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Tortoise out of Hibernation

Picture 010Q.    My tortoise has woken up and is trying to get out of his hibernation box.  We’re still getting frosty weather so what should I do?

A.    It is safer to allow him to wake up rather than let him cool again.  Your best option would be to bring him out and bathe him in a shallow container of hand – hot water.  This will raise his temperature gently, raise his metabolic rate and encourage him to drink.  It is very important that all tortoises drink soon after coming out of hibernation.

You may have to bathe him daily for a few days to “get him going”.   His housing should be in a vivarium until it is warm enough for him to go outside.  Basically he will require a ceramic heat lamp, a thermostat, a temperature gauge, water and food containers and an enclosed container (eg. a large converted fish tank or DIY – built “box”) that will retain enough heat.  This will bring him closer to his natural behaviour.

In their normal environment, tortoises that hibernate would start hibernation later in the year and finish it earlier than they are required to do in the UK’s colder climate.


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