Odd behaviour

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Starsks
Posts: 14
Joined: 21 Jan 2020, 15:12

Odd behaviour

Post by Starsks » 21 Jan 2020, 21:34

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hi guys
New member
I have 2 ,5 month hatchlings
They have a hutch and run probably for and adult really , so we’ve
sectioned off the run so they can’t go too far from the lamp
We know our temp, food etc is right we’ve researched this and got good feed
back from TTT
But one of them went up the ramp into the hutch , he went to sleep in the
morning I found him stone cold , removed him /it and put it back under lamp
, I then blocked off his entrance with the ramp , that evening it was heart
breaking watching him trying to get back in his hutch almost to point of
being stressed !
So we put ramp back down and decided in the morning to put main light in
room on , his heat lamp on and Hope whilst I was at work it would go to the heat
lamp , but no , I got home they were both stones ! And cold so put them
back under lamp and his trying to get back in again !
I think just leave him/it until he forgets ? I don’t want it to get
stressed , tonight he’s given up and buried in the right place
Any one any thoughts ? It’s sibling not bothered went in last night with
him but don’t seem bothered
You may laugh they are called starsky and hutch and guess who wants the
hutch ????
Thanks

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lin
Posts: 575
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: Odd behaviour

Post by lin » 22 Jan 2020, 00:01

First of all can I say thanks for contacting us and welcome.

Lol. Love it, Starsky and Hutch. Those are real 70’s names and they’re great. It must be starsky who wants the hutch, they can’t be alone.

As you have made the area smaller to try and keep them nearer the light that was a good move, and because they are very young maybe it is a good idea when you see them hiding up to bring them down the ramp and place them under the heat a few times a day to give their core temperature a chance to heat up.
Is there room (you can send in a photo of their setup so we can see if there is any tweaks that can be made) to adjust the heat lamp so, that it incorporates more room?
What are the temperature under the hot area (measured at tortoise height) and again in the coolest area. That will give us another view on what is happening.
Also, just one more thing, are you in the UK?
Lin

Starsks
Posts: 14
Joined: 21 Jan 2020, 15:12

Re: Odd behaviour

Post by Starsks » 22 Jan 2020, 00:17

Thank you for your reply
I have 2 African spur thighed tortoise
in Uk
Have had adults all my child hood till one died after hibernation and whilst I was at uni one escaped [attachment=0]F9F4916B-0D5C-4DA5-B9D3-8FAF7E25C7AE.jpeg[/attachment]
Hope this helps
We have since added rocks and different textures it looks small here but is reasonable size , the hutch in question is on the left so out of the heat lamp area
As you see it has a lid , I could invest in another lamp but was hoping if we ignored it long enough he would start using the bedding provided , once bigger I could put ramp back
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Starsks
Posts: 14
Joined: 21 Jan 2020, 15:12

Re: Odd behaviour

Post by Starsks » 22 Jan 2020, 00:18

They are bathing in pictures
[attachment=0]A644223A-C7D0-4CDD-AF08-EDDB0B9D9AF6.jpeg[/attachment]
Today
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Starsks
Posts: 14
Joined: 21 Jan 2020, 15:12

Re: Odd behaviour

Post by Starsks » 22 Jan 2020, 00:23

So you can see we blocked entrance
Hutch runs up and down trying to find a way in
He’s got his claws in the gap and almost flipped over trying ! Today he is sleeping top left

Starsks
Posts: 14
Joined: 21 Jan 2020, 15:12

Re: Odd behaviour

Post by Starsks » 22 Jan 2020, 00:37

Temp cool is 14
Hot 27 -30 depending on where they are the coolness is cause there is a lid , but I left it open all day to see if they would wake ang go to the heat
The run is also bigger than it looks they have plenty of run within the heat area as we also have a heat mat full length

Starsks
Posts: 14
Joined: 21 Jan 2020, 15:12

Re: Odd behaviour

Post by Starsks » 22 Jan 2020, 00:40

I’m really just hoping if we keep it blocked he will forget about it
Been two days now still trying to get in

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Nina
Posts: 908
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Odd behaviour

Post by Nina » 22 Jan 2020, 17:54

Hi Starsks and so sorry to be late in responding to your posts from yesterday. I've been out all day and have only just got in, but I've had a good look.

Thanks so much for sending in the photos, and from what I can see you've done a good job. I do have a few questions though. When you say you have a heat mat full length, is that a heat mat on the floor of the table, covered by the substrate or something? I think you need to remove that as soon as possible as they are very dangerous for tortoises. The reason is that if they sit on a heat mat -- even if it is under substrate -- it can overheat and tortoises have had burns as a result. He might be trying to get into the hutch to get off of the heat mat. You can mount a heat mat on the wall of a table or the roof of an enclosure, but not on the floor, and it really shouldn't be necessary anyway as there are other means of getting the temperature up. So please just have substrate on the floor of the table, at least two or three inches deep (and deeper if you can manage that) and should do fine.

