With British winters becoming more unpredictable
with their widely fluctuating temperatures we were finding it more and
more difficult to control the temperature at which our tortoises were
being hibernated at using the traditional methods. We were very interested
to read in the Tortoise Trust Newsletter an article about hibernating
tortoises using a refrigerator.
We purchased a drinks chiller and ran
it empty for several weeks monitoring the temperature inside while adjusting
it's thermostat until we were happy that we could maintain a temperature
of 5ºC, deviating by no more that 2ºC either side. We used
several different types of thermometer at the same time to be sure we
were getting a true reading as can be seem in the photographs above.
The chiller was placed in a cool bedroom, it must not be placed in a
shed or garage because if the temperature there drops below freezing
the temperature in the chiller will also drop to that temperature!
When we were totally happy about controlling the temperature we placed
the tortoises in boxes using polystyrene chippings for bedding and placed
the boxes into the chiller. We continued to monitor the temperature
several times a day and opened the door of the chiller twice weekly
to allow fresh air in.
(The maximum time that tortoises should be hibernated for is 20 weeks
at the most.)
Shelley and Nancy both awoke
very well and started eating straight away.
We found this method of hibernation far more controllable than using
a box in the garage and will be using this method in the future, we
would recommend it to everybody.
If you would like anymore information please send us an e-mail.
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