Tortoise Post Hibernation
March is when most tortoises start
to think about coming out of hibernation. It is often
a difficult time of the year for them as the weather
can be so variable: one week sunny and warm, the following
week Arctic again.
At the beginning of the month have
a peek to see what your tortoise is doing. If there
is no sign of him and he is still under his newspaper
then leave him alone. If he has started to move to the
top of the box it is time to start to wake him up.
Begin to wake him with a daily bath.
This should be in warm water and the level depends on
the size of the tortoise but should be below the level
of the nostrils. Remember his responses are going to
be slow. If the water is too deep he will not be able
to respond quickly enough. Warm water starts to get
his digestive tract going again.
Do this for a few days. You may see
your tortoise drink the water and this is quite normal.
He shouldn't pass any thing at this stage. If he does
it is likely to be thick egg white fluid
which is urine. You shouldn't be worried about this.
Check your tortoises eyes.
Gently bathe them with cotton wool and warm water. This
will remove any discharges and dust that may have built
up over the hibernation process.
Check your tortoises mouth.
It should be nice and pink and healthy looking. If the
tongue looks white and fluffy we should
have a look at him as this could indicate a condition
If you have one, place a heat pad
into his home. This will provide a constant
source of heat and should help prevent him slipping
back into hibernation if the weather turns colder.
After a few days of bathing introduce
food. Anything that you know he likes that will get
When we have sunny weather try to
get your tortoise outside as much as possible. The sunlight
will help him to wake up.
If, after a couple of weeks out of
hibernation, your tortoise has not started to eat then we
would recommend that you make an appointment to bring him
to see us. Tortoises can suffer from a condition called Post
Hibernation Anorexia which can be serious if left untreated.