Hibernation

LeeB60

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I have a young Russian tortoise, he's barely eating, and all he wants to do is sleep. Is he trying to get ready to hibernate and if so what do I do to keep that from happening? Will his appetite pick up question
 

wellington

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Yes that is what he is trying to do.
I keep the heat up all day, 80 and 95-100 basking area and I keep night heat 70 or above. Be sure the enclosure is brightly lite and leave lights on for 12 to 14 hours a day.
Be sure to disturb him if he tries to hide away and not come out after a day or two. I will take mine out of the hiding spot and put him in front of the food or in his water dish.
 

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I have a young Russian tortoise, he's barely eating, and all he wants to do is sleep. Is he trying to get ready to hibernate and if so what do I do to keep that from happening? Will his appetite pick up question
Add light of the right type, bump temps up a bit, and leave lights on for at least 13 hours a day.

LEDs in the 5000-6000K color range will help.

What type of UV bulb are you using?
What substrate?
 

LeeB60

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Yes that is what he is trying to do.
I keep the heat up all day, 80 and 95-100 basking area and I keep night heat 70 or above. Be sure the enclosure is brightly lite and leave lights on for 12 to 14 hours a day.
Be sure to disturb him if he tries to hide away and not come out after a day or two. I will take mine out of the hiding spot and put him in front of the food or in his water dish.
Thanks, that's what I've been doing, but he's not eating much. Thank-you
Add light of the right type, bump temps up a bit, and leave lights on for at least 13 hours a day.

LEDs in the 5000-6000K color range will help.

What type of UV bulb are you using?
What substrate the UV light is one that I got from the pet store plus I have the light for night time and then he has a heat lamp. His heat lamp is the the darker red

Add light of the right type, bump temps up a bit, and leave lights on for at least 13 hours a day.

LEDs in the 5000-6000K color range will help.

What type of UV bulb are you using?
What substrate?
I am using orchid bark and the uv is one I ordered from chewy.where do I get the LED's?
 

LeeB60

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Thanks, that's what I've been doing, but he's not eating much. Thank-you



I am using orchid bark and the uv is one I ordered from chewy.where do I get the LED's?
What type of light is the best? I got a bulb from chewy for him for his UV but I also am thinking about putting a grow light in there also. Would that be okay?
 

Tom

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What type of light is the best? I got a bulb from chewy for him for his UV but I also am thinking about putting a grow light in there also. Would that be okay?
Grow lights are for plants. Wrong spectrum for tortoises.

What type of UV bulb have you got? Chewy sells several types.

There are four elements to heating and lighting:

Basking bulb. I use 65 watt floods from the hardware store. I run them on a timer and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. I also like to use a flat rock of some sort directly under the bulb.

Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species. You'd only need day heat for a temperate species like Testudo or DT.

Light. I use LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most bulbs at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish.

UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. If you want it anyway, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. You need a meter to check this: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html
 

Farcryjj

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Oh! Another hibernation post. :)
In short, I have a 6-year-old Russian tortoise and I had her since she was a hatchling. She lived in a closed enclosure with the same temp and same environment for the first 5 years. I tried everything to not let her sleep in the second year, but nothing worked. We then hibernated her in the fridge and has been doing so every year since. My Clydie has her own rhythm for slowing down. Not precisely in winter every year, but for every 6 month of active living, she wants to slow down for the next 3. Clydie has been healthy and is now at 960g. We noticed that after every hibernation, she would wake up with a big appetite and experience a fast growth phase. If we keep her awake against her will, she will not be as active and will drop weight.

I think you should just let your baby hibernate if he wants to.
 

LeeB60

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Oh! Another hibernation post. :)
In short, I have a 6-year-old Russian tortoise and I had her since she was a hatchling. She lived in a closed enclosure with the same temp and same environment for the first 5 years. I tried everything to not let her sleep in the second year, but nothing worked. We then hibernated her in the fridge and has been doing so every year since. My Clydie has her own rhythm for slowing down. Not precisely in winter every year, but for every 6 month of active living, she wants to slow down for the next 3. Clydie has been healthy and is now at 960g. We noticed that after every hibernation, she would wake up with a big appetite and experience a fast growth phase. If we keep her awake against her will, she will not be as active and will drop weight.

