A Worcestershire college’s veteran tortoise will certainly be keeping cool this winter.
Pershore College’s animal care centre has found the perfect place for Timmy to hibernate in this year.
The college, which forms part of Warwickshire College, has placed Timmy in the fridge to sleep it off through the rest of the winter.
But animal welfare groups should not be too concerned - apparently this is the best place for them to stay healthy and keep up their body weight during the long winter months.
The college’s Mediterranean Spurside tortoise, who is believed to be 70 years old, was put in a box with padding, then placed in the fridge until the spring.
Animal care lecturer Terry Green said: “When they hibernate, if they keep waking up then going back to sleep again it uses up a lot of energy. If you keep them at a constant temperature in the fridge they come out in a much better condition than if you put them in a box in the attic or the garage because the temperature goes up and down there.
“Just put them in a box bedded with shredded paper and pop it in the fridge that’s at the right temperature and open the fridge every day to let some air in.”
Terry added that before being put away to hibernate, the tortoise should have been prepared by not being fed for a couple of weeks.
The fridge should be at between five and eight degrees.
“That’s slightly on the warm temperature side but it’s the advice of the British Association of Tortoises and people do put them in their own fridge. We tried it and he didn’t seem to have lost any weight at all over the winter.” Timmy was donated to the Birmingham Nature Centre, where Pershore College runs animal care and animal management courses, by a woman after her elderly husband, who had owned him for decades, died.
To find out more about the animal care and animal management courses based at Pershore College and the Birmingham Nature Centre see www.warkscol.ac.uk or telephone 01386 552443.