Tortoise now in my care

Use this forum to discuss general questions about any aspects of tortoise care.
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Rachd89
Posts: 3
Joined: 24 May 2019, 15:48

Tortoise now in my care

Post by Rachd89 » 24 May 2019, 15:58

Hello all,

I'm hoping for some advice please. I've recently started a new job in a school and in our class there is a pet tortoise.

I've been following the previous staffs instructions but there is conflicting advice on how best to care for the tortoise between their instructions and what seems, the whole internet.

I've attached a photo of our class pet tortoise as I'm guessing different breeds need different things, in terms of care. Can someone tell me which breed it is please? And any advice would be great.

At present, whilst in class, following previous instructions she has a basking light on during the day and then we switch it off and change to heating pad that's situated on floor in tank. (Lots of advice saying thats not good). When she comes home during the weekend she only has a lamp, and then everything off overnight and she seems much more active at home than in school. Could she be too hot in school tank?

Also, we've been told she doesn't need water in her tank? Is that right? Diet at the moment is all fresh veg (cabbage, carrot, cucumber etc) and a sprinkle of calcium twice a week. We were told the water in the fresh food meant she didn't need water?[attachment=0]20190524_155031.jpg[/attachment]

I'd appreciate any advice as want to care for her the best she deserves.

Thanks in advance,

Rachel
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lin
Posts: 536
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: Tortoise now in my care

Post by lin » 24 May 2019, 18:36

Oh no. These poor school tortoises but I bet this one is thanking its lucky stars you have stepped in and hopefully take over his care. Remember to put your hand up for the volountry school holiday care. Do you do the homecare now?

Now getting back to your questions -- Its a Horsfield tortoise and yes, they really do need water in a shallow bowl so that it can get in and out of easily, like one of the terracotta plant saucers. You will find he will bath and possibly release stored water and poop and possible drink as well. So someone should be allocated to watch to make sure the dish is clean.

Can you find out if the basking light is just for heat or is it also UVB?

He needs plants like dandelions, Sow thistle, Plantain, Pansy...Oh there are so many more and we do have categorys of plants showing a colour code ranging from good feed to those plants that are no feed. Supermarket salads are really not good and it could be one of the reasons this little one is starting to show raised bumps (pyramiding) on its shell. The other reason could be not humid enough in the enviroment and thats why he needs water.

Have a read of the caresheet for Horsfields and do get back to us with any other questions you might have.
Oh no. These poor school tortoises but I bet this one is thanking its lucky stars you have stepped in and hopefully take over his care. Remember to put your hand up for the volountry school holiday care. Do you do the homecare now?

Now getting back to your questions -- Its a Horsfield tortoise and yes, they really do need water in a shallow bowl so that it can get in and out of easily, like one of the terracotta plant saucers. You will find he will bath and possibly release stored water and poop and possible drink as well. So someone should be allocated to watch to make sure the dish is clean.

Can you find out if the basking light is just for heat or is it also UVB?

He needs plants like dandelions, Sow thistle, Plantain, Pansy...Oh there are so many more and we do have categorys of plants showing a colour code ranging from good feed to those plants that are no feed. Supermarket salads are really not good and it could be one of the reasons this little one is starting to show raised bumps (pyramiding) on its shell. The other reason could be not humid enough in the enviroment and thats why he needs water.

Have a read of this caresheet for horsfield tortoises and please do get back to us if you have other things you need to ask.
https://www.tortoise-protection-group.o ... 014New.pdf


Lin

Rachd89
Posts: 3
Joined: 24 May 2019, 15:48

Re: Tortoise now in my care

Post by Rachd89 » 24 May 2019, 20:03

Hi Lin,

Thank you for your reply. She will either come home with me or the other member of staff (she is keen to find out more too about doing the best we can to care for her).

I've bought a combined bulb (UVB and heat bulb) for the home tank but in school its a red lamp and I don't think it is a combined one but I could be wrong. The cage has a strip lamp too but its not working, this needs to be replaced does it? Or a combined bulb there too?

What is the guidance for heat pads in the enclosure? Should we be using it at night?

Food should mainly be plants then, not the current diet?

I will print out the information sheet and have a read this evening.

Thank you so much for your advice, it has been very useful!

Rachel

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lin
Posts: 536
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: Tortoise now in my care

Post by lin » 24 May 2019, 20:27

I forgot to say that the heat pad/mat on the floor really does not do the tortoise a favour and it can be quite dangerous causing severe burns.

Re the red light. Again that is not needed but more important with this tortoise being in a school it should be made clear that a tortoise needs UVB but UVB is harmful to humans eyes and every care should be taken to reflect rays from a striplight directly down towards the tortoise leaving no mistake for children to be able to see it.

Heres a couple of pages of things that should be fed. This time of year when things are growing like mad there is no need to visit a shop and buy the wrong diet when feeding a tortoise is actually free.
Hope they work and again let us know if you need anything else. Its a lot easier if you ask rather than us full your head of things you might forget.

Lin


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Nina
Posts: 787
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Tortoise now in my care

Post by Nina » 24 May 2019, 22:24

Hi Rachel,

It's great that you are trying to give this little tortoise a better life, and thanks for contacting us.

Just to add to the good advice that Lin has given you, when she talked about shielding the children's eyes from harmful UVB rays from strip lights, this is the sort of thing you can buy
https://tinyurl.com/y5gr8foa It just clips onto the bulb. If you have a combined UVB and heat bulb then that usually goes inside a metal lamp shade that also reflects protects the eyes. UVB is super important for tortoises as it reacts with the skin to produce vitamin D3, which enables the tortoise to metabilise and utilise the calcium in its diet, and tortoises do need a whole lot of calcium to maintain healthy bone and shell.

It would be really helpful too, to see a picture of the whole tank that the tortoise is in, just in case we can suggest some tiny tweaks that might improve it a bit.

Cheers,
Nina

Rachd89
Posts: 3
Joined: 24 May 2019, 15:48

Re: Tortoise now in my care

Post by Rachd89 » 02 Jun 2019, 15:30

Hi All,

I have been feeding the tortoise things the site says are ok for her but she doesn't seem to be eating much. Ive tried a variety of foods and she seems to eat just a couple of mouthfuls only.
Is this normal as her diet has changed or should I mix some cabbage, carrots etc in too as she was eating those?

Any help is again appreciated as I don't want her going hungry.

Rachel

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Nina
Posts: 787
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Tortoise now in my care

Post by Nina » 02 Jun 2019, 18:00

Hi Rachel,

Tortoises can be really stubborn and are prone to food fads (lol, just like children). We've written an article especially aimed at getting your tortoise to accept a healthier diet: https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tor ... PQAD497m9s
Have a read of that and see what you think. Yes, I think I would mix some carrot and cabbage in with her new food. The trick is to cut everything up into teeny tiny pieces, wet them all so that they stick together a bit, and when she goes for some carrot she will inadvertently take in some dandelion that has stuck to it, and then she will get used to the taste of the new food. Gradually reduce the amount of food from the old diet and increase the amount from the new diet until there isn't any of the old food in it. That usually works, but you might have to be patient and do it slowly.

Nina

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