Hibernation Blog 2: Winding down your tortoise

Now, you may have read this information in our Help and Advice section, but I want to give you the kind of run down that I’d usually give over the phone. Hopefully, it will be a less intimidating this way.

We’ll start with the timescales for winding down;

14 – 20 days for tortoises aged between 1-3 years

21 – 28 days for tortoises older than 4 years

These time scales must be followed according to your tortoise’s age, not how long you have had it.

These time scales are for the starvation period. This is the amount of time that you will not offer your tortoise food at all. During this time, you should give your tortoise a warm bath for 10-20 minutes every day and reduce your lamp’s time by an hour each day. By the last week, you should not be turning your lamp on at all.

Once you are certain your tortoise has not done a poo for 7 consecutive days, you can follow the boxing up instructions and start your hibernation.

Note: it is not the end the of the world if your tortoise poos in the last 7 days, you just need to extend the wind down time, bath your tortoise twice a day and make sure the tortoise is in a cool room. Regular pooing after the complete wind down time can indicate that your tortoise is eating the substrate. If you see this occurring or have your suspicions it is happening, you should remove ALL substrate from the tortoise table.

To find out when you need to start your wind down, you will need to work backward from when you want your tortoise to wake up by using the hibernation time scale in the next blog.

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