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How to keep a tegu from hibernating

tresh

Member
Messages
192
Under the advice of the vet, I'm attempting to keep my rescue tegu, Ember, from hibernating. It's not going so well. She's back to refusing food, refusing water, and all she wants to do is burrow and sleep.

So...how do I keep her awake? The vet tells me that Ember is in far too rough shape, body wise, to survive hibernation...she'd go to sleep and never wake up. She's got no fat, no reserves, she's still skin and bones. She ate for about a week, but now I'm back to having to force her to eat with a syringe to keep any form of food in her, and it's making me a little crazy.

I don't want to remove her burrowing material, because that would just be a miserable life for her, but I don't want her refusing to eat or wake up either. I know it's the natural desire to hibernate, but if the vet says she cannot survive it...then how do I keep it from happening?
 

chitodadon

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Your not supposed to but I wake Godzilla up everyday to bask and eat and stuff

Sent from my LG-P999 using Tapatalk 2
 

TeguBlake

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547
As long as the temperature is kept at a constant then it shouldn't go into brumation. as a jouvenile, it shouldn't brumate anyway. they cant build up the amount of nutrients that an adult can that is needed to hibernate. But just keep the temperature at a constant, and he shouldn't go into brumation.I would just take the little guy out and spend time with him and talk to him. Sooner or later he will stop trying.
 

Bubblz Calhoun

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Some animals will hibernate whether they have enough fat stored or not size and age has nothing to do with it. It's genetic even though some don't hibernate. You can try keeping her up but there's no guarantee that it'll work. You may end up doing more damage than good if she's not properly digesting what you're force feeding anyway. Especially if she's not spending enough time out and basking to keep her body temperature high enough to process it.

If you keep her up with high temps and she's not eating enough force fed or not then she's still at risk. Constantly waking her up and force feeding when her instincts are telling her to do the opposite is just more added stress in her condition.

This may be one of those situations where you have to seriously consider letting her go and have her put to sleep. I know some people don't like to think about it but sometimes it's the best thing to do.
 

james.w

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You can't stop hibernation, short of physically waking them up and removing them from their hide/burrow. If you are certain the vet knows what they are talking about, all you can do is wake him up and force feed him. Keep the temps and humidity as you would normally.

If you don't physically take him out, keeping the temps normal and constant will NOT stop hibernation. The fact that he is a juvenile will not stop hibernation either. Hatchlings can and do hibernate their first winter, generally 3-6 months after hatching.
 

tresh

Member
Messages
192
She's not a juvenile. The vet estimates that she's around 2 years old, but probably malnourished and not cared for since she was little.

I've been taking her out of the enclosure every day, but she just lays there most of the time. She doesn't try to get away, she doesn't struggle...she just lays on me with her eyes half-closed.

Sometimes, she does have good signs, like yesturday she was arching her neck into the stream of moisture from her humidifier. She stayed out for about an hour before burrowing back under. I'm trying a lot of different foods...from a meat slurry made with ground meat, eggs and vitamin powder, to whole things like chicken livers and gizzards. Today she just mouthed it, then dropped it.
 

KABIKANO

Member
Messages
228
Take the substrate out and use paper towels, paper, shelf liner or something of the sort. I know you said you didn't wanna take out her substrate but it is easier than digging them up and it's not for the duration, just until she gets back on her feet. Good luck and hope it works out!
 

Dubya

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Keep the light and heat on for 12hrs a day or a little longer. Like it is always summer. Mine has not gone into hibernation and is active and eating like crazy. I agree with Kabikano about removing substrate temporarily. Try supplementing the diet with "Carnivore Care" made by Ox-Bow. It is for sick and weak reptiles and other carnivores. Also check out Ox-Bow's "Critical Care". My vet recommends those two things for sick animals.[attachment=6005][attachment=6006]
 

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tresh

Member
Messages
192
This post is a few months old actually. :) In the end, I could not keep her from hibernating. She's been down for over a month, probably closer to two. It was needlessly cruel, forcing her to eat, when she wanted to sleep...so in the end, she made a nest inside a box outside of the enclosure, it's full of old fur scraps...and there she has stayed. I've checked on her every few weeks...as of a few days ago, she was still alive, just very deeply asleep.

I'm giving her another month, then I'll be trying to slowly wake her. Right now...she's happy where she is at.

I made the choice...to let her go on her own terms, if that's what happens. I know there's a good chance that she will pass in her sleep. I do. But it was cruel to be holding her down and forcing food into her, forcing her to wake up. I keep the heat lamp on, I keep the water fresh, but she has not moved at all in those months, so I'm leaving her be.
 

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