Sulcata hibernation?

Rex1718

Active Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2018
Messages
256
Location (City and/or State)
SC
Before I get bashed this simply out of curiosity. I do not in anyway plan to hibernate my Sulcata.
I’ve seen some say they don’t, some say they do, and some say they can’t.
My question is do they not have the ability to hibernate, or they just don’t? I’m just curious if they are physical incapable of hibernation, or something vary unnatural?
Thanks
 

Cheryl Hills

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2016
Messages
2,343
Location (City and/or State)
Youngstown, Ohio
No, they physically can not hibernate! They have not evolved to hibernate. Ones how say they do are wrong. If the tortoise appears to be hibernating, something is wrong with the tortoise or enclosure it is in.
 

Rex1718

Active Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2018
Messages
256
Location (City and/or State)
SC
No, they physically can not hibernate! They have not evolved to hibernate. Ones how say they do are wrong. If the tortoise appears to be hibernating, something is wrong with the tortoise or enclosure it is in.
Thanks for clearing that up. It’s sad all the misinformation out there concerning their care. My Sulcata is the most complicated pet I have to care for. Not that it is hard, just takes planning. I love mine but often try to deter people from getting one.
I don’t know where I was going with that lol, but thanks for answering my question
 

Markw84

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
4,819
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
Before I get bashed this simply out of curiosity. I do not in anyway plan to hibernate my Sulcata.
I’ve seen some say they don’t, some say they do, and some say they can’t.
My question is do they not have the ability to hibernate, or they just don’t? I’m just curious if they are physical incapable of hibernation, or something vary unnatural?
Thanks

Actually more to your question than first meets the eye...

First - A sulcata should NEVER be hibernated (brumated).

Now are they physically able to shut down if kept too cold? Yes they are. Tortoises have the ability to shut down their metabolism when conditions are not favorable. With sulcatas, they do this in the hot and dry season by aestivating. But aestivation is done when temperatures are plenty warm to let their bodies continue to process foods in their system and eliminate them. However, they have not evolved the behavioral attributes to cope with getting too cold for any extended period of time. They never have to deal with this in their natural range. Although in the "coldest" time of their year the overnight low can dip into the high 50°s, the daytime high the very next day quickly warms to over 85°. So they never have to deal with food in their gut that cannot be processed and eliminated. A sulcata does not have "the urge" to stop eating when temps cool down to clear the gut in preparation for brumation. They will continue to eat as long as food is available and temps are warm enough to allow them to move about. In an extended cool-down where they cannot warm their body to metabolic temperatures for a week or longer, they will have food left in the gut that will actually start to rot. This leads to enteritis and other infections can follow. This will kill them. Depending upon the health of the tortoise to begin with, its size, and how long a period - you are simply playing "Russian roulette" with your tortoise's life.
 
Top