We have cousins in the UK and we’ve heard from them that they get to hibernate in the refrigerator. How cool is that? Right next to the salad bar? All day and all night, 24/7 for months. Greens, lettuces, grasses, food! They are so so lucky.
You know we want to be a part of this. So we approached our Person. Why do our UK cousins get to chill out all winter in the refrigerator and we don’t? Why do they get to snooze by the food. Why, why, why?
Our Person told us to do our research and if we still wanted to winter in the refrigerator we could. WooHoo! Winter greens here we come.
But then we did our research. These are the steps to prepare a Juvenile Tortoise for refrigerator hibernation.
This information came from:
- Health Check Up: Never hibernate a sickly tortoise.
- Wind Down Period: Week 1 (Days 1 – 5) No Food. Provide the tortoise with light and heat for 10-12 hours, as normal. During this first week the tortoise may seem hungry but DO NOT give in!
- Week 2 (Days 6 – 10) No Food. Begin to turn on the heating/ lighting later and off earlier, reducing the tortoise’s
‘sunshine’ to approximately 8 hours.
- Week 3 (Days 11 – 15) No Food. Continue to bathe daily/every other day in lukewarm water, and reduce the
heating/lighting from 8 to 4 hours.
- Week 4 (Days 16 – 20) No Food. This is the time when the tortoise needs to be cooled right down to prepare it to go into hibernation. Turn off the background heating or place the tortoise in a cool frost free room.
There was more to the research than this……But we decided we don’t want to hibernate. Not now! Not ever! That ‘No Food’ and ‘Do Not give in’ rule won’t work for us. Plus just reading steps 2, 3, 4, and 5 made us kinda sickly.
Our sympathies go out to the UK tortoises that are forced into refrigerator hibernation. We will think of you at mealtimes.
Penny and Nina.