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In this guide, the hibernation or, quite correctly, the brumation (winter dormancy) of the Greek tortoise (Testudo hermanni) should be treated. The most important questions about winter dormancy should be answered. The Greek tortoise should definitely be brought through the winter by a cold hibernation. Temperatures that are too high due to a warm winter are extremely harmful and can be regarded as life-threatening for the animal!
Is it really necessary to hibernate? And why is it so important?
The winter rest is extremely important for the vitality, for processes of the immune system as well as for the preparation for the reproductive period. Hibernation is indispensable for good and animal-friendly husbandry.
At what age should Greek tortoises be overwintered?
In nature, young animals born in the same year also hibernate. It is therefore advisable to overwinter the animals right from the start.
How do you know when it is time to slowly start hibernation?
The animals usually indicate hibernation themselves if they are kept free-range with a cold frame. When it gets cooler in autumn, they reduce or discontinue feed intake and become significantly more passive. They try to dig or bury themselves completely if substrate is available. Now the time has come for them to be taken to their final winter quarters.
Should the animal be bathed beforehand?
Excessive bathing before hibernation should not be carried out. One-time bathing without particular stress is possible.
How should the winter rest be practically carried out?
After the animals become more passive and reduce or stop feeding, the animals should be moved to their winter quarters. There should be a constant 4-8 degrees temperature at 60-70% rel. Humidity. Important: There should be no warmer temperatures. Tortoises take the greatest damage if the winter is too warm! These conditions can be achieved very consistently in a refrigerator, for example. The refrigerator should be opened briefly once a day to supply oxygen.
Which temperatures should be maintained?
Again: important are temperatures of 4-8 degrees, which should not be higher!
Which substrate does the tortoise need over winter?
The animals can be kept in smaller boxes with beech leaves in the refrigerator. Beech leaves as a substrate have properties that prevent mold from spreading in the substrate.
What are the biggest mistakes that are made when carrying out hibernation?
Frequent mistakes are overwintering too warm, so to speak, out of pity of the owner for the animals. However, temperatures that are too high mean that the animals' metabolism is not reduced enough. The result is that the animals need too much energy, so they go hungry when they hibernate. This can also be fatal.
How do you end the hibernation again in spring?
The end of hibernation is, so to speak, the same path only backwards. So first a gentle increase in temperature z. B. in the cold frame. the animals can only wake up to the stimuli of light and the temperatures of spring.
When should the veterinarian be consulted before and after the hibernation?
In general, a general examination and a faecal examination should be carried out in summer. in the case of a parasitic infestation, therapy can be initiated with sufficient time before the hibernation.
Let us advise you! Call us if you have any questions about wintering or the health of your turtle!
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