Hibernation problems

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Stevie
Posts: 32
Joined: 31 Jul 2017, 18:56

Hibernation problems

Post by Stevie » 04 Dec 2018, 08:32

Morning ladies
I was wondering if we could have a bit of advice please? We put our tortoises into hibernation last Thursday (into a new fridge- our other one packed up last year), and we’ve had hard time maintaining the temperature. We have 4 tortoises, 2 on the bottom shelf, then one on each other shelf. The temperature is ranging from 10-7-5 from top to bottom. The tortoise, Ty, on the top shelf has now had a wee. We are thinking of buying an additional fridge tonight and setting it up then transferring them across once the right temperature. The fridge we have at the minute is a bit rubbish. Is there anyway we could take Ty out, bath him to rehydrate him and then put him back into hibernation as he’s only been in for 5 days? Due to work etc we won’t be able to do this until tonight- would that be ok?
Thanks so much

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Nina
Posts: 740
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Hibernation problems

Post by Nina » 04 Dec 2018, 12:26

Hi and great to hear from you (although maybe not under such stressful circumstances!).

Re Ty. As I'm sure you know, if a tortoise wees in hibernation you need to wake him up as he is in danger of dehydrating, and once you properly wake up a hibernating tortoise you can't put them back. The reason for this is that their body produces a shot of glycogen when they wake up, and that kickstarts their system, but they only have one shot of glycogen per hibernation, so if you then put him back he is in danger of being a bit poorly when he finally wakes up.

HOWEVER, I think Ty might be an exception to this. He has only been in the fridge for five days, so he won't be deep into hibernation. plus he has been at the top of the fridge at !0C, so that is a second reason why he won't be deep in hibernation. I think you could safely wake him up, and try and rehydrate him and then put him back. The only thing I would say is to weigh him before and after the bath (or baths) to see if he puts on several grams, indicating that he has taken in some water, and if you can't get any water into him then I might be worried about putting back in -- especially for a long hibernation.

Re the fridge. How frustrating for you. It is always several degrees warmer at the top of the fridge than the bottom (and I sometimes switch the boxes of my torts once or twice during hibernation so that the one on the top shelf has a chance of some cooler temperatures). I wonder if the body temperatures of four torts going into a fridge means that it takes longer for the fridge to settle down to the right temperaturess -- but 10C at the top is way too warm, and at 10C and above he will start losing body fat. But of course you can't really turn the fridge to a much colder setting because if it is already 5C on the bottom it might mean that it gets too cold there. Also, I would have thought that after five days it should be settling down better than that.

Re stabilising the temps inside the fridge, many people (including me) put bottles of water around the fridge a week or two before the torts go in, which means there is a mass of water at a certain temperature, and that helps to prevent the fridge temperature from fluctuating too much with sudden changes of temperature (like opening the door, etc.), but in the long term that wouldn't work to stabilise temps, so that wouldn't solve your problem.

Isn't hibernation frustrating! Good luck with the new fridge and I hope all the torts do well in it -- and let us know how you get on.

Nina

Stevef
Posts: 5
Joined: 16 Apr 2018, 21:42

Re: Hibernation problems

Post by Stevef » 06 Dec 2018, 07:22

Hi Nina

Thank you for your reply, for some reason I cannot log on as me so have logged on as hubby! We have found a fridge andare going to pick it up tonight, then set it up and put Ty in it on Sunday. We took Ty out on Tuesday and have been bathing daily, no heat lamp and very limited uv light. So going to get the fridge tonight, set it up and then put him in on Sunday.

We are thinking now of having two fridges for hibernation, maybe we were too ambitious thinking we could have just the one fridge to hibernate four torts.

Hibernation is so frustrating, especially because we have the same fridge as last year and everything was fine last year! We do really like to hibernate them though, not only for them but it gives us chance to do a lot of DIY we couldn’t usually do!

Will let you know how we get on with new fridge, thank you again :D

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Nina
Posts: 740
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Hibernation problems

Post by Nina » 06 Dec 2018, 08:15

Many thanks for the update, and fingers crossed that the new fridge works well. Have you detected any weight gain in Ty since you've been bathing him (to see if he has actually taken on some water in the baths)?

Yes, I find hibernation extremely frustrating and for some reason my fridge -- which worked perfectly well last year is producing much higher (but just about acceptable) temperatures at the top compared to the bottom. On the bottom it's between about 4C - 5.9C and at the top it's between about 5.6C - 7.8C and is mainly in the 6.5 - 7.5 range. I have Horsfields and they like it a bit cooler, but I think this will just about do.

Good luck, and give Ty a little tickle under the chin from us!

Nina

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