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View Full Version : Bad experience with brumation - opinions?



sciteacher
03-13-2010, 05:38 PM
I'm pretty frustrated and disappointed right now. I've lost a few geckos in the last couple of weeks, and I'm sure my brumation technique must be to blame. I brumated 4 species this year... Geckonia chazalia, Nephrurus milli, Nephrurus wheeleri, and Palmatogecko rangei. The Geckonia were proven breeders. I haven't cooled them much in the past, but I had a hard time getting them to stop laying last year, and I was afraid they'd get burnt out if they didn't get a break. The milli were also proven breeders, having finished their first year of production. The other 2 species were cooled in preparation for their first upcoming breeding season.

I stopped feeding them in early / mid December and kept them on heat for a couple of weeks to make sure they had time to eliminate food from their digestive tracts. I then took them off heat, but kept them in the gecko room for a couple of weeks (temps around 68 - 70 F). In early / mid January, I transferred all the containers to an unheated storage room in the house that held in the 50's most of the time, possibly getting up into the low 60's on mild, sunny days. I lightly misted the tanks every week or two. I tried to keep one patch of sand slightly moistened, but did not keep a water dish in the tanks (I wonder now if this was a mistake). They seemed pretty inactive when I would check them, but the rangei seemed to be out and about even at these cool temperatures. I did not feed them at all during this time.

A few days ago when I went to mist them, I found 1 of my female helmeted geckos dead (appeared to have been dead for several days), and a male of the same species (in a separate tank) not doing well at all. I took him to the reptile room to try to warm him up a bit, but he died within 24 hours. That was Wednesday, and I decided that I would bring all of them out of brumation this weekend when I had some extra time. They had been in these cool conditions for approximately 2 months. Today when I went to bring them out of brumation, I found another of my female helmeted geckos was in very poor condition (basically limp and unresponsive... I don't hold out much hope), and my female P. rangei was also dead. I am really quite shocked and disappointed in the outcome. This really decimates my G. chazalia breeding groups and leaves me without a female P. rangei. The Australian geckos seemed to come through all right, but I am watching them very closely and hoping they all successfully make the transition to warmer temperatures without any further losses.

As disappointed as I am in this experience, I hope to learn from it so that I can do better in the future. Would simply taking them off heat and keeping them in the gecko room at temperatures in the mid - upper 60's have been preferable? Should I have fed them once every couple of weeks? Is a water dish a must when brumating? Did I keep them cooled for too long or start too late? I would very much appreciate some input from those with successful experiences in brumating geckos. Do all feel that brumation is absolutely necessary to stimulate breeding in some of the species involved here?

Thanks in advance for your input.

Gary Hamann
Ridge and Valley Reptiles

starreys
05-26-2010, 06:31 AM
im sorry that you experienced quite a large loss, i hope the following might be of some use ,this is an excerpt off a australian website pilbara pythons but its pretty standard what we follow here in Australia, as you can see below its a gradual process and depends also on what gecko species you are cooling for eg thicktails can take a lower temperature then a levis.

"A cooling/resting period should be provided during winter months. I use a minimum of 3 months which is structured as follows:
Weeks 1-3; progressively lower temp.
Weeks 4-9; hold temp at daytime 24 degrees, nighttime 17 degrees "
Weeks 10-12; progressively raise temp

MauricesExoticPets
06-11-2010, 09:13 PM
I can't speak to the geckos you keep but I will relate a bit of brumation experience I have.

Water should always be available (cold air is dry air).

Ramp temps down smoothly, while retaining some temperature gradient. If the 50's are your goal allow a 3deg gradient (50 to 53deg), if a day night temp drop is needed allow the day gradient to be slightly larger (4deg).

Monitor the geckos weight, a drop in weight means one of several things; its not cold enough and the gecko is metabolising its own fat, or it is cold enough and the gecko is becoming dehydrated, or and this would be the worst situation your gecko has health issue. In any case ramp the temps back to normal for any gecko that begins to lose weight. (I do not know how much weight loss is acceptable for the geckos you keep)

Ramp the temps back to normal then feed well prior to introduction. Normal feces and urates should be observed prior to breeding.