I think you should just let your baby hibernate if he wants to.
Thank you for your input. My biggest worry is I've read that a lot of times if you don't hibernate them right they will die! I know nothing about hibernating a tortoise. And I am having a hard time keeping him awake he's barely eating but I don't I'm afraid to put him in the fridge because I don't know how to do all of it. I said I've read it and I still don't understand it so I'm not quite sure what to do for him. But thank you
 

Farcryjj

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Thank you for your input. My biggest worry is I've read that a lot of times if you don't hibernate them right they will die! I know nothing about hibernating a tortoise. And I am having a hard time keeping him awake he's barely eating but I don't I'm afraid to put him in the fridge because I don't know how to do all of it. I said I've read it and I still don't understand it so I'm not quite sure what to do for him. But thank you
If you're interested in how I do the hibernation, you can read my replies to a recent post here: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/h...um=email&utm_campaign=ed40&utm_content=iss655
 

LeeB60

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I went to the link you sent and read everything. I'm sorry I still don't understand. I have to let him not eat for 3 weeks soak him and weigh him? I'm not sure how to cool him down I'm not sure the exact temperature to keep him at in my fridge or how long to keep him there. I'm sorry I sound so stupid but this is the first year I've hibernated him I've only had him 2 years learned a lot. I just want to make sure I do it right. But he definitely wants to hibernate cuz he's not coming out of his hide anymore. I do not know how old he is I got him from a pet store, actually my husband got him and when we separated he gave him to me cuz he didn't want him anymore. Is there somewhere I can look that will take me through the steps to to do this? Also, he doesn't seem to be growing much anymore.
 

Farcryjj

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I went to the link you sent and read everything. I'm sorry I still don't understand. I have to let him not eat for 3 weeks soak him and weigh him? I'm not sure how to cool him down I'm not sure the exact temperature to keep him at in my fridge or how long to keep him there. I'm sorry I sound so stupid but this is the first year I've hibernated him I've only had him 2 years learned a lot. I just want to make sure I do it right. But he definitely wants to hibernate cuz he's not coming out of his hide anymore. I do not know how old he is I got him from a pet store, actually my husband got him and when we separated he gave him to me cuz he didn't want him anymore. Is there somewhere I can look that will take me through the steps to to do this? Also, he doesn't seem to be growing much anymore.
Hi, I'm sorry I didn't provide too much details in the previous post. 😅 I understand your worries about the whole process, as I also feel anxious every time I send my Clydie to the fridge. It's never easy.
When I do it, I would keep the fridge at 4 degree Celsius. Before you send him to the fridge, he should have stopped any food intake for 2 or 3 weeks. In those 2-3 weeks, room temperature or a bit cooler, like in the 10 to 20 degrees, is ok.
After that period, you can make a box like I described in the other post, weigh him and the box, then send him to the fridge.
The most important thing during his hibernation, is that you should weigh the box (with him inside) every week or every 10 days, and compare it to the original weight. If you don't see a big weight drop, let's say 10% cumulatively, it's OK. He can continue sleeping. If it drops more than that at one point, or there's a sudden drop from the previous week, you should just wake him up right away.
I normally let Clydie hibernate for 3 months. When you decide to wake him up, just take him out of the fridge first. You will find him all cold and dry and stiff. Don't worry, it's normal. Let him sit in the box in the room temperature for at least half an hour. Then you can soak him with water, the temperature of which is no more than 10 degrees higher than his body temperature at this point. When his body temp is the same as the water, you change for warmer water. Just don't let the water to be more than 10c higher than his body temperature at any time, until eventually his body temp will reach room temperature. At that point he should be fully awake already. Then you can put him back to his tank with bathing light, normal substrates and leaves sprayed with water. The whole waking up process can take about two hours.
He might be eating the same day or the next day, or he may go to his hide and continue sleeping. It will take a week for him to totally get back to normal. By then, he should have a big appetite. 😀
 

Tom

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I went to the link you sent and read everything. I'm sorry I still don't understand. I have to let him not eat for 3 weeks soak him and weigh him? I'm not sure how to cool him down I'm not sure the exact temperature to keep him at in my fridge or how long to keep him there. I'm sorry I sound so stupid but this is the first year I've hibernated him I've only had him 2 years learned a lot. I just want to make sure I do it right. But he definitely wants to hibernate cuz he's not coming out of his hide anymore. I do not know how old he is I got him from a pet store, actually my husband got him and when we separated he gave him to me cuz he didn't want him anymore. Is there somewhere I can look that will take me through the steps to to do this? Also, he doesn't seem to be growing much anymore.
Scroll to post number 19 for details:
 

