How big is too big?

Post your pictures and any questions here of European tortoises e.g. Ibera Spur Thigh, Ibera Graeca, Marginated, Hermanns, Kleinmanni and we include the Horsfield tortoise. Also, do add pictures of Mediterranean tortoises you have seen in the wild.
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Tom B
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Joined: 21 Sep 2017, 22:06

How big is too big?

Post by Tom B » 21 Sep 2017, 22:21

Hi we have a 2 year old mediteranian spurr thighed, we were worried he was getting a little big on the underside. He is 10 cm scute to scute and weighs abot 220 grams which acording to the jackson scale is sligtly overweight. We have only fed him on leaf greens and weeds and the ocassional bit of cucumber or fruit. We have gone to feeding him every other day but hes not losing any weight, is there any advise for a tortoise on a diet? Please or are we worrying about nothing? We also have not seen him poop recently but we are out during the day and he has a tedancy to eat it anyways ;) sorry for the long sequence of questions, can anyone advise us?

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Nina
Posts: 278
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: How big is too big?

Post by Nina » 21 Sep 2017, 22:49

Hi Tom and thanks for contacting us.

Growth is a favourite topic among tortoise keepers, and one of the things we always try to do with tortoises in our care is to grow them slowly. In the wild they often live in areas where food is scarce for most of the year, and they have to walk long distances to forage, so they grow slowly and that produces smooth shells. I don't keep Spur-Thighs, so I'm not sure, but 220g does sound a bit big to me for a two year old. Also, the Jackson Ratio was really developed to gauge whether Spur Thighs and Hermanns are a fit weight to hibernate, so it isn't really a guide to ongoing size and weight.

I wouldn't worry about encouraging him to lose weight -- I'd just concentrate now on slow growth for the future. We always aim at an average growth rate of between 1g - 4g per month. And it is just an average, as some months he might gain more and some less. If he is gaining too much then just reduce the amount of food you are giving him. It sounds like you are giving him a good diet (supplemented, I assume by a good calcium and vitamin supplement like Nutrobal), but I would cut out the fruit, as Mediterranean tortoises don't have digestive systems that cope well with the natural sugars that are present in fruit.

I'm not sure how you are measuring him, but it's important that you measure his SCL (straight carapace length), properly -- especially if you are using the Jackson Ratio -- and here is a guide on this website about weighing and measuring:
http://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tort ... cQyWdFryM8
just scroll down to see photos and instructions about the correct way to measure his length. Also, there is a link on that page where you can click and download our new Tortoise Observation Records booklet. It's a fair number of pages, and if you would rather have a properly printed and bound copy, just let us know, as we will be getting delivery soon of the printed copies. It's a really handy way of monitoring your tortoise.

I hope that helps. He might be a bit overweight now, but he is still young and if you start monitoring his food intake and growth now, then he will almost certainly grow at a nice slow rate and develop into a very handsome adult tortoise. :)

Nina

Tom B
Posts: 3
Joined: 21 Sep 2017, 22:06

Re: How big is too big?

Post by Tom B » 22 Sep 2017, 10:36

Thank you nina, you have been a great help :) we will keep feeding him every other day, yes we have been suplimenting with calcidust and nutribal from pretty much 4 months old. He only used to get a bit of fruit maybe once every 2 months but have completly cut it out this year. We never thought we were over feeding him but we must have done as he just keeps on putting on weight lol when we took him to the vet he thought he was 3 or 4 but couldnt find any sign of pyramiding and there was still room in his shell and could find any problems without doing a scan. He' s just big.
Thank you for your help again

TOM

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Nina
Posts: 278
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: How big is too big?

Post by Nina » 22 Sep 2017, 11:25

It sounds like you're doing great, Tom, and I'm sure he will grow up to be a happy and healthy tortoise. If there are no signs of pyramiding then that is really good. Please don't hesitate to get back to us if you have any questions or problems -- and if you feel like posting a photo of him, please do, as we never get tired of seeing photos of tortoises!

