During the winter months Tortoise BnB offers a full hibernation service using the fridge method, that includes 3 weeks 'wind down' and 1 week 'wake up'. Of course non-hibernating tortoises can still come to stay in a warm and cosy environment.
The key to sucessful hibernation is planning and preparation. If you are thinking about hibernating your tortoise yourself at home, you are welcome to get in touch by email to discuss the time line for your tortoise's hibernation.
We can advise on the optimum length of wind down and hibernation for your tortoise depending on the species, age, weight and general health.
You may like to attend one of our 'Hibernation with Confidence' workshops
All tortoises must have a pre- hibernation health check with a vet that specialises in tortoises and be wormed or have a worm count test in August or September before they will be considered for hibernation at tortoise Bnb.
While it is considered safe to hibernate young tortoises we do not take any tortoises at Tortoise Bnb until they are 5 years old.
For first time hibernation we usually reccommend 6 weeks in hibernation + 3 weeks wind down and 1 week wake up making a total stay of 10 weeks at tortoise Bnb
The maximum time considered safe for torrtoises to hibernate is between 3 and 4 months, we therefore set a maximum of 14 weeks in hibernation.
Creating Autumn at Home:
You will need to trigger Hibernation by creating ‘Autumn’ at home for your tortoise over a period of 2-3 weeks. This includes reducing 'day time' (the time your tortoise's lighting is on) and restricting feeding to every other day. Once this is completed Tortoise BnB will take over and care for your tortoise during 'wind down' hibernation and 'wake up'.
1. Wind Down:
Tortoise BnB will care for your tortoise for a wind down period, it will be weighed weekly, have regular baths and be monitored daily to ensure your tortoise's gut is empty and it is fully hydrated. This is best practice for successful hibernation and usually takes about 3 weeks
Your tortoise will be placed in an individual container with sterile soil substrate, in a chiller fridge set at the optimum temperature of 3 - 8 degrees centigrade. Each tortoise is checked daily. Once a week your tortoise will be weighed and checked, with minimal disturbance, as this gives a good indication to their wellbeing. If there are any concerns during the weekly check, your tortoise will be brought out of hibernation early.
3. Wake up:
Wake up is probably the most critical time of the whole process. Your tortoise will be taken out of the fridge and allowed to wake up and return to room temperature in their own time, before being placed in a tortoise table with heat and UV lighting. Each tortoise is then bathed at least once daily, and offered food. Once your tortoise is eating well and fully hydrated, it can return home. This process usually takes from 3 days to a week. Very occasionally tortoises are reluctant to eat after hibernation, in which case they will be taken to Nine Lives Vets for assessment and intervention.
2019 - 2020 Hibernation Prices:
6 weeks hibernation + 3 weeks wind down & 1 week wake up £170
For each addtional two weeks in hibernation there is a charge of £15
A maximum hibernation of 14 weeks + 3 weeks wind down & 1 week wake up is £230
(There will be a 10% discount for 2nd or more tortoises hibernating)
We all know that any form of tortoise hibernation has a level of risk attached. Tortoises will only be accepted for hibernation when they have had a recent Veterinary Health Check and worm count.
At Tortoise BnB we will do our very best to keep the risks for your tortoise to an absolute minimum, however by letting us care for your tortoise during hibernation, you are accepting that Tortoise BnB cannot be held responsible for injury to, or the death of, any tortoise during the hibernation process.