Substrate for Hibernating DT (first time)

MoreCowbellAz

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Try to relax about the temp variations. Once you get it filled up with stabilizer stuff, it will settle down and be fine. Mine varied about 2-3° either way from 50°, and it was not a problem. The only problem is when the temp gets really warm, warm enough she wakes up. I don't think that would happen until it got to 60° or higher. A few degrees is not serious. If the cooler is in the interior of your house, you may have a bit more significant variation when you turn on your house furnace. If that happens just turn it a couple degrees lower. Please don't worry....you will be fine.

I did not use substrate, only newspaper, in the box. By the time she goes into the box, she will have had nothing to eat for at least 2 weeks, so isn't likely to poop in the box.

Personally, unless the top of the box is tight against a glass shelf, I would not cut it shorter. If it's against a shelf, maybe you could just remove the shelf. That's what I did.

Thanks, helpful info, as are the pics. I think I'm making progress, temps were a little more stable overnight. I think part of the problem is the hibernation box is on the large side (13x11) which means that's a good portion of the overall fridge space that just air space (prob 50%) which of course in turn causes temp fluctuations. My thought with making the box less tall, for instance 12" to 9", is that lets me add another full row of water bottles for mass. Right now the fridge looks packed but it's really probably just 50% because of the large box in there. I could find a smaller box, or also just keep working with this one, taking 3" off is pretty easy. Maybe I'll do both, IDK.

So just FYI as it is with the current box, I have about 4" of substrate in there (is that about right? That would cover her with about 1") which leaves about 8" of height over that, so that might be a benefit to reduce that to 5" and add another row of water bottles.

Also, I'll ad some water bottles today of different sizes to better fit in the nooks and crannies to reduce the voids.

Thanks for the info, and for reading (I like to give the logic behind what I'm thinking).
 

KarenSoCal

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This was my dear Chug. Unfortunately, I lost him in the spring of 2020, just as brumation was ending. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but whatever it was was NOT a failure of the system. This was the third year that I had done this, and I still believe this is the best way to brumate.

20190920_222348.jpg

Now I have a beautiful 4 year old Burmese Star named Sulafat. He patrols his outdoor enclosure with authoritity. His species does not brumate. 20210410_183428.jpg
20220801_195020.jpg

Sulafat is facing the wrong way in this last one, but notice the baby bunny in the upper right corner...I had actually found Sulafat and the bunny nestled up next to each other in Sulafat's sleeping spot. The bunny was tiny, maybe 3 in long.
 

MoreCowbellAz

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Update on the fridge prep for hibernation, I’ve been able to get the temp variance to about a 4 degree swing, 50-54 for the most part, that’s inside the hibernation box (wireless sensor). Sometimes my thermometer may drift a degree on either end for a couple mins but that’s prob just inaccuracies in the thermometer itself, vast majority of the time it’s in the 50-54 range.

Seems 50-54 is about where a DT should be right?

So far she’s not slowing down yet, but I think I’m ready for when the time comes.
 

KarenSoCal

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Update on the fridge prep for hibernation, I’ve been able to get the temp variance to about a 4 degree swing, 50-54 for the most part, that’s inside the hibernation box (wireless sensor). Sometimes my thermometer may drift a degree on either end for a couple mins but that’s prob just inaccuracies in the thermometer itself, vast majority of the time it’s in the 50-54 range.

Seems 50-54 is about where a DT should be right?

So far she’s not slowing down yet, but I think I’m ready for when the time comes.
That's the range where I kept my fridge. Those couple of degrees variance won't matter.
I'm glad you feel ready to start this process. Just don't forget that her GI system needs to be completely empty. There should be at least 2 weeks from her last meal to brumation.
 

MoreCowbellAz

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Yep I’m waiting for her to start slowing down and then start decreasing her food, 2 weeks without at the end.

One thing that I haven’t figured out with my fridge is humidity. Inside the box it’s pretty high, like 50-60%, whereas outside the hibernation box it’s like 30%. And I have no idea how to decrease humidity in there. Maybe it’ll decrease as the weather dries out, it’s been relatively humid here. But it that humidity a problem?
 

KarenSoCal

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Yep I’m waiting for her to start slowing down and then start decreasing her food, 2 weeks without at the end.

One thing that I haven’t figured out with my fridge is humidity. Inside the box it’s pretty high, like 50-60%, whereas outside the hibernation box it’s like 30%. And I have no idea how to decrease humidity in there. Maybe it’ll decrease as the weather dries out, it’s been relatively humid here. But it that humidity a problem?
No, you want the humidity. You don't want condensation, but the humidity you mention should be just fine. I never even really thought about the humidity, and did not have a hygrometer in there during the winter.
 

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