Winter

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Nash
Posts: 6
Joined: 01 Apr 2017, 16:28

Winter

Post by Nash » 08 Oct 2017, 13:35

Hi guys,

It is quickly approaching winter and the weather and temperature over in Northern Ireland is slowly but surely decreasing, and I was wondering if there was anything I could buy or make to keep my tortoises entertained during the winter as they do not hibernate.

Since the weather is getting worse I can't take them outside and I dont want to keep them inside their vivarium all winter either. I sometimes let them roam about the house but it is getting too cold for that!

Are there any type of toys out there that they will enjoy to play with, or even anything to keep them entertained?

Secondly my mum and I had an idea of making wee straw nests for them too to sleep in because I lifted them up this morning to give them baths and their shells were cold. But Im not sure if they will end up eating the straw and getting sick.

They are 2 Leopard Tortoise about 1 year old
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Nina
Posts: 279
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re:Winter

Post by Nina » 08 Oct 2017, 14:03

Hi Nash,

They are lovely little leopards, and I guess we are all noticing the approach of winter (my Horsfields just won't wake up in the morning -- but they are hibernating species and it's natural for them to wind down.

Ahh, entertainment. I don't think there is anything really (although I know several people who say that a tortoise will push a golf ball around and sort of play with it). I think the main thing you can do to keep them awake and interested is to give them as big an enclosure as possible, with lots of interest in it (rocks to walk around and over, different textures, etc.). If a tortoise can see from one end of its enclosure to the other without obstruction, it gets bored, so break up the sight lines by putting objects in its way. You could even do something in a spare room -- plastic sheeting on the floor to stop wee going through, walls of breeze blocks or bricks or anything they can't push over, and a good heat and light (uvb) bulb in there for them to bask under. Or just an enclosure that is much larger than an average vivarium. When they get bigger, you will need a larger enclosure for them anyway, as Leopards can easily get up to 18" long and weigh 18kg -- and many grow much larger than that (they're the fourth largest species of tortoise in the world).

Vivariums aren't really the greatest places for tortoises, as it's hard to get a good variation in temperature in there from one end to the other, which is what they need (30C at one end and 20C at the other end, measured at tortoise shell height). When you lifted them up this morning and they were cold, did you then put them under the basking lamp to warm up, and were they OK then?

Straw isn't great for sleeping in as if your tortoises wee, it gets soaked up by the straw and then mould develops, and it also can have sharp edges that can cause eye injuries or irritation if eaten. Really the substrate you've got is perfect for them and easily cleaned. If you want something to make an different texture in an area, you can use ReadiGrrass. This is a natural dried grass (smells lovely), and can be bought at most pet shops, and because a Leopard's diet should be at least 70% grass, they can eat it too, and it's easily replaced if the tortoises wee or poo on it. It's a good addition to the winter diet. I wouldn't put Readi Grass (or straw) under the heat lamp though, as if a bulb bursts it could catch fire.

I hope that helps. You've got lovely little Leopards, and it looks like you've set up a nice home for them. If you keep them warm in the daytime with good high light levels, they should be fine over the winter, and if you can add new areas of interest in their enclosure that will encourage them to explore a bit. Let us know how you get on.

Nina

Nash
Posts: 6
Joined: 01 Apr 2017, 16:28

Re: Winter

Post by Nash » 08 Oct 2017, 14:41

Hi Nina thanks for the reply!

Entertainment wise I was reading things online and got a good few stuff that I can use for enjoyment such as twigs and all. The spare bedroom thing you said sounds like a good idea to me too, I have made a play area filled of fake grass and wooden walls for them that can be transported about and I might fill that up with leaves and rock with some twigs and sticks in there too :)

When I lifted them up this morning, yes their wee shells were cold but I placed them in their warm bath that was under their heat lamp and kept them in their whilst cleaning out their vivarium, and yes they got better once they warmed up and woke up.

I didnt know that vivariums weren't that good, as when I bought CJ and Clyde the reptile person said due to our weather it was best to buy them a vivarium!

