Russian Tortoise - Hibernation/Brumation question… newbie.

AbeTheRussianTort

New Member
Joined
May 3, 2023
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22
Location (City and/or State)
Los Angeles
I am starting a new thread.
I have question about hibernation/brumation. I’m so new to this!
So if I build a “bedroom” for Abe with temperature control outdoor, will he brumate?
I tried to educate myself by reading about brumation, but I still cannot picture it.
I’m confused: on one hand people said 50F is too cold. But they also put the tort in a fridge with 42F temperature. I am so confused. I just want Abe to live healthy and happy. Is there any step by step simple video about this, for a totally super beginner? Thank you!!
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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I am starting a new thread.
I have question about hibernation/brumation. I’m so new to this!
So if I build a “bedroom” for Abe with temperature control outdoor, will he brumate?
I tried to educate myself by reading about brumation, but I still cannot picture it.
I’m confused: on one hand people said 50F is too cold. But they also put the tort in a fridge with 42F temperature. I am so confused. I just want Abe to live healthy and happy. Is there any step by step simple video about this, for a totally super beginner? Thank you!!
Hello. This can be a confusing subject with lots of contradictory info. I wrote this thread to try to help people sort it all out:

50 is too cold at night if you are not trying to lower the temps and get a temperate species of tortoise to brumate. An adult Russian tortoise can certainly handle 50 degrees at night if it is able to warm up the next day, but going into fall, 50 degree nights will have the tortoise brumating prematurely and possibly before the gut is empty and the necessary preparations have been made. This being the case, I use heated shelters to keep the night temp up around 60-65 until I have emptied the gut through November, and I'm prepared to start dropping the temperature and light cycle for brumation in December. When they are housed outdoors in a relatively warm climate like ours, the weather doesn't always cooperate. I'm up in Santa Clarita, about an hour from Pasadena. Similar climate, but your temps are a bit milder. Not quite as cold on cold nights, not quite as hot on hot days, but still pretty similar. Last night is was 41 degrees here. 43 the night before. 47 right now as I type this. All of my tortoises are asleep in their night boxes right now. 80+ degrees for the tropical species, and 60-65 for the temperate species. We had a cold spell and some rain over the weekend with daytime highs only in the low 60s and o sunshine, so the heat lamps were turned on inside the boxes, so that tortoises could warm up during the day since there was no sun and no warmth outside. Now, we are going back into a hot spell with temps in the mid 80s today and mid 90s by the weekend, so the heat lamps are back off since the tortoises will be able to warm up in the sunshine each day...

First you have to know what conditions your tortoise needs, when it needs them, and why. Once you learn and understand those things, you have to have the ability to deliver what it needs, when it needs it, and understand what you are doing and why. If the tortoise is living outside and you don't have an insulated shelter with the ability to control the temperatures, you tortoise is subject to the cruel whims of Mother Nature and she may decide to kill your tortoise. In our winters, it is not cold enough, and not consistent enough for a Russian to brumate outside. Its also not consistently warm enough for them to function properly in winter here. This is the "limbo" that I speak of in the brumation thread. Some of them manage to some how survive this for a while, but many don't. Learn what your tortoise needs and when, and deliver that. We will help you understand it and do it successfully.

I don't know where you read "42" degrees, but that is too cold for a Russian that is not brumating, and too warm for a Russian that is brumating. They need temps in the 30s for brumation. I like 36-39F for brumating Russians. They are the species I keep the coldest. Other species, like the greeks, DTs, Chersina, and hermanni do just fine at 42-45. I do DTs around 48-50. The point is that I know what each species needs, and have the ability to give each species what it needs when it needs it. This is where most people fail. When the tortoise is outside with no temperature controlled shelter, your only option if things get too cold at an inopportune time, is to bring the tortoise inside where its not cool enough at night, and not warm enough during the day, and there usually isn't a suitable indoor enclosure ready for the tortoise.
 

AbeTheRussianTort

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Joined
May 3, 2023
Messages
22
Location (City and/or State)
Los Angeles
Thank you Tom! I watched a lot of youtube and took a bunch of notes. And I realized everyone has different methods on this. I will just follow your way.
I am ordering a tort box for garage set up in the coming days. It’s still quite warm. Last night was only 60F in Pasadena, not too cold. This week is going to be very hot again.
I’m soaking Abe daily this month, per your note as well, if I decide to brumate. I’m feeding him lettuce “taco” with vitamin and good diet stuffing now.
Question about fridge:
Is beverage cooler okay? I am going to buy a new one as well.
This one:

Antarctic Star Mini Fridge Cooler - 48 Can Beverage Refrigerator Black Glass Door for Beer Soda or Wine –Small Drink Dispenser Machine Knob Control Removable for Home, Office or Bar, 1.3cu.ft https://a.co/d/5us6f9u

So nervous wrecking!
 

RosemaryDW

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Feb 17, 2016
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Newport Coast, CA
Question about fridge:
Is beverage cooler okay? I am going to buy a new one as well.
This one:

Antarctic Star Mini Fridge Cooler - 48 Can Beverage Refrigerator Black Glass Door for Beer Soda or Wine –Small Drink Dispenser Machine Knob Control Removable for Home, Office or Bar, 1.3cu.ft https://a.co/d/5us6f9u

So nervous wrecking!
We have a beverage cooler and it is just right; they stay cooler than a wine fridge, which is right for a Russian. I'd go a little bigger as we keep our tortoise in a good sized box and want to ensure good air circulation around it.

As its a glass door the light coming through seemed to throw her off so my husband finally got one of these shipping crates: https://www.uline.com/Product/Detai...MItI2prPmJggMVGg6tBh3RZQ8GEAQYASABEgKn_fD_BwE. Overkill but she's out like a light when she goes in it. We just load it up with plenty of soil so she can dig around. You don't need to go that far, just make sure the container is sturdy and not at all see through.

Good luck!
 

CaliG

New Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2019
Messages
9
Location (City and/or State)
Arizona
I am starting a new thread.
I have question about hibernation/brumation. I’m so new to this!
So if I build a “bedroom” for Abe with temperature control outdoor, will he brumate?
I tried to educate myself by reading about brumation, but I still cannot picture it.
I’m confused: on one hand people said 50F is too cold. But they also put the tort in a fridge with 42F temperature. I am so confused. I just want Abe to live healthy and happy. Is there any step by step simple video about this, for a totally super beginner? Thank you!!
I’m in the confused boat as well. My guy lives outside most all year in the Az desert in a raised wood tortoise home. Last week he disappeared. I was afraid he some how got out or who knows? Found he had dug himself under the dirt. He resdug himself in in his tunnel. Im thinking of letting him spend the winter outside this year. There is so much conflicting info. It’s warmer here but we do dip down to the mid 30’s. But isn’t it best to let them do what’s natural as they would do in the wild? Any info or advice?
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
63,787
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
But isn’t it best to let them do what’s natural as they would do in the wild? Any info or advice?
Your backyard is not the wild. They can't do in your yard what they would do in the wild, and your climate is nothing like where they come from. It is way too warm there in AZ winter.

Please read this thread:
 

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