Growth rate

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SilverWings
Posts: 27
Joined: 15 Feb 2019, 08:17

Growth rate

Post by SilverWings » 17 Feb 2019, 09:18

Hi guys, first post, yay!!

Just looking for a bit of insight about my torts growth rate! Here is her background, i posted on reddit for advice a few weeks back so I've copy pasted for laziness;

"I work in a pet shop, and a few weeks ago a lady came in looking for advice about the tortoise. It belonged to her nephew, his mother had bought it for him but none of the setup to go with it. Consequently Bella was living in a fish tank on sawdust with only a heat lamp and single hide. She had no vitamin or calcium supplementation and no UV. Nephew had gone travelling and left tortoise with the nice lady, who knew nothing about reptiles but knew something wasn't quite right. I'm the go-to person in my store for reptile advice (I have far too many snakes) so I gave her the supplements, better substrate, some care sheets, and some dietry advice. Lady went home, called nephew, and gave him a massive telling off for not bothering to research how to keep them. She demanded he send her money for the equipment she'd bought, and he said he would, plus a few extra bits. He didn't, so lady confiscated the tortoise, and asked me if I wanted to take her in. I can never turn down an animal in need so of course I said yes!"

Bella is a Hermanns tort (they thought she was a leopard and then a horsfields :roll: ). When I first got her a month ago she was 70mm and 82g, she was completely empty and a little dehydrated. The next week, hydrated etc, she went up to 87g. Now, a month after the initial weight in, she is 75mm long and 99g (post-bath and drink, should have weighed her before but hindsight). Is this too much? I've read they should only put on a few grams a month and I'm worried that she's putting on too much too fast. I'm trying not to over feed her but with no reference other than 'watch her weight' it's a bit difficult! I'm making an effort to weigh her food, she gets about 4g for breakfast then a few leaves of something in the evening. She does have live plants in her tank, a spider plant and some broms, but aside from an experimental nibble when I first put them in she doesn't seem to have touched them so I don't think she's gorging on them. A couple times a week I offer her some pro rep dry tortoise food too, she doesn't seem that interested but I figured it would be good to have her used to it in case of emergency weed shortages!

Thanks for reading :D

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lin
Posts: 649
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: Growth rate

Post by lin » 17 Feb 2019, 12:14

Hi SilverWings, a very warm welcome and thanks for being such a hero. What a lucky little tortoise to have landed in your hands.

To handle the weight loss and gain the only way to do it is to weigh and measure her once a week initially and then maybe fortnightly later down the line. By doing this and keeping a log (we do have one here you can print out) of these weight fluctuations you can rest assured that if the weight carries on in a steady rise all is ok (but to much then cut the food down) and even if it fluctuates a bit still its fine. If it starts to fall over a few weeks then you can start looking into reasons why.
Heres a link to our weighing and measuring info and there is also a PDF you can download and print or the option to purchase a copy. https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tor ... measuring/
I do hope this is helpful but if you need anything else just get back to us.

Lin

SilverWings
Posts: 27
Joined: 15 Feb 2019, 08:17

Re: Growth rate

Post by SilverWings » 17 Feb 2019, 16:45

Thank you, I'll print that out! I guess it's just a case of keep an eye and see what happens! She also always seems to be hungry, right after breakfast she wants more, whenever she sees me she expects more food. I'm not sure if she is *actually* hungry because like I said, she isn't eating the plants in her enclosure...but, I also wonder if, like in dogs and cats, constant hunger is a potential sign of worms? If she had them though would I see her losing weight? She is going to go to the vets for a checkup at some point just for my peace of mind, the local vet has just employed a reptile specialist which is fantastic news :D He's already seen one of my snakes and I was impressed.

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lin
Posts: 649
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: Growth rate

Post by lin » 17 Feb 2019, 17:57

Hiya.
His hunger could be a case of him having worms or it could be that he isnt having enough feed but most animals (tortoises included) will eat for England and because we are humans we will give them more. That is not always in their best interest but if he is weighed today and then at the same time next week you can see if a week in your care has caused him to loose witght. If it has then you can offer him a couple of extra leaves but if he has put weight on then leave it till the week after to check the weights to see if he needs more of less.

Re the worms. Its not always that you see them, but they do say if you do then its a problem that needs treatment. You could take a sample to the vet, just a notmal cat/dog vet and get them to test it and if he needs treatment then take him to your reptile for treatment. What vet is it, we will see if its on our vet list and if they are recomended with tortoise treatment then we would see if they are suitable to add them.

Good luch and do keep us posted.

Lin

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Nina
Posts: 1064
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Growth rate

Post by Nina » 17 Feb 2019, 18:30

Hiya Silverwings, and welcome from me too. It's great that you have taken on this little tortoise, and it sounds like you know what you're doing.

Just to add to all the good information that Lin has given you, and to give you a very rough idea, we usually aim at an average growth rate of between 1g - 4g per month. Some months that will be more and some less, but it is a very rough guide. Your little tortoise was dehydrated and probably undernourished, so it is not surprising that he (or she) has gained a lot in the first month with you. The main thing to aim for is slow and steady growth and a low protein/high fibre diet. One very rough guideline for meals is once a day, as much as they can eat in twenty minutes, and another is as many leaves/flowers etc. as would make a little jacket or blanket to cover their shell once a day -- and you can split that in half for two meals a day if you want. Lol, as you can see those are very rough and a bit fanciful, but it gives you an idea that their food should be monitored.

You probably have one already, but here is a link to a care sheet for Hermanns:
https://www.tortoise-protection-group.o ... 014New.pdf
and here is a link to a really excellent website with great information about Hermann's tortoises:
https://www.hermannihaven.com/


Nina

SilverWings
Posts: 27
Joined: 15 Feb 2019, 08:17

Re: Growth rate

Post by SilverWings » 17 Feb 2019, 18:37

His name is Pascual Medina (Pas), doing some googling, he's transferred from this vet;

https://www.scottveterinaryclinic.co.uk/exotic-pets

Which I think is listed on your site already, he now works at Penbode vets in Bude, Cornwall, where he only started a few weeks ago. very pleased to have him down here as our area is starved for exotic vets!!

Thank you both for the information, I'm reading everything I can get my hands on right now!!

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Nina
Posts: 1064
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Growth rate

Post by Nina » 17 Feb 2019, 21:08

That's great and thanks so much for the update -- and we'll be looking to add Penbode Vets to our list.

Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or problems -- that's what we're here for.

Nina

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