Help needed with 40 year old Herrman

Anita Kelly

New Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2019
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2
Location (City and/or State)
Yorkshire
We have recently inherited my partners tortoise Porkpie that he had when he was a boy. It has always lived with his mum who sadly passed away earlier this year. I have tried to stick to the same routines that Porkpie has always had. In the summer he has been out in the garden and is now inside. Porkpie has always hibernated for the winter months indoors in a cool quiet room. He seems to be trying to hibernate but keeps waking up - When he wakes should we feed him or leave him to go back to sleep - we aren’t sure what to do for the best. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you
 

Maro2Bear

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May 29, 2014
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Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
Welcome.

@JoesMum who lives a bit south and east of you can probably help you out regarding getting your tort into a good spot for brumation.

Your tort probably can’t find a good cold spot to brumate, so it wakes up. Id suggest NOT to feed, because you want their entire GI/gut/stomach to be basically empty during brumation. In the meantime, try to move your tort into a darker, colder area with no temp fluctuation.

So, hopefully @JoesMum will pop in here & give u some help!

Welcome again!
 

Maro2Bear

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Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
Some additional brumation tidbits (search on JoesMum & brumation)
  • A tortoise needs to stay cool enough, but not freeze.
  • It also needs to stay dry - cold and wet can kill a tortoise - and obviously it needs to be totally free from flood risk.
  • And finally it needs to be free from risk of being chewed by rodents or attack by other predators while it is in a state where it cannot get away.
  • In order to safely hibernate he needs a stable ambient temperature between around 5C / 40F. Never below freezing and not above 10C / 50F
  • Brumation doesn't start until temperatures are steadily below 10C. Above that a tort may be inactive, but is not actually brumating and must eat to avoid weight loss. It is unlikely that all, or even the majority, of the wild population brumates every winter.
The above should help keep you on track.
 

Yvonne G

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No, don't feed him. They need to be warm in order for the food to digest, and you're trying to allow him to cool down. So, no food.
 

JoesMum

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Oct 26, 2011
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Kent, South East England
Hello there

Given the weather this tortoise should be hibernating properly by now. I live in Kent (a Yorkshire migrant :) ) and it’s definitely cold enough here.

Weigh your tortoise in grammes and measure their straight carapace length in cm (Here’s how)

Use this Jackson ratio calculator to check that your tortoise is a healthy weight for hibernating
https://www.tortoise-protection-group.org.uk/site/171.asp

If he isn’t, then you need to have a properly heated indoor enclosure for the winter. Get in touch and we will help you set it up.

If he is then you will need a cool dry and safe place where temperatures stay below 10C and above freezing all winter. We used our garage and had an electric radiator in there with a frost thermostat. (It only cut in when temperatures dropped to freezing, so didn’t cost a fortune in electricity)

Your tort needs an emty gut, so no food for the fortnight prior to hibernation. Don’t let your tortoise be too warm if he is then he will become active and need to eat and will lose weight. Inside your house anywhere heated is undoubtedly too warm; turn the heating and close the door in the room. Joe always wound himself down for hibernation outdoors.

We double boxed Joe for years. We had a massive outer box bought from a removal company which was stuffed hard with straw and/or shredded paper packed quite hard. The inner box was from an iron (Joe was quite big) and stuffed with shredded paper. We had a wireless indoor/outdoor thermometer with a min/max feature that we bought for about £10 from Amazon; the outdoor sensor went in the box with Joe and so I could keep an eye on how the temperature was in the box with him. The outer box keeps temperatures remarkably stable.

Finally, I will direct you to the thread I wrote about outdoor accommodation in the UK climate as it covers how I looked after Joe through the year
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/outdoor-accommodation-in-a-colder-uk-climate.140866/
 
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