Tom's Brumation Thread

Mortimus

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2017
Messages
23
My brumation containers do allow enough room to turn around, but not enough room to walk.
Thanks @Tom - do you think it will be a real issue for her not to be able to turn round? I don't want to do anything that may cause her any distress, but I didn't think they really moved during brumation. And even overnight in the summer she is always in the same position in the morning as she was when she went to sleep the night before. I did ask the specialist vet I saw recently and he said it wasn't a problem during brumation, but there's so much conflicting advice. I've even heard people say tortoises might climb out of a box during brumation, but surely not in a fridge at the right temperature as they'll be fast asleep?!

Sorry, first time brumating her in a fridge, and I lost my wife a few months ago, whose family first rescued Mort in the 1980s, so I'm particularly anxious to get it right.
 

SinLA

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
Apr 19, 2022
Messages
2,248
Location (City and/or State)
Los Angeles
Thanks @Tom - do you think it will be a real issue for her not to be able to turn round? I don't want to do anything that may cause her any distress, but I didn't think they really moved during brumation. And even overnight in the summer she is always in the same position in the morning as she was when she went to sleep the night before. I did ask the specialist vet I saw recently and he said it wasn't a problem during brumation, but there's so much conflicting advice. I've even heard people say tortoises might climb out of a box during brumation, but surely not in a fridge at the right temperature as they'll be fast asleep?!

Sorry, first time brumating her in a fridge, and I lost my wife a few months ago, whose family first rescued Mort in the 1980s, so I'm particularly anxious to get it right.
I personally would not put them in something so small they could not turn around.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
63,787
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Thanks @Tom - do you think it will be a real issue for her not to be able to turn round? I don't want to do anything that may cause her any distress, but I didn't think they really moved during brumation. And even overnight in the summer she is always in the same position in the morning as she was when she went to sleep the night before. I did ask the specialist vet I saw recently and he said it wasn't a problem during brumation, but there's so much conflicting advice. I've even heard people say tortoises might climb out of a box during brumation, but surely not in a fridge at the right temperature as they'll be fast asleep?!

Sorry, first time brumating her in a fridge, and I lost my wife a few months ago, whose family first rescued Mort in the 1980s, so I'm particularly anxious to get it right.
They do sit still most of the time, but they do occasionally move around, especially when they are first settling in for the winter, or when its time to wake up.
 

Mortimus

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2017
Messages
23
She will have room to move, just not fully turn around without doing a bit of climbing up the side of the box - although this is the same tortoise that managed to get behind the shed in a gap just a few inches wide and turn herself around then, so maybe I'm worrying about it too much.

I think I'm going to have to make a judgement call based on it being better for her to be at the right temperature if that makes turning round a little difficult, as opposed to being subject to fluctuating temps and the possibility of waking up too early or getting too cold. I'll just check on her regularly.
 

SinLA

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
Apr 19, 2022
Messages
2,248
Location (City and/or State)
Los Angeles
@Tom , I’ve started calibrating my fridge with a sensor. At its “warmest” setting, it hovers around 43 degrees. For some reason I thought I could get it into the 50s and then slowly dial it down to upper 30s, but that doesn’t seem the case. if I’m clear, I’ll keep the 100+ degree basking area, but for shorter amount of time and shorter amount ambient light, and keep a timer on the CHE so it gets lower and lower making the nights cooler, but how low do I go before popping him into the 43 degree fridge. I don’t think the innate temp in my garage will get below upper 50s/low 60s by the time I want to put him in the fridge.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
63,787
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
@Tom , I’ve started calibrating my fridge with a sensor. At its “warmest” setting, it hovers around 43 degrees. For some reason I thought I could get it into the 50s and then slowly dial it down to upper 30s, but that doesn’t seem the case. if I’m clear, I’ll keep the 100+ degree basking area, but for shorter amount of time and shorter amount ambient light, and keep a timer on the CHE so it gets lower and lower making the nights cooler, but how low do I go before popping him into the 43 degree fridge. I don’t think the innate temp in my garage will get below upper 50s/low 60s by the time I want to put him in the fridge.
I think it will be fine to pop him in at 43. I'd do it at night at the end of of a cold day, or before daylight after a cold night. Let his behavior be your guide. When he's done and not coming out, and the weather gets cold, you'll know.
 

SinLA

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
Apr 19, 2022
Messages
2,248
Location (City and/or State)
Los Angeles
I think it will be fine to pop him in at 43. I'd do it at night at the end of of a cold day, or before daylight after a cold night. Let his behavior be your guide. When he's done and not coming out, and the weather gets cold, you'll know.
Right now I have him in his inside box which stays warm at night until I begin his fast on Friday. I’ll adjust the thermostat so it shuts off when it gets to about 60 for the first week of fasting/cooldown

I plan on fasting Veterans Day through after thanksgiving and then see what happems
 

LisaGG

New Member
Joined
May 22, 2022
Messages
13
Location (City and/or State)
United Kingdom
I set them on top. Some of them dig in and some don't.
@Tom so we have started testing the temp in the bottom drawer of our food fridge to check if the temp is going to be suitable. It's registering around 6.6 degrees at the moment which isn't as cold as I thought it would be. The fridge temp is set to 2 degrees. Will 6.6 be cold enough for him?
 

