Tortoise tried to climb out of box during hibernation, what to do?

RJOfford

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Hi, I am looking for some urgent advice please. I hibernate my tortoise in a reptile fridge, which I have set to 5 degrees C. The fridge works great but the condenser frosts up, which then affects the fan and causes the temperature to gradually increase. To combat this, once a week I remove the hibernation boxes from the fridge and put them in a cold place, defrost the fridge and get the temperature back down to 5 degrees and then put the hibernation boxes back in the fridge.

I normally do this when the outside temp is around 5 degrees. However in the UK it is unseasonably warm and hasn't been below 12 degrees for a few days so I haven't been able to do it. The fridge was really frosted up this morning and the temp in the fridge was almost 10 degrees so I felt I had no choice but to defrost it and try and cool it down again ASAP so the boxes didn't remain in warm temps for too long. I put them outside in the shade (but it's still around 14 degrees) but whilst waiting for the fridge to comeback down to temperature, one of my tortoises was trying to climb out of his box. He was awake and pushing the lid up to get out. I have immediately put them back in the fridge, which is now down to about 11 degrees and continuing to cool.

He wouldn't have been awake for more than perhaps half an hour or so because he hasn't been exposed to temperature of more than 10 degrees for longer than that. However I know once a tortoise wakes up they should not be put back into hibernation. My question is whether this half an hour period is long enough for him to have properly awoken and whether it is dangerous to now put him back, or whether I should get him out?

I don't know how quickly they use up their glycogen stores when they wake up and I don't know whether this short period was long enough for him to use up his glycogen boost.

I would appreciate your advice please as I don't know whether to leave him in the fridge or now get him out early.
 

Tom

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Should be fine to go back down under this circumstance, but its time for a new fridge real quick.
 
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RJOfford

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Apr 26, 2021
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Thanks Tom, I'll check on them in the morning to see if they are asleep again. Do you have any recommendations on fridges? I have tried a few over the years and in my experience they all need defrosting at some point. As I say, ordinarily I can defrost it on a cold day where I can leave them outside in the cold weather whilst defrosting the fridge. It's getting cold again in a few days so I can defrost it again then and hopefully will be able to defrost it every few days if needed.
 
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