LeeB60

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Hi, I'm sorry I didn't provide too much details in the previous post. 😅 I understand your worries about the whole process, as I also feel anxious every time I send my Clydie to the fridge. It's never easy.
When I do it, I would keep the fridge at 4 degree Celsius. Before you send him to the fridge, he should have stopped any food intake for 2 or 3 weeks. In those 2-3 weeks, room temperature or a bit cooler, like in the 10 to 20 degrees, is ok.
After that period, you can make a box like I described in the other post, weigh him and the box, then send him to the fridge.
The most important thing during his hibernation, is that you should weigh the box (with him inside) every week or every 10 days, and compare it to the original weight. If you don't see a big weight drop, let's say 10% cumulatively, it's OK. He can continue sleeping. If it drops more than that at one point, or there's a sudden drop from the previous week, you should just wake him up right away.
I normally let Clydie hibernate for 3 months. When you decide to wake him up, just take him out of the fridge first. You will find him all cold and dry and stiff. Don't worry, it's normal. Let him sit in the box in the room temperature for at least half an hour. Then you can soak him with water, the temperature of which is no more than 10 degrees higher than his body temperature at this point. When his body temp is the same as the water, you change for warmer water. Just don't let the water to be more than 10c higher than his body temperature at any time, until eventually his body temp will reach room temperature. At that point he should be fully awake already. Then you can put him back to his tank with bathing light, normal substrates and leaves sprayed with water. The whole waking up process can take about two hours.
He might be eating the same day or the next day, or he may go to his hide and continue sleeping. It will take a week for him to totally get back to normal. By then, he should have a big appetite. 😀
Thank you so very much I'm I'm still unsure of what I have to do totally but I'm going to keep this thread on my phone and it was okay if I need to ask you more questions I would like to do that. I won't drive you crazy I just love the little guy and I'm scared to death that something bad is going to happen. But I can see that he's he needs a nap. Thank you for your reply
 

LeeB60

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Thank you so very much I'm I'm still unsure of what I have to do totally but I'm going to keep this thread on my phone and it was okay if I need to ask you more questions I would like to do that. I won't drive you crazy I just love the little guy and I'm scared to death that something bad is going to happen. But I can see that he's he needs a nap. Thank you for your reply
Does it matter what shelf or what part of the fridge he's in?
 

LeeB60

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Do I need to soak Dude every day while he's getting ready to hibernate? I'm sorry to have so many questions.
 

Tom

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Do I need to soak Dude every day while he's getting ready to hibernate? I'm sorry to have so many questions.
Every day will not hurt anything. Every other day is probably adequate.

Lots of questions is good. That is why we are all here. We love talking about tortoises!

Does it matter what shelf or what part of the fridge he's in?
Not really. The temperature is what matters. I like to put the tortoises away from the walls of the fridge and pack all sorts of cans, bottles and stuff like that into the fridge. Heat inertia. It keeps things more stable and the fridge doesn't have to work as hard as if it were mostly empty.
 

LeeB60

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Does it matter what shelf or what part of the fridge he's in?
I'm going to use my big fridge and unscrew the bulb. Right now he keeps moving away from heat as much as he can. It's only been 4 days since he ate. He didn't eat much, but still he ate. I don't have anything to measure him with, but he seems to be three to three and a half inches long and two and a half inches wide. I'm thinking about taking him to the vet for one more check up. He seems to be pretty healthy to me but it doesn't seem like he's been growing much. I have no idea how old he is I got him from a pet store that was going out of business. Could you give me an idea of how much he should weigh at this size I have him at 1 lb.
 

Tom

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I'm going to use my big fridge and unscrew the bulb. Right now he keeps moving away from heat as much as he can. It's only been 4 days since he ate. He didn't eat much, but still he ate. I don't have anything to measure him with, but he seems to be three to three and a half inches long and two and a half inches wide. I'm thinking about taking him to the vet for one more check up. He seems to be pretty healthy to me but it doesn't seem like he's been growing much. I have no idea how old he is I got him from a pet store that was going out of business. Could you give me an idea of how much he should weigh at this size I have him at 1 lb.
They need to be kept warm, both ambient and basking area, and hydrated, for at least two weeks after any food was eaten. After that point, two weeks of fasting at warm temps with frequent soaks, then I begin cooling them and shortening the days.

I unscrewed my bulb one year too. Honestly, I don't think it matters, but it doesn't hurt anything with or without the light bulb working.
 

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