Questions

Use this forum to discuss general questions about any aspects of tortoise care.
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TortillaTheTortoise
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Questions

Post by TortillaTheTortoise » 17 Apr 2019, 20:06

Hey, I have a few questions about my 2 week old angulate Tortoise

1. Tortilla hasn't pooped at all even in his bath and he gets it every afternoon, he doesn't eat that much he just has his one favourite succulent plant he will nibble on otherwise he won't eat kitchen food or grass(I tried to mix it in) he has plants growing in his enclosure and he hardly touches them. How long can they go without pooping? I would be able to see if he does

2. Can tortoises eat other animals poo? He was out in the garden and he chows the dog poo and bird poo the whole time, and when I try to stop him he runs to another one and he tries to eat the concrete stones, I hope he hasn't eaten one when I wasn't looking because I read it can cause impaction

3. Does anyone have a link to sites or articles that explain the growth rates and how big the different species should grow each year so I can plan on new bigger enclosures and start saving up for it, in one years time how big will a angulate tortoise be? His currently 3.5-4cm which is 1.57 inches (not a hundred percent sure it's a boy and I know males are usually larger)

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lin
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Re: Questions

Post by lin » 17 Apr 2019, 20:53

Hiya.
With these little tortoises we have to ask ourselves how much is not much. Would you say he nibbles then over the course of a day would you say he actually does eat...perhaps a piece of leaf that will cover your thumb nail?
You have had him two weeks now so did you weigh him when you first got him so you can make sure he is putting on a tiny bit of weight.
Its good you bath him every day, Well done.

Another thing to remember is that tortoises can be easily scared and if you feed and stay there watching he may just not eat it. Perhaps try and walk away leaving just one small leaf and return an hour later to see if its gone.

He can only poo out waste so if he isnt eating much he will need to hold on to what nutrients he has.

A tortoise will eat poop from other animals. This tells you two things. 1, He WILL eat so is he just being choosy and 2, He could be lacking in something, calcium or some other nutrient so his body is telling him to locate some and thats where he might find it.
We do have to be careful of other things that come into the equation here though. Other animal poops can carry other parasites, worms and also medication. If a tortoise ingests any of it it could upset their system. I would try as hard as I could to prevent this just to be safe.

A growth chart is best made by you in the weighing and measuring your tortoise every week, it will enable you to learn how your tortoise grows at various times of the year and over the years you can build up a good image of your tortoises health.
We do have a observation chart you could print off that allows you to record all your findings. Its also available to purchase if you prefer.
https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/sit ... 208bab.pdf

Hope this is helpful and dont forget to tick the 'Notify me' box when you write in to us.

Lin

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Nina
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Re: Questions

Post by Nina » 17 Apr 2019, 21:49

Great advice from Lin, and I can only add that it is possible that he is pooing and you are missing it. A small tortoise like Tortilla, especially if h goes into the garden could easily poo and you wouldn't see it because it is so small. Just a thought.

Nina

TortillaTheTortoise
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Re: Questions

Post by TortillaTheTortoise » 18 Apr 2019, 15:09

Thank u for the replies, I'm going to check his weight today and monitor it, I recently built him a outside playpen which his been spending most of his time, I saw him eat a chunk of a succulent in it earlier

TortillaTheTortoise
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Re: Questions

Post by TortillaTheTortoise » 18 Apr 2019, 19:41

So I weighed him earlier and he weighed roughly 23-25 grams, is that under or overweight for a young hatchling?

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Nina
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Re: Questions

Post by Nina » 18 Apr 2019, 22:19

It's hard to say, as I don't know how much he weighed when he hatched -- but as he is only two weeks old, that seems fine to me. Just out of curiosity, do you know for sure that he is two weeks old (i.e. did you see him hatch)? If so that would be very exciting -- to have known him since the moment he was born.

Nina

TortillaTheTortoise
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Re: Questions

Post by TortillaTheTortoise » 19 Apr 2019, 19:57

Haven't been keeping track of the weeks, they are going by so fast and only realised today that on Saturday(tomorrow) his 3 weeks old.

I didn't get him when he hatched but I estimated him to be 1 week old as his little belly button was only just beginning to close up, so his roughly 3-4 weeks old
Last edited by TortillaTheTortoise on 19 Apr 2019, 20:20, edited 1 time in total.

