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Views on hibernating

Discussion in 'Hermanns tortoises' started by Ernestralph, May 17, 2019.

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  1. Ernestralph

    Ernestralph New Member

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    What are peoples views on hibernation? I am yet to hibernate my 3 year old Hermans tortoise.

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  2. Grandpa Turtle 144

    Grandpa Turtle 144 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Nothing says you have to hibernate a tort !
    Ernestralph likes this.
  3. dmmj

    dmmj The member formerly known as captain awesome Moderator 10 Year Member!

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    Some people say it's detrimental others say it's beneficial it's simply a biological reaction to cold weather. They've been doing it for millions of years now so I think I'm okay with it :)
  4. Grandpa Turtle 144

    Grandpa Turtle 144 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    But do you feel new people should gamble their torts lives to try to hibernate the torts ?
  5. dmmj

    dmmj The member formerly known as captain awesome Moderator 10 Year Member!

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    I always tell new tortoise owners 2 never hibernate first year. You have no idea of their past feeding, health, everything,
  6. Grandpa Turtle 144

    Grandpa Turtle 144 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Yes , but why hibernate ?
  7. Okapizebra

    Okapizebra Member

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    I personally have not hibernated my tortoise and do not currently plan to. I live in hot florida and I have access to food year round so it doesn't seem necessary for me or my tort.
  8. Ernestralph

    Ernestralph New Member

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    Thank you for your views and opinions, I guess I'm just wondering will it be bad for him long term if he doesn't hibernate? He currently lives indoors and temps are good.
  9. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    My view is that if they do it in the wild, we should also do it in captivity. The caveat is that it needs to be done correctly, indoors, under controlled conditions. Leaving them outside subject to the cruel whims of Mother Nature often leads to their deaths.
  10. mark1

    mark1 Well-Known Member

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    don't know if it's from living outside or the hibernating , but they sure appear healthier to me for having hibernated ……… I read a lot on here of folks keeping their animals indoors under artificial lights and heat that claim their animals slow down and lose their appetites during winter time ,seems if that's the case something internal must be telling them they need to hibernate . if it were just an otherwise unnecessary reaction to daylight and temp i wouldn't think that would happen ……it is known there are hormones that peak shortly after hibernation and then wane as fall approaches....some appear to need a dormant period for normal reproduction …I personally think there may be some benefit to drawing down their reserves during the hibernation process , I've read a contributing cause to fatty liver in captive turtles is thought to be lack of hibernation …whole lot of physiological stuff I've not taken the time to understand goes on involving the liver and pancreas during hibernation …. i'd agree you need to take the time to understand what are optimal conditions for them to hibernate and provide them …….hibernating indoors can be easier and safer if done right …….. predation is probably the leading cause of death in hibernating land turtles and tortoises ……….. I have loose dogs 24/7/365 around the perimeters of the turtle pens , I've never lost a turtle from letting them hibernate ….. if you know they're healthy , what they need , and provide it , it doesn't appear dangerous to me at all , at least not the terrestrial hibernating ones ……..
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  11. Danling95

    Danling95 New Member

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    Hi I’m in the same position I am so nervous about hibernating my hermanns tortoise
  12. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    I allow my brumating species to brumate. They have a safe, dry hibernaculum, that doesn't allow the inside to freeze (eyeballs will freeze). My tortoises live outside in a very large yard, and they do what comes naturally to them when the days start getting shorter, the nights cooler. They do it all on their own. Once they've stopped coming out to sun themselves, I just block the door and cover the hibernaculum with mounds of leaves.
  13. Danling95

    Danling95 New Member

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    So you would recommend brumating all tortoise breeds that would naturally brumate in the wild? I live in the United Kingdom if that helps I keep him inside but when we have nice days I keep him in the garden. Thanks!
  14. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    I can't advise folks in the UK. But I'll send a shout out to @JoesMum who kept an outdoor Greek tortoise in the UK for over 40 years.
  15. Danling95

    Danling95 New Member

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    Hi Yvonne and everyone on this forum I know hibernation period is getting closer but I really can’t decide whether I want to bromate my tortoise or not? Obviously I want to do what’s best for my tortoise but I just see contradicting advice all over the internet? Thanks
  16. JoesMum

    JoesMum Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi there

    You don’t have to hibernate your tort and, personally, I wouldn’t recommend you do so in the first 12 months of ownership or if your tort weighs less than 500g


    Our summer has turned very soggy and chilly in the UK and the outdoor torts are probably all in need of extra heat to keep them going. The indoor ones too.

    Hibernation is way off in the UK. We shouldn’t be thinking about it until October. Right now every tort should be active, eating and full of attitude. If they’re not then more heat is required!

    You do need to be sure your tort is a healthy weight for its size, so weigh your tort regularly and be comfortable that it’s steadily gaining weight.

    For hibernation you will need a place that is a steady 5C and never above 10C. Here in Kent, I found that increasingly difficult and resorted to buying a fridge for hibernating Joe.

    Once your tort is free range outside 24/7 it will find indoor living too cramped. Joe was a nightmare the one winter he wasn’t allowed to hibernate!

    Have you seen my thread on outdoor accommodation in the UK? I touch on hibernation in that.
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/outdoor-accommodation-in-a-colder-uk-climate.140866/

    Happy to answer questions [emoji4]
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  17. Danling95

    Danling95 New Member

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    Hi thanks for the reply yes I know the weather is rubbish here at the moment! you said that I don’t have to hibernate my tortoise? I have been researching this a lot lately like a madman and it’s kind of stressing me out because I want I do things the way they are naturally but at the same time hibernating my tortoise will really stress me out. Like I would rather not hibernate for my own sanity but I know it would be unfair on the tortoise. Does anybody actually know what happens when tortoises doesnt hibernate or is it a wait and see kind of thing? Thanks
  18. JoesMum

    JoesMum Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Many people on this forum don’t hibernate their tortoises.

    They always slow down in winter. They know the seasons have changed, from declining light levels I think, even when kept indoors 24/7/365. So they become less active. It is essential to increase the artificial light levels and keep a close eye on enclosure temperature otherwise the tortoise won’t eat enough to stay healthy. You have to convince the tortoise that it is still summer.

    As I said in my previous post, an outdoor tort like Joe didn’t take to it kindly. He took over our dining room and had an enclosure in it nearly as big as the floor area. It still wasn’t big enough and he wanted out! Late into the night we could hear him clattering round :(. He had health problems (excess testosterone) that meant he was underweight that winter and wasn’t allowed to hibernate. Thank goodness he recovered thanks to a hormone implant and went into hibernation again every year after that.
  19. Danling95

    Danling95 New Member

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    First of all thanks for the fast reply and you’re tortoise sounds quite the little character! Would there actually be any side effects on the tortoises life if I did or didn't choose hibernate my tortoise? Would a tortoise choose in wild to brumate naturally even if the weather is hot and there is plenty of food sources around him? Sorry if my reply is scatty I was in a rush lol
  20. dmmj

    dmmj The member formerly known as captain awesome Moderator 10 Year Member!

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    A :tort: hibernates because it is cold, in the wild it has no choice in the matterm keeping it up is your choice. Keep it warm and provide light.
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