General question re hibernation fridges

Use this forum to discuss general questions about any aspects of tortoise care.
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Fieldmouse48
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Joined: 19 May 2018, 22:31

General question re hibernation fridges

Post by Fieldmouse48 » 19 May 2018, 23:09

I have been looking at small bar fridges to hibernate a Hermann's tortoise, but they all seem to have freezer areas (albeit just a compartment in the top corner)

I read you shouldn't use these, but can someone advise why?

If this is a critical factor, does anyone know if it is possible to disconnect the freezer area (in principle)?

Thanks

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Nina
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: General question re hibernation fridges

Post by Nina » 20 May 2018, 07:34

Hi and welcome to The Tortoise Table,

There is a real danger with fridges that have any sort of freezing compartments in them, in that sometimes they can malfunction and the temperatures in the main part of the fridge itself can drop to freezing, which can result in the soft tissues (like eyes) of the tortoise freezing, and occasionally death (we know of at least one instance where this happened. I don't think it is possible to disconnect the freezer as I believe that it is part of the cooling mechanism, but I could be wrong. And you do want a good thermometer too. The best ones are digital fridge thermometers that have a display unit that sits outside the fridge and a long wire with a probe on the end that goes in the fridge. They should have a Max/Min facility, so that you can see the warmest and the coldest that it got inside the fridge since you last checked. Something like this: https://www.nisbets.co.uk/hygiplas-digi ... 332-_-F343 but you can get them cheaper.

I've just looked and it seems that what New Zealanders call a 'bar fridge' is what we call a normal fridge, or an under-the-counter fridge. I wonder if you could search on 'fridges with no freezing compartment' (we call fridges without freezing compartments 'larder fridgse'). I've had a quick look and can find this fridge that doesn't seem to have a freezing compartment, but it seems super expensive:
https://www.barfridges.co.nz/under-benc ... -door.html
and here are some others https://www.classic-retail.com/bar-equi ... gKI7vD_BwE I have no idea how good they are, and whether they keep a stable temperature (you want a temperatre of around 5C, and it can go as low as 2C or 3C (if your thermometer is accurate) or as high as 7C or 8C, but you are aiming for around 5C.

I hope that helps, and good luck in finding the right fridge (and let us know how you get on.

Nina

Fieldmouse48
Posts: 6
Joined: 19 May 2018, 22:31

Re: General question re hibernation fridges

Post by Fieldmouse48 » 21 May 2018, 04:47

Thanks

Last year we used a portable electric cooler bin (the type you can carry and connect to electricity or a car for picnics) that we already had.

She was in a box with soil and the whole cooler was then filled with shredded paper. The problem is that there was condensation and so the paper was starting to get a bit wet in places, so it is just as well she came out early.

I'll keep you posted

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Nina
Posts: 510
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: General question re hibernation fridges

Post by Nina » 21 May 2018, 07:36

Hi Graeme,

Ahh, now I see what happened, and that makes sense. I don't see the need for the shredded paper -- and in fact that might stop air from circulating, so I think you could leave that out. Were you able to monitor the temperature inside that cooler, and did it stay roughly around 5C? If so then you could probably use it again (I'm not sure we have those here -- well not sure about ones you connect to a car). Was it something like tihs:
https://tinyurl.com/y8vte3a4 I think quite a few people have used these, and the Huskey ones are supposed to be very good, but some other brands find it difficult to maintain a stable temperature. Let us know how you get on.

Nina

Fieldmouse48
Posts: 6
Joined: 19 May 2018, 22:31

Re: General question re hibernation fridges

Post by Fieldmouse48 » 24 May 2018, 09:29

This one https://www.tradetested.co.nz/home-outd ... r-26l.html

See also photos atached

The thermostat switched it on and off to keep the temperature constant
Attachments
2017-06-24 09.49.41.jpg
2017-06-24 09.50.03.jpg

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Nina
Posts: 510
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: General question re hibernation fridges

Post by Nina » 24 May 2018, 10:30

I've never seen one like that, but if this is the one you used last year, and it worked OK for you, then you could use it again. I can't see the detail on your thermometer, but does it have a Max/Min function (so that you can tell the maximum and minimum temperatures reached since you last re-set it)? That would be a help, I think, just to give you peace of mind.

The only other thing I can think of is that we usually say to open the door of the fridge every day or every couple of days for a few seconds just for an exchange of air (they don't need a huge amount of air when they are in hibernation). But because this unit is so small, I think I might open it for a second or two every day, instead of every other day, if that makes sense.

Let us know how you get on (it's a scary time, I know!).

Nina

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