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Posted by reptoman on January 02, 2003 at 11:12:28:
In Reply to: S. varius hibernation observation............. posted by tgreb on December 30, 2002 at 10:11:00:
:I had stopped feeding the varius about the end of September and had them hibernated by the end of October. One whole month without food and the first 3 weeks at temps that would be sufficient for them to digest. They have been restless lately so I turned up the temp to about sixty and turned on the basking lights for about 4-5 hours a day. The basking spot is about 85 give or take a degree. They all basked and pooped and I don't mean just a little one it was like a darn cow patty. I was amazed. I was told that it takes 300 hours for them to clear their digestive tract of food under normal heat conditions so I was a bit surprised with this. They all look very robust and healthy still so I will let them bask a couple days then cool them back down to the lower 50's until the beginning of February.
Tom-I have had two pairs of Varius for 4 years, I live in Southern California and they slow down for me around the middle to end of November. I have them in outside cage with a 150 watt bulb for the night temps and 150 watt bulb for days. Whether I turn on the day bulb or not if its 60 degrees and the south facing cage towards the sun, these guys come out and pick up a little sun. I also put in alfalfa and occassional few dandilions and some weed that I don't know it's name that grows in my back yard (I use no chemicals) and I have never observed these guys as having a total hibernation in the sense of my other reptiles. Even my desert tortise was out Jan. 1st, it was about 65 degrees, but I think that these guys will slow down and hibernate for short periods of time, but they also do the big poop thing as well and never seem to be totally down for the count. I only put the 150 watt bulb in the cage near their den to take off the chill when it gets into the thirty's or forty's at night. I also notice that given good health, these animals do not loose much body wieght at all during the winter, or at least mine don't. My bulb is located about 24 inches above the den area so it really only affords a small amount of heat. I think Marty is right on with respect to these guys. They don't seem to like the temps of desert chucks and will eat even at low temps compared to many other herbivorious reptiles I have raised over the years. Thought I'd throw in my two cents worth......For the sake of conversation I'd say the temps run from the mid forty's at night up to a high of 65 during the days, I don't know how that compares to their natural habitat, but since were closer to their natural habitat in temps, I think I'm observing natural responses given this an outside cage. I only use the 150 watt bulb during the day if there is an extreem cold snap otherwise they get the natural sunlight through the vinyl coated 1/2 wire mesch, and they seem to be very robust...