Waking your tortoise up from refrigerator brumation

biochemnerd808

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The most important thing here is to avoid shock. You don't want any sudden temperature changes.

A brumation should last at least 8 weeks at 37-41°F (3-5°C), but for Russian tortoises can last as long as 4 months, if the tortoises hold a steady weight and don't show any blushing on their plastron (belly shell).

I like to wait until the weather warms up and there are ample tortoise safe weeds available. My Russian tortoises brumate from Dec 15 - March 15 of the next year, so 3 months.

Before getting the tortoise(s) up, make sure all their lights work and the habitat is ready for them. Basking spot should be 95°F at shell height. Make sure the entire habitat is nice and bright, you can add a regular LED light or strip light if the room is dim. You want to make sure your tortoise thinks Spring is here. Make sure the substrate isn't too dry. I usually have to pour in quite a bit of water.

If the tortoise is brumating in a designated fridge (without anything else in it), you can just unplug the fridge in the late morning, and let the internal temp slowly rise. Otherwise, take the bind with dirt and the tortoises out in late afternoon and set them in a cool spot e.g. garage (slightly cooler than in the house). In the evening, take your tortoise out of the bin of dirt and set it into its habitat, with lights out. This gives it a chance to warm up to room temp slowly overnight. In the next morning, turn on the lights and set some food into the habitat. If after 2 hours, your tortoise hasn't started basking, set it in the basking spot.

In the afternoon, give your tortoise a good long soak (30+ mins). Make sure the water never cools below 80°F during this time, adding warm water or switching it out if necessary. You can set the soaking bin under the basking spot, just make sure the tortoise can move out of the hottest part of the light if it wants to. After the soak, set your tortoise under the basking spot again to dry off.

On the second day, some tortoises will get up and bask and eat on their own. Some take a few days or even a week. Just be patient, soak daily, spray the enclosure with warm water to simulate rain, offer fresh favorite greens.

IMG 20210914 091821 782
 

biochemnerd808

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2012
Messages
1,393
Location (City and/or State)
Central Arkansas (we moved!)
I should add: if it is sunny and at least 55°F outside, take your tortoise outside to bask in the natural sunlight on day 2 for 30 mins. Nothing kicks them into gear like actual real sunlight!
 

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