Looking for an RT Hibernation "Mentor"

AZGirl

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Joined
Sep 11, 2019
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63
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Arizona
If your tortoise is going to brumate safely he needs to be at a consistent temperature between 37-45 degrees. If he’s consistently cold he doesn’t need to be woken up to drink; it’s extremely dry where he’s from, basically a high desert. If he isn’t cold he is going to burn off some calories and weight, which you don’t want. Do you have a place in your house where the temps will stay like that for a few months?

You can weigh him now and again if you brumate him; weight loss of ten percent or more is concerning, some people consider it to be five or more percent. That would be a time to bring him out and get him in an indoor habitat with lights and heat. I’ve had a year where my tortoise lost one percent, another (stressful) where she lost eight. Usually the most weight is lost when she is going down but still moving around. I make sure she has an opportunity to drink before brumation and these days we put her in a very dark box so she goes straight to sleep.

Russians are hardy and can do okay with a year or two of suboptimal conditions but you still have time to wake him up or brumate him safely. Both take effort; both are pretty scary when you are a new owner.
He decided to go to sleep when we had cold temps. I have not disturbed him... temps are cold again 25/48 this week. Hi is in a dbl cardboard box in unheated part of house. We keep our house on the colder side, even where we heat. 37-45 degrees for a Sonoran Desert Tort? Is that right. I’m going to get thermometer for room. AZ weather fluctuates a lot. High has been in 40s, by end of week back up to 60 outside lows in low 30s. I was going to do refrigerator, but I’m scared. Do you check on them, if so how often? Do you just touch them to see if they move? I have him on table, but can’t fall. There is occasional noise in there from washer/dryer but didn’t seem to bother him last year. I think temps were too high for him last year, but he seemed to do okay. Thanks for reply.💜
 

RosemaryDW

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He decided to go to sleep when we had cold temps. I have not disturbed him... temps are cold again 25/48 this week. Hi is in a dbl cardboard box in unheated part of house. We keep our house on the colder side, even where we heat. 37-45 degrees for a Sonoran Desert Tort? Is that right. I’m going to get thermometer for room. AZ weather fluctuates a lot. High has been in 40s, by end of week back up to 60 outside lows in low 30s. I was going to do refrigerator, but I’m scared. Do you check on them, if so how often? Do you just touch them to see if they move? I have him on table, but can’t fall. There is occasional noise in there from washer/dryer but didn’t seem to bother him last year. I think temps were too high for him last year, but he seemed to do okay. Thanks for reply.💜
Ah, I didn’t realize you had a desert tortoise. You have really great local resources that I would consider; Arizona Game and Fish has always struck me as a good one. Desert tortoises do need it a little warmer. Take a look at their hibernation resources here: https://www.azgfd.com/wildlife/nongamemanagement/tortoise/coldweathercare/. You likely have a local desert rescue/interest group near you, if you Google it a bit. Those are your experts; if you have questions about temperature variations I’d reach out to them.

When I first hibernated my Russian I checked on her alllll the time. She didn’t need it but I did! Maybe once a week after she got to a stable cold temperature. Nowadays I almost have to remind myself about it, every two weeks or so. A tortoise will still move a bit if you touch a back foot. Once last year she was so zoned out that I kept her out a few minutes until she moved her foot. I “knew” she was fine but had to check.

Your tortoise can’t hear sound but can feel vibration. I’m sure you’re not keeping him *on* the dryer so if the temps are good it should be fine. :)

You will get much more accurate temperature readings with a temperature gun; both in ambient temperature and the specific temperature for your tortoise. Plus they’re lots of fun! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DMI632G/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

If your tortoise is in a dry, relatively temperature stable place there is no need to rush fridge hibernation this year.

I know it’s a little scary! It’s doesn’t matter how they hibernate or how many times we’ve seen it, it’s still can still be stressful for some of us. I’m a anxious person generally so even though I’ve done it a few years I’m always nervous. She is the only reptile I’ve ever had and it’s so different from caring for a mammal, things always seem new.
 

AZGirl

Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2019
Messages
63
Location (City and/or State)
Arizona
Ah, I didn’t realize you had a desert tortoise. You have really great local resources that I would consider; Arizona Game and Fish has always struck me as a good one. Desert tortoises do need it a little warmer. Take a look at their hibernation resources here: https://www.azgfd.com/wildlife/nongamemanagement/tortoise/coldweathercare/. You likely have a local desert rescue/interest group near you, if you Google it a bit. Those are your experts; if you have questions about temperature variations I’d reach out to them.

When I first hibernated my Russian I checked on her alllll the time. She didn’t need it but I did! Maybe once a week after she got to a stable cold temperature. Nowadays I almost have to remind myself about it, every two weeks or so. A tortoise will still move a bit if you touch a back foot. Once last year she was so zoned out that I kept her out a few minutes until she moved her foot. I “knew” she was fine but had to check.

Your tortoise can’t hear sound but can feel vibration. I’m sure you’re not keeping him *on* the dryer so if the temps are good it should be fine. :)

You will get much more accurate temperature readings with a temperature gun; both in ambient temperature and the specific temperature for your tortoise. Plus they’re lots of fun! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DMI632G/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

If your tortoise is in a dry, relatively temperature stable place there is no need to rush fridge hibernation this year.

I know it’s a little scary! It’s doesn’t matter how they hibernate or how many times we’ve seen it, it’s still can still be stressful for some of us. I’m a anxious person generally so even though I’ve done it a few years I’m always nervous. She is the only reptile I’ve ever had and it’s so different from caring for a mammal, things always seem new.
oh thanks so much. No he’s not ON the dryer. Lol.😂

So they can’t hear when they’re sleeping bc he seems to hear my voice when he’s awake and will come towards me or appear. I will use those links you provided, thank you.I was on fish and game last year. I’ll check again. I didn’t think I saw a temp range. I am in the high desert, so I’m about the end of his range, a little beyond actually. Thanks for all the info. This forum is an Excellent resource with the best folks!! Thank you all!
 

Oxalis

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Jan 5, 2013
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Location (City and/or State)
Michigan
oh thanks so much. No he’s not ON the dryer. Lol.😂

So they can’t hear when they’re sleeping bc he seems to hear my voice when he’s awake and will come towards me or appear. I will use those links you provided, thank you.I was on fish and game last year. I’ll check again. I didn’t think I saw a temp range. I am in the high desert, so I’m about the end of his range, a little beyond actually. Thanks for all the info. This forum is an Excellent resource with the best folks!! Thank you all!
Good luck with hibernation this year! :)
 

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