Is your table situated in the house or somewhere else? When you said that the temperature was 27C - 30C in the warm part, but 14 in the cooler area. Is that in the daytime or at night? If so then the warm part is absolutely fine for the daytime, but the cool part is quite low. You want a temperature of about 20C in the cool area in the daytime, but at night no extra heat should be needed unless the temperature drops below about 14C, which it shouldn't really do in most modern houses.

Regarding the sleeping area. If he wants to sleep there then I would experiment with letting him sleep there, but take him out in the morning and put him under the lamp. Or you could maybe take the front and roof off the hutch, thus opening it out, and put instead a half a flower pot on its side, or one of those bendy log things (I think they're called Fiddlesticks) that you can buy in pet shops in that area .Tortoises really like cozy -- even cramped -- spaces to sleep in. Hatchling tortoises do sleep a lot anyway, but if it is only 14C in the sleeping area then that isn't warm enough for them to be able to function and digest their food. If taking the front and roof off the hutch would ruin your table, then don't do that, and we'll think of some other solution.

What wattage is your heat lamp, and does it produce UVB as well as heat and light?

It sounds to me like you are doing a great job of providing a good home for these little tortoises, and it's just a matter of tweaking the set-up a bit to get it perfect for them. So sorry for the long post!

Nina

Starsks
Posts: 14
Joined: 21 Jan 2020, 15:12

Re: Odd behaviour

Post by Starsks » 22 Jan 2020, 18:07

Hi Nina
We did experiment and he was too cold and like you said would have just stayed there , he was too cold to function

The lamp is UVA and uvb and heat
The matt is very low under the false grass , which then has substrate on top , and is keeping warm up to half way where the rock is not beyond that and is set on 24 degrees if you touch the substrate with back of your hand it’s just about Luke warm
The lamp is fixed in that one place they bask there
Taking the lid off would make no difference as there is no heat source there , I think if he insists on trying to get in we will need to invest in another lamp , but funny since contacting you guys he’s been happy burying under the edible bedding and substrate
We got bedding and substrate from pro pet ,
Can they have hay from pet shop ? Just it was first bedding I used and I pulled a very long bit out of his mouth !

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Nina
Posts: 908
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Odd behaviour

Post by Nina » 22 Jan 2020, 19:41

Thanks for getting back so quickly and for the extra information. I still don't understand why it was 14C in his hutch in the daytime. What was the temperature in the room during the day?

Re the heat mat -- it really isn't good. I know that when you put your hand on it that it only feels lukewarm, but it's when tortoises sit on mats for any length of time that heat builds up. Also, getting heat from underneath is not natural for them, as they are used to getting their heat from above in the wild, with the sun. If you can let me know if the 14C that you measured in the hutch was taken in the daytime or nightime that would be really helpful, and also if the table is situated in the house or an unheated outbuilding. So sorry to be asking the questions again.

Regarding substrate, and bedding -- the best thing to use is something that would approximate what they live on in the wild, and that is a sort of sandy soil. So the recommended substrate is either a mixture of sterilised topsoil and children's play sand that you can buy at places like Homebase and garden centres (and you can mix it 50/50 or maybe a slighty higher precentage of soil to sand), or you can buy a pre-mixed Tortoise Life at pet shops, but it's expensive and the topsoil and sand mixture is good.. Hay is OK but isn't really recommended as if they wee in it or spill water then it can get mouldy, and it's harder to spot clean, plus it's a bit of a fire hazard if your lamp should burst and hot fragments of glass fall down on it (very unlikely, but it has happened). So I would just use your substrate everywhere (is it a soil based substrate?) and they should be fine.

Edible bedding in general isn't a great idea as you do run the risk of them eating it and in addition to the food you are already giving them, they could grow too quickly. What you are aiming for is really slow growth -- between 1g - 3g per month on average. In the wild they live in areas where food is scarce and they often have to walk a long way to find edible material. This results in slow growth and smooth shells, but in captivity we often feed them too much and they grow quickly and can develop shell deformities. So I think I would get rid of the edible bedding and just have the substrate everywhere.

Do they have a good calcium supplement in their diet, like Nutrobal? It's really important for them to have extra calcium to ensure the healthy development of bone and shell, and you can also leave something like a cuttlefish bone (the things they sell for caged birds like budgies) in their enclosure for them to nibble on when they want extra calcium. You probably already have a calcium supplement, as you seem really clued up on tortoise care, but I just thought I'd check.

Also, I expect you already have a good care sheet, but in case you don't I can send you a link to one. I can't quite tell from the photos what species they are (I can't enlarge them on my computer). You said they were African Spur Thighs, but there isn't a species called that. There is a species called Spur Thighs and another species sometimes called African Spurred tortoise (Sulcata), so if you can let me know the species for sure I'll send you a link. They have very different dietary requirements and care needs, so I do need to know the species.