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Nina
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Re: Questions

Post by Nina » 19 Apr 2019, 20:19

Aww, so you've had him since nearly when he hatched and that's great. Keep a record of his weight, and that will enable you to monitor his growth easily. It sounds like he is doing fine with you!

Nina

TortillaTheTortoise
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Re: Questions

Post by TortillaTheTortoise » 19 Apr 2019, 20:21

Thank u

I also have another question, I've been checking the UV index on my weather app since I've been taking tortilla outside for natural sun and UVB and the UV index has been low at 3 or 4 rarely 5 for the last few weeks, is this enough uv for a tortoise?

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Nina
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Re: Questions

Post by Nina » 19 Apr 2019, 22:05

I'm afraid I don't know what the UV index should be for a tortoise. In the UK our UV is much weaker than it is nearer to te equator, and we have to have supplemental UVB in the form of special UVB lights if they have to be indoors for any time. Do you live in one of the counries where Angulate tortoises occur naturally? If so then the UVB should be fine, and if it is low on some days and higher on other days then that is what he would naturally find if he was in the wild. I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Nina

TortillaTheTortoise
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Re: Questions

Post by TortillaTheTortoise » 20 Apr 2019, 06:10

Yes, I live in a country where they occur naturally

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Nina
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Re: Questions

Post by Nina » 20 Apr 2019, 11:12

That should be fine then, as it is the level of UV that would naturally occur in his native habitat, so no need to provide more.
Nina

TortillaTheTortoise
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Re: Questions

Post by TortillaTheTortoise » 22 Apr 2019, 09:40

Just witnessed his first poop! Not the be TMI but it was big :lol:

It did look at little moist not like diarrhoea but it was soft looking, probably because he eats a lot of succulents? He ate some grass today, his starting to eat different plants and grasses now which is good because before he wouldn't eat anything else except this one type of succulent.

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Nina
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Re: Questions

Post by Nina » 22 Apr 2019, 10:11

That's excellent news! Yes, his poop was probably moist because of all the succulents, but that is normal. And great news that he is eating grass now too. He is turning out to be a very clever little tortoise, and picking the right diet for himself.

Nina

TortillaTheTortoise
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Re: Questions

Post by TortillaTheTortoise » 23 Apr 2019, 14:34

I have more questions :D

So I'm going to a reptile petshop on Saturday and I've decided to get a bulb that gives off heat and UVB for his inside enclosure, but I've heard some bad things about getting the wrong type of UVB and then the shell grows deformed or something and im not sure how to tell what's bad uvb? How can I avoid getting the wrong type of uvb bulb?

His inside enclosure is about 260-275 sq inches and his outside one is about 900 sq inches, but I'm looking to get a 40w bulb or a 50w bulb, will that be too hot for a 275 sq inch cage, i can also look into getting another one for inside but it can't be too big for space reasons (would 360 sq inches be fine for a 1 month old hatchling?)

Sorry if the above is confusing I just don't want to spend money on the wrong things that can harm him

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Nina
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Re: Questions

Post by Nina » 23 Apr 2019, 20:59

Hi,

As far as I know there is only one type of UVB (I wonder if the sources you read have confused UVB with UVA?). There are lights that produce different strengths of UVB though, and it's usually best to get the highest strength, although if your tortoise is going to be outdoors a lot then that doesn't matter so much. I think that the compact UVB fluorescent bulbs are not as good as the fluorescent strip light tubes (the compact bulbs look a bit like those energy efficient ordinary bulbs - a glass tube that has been formed into a coil). I use the fluorescent tubes, and they last about a year or two if they are used a lot (but if your tortoise is outdoors a lot then they will last longer).

What happens is that the UVB as it passes through the glass tube deposits a coating on the inside of the tube, and after a while the light still comes through but the UVB doesn't (and unless you have a UVB meter you won't know, so you just change it). The tube lights do need a starter unit as well.

The other form of UVB is the combination heat and UVB bulb. These give out heat, light and UVB from one bulb (the tubular fluorescent lights don't give off any heat and not a very strong light), but if you are in a hot country then they might make it too hot for your tortoise. I don't think you can buy the combined mercury vapour lights in the low wattages that you are talking about, so maybe the fluorescent tube would be best for you.