Cheers,
Nina

Tom B
Posts: 3
Joined: 21 Sep 2017, 22:06

Re: How big is too big?

Post by Tom B » 23 Sep 2017, 23:05

Hi nina, I have tried to attach a photo but it says the image is too big :) thanks again for your help

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Nina
Posts: 278
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: How big is too big?

Post by Nina » 24 Sep 2017, 09:08

Hi Tom,
Oh dear, I'm not so good at this. Can you reduce your photo in size before trying to upload it? We do have some guidelines on resizing and uploading photos in our Guidelines section -- here 's a link to it:
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=3
Have a look at that, and if you still can't do it, let us know and hopefully Helen or Lin (who are better at this than I am) will come on with some advice.

Looking forward to seeing your photo!

Nina

Richy1
Posts: 3
Joined: 01 Oct 2017, 08:14

Re: How big is too big?

Post by Richy1 » 01 Oct 2017, 09:53

[attachment=2]20171001_174208.jpg[/attachment]Hi all, im new on here just thought i would say hello.
I have a 2 and half year old marginated and would like a to know if im on the right track!
Feed him/her (mr B) a mix of weeds out the garden that i have grown (seed mix from shelled worriors) some med tort food from the pet shop and any other plants that i can identify from the brill list on here.He gets a bath twice a week and top soil for digging in.
I have an out door enclosure for when the weather is good and an indoor with uv lamp/basking all in 1 bulb.
Mr B is about 5 inches long and 380 gram.
Any info / help would be great.
Thanks richy
Bingo pics are up
Ps ive tried to attach a few pics[attachment=0]20171001_174639.jpg[/attachment][attachment=1]20171001_174121.jpg[/attachment][attachment=2]20171001_174208.jpg[/attachment]
Attachments
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Last edited by Richy1 on 01 Oct 2017, 17:48, edited 1 time in total.

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Nina
Posts: 278
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: How big is too big?

Post by Nina » 01 Oct 2017, 11:06

Hi Richy1 and welcome to The Tortoise Table!

I love Marginated tortoises -- the adult males with those flared scutes at the back look so elegant. It sounds to me like you are doing just fine. Sorry your photos wouldn't upload -- have you reduced them in size and read our guide for uploading photos?
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=3 We'd love to see photos of Mr B.

Here's a link to a care sheet in case it is of any use: http://www.tortoise-protection-group.or ... 014New.pdf Let me know if it doesn't work for any reason.

Nina

Richy1
Posts: 3
Joined: 01 Oct 2017, 08:14

Re: How big is too big?

Post by Richy1 » 01 Oct 2017, 17:49

Hi thanks Nina,
Got the pics up now and i will have a good read of the care sheet.
Richy

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Nina
Posts: 278
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: How big is too big?

Post by Nina » 01 Oct 2017, 18:26

Ooh, what a handsome fellow Mr B is! And it looks like you've made a really nice environent for him too. I had a very similar indoor enclosure when I first got my tortoise, and they are fine, but the only tweak I would do on it, if you can, is to remove that plastic top with the grill. As long as Mr. B. couldn't climb out of the enclosure, it will be better for him, as it will allow a better flow of air -- and therefore a better temperature variation from one end of the enclosure to the other.

Tortoises need to move from warm to cool areas to regulate their body temperatures, and as open an enclosure as possible is best for that. If you are attaching your lamp to the top of that plastic lid, then maybe you could find something else to use -- a wooden arm that the lamp could be suspended from, for example. It's not urgent, as having that open grill on the top will help a lot with the air flow -- but it might be even better without it. You want to aim for a temperature of about 30C (not too much higher), directly below the lamp and at the height of Mr. B.'s shell, and at the other end a temperature of about 20C -- again at tortoise shell height -- and no heat is necessary at night, as a drop in temperature is what they would have naturally have in the wild. If you are getting that range of temperatures now, then there's nothing at all to worry about.

He does look like a lovely tortoise, with a nice smooth shell, so well done for giving him a good life!

Nina

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