In part three of our behind the scenes winter animal care I’m highlighting some of our non-hibernating indoor animals. This week we’ll look at our lizards, leopard tortoise, and hedgehogs. We’ll start with our lizards Thor the leopard gecko and Ona and Luna the bearded dragons.
Leopard geckos can hibernate in the wild. Since Thor is kept indoors he does not hibernate. In researching leopard geckos I have found the only people who hibernate indoor leopard geckos are experienced breeders. It is a complicated process and can harm the gecko if not carried out correctly. Thor does slow down a bit in the winter eating less and sleeping more. His process is similar to Brumation in our bearded dragons.
I’ve done a blog about Brumation so I’ll keep this brief. Ona and Luna go through Brumation in the winter. They slow down, eat less, sleep more, and sometimes don’t move much for days. It’s important to continue to offer food and make sure they remain hydrated. We offer veggies, worms, and roaches every day. Sometimes they eat and other times they close their eyes when you offer them food. We make sure they have water available and provide soaks if they start to look dry.
Poblano the little leopard tortoise does not hibernate. In the wild these tortoises are native to Africa and experience a narrow temperature range of seventy to one hundred degrees Fahrenheit. Because Poblano is very small he lives indoors year round. During the winter he slows down a bit. His tank is on a table by a large picture window and there are less hours of daylight which means he wakes up later and goes to bed earlier. He’s a growing boy and we expect to have him in an outdoor enclosure within the next few years. Once outside he will require a temperature controlled indoor area to keep him comfortable during the winter months.
Our hedgehogs Boss Hogg and Winter do not hibernate. If the temperature gets too cold for a hedgehog they can go into a hibernation like state, get sick, and could pass away. Hedgehogs in captivity need to be kept in a warm controlled environment. Hedgehog owners living in colder climates may need a temperature controlled heat source to ensure their comfort. Hedgehog cages need to be kept out of drafty areas. It doesn’t get too cold here in Arizona and our house is always well heated. Boss Hogg and Winter have fleece snuggle snacks, fleece lined cages, and blankets over the tops of their cages to prevent drafts. Their eating and drinking habits do not change during the winter.
The biggest change for our hedgehogs in the winter is bath time. Most of the year it is hot and dry and they enjoy sunny and warm outdoor playtime in their special play pen after a bath. During the winter they stay inside and get the full spa treatment complete with a warm air blow dry.
If you missed the last few week’s blogs be sure to go back and read about who is and isn’t hibernating. Next week we’ll look at the furry and feathered members of our animal family!
Many thanks for reading and have a happy animal filled day and a wonderful holiday season! 🙂 Mrs. Zoo
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