I think you missed out on the water part and regular weight monitoring.

I'm not sure of any of the particulars in temperature of humidity of the species you are working with but the above should prove helpful anyway.

Maurice Pudlo

sciteacher
06-11-2010, 10:25 PM
Thanks very much to those who've shared their thoughts on this. I will definitely tweak things a bit when I brumate this winter. Those that made it through brumation successfully are doing well and I had no further losses. Hopefully I'll have better luck this next time.

Gary

Elizabeth Freer
06-21-2010, 08:11 PM
Yes, definitely, Gary. I wish you good luck during your next brumation season.


Thanks very much to those who've shared their thoughts on this. I will definitely tweak things a bit when I brumate this winter. Those that made it through brumation successfully are doing well and I had no further losses. Hopefully I'll have better luck this next time.

Gary

oli
07-12-2010, 12:29 PM
I just saw this and wanted to add that the geckos should be fed very well prior to brumation and most geckos don't need to be cooled prior to their first breeding season. I have found that a lot of geckos don't even need to be cooled. I cool all my aussies in the 60's for 2 months, and for 2 weeks prior to this cooling I gradually bring the temps down, and do the reverse after the 2 month cooling period is over. I would leave a little cap with water in it. Brumation is good for a nice rest and if the animal goes into brumation 100% healthy it should come out the way it went in. If any weight drops or if you see any signs of this pull the animal out of the brumation

Sinosauropteryx
01-13-2011, 03:12 PM
I am fairly new to the whole brumation thing (with the exception to leopard geckos) but wasn't the whole brumation preparation thing in the OP a little extreme? Why don't you just keep the temperatures as high as they were during the summer and let the geckos brumate on their own? I realize that some geckos do live in places that get (relatively) cool during the winter months, but it doesn't get as cold as what the rest of you are suggesting for artificial brumation preparation, does it? I mean, Geckonia chazalia lives in the Sahara desert and it never gets cold there. Not cold to us folks living in the temperate climes anyway.

sciteacher
01-13-2011, 04:21 PM
I am fairly new to the whole brumation thing (with the exception to leopard geckos) but wasn't the whole brumation preparation thing in the OP a little extreme? Why don't you just keep the temperatures as high as they were during the summer and let the geckos brumate on their own? I realize that some geckos do live in places that get (relatively) cool during the winter months, but it doesn't get as cold as what the rest of you are suggesting for artificial brumation preparation, does it? I mean, Geckonia chazalia lives in the Sahara desert and it never gets cold there. Not cold to us folks living in the temperate climes anyway.

Well, as stated in the original post, with the G. chazalia I had tried a "gentle cooling" the year previous and the females continued to lay eggs, although most were infertile. I lost one gravid female during that cooling session. So, the following season I was trying to cool things enough to give the females a break from egg laying. According to the internet, the average high temperatures in Morocco during the winters is only in the 60's F. The average lows during this time are in the 40's F. Although I didn't drop my night time lows quite that drastically, I basically tried to get my day time temps in that sort of range.

I'm not cooling them quite as cool this year, so we'll see how it goes.

Gary

oli
01-17-2011, 11:18 AM
If you don't cool, cold enough the gecko's metabolism will not slow as much as necessary and the animal will starve. Don't forget that some geckos will burrow underground where the temps are higher than the climate outdoors, just something to think about really, figured I'd just throw that in there as now is "That" time of year for us ;)

acpart
01-17-2011, 09:06 PM
I would really like someone to write an article for Gecko Time about brumation. If anyone is interested, please PM me.

Aliza

humminbird
09-28-2011, 03:48 PM
I don't mean to sound stupid here, but never heard of doing this with my lizzards.. I have just always kept it around 85 to 90 during the day and turn off all heat and lighting at night letting it drop in low 70's to high 60's. It has worked perfect for my guys. Is this something that has to be done for lizzards??

acpart
10-01-2011, 08:43 PM
Some species require it more than others. Leopard geckos generally don't.

Aliza