Hibernation question

SuzyH

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What happens if a tort prepares for hibernation but then isn't allowed to hibernate? Like if they (for example) were in the wild and doing what they do naturally, but then they were captured right before they would have gone into hibernation, and they were put in a climate controlled habitat. Would that be detrimental to their health or maybe just cause some odd sleeping/eating patterns?

I'm thinking specifically about Russians but I suppose other applicable species would react similarly?
 

BeeBee*BeeLeaves

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As long as "day" long hours, 12-14, are maintained and temps are up to make it seem like it's spring-summer, there should be no harm. A lot of keepers keep their tortoises up that way. Quite a few experts here do not let their tortoises brumate, with no problem, it seems.
 

SuzyH

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Well, I know that many keepers choose not to hibernate their torts. What I'm asking is, what if a tort was wild, the days got shorter and the weather got colder so the tort ate a lot and physically prepared to hibernate, but then right before it would have gone to sleep for the winter, someone caught it and put it in a climate controlled environment. That would obviously be confusing and maybe stressful to go from short, cold days to warm, long days. Is it something the tort could overcome easily or would it be a source of potential health issues?
 

edwardbo

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All different ,some might get. Sick r.i.,go of there food ,try to slow down anyway,others will have no problem,maybe think they are on vacation. Most cases there would not be a problem....healthy animals don't get sick.
 

ascott

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Well, if a russian was wild and had settled in for winter they would not have eaten alot right before digging in....

If you have removed a tort from the wild (which I certainly hope you did not) as it was going down for the winter then you will not want to immediately place that tort in a fully heated enclosure (this can cause alot of shock and stress to the tort which can create health issues) ...you will want to slowly acclimate the tort to temps increasing....also, why would you not just allow the tort to remain in his sleep state? (set up a proper hibernacle for the tort to remain in to finish off his rest)....?

Also, a wild tort does not always acclimate to captivity...if a tort is going to adjust it can take months if not longer....just because a tort "just sits" does not mean it has acclimated....
 

SuzyH

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ascott said:
Well, if a russian was wild and had settled in for winter they would not have eaten alot right before digging in....

If you have removed a tort from the wild (which I certainly hope you did not) as it was going down for the winter then you will not want to immediately place that tort in a fully heated enclosure (this can cause alot of shock and stress to the tort which can create health issues) ...you will want to slowly acclimate the tort to temps increasing....also, why would you not just allow the tort to remain in his sleep state? (set up a proper hibernacle for the tort to remain in to finish off his rest)....?

Also, a wild tort does not always acclimate to captivity...if a tort is going to adjust it can take months if not longer....just because a tort "just sits" does not mean it has acclimated....

Ok, I think I may have gotten some people riled up with my wording.
Let me just clarify:
This is a 110% hypothetical question that came up in discussion between my husband and I. We are very new to torts and still trying to weed through a lot of the misinformation that is out there.
We have not (and would never) removed a wild animal of any type, including torts, from the wild.
We do have a Russian. We have had him a couple weeks. He is grand and we love him very much already.
 

Yvonne G

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I took Suzy's question to mean wild Russian tortoises being harvested/hunted at this time of year when they had already started to prepare for hibernation, then packaged up and shipped to the wholesalers across the countries. Not that Suzy was going to go to Afghanistan and pick her up some Russians.

I think as long as the tortoise was gently warmed up and given the opportunity to get used to being in a warmer climate there probably wouldn't be any harm done. Really, all they do to prepare themselves is stop eating. Once they're put into a warmer situation, they just start eating again. Some Russian tortoises just HAVE to hibernate. So those might come over here into the warehouse and just sit there not eating. Even when someone buys him and sets him up properly, he still may want to hibernate and the new keeper may have trouble getting him to eat.
 

SuzyH

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Yvonne G said:
I took Suzy's question to mean wild Russian tortoises being harvested/hunted at this time of year when they had already started to prepare for hibernation, then packaged up and shipped to the wholesalers across the countries. Not that Suzy was going to go to Afghanistan and pick her up some Russians.

I think as long as the tortoise was gently warmed up and given the opportunity to get used to being in a warmer climate there probably wouldn't be any harm done. Really, all they do to prepare themselves is stop eating. Once they're put into a warmer situation, they just start eating again. Some Russian tortoises just HAVE to hibernate. So those might come over here into the warehouse and just sit there not eating. Even when someone buys him and sets him up properly, he still may want to hibernate and the new keeper may have trouble getting him to eat.

Thank you! Thats exactly what I meant.
See, I'm actually *against* the idea of stealing animals from the wild to fill pet shops. I think it'd be more humane if we focused more on breeding in captivity to fill pet needs. I actually was lined up to adopt a tort out of a bad situation. I have always adopted all of my pets, except for a couple show-quality hamsters bought from responsible breeders.
However when the adoption fell through my husband (who hates seeing me sad) went out and purchased a Russian for me from a pet shop. I don't approve of supporting that industry but I wasn't going to make him take the tort back! So now I have this tort who I'm fairy certain was wild caught.
It actually took us a week to get him to eat and we figured out the problem, he's eating up a storm now. But before he started eating we talked a lot about the reasons he might not eat and hibernation was one theory thrown out there that we didn't know much about so (even though Speedy is now eating) I figured I'd ask the board out of curiosity.
 

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