Henry is our Tortoise, of indeterminate age, given to us by a neighbour around 24 years ago. Two evenings ago he woke up from his annual hibernation. As I type this he is exploring his indoor accommodation in between taking rests. He has food available, though he is unlikely to be interested in it for a few more days, and he has had two lukewarm baths already, one yesterday and one today. These give him an opportunity to drink (which he did today). This is very important directly after waking from hibernation as it helps to flush out unwanted chemicals that have accumulated during hibernation and it also helps to prepare his digestive system for more food. Straight after waking from hibernation a tortoise may have only a few days reserves of energy left and should be feeding again within a week. The baths also helped to warm him, though they were little more than room temperature, and judging by the contented way he relaxes when placed in the water I am sure that he enjoys a good soak!
The hibernation is a strange phenomenon but looking after Henry has never been a problem for us. The tortoise is supposed to stop eating around six weeks prior to hibernation so that his digestive system is emptied in time. I am sure no-one told Henry. On the other hand he does stop eating some time before hibernating, then spends less time wandering around the garden and more time sleeping. All we have to do is pop him into his hibernating quarters during this slowing down phase, and if he is not obviously wanting to go out again the next day, then he has taken the hint. Obviously we keep an eye on him just in case the weather suddenly gets a lot warmer and he decides to be active again.
Usually I start to keep an eye on him from the beginning of February so as to catch any sign of movement. I started much earlier this year (at Christmas last year actually) because he had hibernated so much earlier than usual in 2008 – not surprisingly given the cold, wet August.