Millipedes Hibernating?

CDH

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I hope this is the appropriate section to post this. I have two giant millipedes who have been hibernating now for about 6 months. They have dug themselves separate caves under the substrate, and I can see them through the glass. They look totally healthy and sometimes I see them moving, so I know they are ok, but for the most part they are always sleeping. I am just wondering if anyone knows if this is normal, and how long might they continue hibernating. Any information is greatly appreciated. Thank you!
 

BobBarley

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It's not really "hibernating" I would guess they are ready/have already molted. If they are getting ready to molt then it may take longer. If they have already molted they should start moving up whenever. 6 months seems kind of long, but if you can see them and they are still alive then it's probably fine. Are you sure they might not be coming out at night and then going back under the surface at night?
 

CDH

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It's not really "hibernating" I would guess they are ready/have already molted. If they are getting ready to molt then it may take longer. If they have already molted they should start moving up whenever. 6 months seems kind of long, but if you can see them and they are still alive then it's probably fine. Are you sure they might not be coming out at night and then going back under the surface at night?
I don't think they come out at all. We have left food for them overnight which is always untouched. Besides seeing them moving slightly I don't think they do anything else lol. We are stumped. But as long as they seem healthy we're optimistic!
 

BobBarley

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I don't think they come out at all. We have left food for them overnight which is always untouched. Besides seeing them moving slightly I don't think they do anything else lol. We are stumped. But as long as they seem healthy we're optimistic!
If they are still moving around a bit underground and such, I would bet on them being in the process of molting.
 

CDH

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If they are still moving around a bit underground and such, I would bet on them being in the process of molting.
That would make sense I think, is it a process which I would be able to see? I see no changes in physical form for the last 6 months roughly. I am definitely a newb though. Thanks for the info!
 

BobBarley

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That would make sense I think, is it a process which I would be able to see? I see no changes in physical form for the last 6 months roughly. I am definitely a newb though. Thanks for the info!
Haha, regarding millipedes I am also pretty newbish don't worry. Not sure about your question, I would guess, yes, but I'm unsure how fast they harden, whether they consume their exoskeleton, how fast they molt, etc. @mickiem will know better than me.
 

Antonovich

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I'm in a similar situation with my African giant. Got him/her three weeks ago and only saw it the first two days. Really hoping for molting but I can't even see it in my vivarium. It is burried somewhere near the back/middle of the tank and I'm crossing my fingers I don't have to dig it up. No bad smells so far so I'm staying optimistic.
 

CDH

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Same here @Antonovich I'm really hoping they come up soon! The first millipede was great for weeks then she went underground. Then we got the second one and only after a few days he made his cave next to the first one's! Anyone else who might have more info I would be grateful! Thanks @BobBarley
 

BobBarley

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I'm in a similar situation with my African giant. Got him/her three weeks ago and only saw it the first two days. Really hoping for molting but I can't even see it in my vivarium. It is burried somewhere near the back/middle of the tank and I'm crossing my fingers I don't have to dig it up. No bad smells so far so I'm staying optimistic.
Well if you only got it a few weeks ago, it is most likely settling in.
 

mickiem

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I'm certainly not an expert! My AGB's stay underground a lot when they are molting or laying eggs. I believe other reasons could be improper moisture or humidity. Is your substrate very moist? What is it made of? What kind of foods are you offering? Mine like apples, mushrooms, avocado, corn and melon a lot. I don't think they would stay under 6 months to molt; but mine stayed under longer when they were laying eggs. But they did come up to eat. I know this can't be helping, sorry! Do you have any branches or pieces of bark on the surface? Mine like to lay on some bark pieces and crawl over branches.
 

kjgalaxy

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My African Giants stayed under and ate very little when the ambient temp in the house dropped to 76 F. Once I put a heater on the back side of the cage and got it more stable inside the tank at about 80 F, they started moving about again. Raising the temp means of course you have to keep an eye on moisture and humidity.
 