I'm afraid that in the UK we don't express area size in square inches, so I have no idea what size yours is. We talk about size in the dimensions -- for example 4 ft by 2 ft, or 18 in. by 38 in. You asked about 36 sq. in -- is that 3 ft. by 3ft? Sorry for being so stupid! Could you give me the dimensions that way? The main thing is to have as big an enclosure indoors as space will allow, because your tortoise will get bored in a small area, and also he will grow.

Here is a link to an article on tortoise enclosures and it also has a good section on lighting (with photos of equipment) that might be of some help to you. Do remember though that this is sort of aimed at people living in northern Europe where it is probably not warm enough most of the time so heat is important -- it might be less important for you.
https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tor ... L9s1qR7m9s
and here is another article showing how to make your own table
https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tor ... L9tBaR7m9s

Lights are expensive and so you are right to do your research before you buy something. Let us know how you get on.

Nina

TortillaTheTortoise
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Re: Questions

Post by TortillaTheTortoise » 24 Apr 2019, 07:53

I've decided to buy a exo-terra 50w basking bulb, I was looking at the prices of lights and they are expensive! I've read some other forums and decided to not get a UVB light coz he will get lots of outside time

I believe the exo-terra bulb has UVA in? I'll probably have the bulb on for the time inside coz my room is cold especially since it's nearing winter and Im overwintering him

I'm not sure how to measure in feet, I can only work in sq inches and cm but his outside closure is 3 times bigger than the inside one and as he grows I will upgrade but his only 1.5 inches in length at the moment. When I set up his enclosure on the weekend I will post a pic of his inside one.

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Nina
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Re: Questions

Post by Nina » 24 Apr 2019, 11:13

I'm in a rush to go out, but just to check -- the Exo Terra bulb probably does have UVA, but I thought it was UVB you wanted? If he is going to be indoors for a long time then you definitely need a UVB bulb and UVA is NOT the same at all.

To measure in feet or in inches, if your enclosure is square or rectangular, just measure the length of one side of it, and then the length of another side that is at right angles to it. So one side is 30 inches long and the side at right angles to it is 24 inches long -- that is all you need. As you say, he is very small and so doesn't need a huge area at the moment.

Re heat, you want a temperature of 30C directly under the heat source at the height of his shell, and a temperature of around 20C at the cooler end of the enclosure (and you don't need any light or heat at night unless the temperature drops below about 12C or 14C.

Nina

TortillaTheTortoise
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Re: Questions

Post by TortillaTheTortoise » 24 Apr 2019, 11:55

I'm not getting UVB anymore because his getting outside time about 2-6 hours everyday depending on the weather, just a heating bulb for basking because my room can drop below 20°C which is 68°F. But would the exo Terra basking bulb at 50 watts be fine? I'll put it off on hot days. UVA isn't dangerous to tortoises if they are exposed to it for a long time or anything right? Do heating bulbs need to be replaced every 6-12 months?

His temporary inside cage is about 28 inches on the longer side and 24 inches on the shorter ends, but I don't have a inch ruler to properly check

Sorry about all the questions

TortillaTheTortoise
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Re: Questions

Post by TortillaTheTortoise » 27 Apr 2019, 20:37

I finally got the bulb, I went to the shops to get a 60W desk lamp to shine it into the enclosure and looked at the reptile pet shops for lights but they only had a exo Terra basking bulb and it was expensive so I remembered i had a incandescent bulb in the garage to use that produces a orange glow and gives off a lot of heat probably 37°C if u put ur hand directly close under it so I've put it 16-19cm away from the basking spot. (It's the Osram concentra 60W bulb btw)

I want to post pics but the files are too large and I can't make them smaller

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Nina
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Re: Questions

Post by Nina » 28 Apr 2019, 09:09

Sorry I wasn't around yesterday to answer your questions! UVA will cause no problems for your tortoise, so don't worry about it. Thanks for the dimensions of your enclosure -- it doesn't have to be inches -- you can give me the dimensions in centimetres if you like. Your indoor cage is very small, but so is your tortoise, so I think that it will be fine for him for a while. Will you have facilities to make him a bigger enclosure as he gets bigger?

Regarding the 60W bulb, that should be just fine, especially if he is outside a lot. As you are living in a country where your tortoise occurs naturally, you ought to be able to leave him out a lot longer, because this is where he would be in the wild. Rain will not hurt him, and if you have little hidey places for him to go if he wants to get out of the rain then that should be fine.