About the ReadiGrass, CJ and Clyde never have been fussed on grass to be honest. When I first got them I gave them grass with every meal but then they never really did eat it, I thought it was just because they were so young back then. But I will definately think about buying some ReadiGrass.

Thanks.

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Nina
Posts: 279
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Winter

Post by Nina » 08 Oct 2017, 16:06

Aww, it sounds like you've got some really nice ideas to keep them interested this winter -- I think they will be very happy.

Yes, vivariums are frowned on for a variety of reasons, but pet shops are often not well informed and will very often recommend vivs. Here's an article on the Tortoise Trust site about vivariums and why they aren't good. You can adapt a viv to make it better for tortoises, and get better air circulation and temperature variation in them, by taking off the glass sliding doors at the front and putting up a board or some sort of barrier just high enough that the torts can't climb out, or you can lie the viv on its back and take the top off. or just generally try to get it less enclosed and more open. What is always recommended is a 'tortoise table', which is basically just a box with sides just high enough so that the torts can't climb out (think of a set of bookshelves, lying on its back, with the shelves taken out).

It is sometimes difficult to get a grass-eating species to eat grass if they haven't been fed that before, but for species like Leopards and Sulcatas it really is important that at least 70% of their diet is grass -- that way they will grow slowly and healthily and have smooth shells. They do have very strong will power though, and that is why we wrote our article on introducing a healthier diet: http://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tort ... do8LTBryM8 A lot of that will apply to the kind of food that is in a mediterranean tortoise diet (flowers, weeds, leaves, etc.), but it also applies to grass eating species like Leopards, and there is a bullet point at the end of the first section about arid and semi-arid species (which is what C.J. and Clyde are). Basically you trick them into it by wetting the food they like and cutting it up really small -- teeny tiny pieces -- and then mixing small amounts of grass in with that (and because it is wet, it all sticks together and they can't help but get some grass along with their usual food), and then you gradually increase the proportion of grass and decrease the other stuff.

I used to put Readi Grass in the sleeping area of my Horsfields -- lol they actually prefer to dig down into the soil and don't eat grass, so that didn't last long, but I was sad to get rid of it because their tortoise table was in my bedroom at the time and I just loved the smell of the Readi Grass -- it was like going to sleep next to a field of new mown hay!

It sounds to me like you are doing a great job with C.J. and Clyde and they are lucky to have a home with you. You probably already have a good care sheet for Leopards, but if not then here is one: http://www.tortoise-protection-group.or ... 202016.pdf (let me know if for any reason the link doesn't work).

Nina

Nash
Posts: 6
Joined: 01 Apr 2017, 16:28

Re: Winter

Post by Nash » 08 Oct 2017, 16:33

Hi Nina,

That was a very interesting reply with a lot of new information!

With the vivarium it did cost a lot to buy it but there are vents on the top and bottom corners in the back so I’m not sure if that helps or not.

I will take time out and read those articles you added in.

I was originally going to buy a tortoise table at the start but obviously was told to buy the viv.

The wet food idea sounds amazing too and will definitely try that.

Many thanks!

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lin
Posts: 197
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: Winter

Post by lin » 08 Oct 2017, 17:46

Hiya.
Nina has given you some great advise for your little beautys, Especially about the viv not being ideal for any tortoises but leopards and sulcatas do also need space to exercise those legs enough to carry that heavy shell.
As long as tortoises have the hot/basking spot to heat up under they will be fine as its the cold and damp that causes troubles and illnesses.
Let us know how you get on.
Lin

Danow1980
Posts: 1
Joined: 03 Nov 2017, 11:02

Re: Winter

Post by Danow1980 » 03 Nov 2017, 11:03

Hope everybody will take care about our tortoise. unfortunately my died and since i'm searching for https://onlinepharmacyreviews.org because i really miss her. she was a part of my family. now i'm thinking to get a new tortoise but not sure.
Last edited by Danow1980 on 01 Dec 2017, 17:28, edited 3 times in total.

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lin
Posts: 197
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: Winter

Post by lin » 03 Nov 2017, 21:34

Hi Danow1980.
Thanks for joining and nice to have you hear.
We would love for you to start a new thread and post us a photo of your tortoise if you have one.

Lin

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