Worried about Desert Tortoise not hibernating yet

Kenno

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This thread is very helpful!
Two of my three desert torts are still stomping around. The old guy went down two weeks ago - he's the smart one! One was very lethargic, but Southern California warmed to 88 degrees and he started eating grass again. The teenager is also lethargic but has stopped eating and pooping. I'll continue to put them in shallow water every other day and I won 't panic for at least another week ...
 

Kenno

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Hmm, two of three of my desert torts are still up. Now they're eating grass again! Yesterday my climber mustered enough energy to get up the two steps to our back patio and knock over more potted plants. He likes the mess and spreads out the dirt and top rock to make his own 'substrate' to sleep on! It only takes a minute to clean it up so I let him get away with it!
 

JohnnyB65

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Mine is still out too. It warmed up quite a bit this week and although he’s not as active as he was in the summer, he is slowly moveing around to where the sun is. I tried to give some supplemental food yesterday, but he wasn’t interested and the dang beagle ate it. I don’t know if he is eating at all but he does have access to the lawn so he will have to make that choice.

My pond waterfall started leaking last week nearby his burrow entrance while we were gone and there is plenty of new vegetation popping up around it. He could be munching on it, but I kind of doubt it.

My wife reminded me that we had this problem the second year we got him.

The first year He was small enough that I was able to keep him in a large Rubbermaid storage container inside.

IMG_0767.jpg


The second year I kept building him burrows all around the yard but he wouldn’t accept any of them until I noticed that he loved to squeeze into a small wastebasket. So I buried the wastebasket under my above-ground pond with a concrete block wall entrance and he loved it. Plus the pond above him kept it from freezing.

FirstDen.jpg


I had to build him a larger one after the third year because he got stuck inside after the winter and I had to chisel his way out.

MrToldden.jpg
 

majxmom

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I'm in Northern California and have had very similar weather to yours for the last week, nights in the 40s with daytime temps up yo 80 for a short time in the late afternoon. I've had some anxiety about Barstow's brumation schedule this year since he is in a new place for the first time in 30 years. He has always fairly self-feeding before but in his new habitat he must rely on me to bring him food until I can plant for next spring. I never knew before this year that they stop eating before brumating, and we've had him for 50 years! So I have been obsessing about his eating and basking since Oct 1st. You might be glad to know Barstow is behaving exactly as your tortoise is: Just started eating less maybe since Nov 1, comes out late in the afternoon only for a short while and is pretty inert, barely interested in things that usually thrill him. After reading your thread, I'm convinced this is just pre-brumation behavior. I will bet that both our tortoises will go into hibernation within a few days of each other.
 

JohnnyB65

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I guess it’s just a weather thing. My job takes me out into remote parts of the desert where I almost always see tortoises in the wild so I’ve been watching for any activity without seeing anything.

I know where there are a couple of wild burrows and took a little walk out a couple of days ago to see if could spot any tortoises, but still nothing. I’m usually on the job so I can’t spend much time looking and it is possible that they just got by me.

The wild tortoises are out and about very early compared to mine by 3 to 5 hours earlier in the summer and I don’t know what time they come out when it’s cold in the mornings.
 

Kenno

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Wow, 50 years! I'd enjoy seeing any pictures of Barstow.
The old ones have amazing eyes! Duncan is about 65, and he took the first cool weather as an opportunity to start brumation back on 10/24. The warm days didn't disturb his rest.
The previous caretaker of these three told me, "Duncan really understands how to be a tortoise - he knows how to take care of himself." I thought that was a strange thing to say, but now it is making more sense!
ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1415684864.085945.jpg ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1415684982.368422.jpg
 

dmmj

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I seriously doubt it is sick, it is to warm in CA for them to think about nap time.
 

ascott

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Two of the men here went down on their own---without much of an obvious weather trigger....the other two came in about a week ago when out temps dropped and the night temps dropped as well....the two inside are resting and the two that went down on their own are still no where to be seen--even with the warm temps the last few days...but we are going to drop in temps again in a day or two...there are so so so many reasons that this part of their life cycle takes place, there is just no way yet proven that it is solely weather triggers....very cool.

I also would not think your tort to be ill just because it is lingering at present...
 

Ciri

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LOL! "What makes these silly humans think that plants need to grow upright? With soil in their pots?" Well, you did name one Hercules – maybe he's just trying to live up to his name.
 

JohnnyB65

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:) That’s really funny, LOL.

I have to say that I love some of the names I’ve seen here and I wish I would have put more thought into naming my tortoise instead of letting the kids pick it. I can’t remember what his original owners called him, but then they thought he was a she. o_O
 

Kenno

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Duncan, Hercules, and Alex came to me with these names. My wife said we could change the names, but I didn't want to confuse them!
 

Ciri

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You're right – it could confuse them to change their names. I changed my desert tortoise's name because the one he came with was just way too long. But I noticed that even a couple of years later he still responded to the old name. But he did make the adjustment all right to his new name. He didn't protest – as long as I gave him prickly pear fruit he would be fine! Otherwise I'm in big trouble!
 

Kenno

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Ciri, i was just kidding about the name change. I liked their names just fine, and the previous caretakers like to visit them.
Hercules was clearly named correctly! He loves to move heavy things, like lawn chairs and really big pots.
 

JohnnyB65

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Wow! He's big. I can't wait till mine is that big, but I may not be around by then. I've been trying to get him to grow faster with supplements and as much of other stuff that he'll eat, but I may try some of the other things that I've seen here to feed him next year. He just has never had a big appetite.
 

Kenno

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Yard.jpeg Johnny, he's about twelve inches long. He is the smallest of the three, but not by much. I believe he's less than 20 years old, based on the previous caregiver's estimate.
He's on the porch today because we had tree trimmers working:
 

JohnnyB65

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View attachment 104515 Johnny, he's about twelve inches long. He is the smallest of the three, but not by much. I believe he's less than 20 years old, based on the previous caregiver's estimate.
He's on the porch today because we had tree trimmers working:
Oh he looks so much bigger. I haven't measured mine recently, but here is a photo from April of this year. I tried to weigh him so I can compare him when he comes out next spring, but I can't get a weight from my bath room scale.

MrT3-14Measurment_2_zpsa03e77cd.jpg


He was out for a little while today and perhaps maybe if I can figure out how I might be able to get a weight tomorrow.
 

Kenno

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Hercules was very active this morning, gobbling grass. I guess he'll be up for at least another week or two! Hercules2.JPG
He also took a deep drink from a water dish.
 
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