When indoors, the temperature of a room has a big effect on the temperature inside an indoor enclosure, so will you be able to raise or lower that bulb to make it warmer or cooler in the basking spot directly under it? You want to measure the temperature directly under the lamp, at the height of your tortoise's shell, and that temperature should be about 30C (not too much higher). If you can get one of those digital thermometers with a display unit and a probe on the end of a long cord, they are good because you can hang the probe almost directly under the light for measurement. They are like this, and it's good to have one with a max/min facility so that you can see how hot or how cold it got since you last re-set the function. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Thermometer-Fr ... B071WKGTJL If you Google Digital Fridge Thermometer and then click on Images you will see lots, and you can find them much cheaper than this if you don't want the Max/Min facility (which isn't essential), but choose the ones with the probe on the end of a cord and not one that only has a hook to hang it on.

Also, indoors a very small tortoise can dehydrate quickly, so it is a good idea to give him a bath every day or two, in warm water that comes just up to where the top shell meets the bottom shell (or his chin), for about 15 or 20 minutes, and in a container that he can't see out of (a plastic tub that isn't see-through for instance. That will enable him to rehydrate.

Re your photos. If you send them to photos@thetortoisetable.org.uk then we can reduce them in size and post them for you (but you can also find free photo re-sizing software on the internet, for example I use PhotoRazor for Windows and if you google PhotoRazor you will find lots of sites that offer it as a free download (but I'm not sure if the produce it for packages other than Windows. Lin can probably come in with some advice if you are using other packages.

Nina

TortillaTheTortoise
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Joined: 10 Apr 2019, 06:07

Re: Questions

Post by TortillaTheTortoise » 28 Apr 2019, 16:29

I measured the enclosure with a ruler and it's 52cm on the long side and 34cm on smaller sides (it's a rectangular shape). As he grows I will buy keep upgrading, I can't leave him outside unattended or permanently because he will get lost, eaten by a crow or seagull or one of my dogs will bite him so he will have to do with a indoor enclosure until his a lot bigger. He does get to explore the garden everyday and I follow him around to make sure something doesn't happen/or gets put in his outside pen which predators can still get into.

I bath him everyday, sometimes twice before and after he goes outside on a very hot day. Yesterday he nearly drank the entire bowl! I get worried when he doesn't come up because he sticks his whole head in the water to drink and looks like his drowning himself but apparently angulates can drink from there nostrils

My room where he stays is the coldest room in the house, maybe 19-23°C and at night 15°C, coz I have to sleep with one window open at least otherwise it gets stuffy.

Do u perhaps know how much electricity a 60w R63 spot bulb will cost to run for 5 hours a day?

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Nina
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Re: Questions

Post by Nina » 28 Apr 2019, 19:38

Hi, that sounds like a fine size for the time being, especially as he goes out a lot. And you are right to be wary of predators, as birds of prey and dogs can present a great danger to tortoises.

I'm not sure you need to bathe him twice a day, but if he enjoys it and is drinking then that sounds good. Yes, it is quite scary when you first see a tortoise drink -- they do put their whole head under water for a long time!

I'm afraid I have no idea how much your bulb will cost to run, as it will vary depending on how much the company supplying your electricity charges -- different companies will charge different rates, in different countries (and of course we don't know the country you live in). I wouldn't think a 60W bulb would cost a lot though, as that is not a particularly high wattage, but that is just a guess. Do you use electric bulbs for providing light in your house for you and your family, and if so then are they about 60W? The fact that it is a spotlight won't affect the cost because a 60W bulb is 60W no matter what style it is. Of course lots of people now use the low energy bulbs, and they do cost less to run (but they don't give out the heat that you are trying to provide for your tortoise).

Nina

TortillaTheTortoise
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Joined: 10 Apr 2019, 06:07

Re: Questions

Post by TortillaTheTortoise » 28 Apr 2019, 20:11

I only bath twice if it's a hot day because sometimes he will drink before and after going outside.

My family doesn't use 60w bulbs, less probably, they are energy saving and have minimal heat output. I did tell them I'd pay monthly fees of the amount of the increase in the bill (anything for the animals!)

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Nina
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Re: Questions

Post by Nina » 28 Apr 2019, 22:17

I think you are bathing the right amount, so well done!

Aww, that is really good of you to offer to pay for the extra electricity used, and I'll bet that it doesn't come to too much. You are really doing your best for this little tortoise, and that is great!

Nina

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