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Desert Tortoise Quick Hibernation Guidelines

  • Desert Tortoises begin to hibernate in late September and October.
  • As soon as ground temperatures drop to 60 degrees this is appropriate
  • Your tortoises should be examined by our veterinarians and have bloodwork and an x-ray taken before hibernation
  • Your tortoise will slow down their activity in late August and September.
  • Only feed hay/grass no greens after Oct 1
  • Soak your tortoise daily in a shallow bowl for 10 minutes daily after Oct 1
  • Once the ground temp reaches 60 degrees (use a kitchen thermometer pushed into the ground) it is time for hibernation.
  • Temperature must stay between 50-60 degrees.
  • Check your tortoise weight monthly using a gram scale. It should never lose more than 1% bodyweight. For a 500-gram tortoise 5 grams weight loss is a problem
  • The tortoise should not urinate. If it does, then slowly warm them to room temp and soak in shallow water room temp for 10-15 minutes
  • If hibernating indoors use an insulated box lined with care fresh, shredded paper or newspaper.
  • Soak tortoise every 4-6 weeks in room temp water for 10-15 minutes

Hibernation should last 4-6 months

When the temperatures rise above 65 degrees consistently it is time to have your tortoise come out of hibernation.

If you have problems, please call us at 714-899-1100.

Posted in: Desert Tortoise, turtle, turtle health

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