TO CARE FOR AUSTRALIAN FRESHWATER TORTOISES
In their natural state, when cold weather comes tortoises go
into hibernation. This occurs from about mid-Autumn to early
Winter. They live off fat reserves stored up in the summer.
Buried deep in the earth or in mud under water, where the temperature
ranges between 35 degrees F (2 degrees C) to 50 degrees F
(IO degrees C), the life processes of the animal slow down to
practically zero. In spring they wake up.
If the temperature is too high, the metabolism speeds up, the
tortoise uses up more stored food and it will starve to death
before it wakes up. Before hibernation they must fast, and have
ejected all faeces.
Many pet tortoises die when the time comes.for hibernation,
because owners are ignorant of the conditions needed. I have
also heard several times of disastrous cases when owners have
thought that their hibernating tortoise was dead, and buried
it or threw it away. To avoid the dangers and inconveniences
of hibernation it is preferable to keep your tropical tortoises
and young tortoises indoors and active throughout winter.
All you do is to provide artificial heat and light, which you
should already have. The light lengthens the days for the tortoises,
the heat keeps their body processes at their usual level. It
is perfectly all right for tortoises to miss out hibernation,
and it seems they can
be enjoyed by their owners all year round.
Adult tortoises kept outdoors may be allowed to hibernate; the
owner must simply
provide the right hibernating facilities as described, and allow
nature to take its course.
PAGE 1 PAGE 2 PAGE
Indoor Living Quarters: PAGE
4 PAGE 5 PAGE
6 PAGE 7 PAGE
8 PAGE 9
Outdoor Living Quarters: PAGE
Feeding: PAGE 11
Hibernation: PAGE 12
Ailments: PAGE 13
Behaviour and Intelligence: PAGE
How Old is the Tortoise? PAGE
Dangers: PAGE 15
Reproduction and Sexual Differences PAGE
References: PAGE 16