Desert Tortoise Quick Hibernation Guidelines

Do Tortoises Hibernate? Here are some pointers to when your desert tortoise start to hibernate:

  • 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.
  • The temperature must stay between 50-60 degrees.
  • Check your tortoise weight monthly using a gram scale. It should never lose more than 1% body weight. 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

admin none 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM veterinarian https://www.google.com/maps/place/Westminster+Veterinary+Group/@33.7588421,-118.0176775,17z/data=!3m1!5s0x80dd28ab9fa9a1f1:0x260327291aa7c4a7!4m7!3m6!1s0x80dd28abe560251b:0x4dc6d55081de7111!8m2!3d33.7588421!4d-118.0154888!9m1!1b1 # https://www.facebook.com/WestminsterVetGroup/reviews/?ref=page_internal