Nina

Starsks
Posts: 14
Joined: 21 Jan 2020, 15:12

Re: Odd behaviour

Post by Starsks » 22 Jan 2020, 22:07

thanks
They are Mediterranean spur
I got your booklet to care for them
They have cuttle fish
Mat removed
Calcium powder as you recommend
Bath every other day
Soft poo
Toothpaste consistency nitrates
They have never eaten the edible bedding only substrate sand and soil based
They only ate that the first day , I panicked rang the co. They said it’s new they will and it’s ok but must not replAce it with food , they don’t not seen them eat it since they eat well
I bath then feed as much as they can eat in 30 minutes
Weight wise digital scales purchased now starting Saturday
My kids not seen them for 2 weeks reckon they are slightly bigger so hopefully not grown too quick ,nice eyes .dry nose shell appears normal
They love having their chin stroked come right out of the shell lift their heads up and back to get as much as they can ! They clear themselves in the bath waste wise , most of the time , 50/50 they go when I get them out !
Hope that’s sounds ok , hutch is buried in substrate tonight seems ok
Our boys(starsky and hutch ) are in spare room big 5 bed house so not modern rooms cold hence why we were advised the mat ,
Basking well , we turn light off at night they take themselves to bed , temp drops to 20 /22 but the hutch ( building not tortoise !) he tries to get in , is some distance from the light hence why it’s so cold
I think I’ll just keep it for when they are bigger
Thanks Nina

Starsks
Posts: 14
Joined: 21 Jan 2020, 15:12

Re: Odd behaviour

Post by Starsks » 22 Jan 2020, 22:23

[attachment=0]40925703-133C-4956-B9BA-E5C252BE3AC1.jpeg[/attachment]
Is it easier to see this picture ? Light aimed middle
Water and feed bowl , white bits are cuttle fish, r plant pot for shade
Bedding in left substrate everywhere else
Hutch blocked of bottom right that’s got lid on it
Quite far from lamp even when they sleep the lamp side left corner in that hutch is cold
Far right is artificial grass , but they don’t venture that far from the light , well just to try and get in the house but come back to the light after a few attempts
They sleep about 18 hours
Love a bath and run about quite a lot say full on for hour then take themselves to bed
I’ve heard 2 don’t get on these are siblings they seem fine don’t really take much notice of each other , when awake but do seem to sleep next to or on top of each other ! Weirdly !
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Nina
Posts: 908
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Odd behaviour

Post by Nina » 23 Jan 2020, 09:28

Hi Starsks and thanks so much for all the additional information. Well, I have to say I think you are doing a super job and are going to provide a great home for these little ones!

All seems good to me. I still don't understand how the temperature drops to c. 22C at night when the light is off but you were getting a temperature of 14 inside the hutch in the daytime (but maybe I misunderstood). Anyway, I think your temperatures sound fine and all the other care you are providing (calcium supplement, cuttlefish, baths) sound good. So you can probably breathe a sigh of relief now and pat yourself on the back. And it's great that you are asking lots of questions and acting on advice.

Hatchlings do sleep a lot, so I think that is probably OK, but they might be encouraged to be more active if the light is as bright as possible. Sometimes just adding an extra light for brightness can get them going (but as I said, I think they are OK). When the warm weather comes, if you can get them out in the sunshine you'll see a big difference in their behaviour, as they just love the sunshine and the UVB from that is a far better quality than anything we can get from indoor lights.

I'm not sure which booklet of ours you have, but we don't publish any care booklets -- just two booklets about plants that can be fed to tortoises with instructions on how to grow them, and also a Tortoise Observation Records booklet for you to keep growth, etc. records of your tortoises. Actually, if you don't have a copy of the Observation Records Booklet, would you like a complimentary one from us? You've put so much effort and thought into caring for these little ones I think you deserve a treat, so if you don't have one, just email me on nina@thetortoisetable.org.uk with your address and I'll pop one in the post to you.

Here is a care sheet for Spur Thighs (Iberas)
https://www.tortoise-protection-group.o ... 014New.pdf

Nina

Starsks
Posts: 14
Joined: 21 Jan 2020, 15:12

Re: Odd behaviour

Post by Starsks » 23 Jan 2020, 09:51

Hi thanks Nina
That’s fab
It so your observation booklets we have you popped in a free one as new year gift x
Thanks for all your help , I know where to come for expert advice in future !
Thanks

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Nina
Posts: 908
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Odd behaviour

Post by Nina » 23 Jan 2020, 10:06

Ahh, now i think I might know who you are! Lol, all I have to go on is the Starsks name on your posts here, but do you live in Gloustershire?

Hope you find that care sheet useful -- it has lots of information in it. And please don't hesitate to contact us about absolutely anything (well, maybe not about how to unblock your drains or which curtain to choose for your bedroom, lol, but if you're desperate we'll have a go at answering those too), but we're always here to do our best to help tortoise keepers and I think the best way of learning something is to ask questions.

Take care and give Starsky and Hutch a little tickle under the chin from us.
Nina

Starsks
Posts: 14
Joined: 21 Jan 2020, 15:12

Re: Odd behaviour

Post by Starsks » 23 Jan 2020, 14:36

Hi Nina
Yes it’s me Gloucester
Thanks for everything tickle done

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Nina
Posts: 908
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Odd behaviour

Post by Nina » 23 Jan 2020, 15:34

Aww that's great to know, and thanks again for your generosity to us!

Nina

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