SinLA

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
Apr 19, 2022
Messages
2,248
Location (City and/or State)
Los Angeles
@Tom so we have started testing the temp in the bottom drawer of our food fridge to check if the temp is going to be suitable. It's registering around 6.6 degrees at the moment which isn't as cold as I thought it would be. The fridge temp is set to 2 degrees. Will 6.6 be cold enough for him?
I remember sowhere on the thread that the fridge drawers are not good for some reason - maybe they dehydrate too much?
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
63,787
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
@Tom so we have started testing the temp in the bottom drawer of our food fridge to check if the temp is going to be suitable. It's registering around 6.6 degrees at the moment which isn't as cold as I thought it would be. The fridge temp is set to 2 degrees. Will 6.6 be cold enough for him?
Which species?
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
63,787
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
I remember sowhere on the thread that the fridge drawers are not good for some reason - maybe they dehydrate too much?
I've used the drawers many times and not had any problem.
 

Spin23

New Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2023
Messages
7
Location (City and/or State)
United Kingdom
Hi,
I’m going to jump in here and hope one of you tortoise gods can help with a couple “double check I read it all correctly”.

Our little Russian Lucky has done well since we got him in June (when he was in our opinion way too dry and underweight) and has gained weight and grown quite a bit. He’s still small - 6.5cm now and 62g before we started the fasting process. We hadn’t planned on brumation, but as he’s slowed down a lot and staying burried, even with warm temperatures, we reckon he is trying to brumate and hence are on day 6 of fasting.

Here come the questions:
1. As he’s still small shall we make the fasting / prep shorter as presumably his gut will take less time to empty?

2. He’s lost 4g already in 6 days and we are worried he’ll lose too much to survive brumation? We are trying to stay calm about it as he is obviously still using energy and will stop losing so much once he slows even more…still 😱

3. Other than digging him out and weighing him during brumation, which seems like a bad idea as it surely disturbs him, is there anything else we can do to check he’s ok?

Thank you for “listening” and any advice is more than welcome 😊

Sina
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
63,787
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hi,
I’m going to jump in here and hope one of you tortoise gods can help with a couple “double check I read it all correctly”.

Our little Russian Lucky has done well since we got him in June (when he was in our opinion way too dry and underweight) and has gained weight and grown quite a bit. He’s still small - 6.5cm now and 62g before we started the fasting process. We hadn’t planned on brumation, but as he’s slowed down a lot and staying burried, even with warm temperatures, we reckon he is trying to brumate and hence are on day 6 of fasting.

Here come the questions:
1. As he’s still small shall we make the fasting / prep shorter as presumably his gut will take less time to empty?

2. He’s lost 4g already in 6 days and we are worried he’ll lose too much to survive brumation? We are trying to stay calm about it as he is obviously still using energy and will stop losing so much once he slows even more…still 😱

3. Other than digging him out and weighing him during brumation, which seems like a bad idea as it surely disturbs him, is there anything else we can do to check he’s ok?

Thank you for “listening” and any advice is more than welcome 😊

Sina
1. Yes. A couple of weeks should be plenty of time as long as the temps are still warm and you are soaking in warm water daily. They can't pass the food if they are already too cold and not able to function.
2. Can the 4 grams be accounted for by bowel movements?
3. You can reach in and tap a foot or something, but really there is no point. I can't think of a scenario where a person would check on the tortoise and realize something is all wrong, wake the tortoise, and save its life. If the lead-in was done correctly and the brumation temperature is good, the tortoise should be in a torpor and so I don't know what you'd be seeing anyway. If the tortoise were to be found dead halfway through the brumation, it would have been found dead at the end of brumation too.
 

Spin23

New Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2023
Messages
7
Location (City and/or State)
United Kingdom
1. Yes. A couple of weeks should be plenty of time as long as the temps are still warm and you are soaking in warm water daily. They can't pass the food if they are already too cold and not able to function.
2. Can the 4 grams be accounted for by bowel movements?
3. You can reach in and tap a foot or something, but really there is no point. I can't think of a scenario where a person would check on the tortoise and realize something is all wrong, wake the tortoise, and save its life. If the lead-in was done correctly and the brumation temperature is good, the tortoise should be in a torpor and so I don't know what you'd be seeing anyway. If the tortoise were to be found dead halfway through the brumation, it would have been found dead at the end of brumation too.
Thanks for taking the time to reply, I’m following all of your advice on brumation that you posted as all the advice on what to do when we first got Lucky is the reason we feel he’s done well so far 😊. Turns out he’s a lovely, friendly little fella / lady (?) and we want to do right by him.

Yes, I suppose the poop could be that weight, quite a few came out during the daily baths.
I trust in the guidance and process, just nervous re his size.

Another question, is 6-8 weeks going to be enough or would you recommend longer even for a juvenile / baby?

And a final, slightly silly question - how far do you go down with the temperature before moving to fridge? Eg if say the temperature in the enclosure is 15C isn’t it a bit of a shock to go from that to 3C in fridge?

Thanks again
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
63,787
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Thanks for taking the time to reply, I’m following all of your advice on brumation that you posted as all the advice on what to do when we first got Lucky is the reason we feel he’s done well so far 😊. Turns out he’s a lovely, friendly little fella / lady (?) and we want to do right by him.

Yes, I suppose the poop could be that weight, quite a few came out during the daily baths.
I trust in the guidance and process, just nervous re his size.

Another question, is 6-8 weeks going to be enough or would you recommend longer even for a juvenile / baby?

And a final, slightly silly question - how far do you go down with the temperature before moving to fridge? Eg if say the temperature in the enclosure is 15C isn’t it a bit of a shock to go from that to 3C in fridge?

Thanks again
6-8 weeks is long enough for a baby. I've gone 16 weeks with no issues.

It would be best if you could find some intermediate steps between 15C and 3C. You can lower the room temp, or raise the fridge temp.
 

New Posts

Top