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Thread: To hibernate or not to hibernate, that is the question

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    Member LydiasMom's Avatar
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    Question To hibernate or not to hibernate, that is the question

    In seriousness though. I was wondering how hibernation or the lack of will effect an American Toad's quality of life and life span. Obviously it is the natural process in nature, but I wanted to get info from people who have been caring for toads for multiple years.

    At my current level of knowledge hibernation sounds like the right choice. Toads don't seem to fully sleep as we would understand it excepting hibernation and it's obviously a period of healing and rejuvenation.

    If hibernating, what is the optimal length of time, or does one just take cues from their own weather? Ie, begin hibernation as our weather cools and end hibernation as it begins to warm up?

    Also, any practical advice on how to actually induce hibernation safely and effectively would very much be appreciated!

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    Default Re: To hibernate or not to hibernate, that is the question

    Many temperate herp species require hibernation to induce breeding. That is really the only reason hobbyists typically hibernate the animals.
    There is a great deal of risk with hibernation. Being kept at the wrong temperature or moisture level can cause death or illness. Not having enough body weight can result in death of the animal, as can food in the digestive tract, or being cooled or warmed up too rapidly. Sometimes, a hibernating herp will die despite our best efforts to do everything right.
    Unless you intend on breeding your toad, it has nothing to gain by being hibernated.

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    100+ Post Member Larry Wardog's Avatar
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    Default Re: To hibernate or not to hibernate, that is the question

    Quote Originally Posted by Herpin Man View Post
    Many temperate herp species require hibernation to induce breeding. That is really the only reason hobbyists typically hibernate the animals.
    There is a great deal of risk with hibernation. Being kept at the wrong temperature or moisture level can cause death or illness. Not having enough body weight can result in death of the animal, as can food in the digestive tract, or being cooled or warmed up too rapidly. Sometimes, a hibernating herp will die despite our best efforts to do everything right.
    Unless you intend on breeding your toad, it has nothing to gain by being hibernated.
    This is a very difficult task as you have said because if it's not done correctly the toads will pass. I am going to attempt to breed my toads next spring so I'm attempting to hibernate them this winter. One other positive in hibernation is allowing the toads to fully rest and in hibernation a vet has told me the toads are able to fight off parasites better and there is unverified research hibernation can increase the toads lifespan. Like stated before it's very dangerous doing this because hibernation is a risk you have to be all in with doing for your toad because there is no going back. The toads will be interested in mating afterwards so that should be thought of before attempting this like stated before. I'll be sure to post my results on here from doing this in the spring.

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    Member LydiasMom's Avatar
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    Default Re: To hibernate or not to hibernate, that is the question

    Thank you both for your responses and I'll definitely be interested in how it goes for you, Larry.

    This is definitely something I'd be "all in" on if I can do it, because it's for Lydia. I don't care about breeding her, only about her quality of life. I don't want to be depriving her of hibernation for the reasons I postulated and you confirmed.

    Thank you, both, again. Can either of you recommend a knowledgeable and accurate source on inducing American Toad hibernation?

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    Member LydiasMom's Avatar
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    Default Re: To hibernate or not to hibernate, that is the question

    A follow up question, if I hibernate her would out cause her problems to not have a male around to fertilize her eggs?

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    100+ Post Member Larry Wardog's Avatar
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    Default Re: To hibernate or not to hibernate, that is the question

    Quote Originally Posted by LydiasMom View Post
    A follow up question, if I hibernate her would out cause her problems to not have a male around to fertilize her eggs?
    It's debatable. Some people think a female not getting eggs fertilized can cause them to build up and effect her but some have never reported these problems. It's not a necessity as a male will call for a long period of time and it can become very loud if they don't find a female. I also personally feel bad for the toads in the wild who miss mating.

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    Default Re: To hibernate or not to hibernate, that is the question

    So, potentially she won't release the eggs and that can become an issue. Like a miscarriage that doesn't complete in a human?

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    100+ Post Member Larry Wardog's Avatar
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    Default Re: To hibernate or not to hibernate, that is the question

    Quote Originally Posted by LydiasMom View Post
    So, potentially she won't release the eggs and that can become an issue. Like a miscarriage that doesn't complete in a human?
    It's something that needs more research done but that is similar for a toad possibly. The eggs could build up in the toad and some claim that leads to problems but others never report it. Those who have toads in their 20-40's if they could share one important thing we would know the answer. We just need to know if they hibernated their toads or not. So the same question you are asking is one that nobody has shared that I have been able to find. Many others are not sure either. I will be the first active member on the forum currently to attempt an artificial hibernation and then I can report my research on both my toads and tree frogs. This could be some of the most important research I do on this forum. It may hold the key to your question as well.

    Here is the thing. If the toad doesn't mate it doesn't have eggs to fertilize so what happens to her eggs if the toad doesn't hibernate does she continue to produce eggs or does she stop making eggs because if she doesn't hibernate she doesn't need them? What happens if she does hibernate and not mate does she have like you say a miscarriage? What increases the life of these toads hibernation or being active all year in captivity?

    These are some of the questions I hope to try to find answers to. I wish someone had these answers and someone does out there they just either haven't joined a forum or it's something you would stumble on by luck. These questions are so important and toad keepers don't really have many answers to this is why I'm careful to give advice but I'm confident soon we will start to have some observations to form our opinions on the matter.

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    Default Re: To hibernate or not to hibernate, that is the question

    Thank you for the reply. I don't know why I didn't get a notification for this. :-/

    Yeah. I want to provide as natural and healthy a life as I can for Lydia. She picked us to be her family and loves us fiercely and we love her just as fiercely. I don't want to try hibernating her if I'd mess up and kill her, but by the same token, I worry about the undue stress of denying her her natural cycles. It's a rock and a hard place

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    100+ Post Member Larry Wardog's Avatar
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    Default Re: To hibernate or not to hibernate, that is the question

    Quote Originally Posted by LydiasMom View Post
    Thank you for the reply. I don't know why I didn't get a notification for this. :-/

    Yeah. I want to provide as natural and healthy a life as I can for Lydia. She picked us to be her family and loves us fiercely and we love her just as fiercely. I don't want to try hibernating her if I'd mess up and kill her, but by the same token, I worry about the undue stress of denying her her natural cycles. It's a rock and a hard place
    I am hoping to find out what the difference is of allowing a toad to hibernate after a year of being in captivity. I am hoping to provide the answers for you and other toad keepers because this could be a very important discovery for the species. I am planning to hibernate in January then in the spring it will all begin to get interesting. I'll keep you posted.

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