This will be my first season for My Gopher Tortoise for Hyberntion

Lauren Tilbury

Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2017
Messages
31
Location (City and/or State)
Huntington Beach, California
Hi. I inherited my Gopher Tortoise back in January. My uncle has had her since 1968. He passed away in December. He lived in New York. I live in Huntington Beach, California.
She hadn't been outside in many, many, many years. She only ate carrots.
I am happy to say she eats everything she's supposed to be eating. She also lives outside now.
She has dug a huge hole under the cement and she loves it. She doesn't want to come in the house for anything.
Now my question is, I know they don't hibernate like most desert tortoises do, but what should I do.
I do have a tortoise box that i kept her in when I got her.
I'm not sure if you crate them like you do a California desert tortoise.
Thanks in advance.
 

cdmay

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Feb 1, 2008
Messages
1,919
Location (City and/or State)
Somewhere in Florida
Boy I don't know what to advise about him.
Ironically, here in Florida gopher tortoises are so protected, so off-limits, that nobody messes with them. In fact, a friend of mine recently took a little sub-adult to an official wild animal rescue center and was CHEWED OUT for touching it. Now, here is the weird part---the tortoise was found trying to cross the busy I-95 freeway! Didn't matter. No touch is the rule.

Anyway, back to winter. If he has dug a burrow I would feel pretty safe letting him stay down there over the winter as long as your winters are not crazy with loads of snow.
Down here in Florida, I see gophers basking on the apron of their burrows on 'warm', sunny winter days.
 

Lauren Tilbury

Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2017
Messages
31
Location (City and/or State)
Huntington Beach, California
I live in Orange County, California. We rarely get rain, but I still worry about that. I did buy an Igloo cat house. I know I can put her in there or back in the tortoise house that I bought her. I just want her to be safe. My uncle had her for so long, I don't even think they were ever endangered back in the '60's. She loves sweet potatoes... cooked!!
 

cdmay

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Feb 1, 2008
Messages
1,919
Location (City and/or State)
Somewhere in Florida
I live in Orange County, California. We rarely get rain, but I still worry about that. I did buy an Igloo cat house. I know I can put her in there or back in the tortoise house that I bought her. I just want her to be safe. My uncle had her for so long, I don't even think they were ever endangered back in the '60's. She loves sweet potatoes... cooked!!

It's great that you are so dedicated and concerned about here. Your uncle left her in good hands it seems.
 

tortadise

Well-Known Member
Moderator
5 Year Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2012
Messages
9,564
Location (City and/or State)
Tropical South Texas
From what I hear on the California deserts it's best to offer them a dry area stuffed with hay. Our texas gophers are quite similar. But we naturally let them hibernate in a burrow. I know a few members have posted about there California deserts hibernating in the burrows. Just make sure if it does rain and is cold the burrow doesn't flood.
 

animateash

New Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2017
Messages
26
Location (City and/or State)
Los Angeles
I am also curious about the main topic posted here. I am in Los Angeles and recently adopted my CA desert tortoise through a rescue. This will be my first winter with him. I can tell he's slowing down, but want to make sure he's got enough meat on him to sustain himself during hibernation. How can I tell, if at all? Any tips for fattening him up before he goes to bed? His favorite hibiscus flowers have now stopped blooming, but he does have free graze of the yard with many edible weeds. I offer him hibiscus leaves, squash leaves, and cut zucchini on the weekends also.
His poops have gotten smaller than in summer, which i suspect means he's eating less. Seems reasonable with the cooling temps, but if I need to step things up please advise.
 

Lauren Tilbury

Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2017
Messages
31
Location (City and/or State)
Huntington Beach, California
Me again!! I hear that the Florida Species doesn't really hibernate for more than a few days at a time. I don't know why they are so different than a California Desert Tortoise. Anyone know?
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
91,051
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Probably because it doesn't get that cold in Florida.
 

Lauren Tilbury

Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2017
Messages
31
Location (City and/or State)
Huntington Beach, California
I know, Yvonne. So should I treat it like a California Tortoise. I was actually planning on bringing her inside like I did when I first got her, but she LOVES being outside in her den.
 

orv

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2014
Messages
392
Location (City and/or State)
Aguanga, CA
I don't know that I'm the most experienced keeper of California Desert Tortoise's, but our's have done well hibernating in their burrow. Their 's extends deeply enough that we are unable to tell it's depth. This is important that they'll keep dry and warm enough. They still come out once or twice during the winter when the temperatures approach 80 degrees for several days. They'll enjoy a nice drink at that time. I prepare ours for the winter by giving them squashes, such as pumpkin, during the fall. On their own, they slowly decrease their food intake prior to winter. We always cover the opening to the burrow with a heavy old tarp once they're all in for the winter. They can still leave and return when desired. Anyway, this has worked for us.
 

animateash

New Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2017
Messages
26
Location (City and/or State)
Los Angeles
Mine did very well! He emerged on Easter and started eating right away, as if the last few months were just a 10 minute nap. He's already back to his regular routine.
 

New Posts

Top