willemsen 1991) and has a thermal preference between 25 and 30ºC (Cherchi 1956; Huot-Daubremont 1996). Most behaviors occur within this range of Tb , apart from nesting when Tb may be higher (to 32.1ºC; Meek 1988b; Huot-Daubremont 1996). In the same thermal environment, Tb in females is lower than in males (Paglione 1988; Panagiota and Valakos 1992; Carretero et al. 1995; Huot-Daubremont 1996). Cherchi (1956) found that the overall temperature tolerance of T. hermanni is from -2 to 44°C. In the field no voluntary Tb over 38°C has been found (Meek 1984, 1988a, b; Paglione 1988; Wright et al. 1988; Willemsen 1991; Panagiota and Valakos 1992; Carretero et al. 1995) and not over 39.9ºC in semi-captive conditions (Huot-Daubremont 1996). The lowest Tb recorded is -0.4ºC (Cherchi 1960). During hibernation Tb is higher than 0ºC (Huot-Daubremont 1996, 2002); hibernating tortoises are able to endure exceptional winter conditions with air temperatures below -18ºC in Provence (Cheylan 2001) and -23ºC in Munich (Hediger 1958).
It sounds like much more risk than one would want to keep a Russian outdoors in below freezing or near freezing weather, if that’s what you’re suggesting. Even if they are documented to endure those temperatures in the wild, I’m sure they don’t all always survive it every year, and I’m especially sure it wouldn’t be a great idea in Texas where it also rains when it’s that cold. Unless I’m misinterpreting this?
 

mark1

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It sounds like much more risk than one would want to keep a Russian outdoors in below freezing or near freezing weather, if that’s what you’re suggesting. Even if they are documented to endure those temperatures in the wild, I’m sure they don’t all always survive it every year, and I’m especially sure it wouldn’t be a great idea in Texas where it also rains when it’s that cold. Unless I’m misinterpreting this?
whatever your comfortable with is the way to go ...............
 

Tom

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It sounds like much more risk than one would want to keep a Russian outdoors in below freezing or near freezing weather, if that’s what you’re suggesting. Even if they are documented to endure those temperatures in the wild, I’m sure they don’t all always survive it every year, and I’m especially sure it wouldn’t be a great idea in Texas where it also rains when it’s that cold. Unless I’m misinterpreting this?
Hey! Long time no see :p
I’m going off to college soon, and the tortoises are staying home. Button, my Russian, stays outside 8-10 months of the year in his 8x8 outdoor enclosure. In the winter, I keep him in a 28 square foot kiddy pool. However, this gets mulch all over my room and my sister is stealing my room, so I kinda want to get rid of it since it only gets used about 4 months of the year.

Is it possible to keep Russians outside year round with a heated night box without them just hibernating? Or is hibernation inevitable when outdoors? I’m not sure I’m confident that I could get him safely into brumation when I’ll be away at school most of the time.
I explain how to do this in a climate like yours in this thread.

Your climate is not too cold. Its too inconsistent and too warm some of the time in winter. Best to brumate your tortoise indoors under controlled conditions. Using a box like what is in the thread, you will get an average temp inside the box between the day time high and night time low. Most of your winter, I think that will be too warm for a Russian. We have 30 degree nights and 65 degree days most of "winter" here. Some days are only 50, and some days get up to 90, but are followed by a night in the low 40s. My outdoor boxes hover around 40-50F all winter, and that suits Chersina just fine. It would be good for a DT or Hermanni also, but too warm for a Russian.

You could try keeping ambient in the box set to 65, and having the heat lamp come on all winter, but I suspect you'll find him outside in a cold corner most days trying to brumate. I've never tried to keep one up this way, so let me know if it works. I use the box and heat lamps to extend their time into fall, and bring them out of brumation earlier in spring. You could use it the same way and only brumate for around 90 days. I think this would be better for your tortoise in many ways.
 

TechnoCheese

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I explain how to do this in a climate like yours in this thread.

Your climate is not too cold. Its too inconsistent and too warm some of the time in winter. Best to brumate your tortoise indoors under controlled conditions. Using a box like what is in the thread, you will get an average temp inside the box between the day time high and night time low. Most of your winter, I think that will be too warm for a Russian. We have 30 degree nights and 65 degree days most of "winter" here. Some days are only 50, and some days get up to 90, but are followed by a night in the low 40s. My outdoor boxes hover around 40-50F all winter, and that suits Chersina just fine. It would be good for a DT or Hermanni also, but too warm for a Russian.

You could try keeping ambient in the box set to 65, and having the heat lamp come on all winter, but I suspect you'll find him outside in a cold corner most days trying to brumate. I've never tried to keep one up this way, so let me know if it works. I use the box and heat lamps to extend their time into fall, and bring them out of brumation earlier in spring. You could use it the same way and only brumate for around 90 days. I think this would be better for your tortoise in many ways.
Thanks!
 

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