Worried about Desert Tortoise not hibernating yet

JohnnyB65

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2014
Messages
564
Location (City and/or State)
Southern CA High Desert
Mine has not come out yet, but it’s a little cloudy today plus we don’t get much sun in the yard at this time of year. My house blocks almost the whole yard from sun except for a couple of spots in the afternoon and my tortoise knows exactly when and where. LOL
 

JohnnyB65

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2014
Messages
564
Location (City and/or State)
Southern CA High Desert
LOL...they are meant to live the slow and steady my friend...slow and steady....:D
LOL well when you put it that way it does sound a little silly. I have to say my tortoise has never chowed down like other tortoises I’ve seen here eat or at least from what I’ve read here and I’ve always felt that he doesn’t eat enough. And then when I see how big others are compared to mine, then I’m almost sure of it.

Every year I try giving him a lot of extra food during the summer so I don’t have to worry about him through the winter, but it is either eaten by other creatures like birds or my dang beagle although I never knew that lawn grass was good for him and he may be eating that.

Right now he has not eaten anything for a month that I know of and I’ve tried everything from pumpkin to apples and an assortment of vegetables. So if he does start hibernation (I only heard of "brumation" for the first time this month and don’t know how it used so I’m sticking to hibernation), that means he will have not eaten for a month awake and 3 to 4 months asleep.

Is that a problem?

Anyway yesterday he walked to the far north end of the yard to where the sun was and immediately turned around to go back in so maybe that a sign that’s he’s ready, I don’t know.
 

JohnnyB65

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2014
Messages
564
Location (City and/or State)
Southern CA High Desert
WOW Kenno, that photo with the bale of hay and Alex is really interesting. It kind of reminds me of when mine was little and used to dig under my outside work bench.
Actually that bale of hay give me an idea. I haven't had time before the cold started setting in to plant any ground cover over the top of the new burrow and I think the bale of hay would be perfect. I think I'm going out to buy some. Thanks!
 

JohnnyB65

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2014
Messages
564
Location (City and/or State)
Southern CA High Desert
Well its only 7pm and already 47°F plus there is an "Active Weather Advisory: Hard Freeze Warning, Hard Freeze Watch Active Notice: Public Information Statement".

It was cold all day with strong winds and I never saw him so I’m thinking of going out to throw and old coat over the entrance just to be safe. I usually cover his entrance with dirt and he just digs his way out in the spring, but this year I don’t have any dirt. I’m going to have to go out in the desert and get a bucket of dirt tomorrow. I wanted to buy a bale of hay today and got busy doing other things and never left the house.
 

Kenno

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2014
Messages
254
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Well its only 7pm and already 47°F plus there is an "Active Weather Advisory: Hard Freeze Warning, Hard Freeze Watch Active Notice: Public Information Statement".

It was cold all day with strong winds and I never saw him so I’m thinking of going out to throw and old coat over the entrance just to be safe. I usually cover his entrance with dirt and he just digs his way out in the spring, but this year I don’t have any dirt. I’m going to have to go out in the desert and get a bucket of dirt tomorrow. I wanted to buy a bale of hay today and got busy doing other things and never left the house.

Johnny,

Is he in that burrow under your pond?
 

JohnnyB65

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2014
Messages
564
Location (City and/or State)
Southern CA High Desert
No, he got too big for that. I built him a new place and blocked the old entrance.
I don't have any photos of the new burrow completed, but this is it during construction.

DSCN1385_zps8aea2af1.jpg


DSCN1396_zps2474c7a4.jpg
 

Kenno

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2014
Messages
254
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
That looks great! A joint human-reptilian engineering project!
My guy Alex was down for about four days in an enclosure kind of like a dog house half buried, but he backed out, then tried it one more time before abandoning it. I had heard he brumated in there in past years. I'm going to let him keep digging under the hay bale, but is likely to fall in on him if he digs much more.
 

JohnnyB65

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2014
Messages
564
Location (City and/or State)
Southern CA High Desert
I see photos of tortoises living in boxes and dog houses, but it gets too cold here in the winter at night and gets down to 12 to 15°F at times, but usually warms up to the 40s in the afternoon unless we get snow. My pond has frozen over many times and I even have a photo someplace of my dog standing on the ice barking at the fish below when she was a pup. I have neighbors that also have tortoises and although I’ve never seen their habits, I doubt that they have gone as far as I have to keep them from freezing.

