DT brumaters thread 2013-2014

thatrebecca

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I thought I'd start a thread for all of us brumating our DTs this season, to compare and contrast what stage our torts are at and how we're doing things. Check in on that freak 90-degree day in January, that sort of thing.

I'll start off by sharing that my two juveniles, Gomez and Morticia, have been off food since Oct 26 (and for the week prior to that ate very little). They're still up but the cool snap we're having in LA this week has slowed them wayyyyy down.

Here's the non working chest freezer where they'll be spending the winter:
ImageUploadedByTortForum1383144920.894675.jpg

This is my first time brumating and I'm a bit nervous about it, so I expect I'll be checking temps and tickling toes a lot.

Now, tell me how your brumaters are doing...
 

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ascott

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All the men folk here are in their boxes....they went in after their soaks on Sunday....as the weather dropped in the daytime by 25+ degrees and the night temps are in the 30s....I don't see the day temps bumping too high (except for Thursday) over the 70 mark and the nights are showing to remain in the 30s....so I believe they are in for the start of the season---this is always just the start....I will do a check on Sunday to see if they settled in as usual and then will check once a week for the next few weeks then move that to every two weeks or so....
 

thatrebecca

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ascott said:
All the men folk here are in their boxes....they went in after their soaks on Sunday....as the weather dropped in the daytime by 25+ degrees and the night temps are in the 30s....I don't see the day temps bumping too high (except for Thursday) over the 70 mark and the nights are showing to remain in the 30s....so I believe they are in for the start of the season---this is always just the start....I will do a check on Sunday to see if they settled in as usual and then will check once a week for the next few weeks then move that to every two weeks or so....

Angela, how do you ascertain whether they've settled in? Does it have to do with whether they've moved in their boxes or something else?

Today was the first day neither of my torts came out of their hides. Tomorrow they're due for their soak and I think I'll give them some more time before boxing up, but it's kinda bittersweet to know it's underway.
 

ascott

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how do you ascertain whether they've settled in

Alot has to do with learning what their normal is....along with the potential weather....now, to specifically answer you:

I will place them in their box and place all in their closet, I will close the double doors and will get quiet for a bit----if they are ready they will not make a peep and don't move about much---if they are not ready--it sounds like a marching band banging on the big round drums....very obvious....also remember that I have watched them and done the wind down so there is the entire process to consider :D
 

thatrebecca

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ascott said:
how do you ascertain whether they've settled in

Alot has to do with learning what their normal is....along with the potential weather....now, to specifically answer you:

I will place them in their box and place all in their closet, I will close the double doors and will get quiet for a bit----if they are ready they will not make a peep and don't move about much---if they are not ready--it sounds like a marching band banging on the big round drums....very obvious....also remember that I have watched them and done the wind down so there is the entire process to consider :D

That's hilarious! Thanks for the mental image. I'm now picturing some tortoise version of '76 Trombones' in my head.
 

ascott

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Angela, if they do bang around, how long do you give them to either settle down or put them back out?

It is more of a feeling than a time frame....I mean there is no mistaking a tenacious CDT annoyed with being in a box....and when they are ready I will hear a little bit of digging motion/sound and this has proven in the past to be them digging into the bedding until they reach their feel good spot and they then settle with little else going on (if I have to place a time frame, perhaps 5 minutes or so...) :D
 

thatrebecca

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Been monitoring the temps in the chest freezer before the torts go in and today, which was 80 here, it got up to 62. The lowest it's gotten is 52. I was gonna put some cold water bottles in to drop it down, but if anyone has a better suggestion, please holler.
 

ascott

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Is the freezer in the little house you have in the picture? I don't use fridges so I am really no help here...(the fridges trigger the OCD chick living in my head and no way she will sleep knowing there are torts in the fridgie..lol)

I know folks do use them though I can't imagine a solution----well wait a minute? How bout digging a hole about the depth of 3/4 quarters of the fridge and sinking the fridge in the hole and building a little burm around the entire fridge but not the lid---doing this in a place that can be protected from any rainfall? Oh man, now the OCD chick is yelling--wait, what if water fills the fridge--see, it is a no win battle---exhausting some days :p:p:p;)

I hope someone will be of better help ..
 

thatrebecca

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Yep, the freezer is in the darkest corner of that shed. I can put curtains up to keep the sun out, which I assume would help a little. That plus water bottles is all I got.
 

thatrebecca

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Another SoCal torts super active today in this 85-degree weather? I had figured my two were down for good but today Gomez has been roaming the yard like his life depends on it.
 

