With the now dark mornings and a chill in the air all of us would much rather stay in bed but it’s time to think of your tortoises who are sensibly getting ready for a long sleep!
This time of year can be very apprehensive to all of you who have tortoises. Make sure that your breed of tortoise is one that can be hibernated (not from equatorial latitudes for instance Jamie’s leopard tortoises!) and it is important to make sure your tortoise is healthy and the right weight before hibernation. Hibernation should be avoided in any tortoise showing signs of illness or who have recently been recovering from trauma or surgery.
As the daylength and ambient temperature decreases, your tortoise will start thinking about hibernation. Ideally the tortoise should not have eaten for a few weeks before tucking them away into hibernation.
The most suitable accommodation to hibernate a tortoise is a fridge and only consider a box if you can ensure that your tortoise is kept in a rat proof and thermally stable room.
Tortoises should not be hibernated for more than 3 months as they can become very dehydrated and this can cause a lot of the post hibernation problems that we see.
It is important to monitor your tortoise during the hibernation period to make sure that there are no problems. Ideally, weigh them weekly, ensure that they have not urinated and the temperature is still suitable for them.
If you have any questions or would like to book your tortoise in for a pre-hibernation check do not hesitate to ask!