Someday I would like to move out of CA and will have to find a new home for my tortoise. If and when that ever happens, I expect I will have to build a burrow or move mine to its new home.
 

ascott

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2011
Messages
16,147
Location (City and/or State)
Apple Valley, California
LOL well when you put it that way it does sound a little silly. I have to say my tortoise has never chowed down like other tortoises I’ve seen here eat or at least from what I’ve read here and I’ve always felt that he doesn’t eat enough. And then when I see how big others are compared to mine, then I’m almost sure of it.

Every year I try giving him a lot of extra food during the summer so I don’t have to worry about him through the winter, but it is either eaten by other creatures like birds or my dang beagle although I never knew that lawn grass was good for him and he may be eating that.

Right now he has not eaten anything for a month that I know of and I’ve tried everything from pumpkin to apples and an assortment of vegetables. So if he does start hibernation (I only heard of "brumation" for the first time this month and don’t know how it used so I’m sticking to hibernation), that means he will have not eaten for a month awake and 3 to 4 months asleep.

Is that a problem?

Anyway yesterday he walked to the far north end of the yard to where the sun was and immediately turned around to go back in so maybe that a sign that’s he’s ready, I don’t know.


Nope...not a problem....the tortoise does what it is designed to do....empty the gut and load up on water for their beauty rest.....all good stuff...
 

Kenno

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2014
Messages
254
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1416447245.890556.jpg

Alex has dug under this hay bale, and hasn 't knocked down the Q tips so he is probably down.
ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1416447425.139102.jpg

Hercules was eating grass again today, ripping it out by the roots! Old Duncan has been down for 4 weeks.
 

JohnnyB65

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2014
Messages
564
Location (City and/or State)
Southern CA High Desert
Well I'm pretty sure mine is finally down because the mornings have been from 26 to 29F all this week. I've been trying to get to get things done outside and its been a little too cold for me in the afternoons.
Friday was the last anybody has seen him and there is talk of rain tomorrow, but if he shows up outside again this weekend. I might have to move him in to the garage.
 

puffy137

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2014
Messages
1,283
Its now 25*c here in the Middle East, days are cool , & the paddock for my Greeks gets some sun around 11 am.All the babies are awake & active feeding well, & so are the adult males although I noticed they do miss a day of food every so often . I usually find a group of them sunning themselves each morning when I go to feed them. We might get a day or two each year of cold hovering around freezing ,but nothing like the stuff you in America are getting this year.o_O
BTW , I could not find the word Brumate in the Oxford English Dictionary either. Brum is the nick name for Birmingham in UK. People from there are known as ' Brummies ' . Couldn't get my head around Brumating either, so I'm only being pretentious when I use the word brumation .:D:D
 

Kenno

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2014
Messages
254
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Darn. All three are out again today. Old Duncan (about 65 years) was down from October 24th to December 2nd, Alex was down in his straw burrow for a week but I brought him up and put him into his usual winter hibernatorium, a kind of a doghouse sized plywood house, and young Hercules never did start to hibernate. I was going to put him in with Duncan for the winter.
We're having light rain and they are all wandering in the yard but not eating. The temperature has been in the sixties and down to mid fifties at night. I really hope they will go down again because i want to take a 3 week trip in January.
I'd appreciate any advice. Is it normal for DT's come out for a while? Do you think the rain woke Duncan? Nothing else is different.
 

Ciri

Active Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2014
Messages
312
Location (City and/or State)
Tucson
do you soak regularly them during hibernation? If so, how often? Maybe they got up for water.
 

JohnnyB65

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2014
Messages
564
Location (City and/or State)
Southern CA High Desert
Wow Kenno, I sure hope mine don’t come back out again. I haven’t seen him since I last posted and we have had quite a few mornings with below freezing temps. We had our first real rain here this week in a very long time long time and even thought it feels cold and damp, the lows have only been down to 50F.

I know rain water has gone down his borrow entrance, but I don’t believe it was enough to cause trouble because I have a hole filled with rocks at the bottom of the tunnel to prevent flooding. I also have enough dirt in the bottom of the borrow itself that it would have to be a really lot water to flood.

I have a concrete block in front of the entrance to keep raccoons out so my tortoise would not be able to come out anyway, but now I shudder to think he might be scratching to get out. :eek:
 

Kenno

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2014
Messages
254
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
do you soak regularly them during hibernation? If so, how often? Maybe they got up for water.

I'm hoping Duncan just got up for a drink. No, I don't wake them to soak but I have been soaking the one that hasn't hibernated yet. This morning he was drinking from his dish, which was filled with rain water. They all prefer to drink from puddles if they have the option. Plenty of puddles now!
 
Top