nancykj

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here in woodland hills also thatrebecca. especially my big guy who was all over the place, finally just now saw him go into his burrow. my little guy was roaming around too, tho not quite as frantically. funny, every year it is the same, the big guy goes down last and gets up first. he spends 2-3 weeks less time "asleep" than the little one.
 

thatrebecca

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Hmm we have another warm week in store here in the SF Valley -- daytime highs are forecasted to be in the mid 80s, nighttime lows in the mid 50s. Wonder if my torts will stay up another week. Their soaks are poop-free now, so I think their guts are empty. I'm a little worried about them burning off their fat stores trooping around in this warm weather.
 

thatrebecca

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OK the water bottles lowered temps in the freezer. Yesterday's 24-hour temp range was 50-52. It was also an overcast day, which helped. I still need to get curtains. Dunno about the AC unit. The few times my torts have been inside with the AC on they reacted poorly to it and started yawning.
 

thatrebecca

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Nobody's coming out of their hides all day. Yesterday they each had a 45-minute soak, pooped and drank a long drink. But otherwise activity is nil. We think we'll make the transfer to their brumation boxes Sunday or Monday after another long soak and a weigh-in.

I'm still struggling to get temps right in the freezer. I've blocked off the windows in the shed. Yesterday was 84 here and temps in the freezer hovered in the mid-50s. I've got the freezer packed with water bottles, and a few of those gel packs you use as a hot or cold compress for back pain. Still not keeping it as cold as I'd like. I'm thinking of freezing a few of the water bottles to bring the temp down, and then letting them thaw in there before the torts go in. (Obviously I don't want anybody's box near something frozen, but the idea is to lower the temp for a few days before the torts go in and hope it holds).
 

ascott

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Rebecca, I am freaking out here....for fear of sounding like a nagging lady....my real concern has evolved to this; i know you are set on brumating the new torts...but a sound hibernacle is of the utmost importance....i would again suggest you overwinter these guys until you have a sound place for them to rest....please don't be upset with me....i just am compelled to share...

Is there no where in your home that is dark, quiet, cool ? I mean the bottom of a closet floor in the coolest room of the house?
 

thatrebecca

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Cooler than the 51-52 in the freezer? I don't think so. The house is in the mid-70s during the day. Even on the floor in a closet, I don't think it's cooler than 50. Are you able to keep temps in the 40s inside your house?

I visited the room they brumated in the last 3 years, the laundry in my neighbor's house. It was not as cool, dark or stable as the freezer is now.

If I'm not able to get temps adequately and consistently cool, I'm not going to stuff them in there and cross my fingers. My neighbor with a basement is willing to take the freezer. I'd preferred doing it on my property so I have the ability to check on them any time I want, but if that's not gonna work, I won't do it.

I'm not 'set' on anything, by the way. If the torts showed any sign of illness, or if it turns out I can't provide an adequate space for them to brumate, I'll keep them up.
 

thatrebecca

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I double checked the brumation temps suggested by the California Turtle and Tortoise Club and they say to strive for temps between 40 and 55. Even on a day with highs in the mid-80s, I'm now in that range in the freezer. I'd like temps as perfect as I can get them, but I don't understand why the setup seems so dangerous to you, Angela. I created it using the advice and guidance of folks on here and I'm tweaking it daily to improve it before the torts go in. Help me understand...
 

ascott

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Still not keeping it as cold as I'd like. I'm thinking of freezing a few of the water bottles to bring the temp down, and then letting them thaw in there before the torts go in.

Let me back up a bit....:D...I first need to say to you....my concern is derived from the fact that you are still "appearing" to hammer out the details (temps) for the location you are choosing....right? So, my concern is that in the temp/weather now, you are trying to achieve the temp window---however, what happens when there are cold spells and then spikes again? I am just seeing a frantic feeling coming over you not knowing exactly what will occur....does that make sense, I hope so....I do not want you to think that I am being negative simply because I am being straight forward with you....I am not, really.

The location that I have in my home that the torts brumate in here does remain steady....I know this because I have checked it and have had prior runs with it....just as you are working out the kinks...I just do not want you to feel the freak out that is potentially looming if you have a weird temp spike....so that is my concern..hell, I know a CDT is a hardy creature--if the tort has done well all season, this is a forgiving species....I mean I know torts that have made it a practice to crawl up under a bed on a cold floor and sleep all winter and wake and business as usual....so I suppose my real concern here is ending up to be your well being....lol....and well, a little for the newbie torts as well....:D
 
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