Tortoise hibernation is a controversial subject and there are lots of differing opinions about the best way to do (or to not) do it – especially with winter temperatures on the rise. While Rosemary Desert Willow, our tortoise from the local rescue, sleeps in her deep burrow in our back yard, just like she did in the wild, her babies spent last winter in a huge terrarium that took up most of my desk in the office. Finally this year I finally decided to take the leap, and after weiging the pros and cons it seemed like the refrigerator method was the way to go – If the babies stayed outside all winter in their shallow burrow they could freeze to death. Same thing goes if I put them in a shipping container (plus there are rats in the containers who seem to find their way into almost everything) and there aren’t really any other out structures that at AZ West that could maintain consistent temps.
After two months at 41-42 degrees Fahrenheit in their refrigerator bedroom the babies were finally ready to wake up. Ravenous, but in good spirits, they are now back to living on my desk until it gets warm enough outside to put them back in their outdoor run.