Hibernation: Some considerations.
The ancestors of animals we have kept in captivity for many
generations come from all over the world. Before attempting
hibernation find out what type of temperatures a specific species
could expect in the wild. There is a myriad of information
out there in books, articles and the Internet to assist. Ignorance
is no excuse!
For many animals hibernation/brumation or a significant drop
in temperature is an essential stimulus required to prepare
the animal for mating by triggering hormone production.
Only animals that are healthy should be hibernated i.e.
Good body weight
Free of injury
No mouth rot
Hibernation requires a certain amount of preparation and care.
• With heat still on reduce the amount of food over
a period of a month. During this time also decrease the amount
of time any light are kept on. A reduction in photoperiod
also triggers animals to eat less.
• Two weeks before you are going to reduce the temperature
STOP FEEDING, this will allow any thing remaining in the
gut to pass through. If you do not do this anything in the
gut will rot!
• To ensure the gut is empty, bathe the animals in
like warm water. This encourages them to excrete any residual
• Over the next two week reduce the temperature by
using a dimmer switch or swapping bulbs for ones with a lower
• The animals will become sluggish and will like to
have plenty of substrate to bury and hide. Keep in at the
reduced temperature as per the species natural wintering
period, usually 8 – 12 weeks.
• Make sure that animals have access to water at all
• Check on the animals once or twice a week. Some
species will appear restless from time to time do not be
tempted to feed.
• If an animals appears to be loosing weight or body
tone, then reverse hibernation, i.e. warm gradually, You
may be tempted to take it straight from the cold to normal
viv temperature but don’t. Absorption of body fat i.e.
weight loss can give rise to toxin build up in the liver
and kidney, which can be fatal, warm gently over a period
• Once the hibernation period is over gradually warm
up over a period of a couple of weeks. In this time also
increase the photo period.
• When checking the natural climate also not if a
wet or dry season coincides with the emergence of the animal.
If a wet season follows give the animal a good misting every
by Karen Hollingworth