The Right Time? (to brumate?)


New Member
Sep 4, 2020
Location (City and/or State)
Los Angeles
Hello everyone,

With the weather going up and down here in the SFV, CA, I have decided to brumate my RT (its wild caught and around 5 years old) using the fridge method. The only question I have is: is now the right time? And I know I have seen someone here say that for first timers, 8-10 weeks is good, but what if the weather is still very cold by the time that those weeks are over? The thing is that my tortoise has been getting itself ready to brumate (he's kept in an outdoor enclosure) and I want to make sure it goes smoothly, I have done research but I don't think anyone has mentioned temperatures. The temperature goes up to the 90s some days and as low as 41 at night. I have been bringing him indoors at night but I don't know if it might be too early to let him brumate...

Or alternatively, can I leave him outside during the day and in the afternoon bring him in? What would the temps have to be for him at night?
Last edited:


The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jan 9, 2010
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Either hibernate him or don't, but commit to one or the other. You don't HAVE to hibernate him, but I'm of the opinion that you SHOULD hibernate him.

The answer to your questions are not simple. Its a long explanation that I previously type up in post number 19 here:

I"ve found it much easier to get into and out of hibernation, regardless of finicky weather using a temperature controlled night box, which is shown and explained here:

Read these two threads, and you should have most of your questions answered. If not, come on back and we will get you sorted.


Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Feb 17, 2016
Location (City and/or State)
Newport Coast, CA
An outdoor wild caught Russian is likely (but not guaranteed) to slow down and begin brumating on their own. Once the days shorten and night temps start to be consistently in the fifties you may notice your tortoise stops eating. He may even start digging around looking for a good spot. So yes, now is a reasonable time to start the brumation (my tortoise decided it was “time” and went in the fridge last week). If you haven’t noticed him eating for two weeks they should be good to go although again, a tortoise may decide on their own.

I don’t agree with that 8-10 week suggestion; your wild caught Russian is not a first timer. I hope my Russian stays up as late in the season as possible because I won’t bring her out until February at the earliest—four months is my max. In the wild he might go five months or longer but that makes me nervous. I pick the date to wake her up by looking for a time when the forecast says we’re going to have a sunny spell—no rain—and either my husband and I can be home to keep an eye on her for the first couple of days.

Two years we had a really warm October and November so she didn’t go down until December; I was able to bring her out after only three months.

At any rate, your tortoise will decide when it’s time, not you. At our house the saying about our tortoise is “I do what I want.” :)

I recommend taking at least a week or longer to get your fridge set up to make sure the temps are stable so don’t wait!

Good luck!

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