Weight loss in hibernation

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Sian
Posts: 15
Joined: 25 Apr 2017, 18:04

Weight loss in hibernation

Post by Sian » 07 Mar 2019, 11:22

Hi there guys

Jack is now just over 6 weeks into fridge hibernation & looks well. I’m just having a panic over how much weight loss to allow. I did a google & found a site saying any more than 1% in a month & you should wake up. Jack has lost about 2-3% now. Is this ok? Thanks, Siân

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Nina
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Weight loss in hibernation

Post by Nina » 07 Mar 2019, 11:49

Hi Sian,

It's very difficult, as guidelines have changed recently. The rule used to be that a tortoise was allowed to lose up to 10% of its weight in hibernation, but you are right in thinking that the current thought is that no more 1% per month is a guideline. There are aeveral other factors to consider though.

How old is Jack and how much does he weigh now (and also what did he weigh at the start of wind down, and what did he weigh when he went into the fridge?

Are you calculating the weight loss from the time he went into the fridge, or from the time you started winding him down?

Is the 2% - 3% calculated over the last month or over the six weeks he has been in hibernation (if it is over six weeks then the percentage for one month will be less than 2% - 3%)?

Have you checked to make sure that the weight loss is not the result of having a wee?

Please don't worry, and he will probably be absolutely fine staying in the fridge a bit longer, but your answers to the questions will be a great help in deciding on what advice to give you.

Nina

Sian
Posts: 15
Joined: 25 Apr 2017, 18:04

Re: Weight loss in hibernation

Post by Sian » 07 Mar 2019, 12:13

Thanks Nina

Jack is now 13yr old & went in the fridge at 716g (I forgot to weigh before wind down) Definitely no wee as I check this every other day. He’s lost 17g over the 6 weeks. I was feeling confident that he was doing well until I saw the new guidelines & also looked back at last year when I got him out at 6 weeks, worried he’d lost too much weight and realised he’s lost more this year (although he went in the fridge 40g heavier thank last year). My gut feel
Is that he’s fine but as always I’d love to have him out because I miss him!!!

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Nina
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Weight loss in hibernation

Post by Nina » 07 Mar 2019, 12:28

Well, 17g is a fair amount to lose over six weeks, but he is a good weight to start with and so should have reasonable reserves of body fat. Are you absolutely sure he hasn't had a wee or a poo? If not then I would give him another two weeks and see if he loses any more, and if he does then I think I would wake him up. These decisions are so difficult! I always used to go on the 10% over the whole hibernation period, but the new guidelines don't allow them to lose nearly as much.

My two just came out of hibernation on Wednesday after just over 14 weeks in the fridge. They (fortunately!) are very good hibernators -- both weigh over 600g and one lost 7g and the other lost 9g over the entire period. I did know that some tortoises seem to lose more -- and Jack seems to be one of them. Why that should be I don't know, especially as fridge hibernation should make for even less of a weight loss than box hibernation, because it avoids some of the warmer temperatures (like we had last week) that can cause a tortoise to start using up body fat.

My instinct is that as he will be fine for another week or so, and if he stabilises then you could leave him in for longer, but if he continues to lose weight then I would wake him up. Let us know how you get on -- and good luck!

Nina

Sian
Posts: 15
Joined: 25 Apr 2017, 18:04

Re: Weight loss in hibernation

Post by Sian » 07 Mar 2019, 13:02

Definitely no see or poo - he has his own towels we use when travelling & as he seems to like them his hibernation box is lined with these rather than substrate so it is easy to tell if he “goes”! I was planning to get him up at 8 weeks anyway so will grit my teeth & hold fast for now. Thanks for the advice x

Sian
Posts: 15
Joined: 25 Apr 2017, 18:04

Re: Weight loss in hibernation

Post by Sian » 09 Mar 2019, 19:30

I checked him again today and another 1-2g lost so I’ve woken him up. Tortoise keeping - 100% love but 99% self doubt & panic!!!

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lin
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: Weight loss in hibernation

Post by lin » 09 Mar 2019, 20:21

Our own instinct will kick in and let us know what to do and I feel thats exactly what yours has done.
Well done and we would love to see a photo of Jack when you get some time.

Lin

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Nina
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Weight loss in hibernation

Post by Nina » 09 Mar 2019, 21:59

I'm with Lin on this, and I do think you've done the right thing. It is so nerve wracking, isn't it? I think that I found raising a tortoise much more stressful than raising my son (and believe me that was very stressful at times). The only thing more frustrating than having to wake a tortoise up earlier than you had intended is discovering that the scales you have been using are dodgy or malfunctioning (lol, I'm sure yours weren't, but I did have that happen to me once -- although the torts weren't hibernating at the time). Hopefully the sun will shine, the weeds will grow and it will be a great year for you and Jack.

Nina

Sian
Posts: 15
Joined: 25 Apr 2017, 18:04

Re: Weight loss in hibernation

Post by Sian » 09 Mar 2019, 23:07

Bless his little heart - he has had a bask under his light, a drink from his bowl & then trundled off to his usual corner to go to sleep .... then realised he had fresh dandelions & had a feast. Another kip with one claw on the remaining stalks then woke again for a late night snack before taking himself back to bed. Sometimes he just makes my heart hurt!!! I’ll get some snaps up soon.

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Nina
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Weight loss in hibernation

Post by Nina » 10 Mar 2019, 07:09

Glad to see that he hit the ground running, and that he is O.K. I think you need to have a word with him about not messing you about next year though :D . Looking forward to pics!

Nina

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