CDH

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My African Giants stayed under and ate very little when the ambient temp in the house dropped to 76 F. Once I put a heater on the back side of the cage and got it more stable inside the tank at about 80 F, they started moving about again. Raising the temp means of course you have to keep an eye on moisture and humidity.
I have the coconut fiber substrate from exo terra or something. I have some sticks and logs in there, keep it semi humid. The temp may be it though as it is prob around 74 degrees. I will try raising it and see what happens. I usually feed them apples and bananas and strawberries. Thanks for all the help!
 

mickiem

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I have the coconut fiber substrate from exo terra or something. I have some sticks and logs in there, keep it semi humid. The temp may be it though as it is prob around 74 degrees. I will try raising it and see what happens. I usually feed them apples and bananas and strawberries. Thanks for all the help!
You probably need to add rotten wood and decaying leaves. The substrate should be moist and be at least half organic matter they can eat. They can't eat coconut fiber.
 
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CDH

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You probably need to add rotten wood and decaying leaves. The substrate should be moist and be at least half organic matter they can eat. They can't eat cocoanut fiber.
So what should I mix it with Just leaves and stuff like that? I will change out the substrate and everything as soon as I can. Do you think I should wait for them to come out first or do you think it would be ok to wake them up to change their substrate and add the rotting wood and leaves? Thanks again!
 

mickiem

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So what should I mix it with Just leaves and stuff like that? I will change out the substrate and everything as soon as I can. Do you think I should wait for them to come out first or do you think it would be ok to wake them up to change their substrate and add the rotting wood and leaves? Thanks again!
When I add substrate to an existing enclosure, I just take handfuls of fresh substrate and work it in to the top 4-5". They may be staying under to retain their moisture or energy. I would spray some water (mist) to make sure it is moist enough. It's hard to explain how moist it should be, and I know many successful keepers on this forum keep different degrees of moisture. If I pick up a handful of my substrate and squeeze it, I would ALMOST get a drop of water. It would feel damp enough that I could. I am probably keeping it more wet than most folks do. I think problems come with the extra dampness (like the fauna of the underworld, springtails, fruit flies, etc.), but I also think the millipeds are happier & healthier. I just keep close watch. I tried to keep it drier upon a suggestion I received but I had a different set of problems that I wasn't sure how to handle. Wet works for me.

I made a post a few weeks ago about the substrate I had just mixed. I will tag you on that post so you can see what I do. Then, @Cavedweller has a care sheet with his recipe at the top of this forum page and you can find more info on Bugs in Cyberspace website. In fact, if you search this forum for substrate recipes you will find more than you need. Just look at the similarities and figure out what works best for your guys. My AGBs do very well in very wet substrate. Their's is the wettest of any others I keep.

You should probably find some oak leaves that fell last fall (degraded) from an area without pesticides and works some into the coconut fiber and leave some on top. You should do that right away. They can tolerate a lot, but he's gotta be hungry! Then, instead of disturbing the milliped, you can pull the husk fiber to the end where he is and work the new substrate into the opposite end. Then also work some above him. That's what I'd do.
 
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kjgalaxy

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74 is way too cold for the AGBs. Do a search on this forum or go through my previous posts because I had something of the same problem about they were moving then they hid and didn't even eat. I had gotten my home's AC recharged and house temp went from 78 to 76. 78 is really too cold for them but tolerable. Below that and they'll hide and wait for warmer temps.
 

CDH

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74 is way too cold for the AGBs. Do a search on this forum or go through my previous posts because I had something of the same problem about they were moving then they hid and didn't even eat. I had gotten my home's AC recharged and house temp went from 78 to 76. 78 is really too cold for them but tolerable. Below that and they'll hide and wait for warmer temps.
Ok so what should I heat it to? 80+ ? Thanks!
 

mickiem

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Ok so what should I heat it to? 80+ ? Thanks!
Orin suggests 77 to 83° (immatures kept cooler) in his book. Sigling says 75 to 79° Mine stay 75 to 80° and breed and do fine at those temperatures. I have a thermometer that registers highs and lows. I try to maintain steady temps but the high and low has been 67 to 83° . These extremes are temporary. " Millipeds in Captivity " by Orin McMonigle would be a great book for you to learn more about millipedes!
 

CDH

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Orin suggests 77 to 83° (immatures kept cooler) in his book. Sigling says 75 to 79° Mine stay 75 to 80° and breed and do fine at those temperatures. I have a thermometer that registers highs and lows. I try to maintain steady temps but the high and low has been 67 to 83° . These extremes are temporary. " Millipeds in Captivity " by Orin McMonigle would be a great book for you to learn more about millipedes!
thank you!
 
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