Is your tortoise awake yet?

Is your tortoise awake yet?

Tortoise Hibernation Waking

We’ve had several calls about tortoises coming out of hibernation recently, so thought we’d talk about it this week.


Generally, tortoises will start to come out of hibernation in March as the weather warms up. However, only an owner has an accurate idea of when their tortoise will usually wake up. Bringing a tortoise out of hibernation early can be a highly stressful time for an owner. Often the reasons are not as simple as the tortoise chose to wake up itself as weight loss, sudden warm spells and dehydration can all be reasons. If your tortoise does wake of his own accord and is fairly alert, do not put him back to sleep. Follow the below tips for getting its systems going and keep it inside until the weather is of a suitable temperature for the breed.


To wake your pet in the most comfortable way possible, we would recommend bringing them into a warm, bright area to for a couple of hours. Once they are up and about the next stage is a warm bath which has two functions – heating the tortoise up and getting it to hydrate. Fill a bowl with warmish water to the level of your tortoise’s chin. For an extra bit of help, try adding Reptoboost to the bath as the tortoise absorb both water and nutrients– speeding the process up a little. Use the baths every day for a week to encourage fully rehydration and to flush out any toxins in the body.


Food is not as vital as water, but is still highly important. Once your tortoise is active and bathed you should offer food – try fresh chopped tomatoes at first to tempt them. Again, sprinkle on some Reptoboost to kick-start their body with pure nutrients and build energy. If it is refusing to eat after several days, seek help as tortoises have very low energy stores following hibernation and so must be encouraged to eat. 


Hopefully your little one has had a simple, complication free hibernation and will be up and about in no time. If things have gone wrong then use our find-a-vet service to locate someone who understands what can go wrong with this process and advise further treatment.