Desert Torts in NC

PEARSON2713

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Joined
Jul 30, 2020
Messages
3
Location (City and/or State)
Dallas NC
I own 2 Desert torts. I got them from their previous owners from Charlotte NC and I'm in NC. So my question is should I bring them inside in the Winter? They're doing great outside now but this will be thir 1st Winter with us. I have my Sulcatas outside 100% with CHE in the cold.months..I LOVE ALL my tortoises and I hope this forum can help....
 

KarenSoCal

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Jul 8, 2017
Messages
5,354
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Desert tortoises (gopherus agazzizi) brumate in the winter. Brumation is similar to hibernation, but the tortoise might wake up on a warm winter day. This is not desirable, so the tort has to be kept around 45-50° for the duration of the brumation. Some DT's sleep 3 or 4 months, while some are down as long as 6 months.

There are multiple methods to keep them at the proper temp. If your local weather goes down to 45-50° and stays there, then you can box them up and put them into a shed to sleep.
Some people allow them to dig their burrows and let them sleep in the burrow for the winter. Since very rarely does any place stay at 45-50° day and night for months, neither of these 2 methods are very good. Add in the possibility of rats chewing them, flooded burrows, collapsed burrows, or snow buried burrows, and either way is a death trap in the making.

I, and several other keepers on TFO, put our DT's into a dedicated refrigerator that has been run at the specified temp long enough to be confident that it will maintain the desired temp. The torts are each in their own cardboard box with some air holes and a lid. The temp is slowly lowered until it reaches 45-50°.
There is some preparation before the fridge time, consisting of stopping feeding and trying to begin the cooling process.

Lots of folks freak out when we talk of putting them into a fridge, but they stay at the best temp, and are safe from predators or loss of burrow integrity.
I had only one DT, and I used an apartment sized 4.5 cu ft mini fridge.
There are many threads on the forum about this. Do a search for "fridge, brumation, hibernation" and I'm sure you will find them.

Are you positive that they are DT's? They are a long way from home, and weren't supposed to be removed from their home state. That's actually illegal.

But now with you they will have a good home and be loved.

Do you know that they must be housed separately? Each one in his own yard, with his own heated night box, so they can't fight.
 

PEARSON2713

New Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2020
Messages
3
Location (City and/or State)
Dallas NC
Desert tortoises (gopherus agazzizi) brumate in the winter. Brumation is similar to hibernation, but the tortoise might wake up on a warm winter day. This is not desirable, so the tort has to be kept around 45-50° for the duration of the brumation. Some DT's sleep 3 or 4 months, while some are down as long as 6 months.

There are multiple methods to keep them at the proper temp. If your local weather goes down to 45-50° and stays there, then you can box them up and put them into a shed to sleep.
Some people allow them to dig their burrows and let them sleep in the burrow for the winter. Since very rarely does any place stay at 45-50° day and night for months, neither of these 2 methods are very good. Add in the possibility of rats chewing them, flooded burrows, collapsed burrows, or snow buried burrows, and either way is a death trap in the making.

I, and several other keepers on TFO, put our DT's into a dedicated refrigerator that has been run at the specified temp long enough to be confident that it will maintain the desired temp. The torts are each in their own cardboard box with some air holes and a lid. The temp is slowly lowered until it reaches 45-50°.
There is some preparation before the fridge time, consisting of stopping feeding and trying to begin the cooling process.

Lots of folks freak out when we talk of putting them into a fridge, but they stay at the best temp, and are safe from predators or loss of burrow integrity.
I had only one DT, and I used an apartment sized 4.5 cu ft mini fridge.
There are many threads on the forum about this. Do a search for "fridge, brumation, hibernation" and I'm sure you will find them.

Are you positive that they are DT's? They are a long way from home, and weren't supposed to be removed from their home state. That's actually illegal.

But now with you they will have a good home and be loved.

Do you know that they must be housed separately? Each one in his own yard, with his own heated night box, so they can't fight.
20210407 174509
 

PEARSON2713

New Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2020
Messages
3
Location (City and/or State)
Dallas NC
Why must they be separated? They have lived together always. And I. am Almost positive they are male and female..
 

KarenSoCal

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Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
5,354
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Why must they be separated? They have lived together always. And I. am Almost positive they are male and female..
Usually, the sex of the torts doesn't matter. Torts are solitary animals. In the wild they each have a territory, and if another tort tries to encroach, there will be a bloody fight, sometimes ending in death. Please post some pictures of your torts taken from underneath, clearly showing the tail and anal scutes. How old are they? You can't be positive until they are at least 10 years old, unless the male exposes himself to you.

Even mounting each other is not fool-proof, as sometimes females will do this to try to be dominant and drive the male away.

Read this...


These behaviors are seen in adults too, with the added aggressions of biting, ramming, and flipping each other.

I genuinely hope that you have the 1 in a 1000 pair that get along. But the odds are that you are not recognizing the bullying, because to us, it looks like they are being cute.

I sincerely hope you don't check one morning and find one of them horribly injured or worse.

Here's another thread to read...

 

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