I don’t want to hibernate said the little tortoise

Well… she’s not exactly little!

My Tortoise (Myrtle) A Greek spur thighed tortoise does NOT want to hibernate!

She is about 5½ years old 23cm long and 2.386kg !  When I got her she weighed 112g and was just over 7cm long.

Myrtle aged 6 months 7.5cm long, 112g

We read that it is better not to hibernate tortoises in their first 5 years, but the last 2 years she has ‘self hibernated’  for about a month, where she has hidden in a colder part of the house & not come out for a good while.  The second time she did this I put her in a cardboard box with a lid & shredded paper inside & left her there for a month.

Now she is 5 I thought it would be a good idea to hibernate her properly, so I watched a video about how to hibernate my tortoise safely (theirs is a LOT smaller than mine!) a few times & then started the process (My family have still not approved the salad drawer of the fridge as her hibernation destination, but I’m sorry, I am not buying Myrtle her own fridge!)

Myrtle aged 5 and a half, 23cm long, 2.4kg

Her weight on October 2nd was 2386g and I have withdrawn food (she wasn’t eating much anyway) and given her a bath every day since as recommended in the video.

She is now 2315g, and running round the house like a lunatic.  I’ve turned off her heat & light in her vivarium, but she keeps coming out & sunbathing in the kitchen or back room.

She doesn’t look remotely ready to climb into a box & stay still for a month, so I’m not sure what to do now?  Boxes and shredded paper are ready, family will be persuaded, but since this is the first time that I will be reducing her temperature to 5° I am worried about her.

Has anyone out there in the blogosphere got any experiences of Tortoises not wanting to hibernate? Should I get her a copy of I don’t want to go to bed! ?

I don’t want to go to Bed



About Barbara

Born in Dublin, living in London with Peter, my two daughters, Wilson our Spaniel & Woordow our Malshih (Shih Tzu-Maltese cross)
This entry was posted in Animals, Myrtle, Photography, Tortoise and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to I don’t want to hibernate said the little tortoise

  1. grannymar says:

    I’m no help, I even had trouble getting Elly to bed…. Once!


  2. grannymar says:

    I wondered why my comments disappeared, I hoped I was in moderation.

    Yep. Only once, 50p was all it took to solve the problem


  3. grannymar says:

    Shhhh! Don’t remind her!


  4. Why do you have to bath her every day?


  5. Barbara says:

    Normally she doesn’t have a bath every day, it’s just in preparation for hibernation. I give her a bath in warm water to encourage her to pee. You are not supposed to hibernate them with a full stomach or bladder.

    You would think the warm water would make her sleepy!!


  6. Al says:

    I absolutely love this post!

    Who knew there was a video on how to hibernate a tortoise? For that matter, who knew how to spell tortoise? You are the poster mom for what I have always admiringly said is the most powerful force in the world…the maternal instinct!

    Having said all that, isn’t it possible, considering they have been around about 1 billion years longer than us, that Myrtle will figure it out for herself.


    • Barbara says:

      Yes indeed, the problem is my house is centrally heated, and Greece isn’t. When it gets cold she would naturally bury herself somewhere & go to sleep till it got warmer, but my house never gets that cold! She sleeps at night but then wakes up when the house reaches about 15 degrees and then wants food!

      I did eventually manage to get her into the paper filled box and put it in the back corner of the larder which is definitely the coldest place in the house. She stayed there (she didn’t have much choice) until we came back from Egypt, when I took her out & put her in her vivarium with the light and heat off. Soon she was out ‘running’ round the house looking for food, and now she is fully awake again. In summer we put her in the garden when it is warm, but I am worried about her escaping or falling in the pond. She is an excellent climber and digger!


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