New Baby Tortoise

Use this forum to discuss any aspect of tortoise housing and enclosures. Upload and show pictures of your set ups (enclosures).
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Ripley19
Posts: 4
Joined: 14 Nov 2018, 12:54

New Baby Tortoise

Post by Ripley19 » 14 Nov 2018, 13:30

Hi I’ve just bought myself a baby Hermanns Tortoise who was hatched in 2017. I had a tortoise as a child but keeping them is so different now. Barry (AKA The Flash) has settled in well eating and drinking and loves a tickle under the chin.
I want to make sure his set up is right and that I give him the best possible life.
I have the plant app but confused on how much to feed things like lettuce some websites say feed veg and some say limit. I have bought a range of plants to grow and feed and have some in his home. I try and mix a selection of leaves but he appears to like the lettuce best (lambs and romain)
Also I’ve seen him poop in the bath yesterday but can’t obviously see anything in his home.
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lin
Posts: 546
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: New Baby Tortoise

Post by lin » 14 Nov 2018, 14:03

Hi Ripley19 . How lucky for you and your tortoise to have found each other. There are a lot of people that get a tortoise and are not as eager to want to look further into their needs and get them right so it is so nice to see you are going about it the right way for him. Bless, he looks so teeny.

Your enclosure looks good but the only point I would like to make is the doors. On a viv if the doors are there it will greatly reduce the air circulation and there isnt enough space to allow for a nice heat gradient. Can I suggest a simple fis like in the photo I found, shown below. Take the doors out and either make a small surround outside the viv or take the doors out and place a wire frame in their place.
If you look at our database you will find lots of information on nice things that can be fed and I am afraid the salads and veg you will be right to limit. It will cause an upset of gut flora if over fed so minimal if possible but there are still plenty of weeds and flowers that are suitable and still growing like winter pansy, Plantain, sow thistle and dandelions and save the lambs lettuce, romaine and floretti crispy salad for times when the weather and collecting weeds are really tough. If he is being picky then just let him go cold turkey. If he is fit and healthy he will not starve. Heres one of our articles to help with a change of diet.
https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tor ... -new-diet/
And as for how much we should feed. Its all done by weight. Hot putting on to much (over 3gm) or loosing to much per month will keep the growth nice and slow. Here is our article on weighing and measuring that may help.
https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tor ... measuring/
Hope this is helpful but please get back if there is anything else you need.

Lin


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Ripley19
Posts: 4
Joined: 14 Nov 2018, 12:54

Re: New Baby Tortoise

Post by Ripley19 » 14 Nov 2018, 14:53

Thank you for your reply. I’m gutted as spent a fortune on a viv as was advised to get one by the shop. I will have to make some doors with mesh in and change it. Perhaps stick a cardboard barrier for now so he has air but can’t get out.
Was told I needed to spray water twice daily to keep the area moist. Is this wrong as well?
Also I was advised you can’t tell the sex of a tortoiseyntil it’s Bout four or five is this correct too ? So Barry could be Bernie?

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Nina
Posts: 851
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: New Baby Tortoise

Post by Nina » 14 Nov 2018, 17:24

HI Ripley, and congratulations from me too!

You have set up that viv really well and it looks lovely with the stones and soil and 'furniture' that you put in it, but Lin is right about vivariums not being suitable for tortoises. They are great for other reptiles like snakes and lizards, but tortoises need a differentiation in temperature of about 20C at one end of their enclosure to about 30C at the other, and with an enclosed space like a vivarium you just can't get that gradient (and the temp at the hot end should be measured directly under the heat source, at the height of Barry's shell.

If you have only recently bought that vivarium, it might be possible to return it, and we can certainly provide you with evidence as to why it is not suitable for a tortoise. Pet shops sometimes sell vivs because they are expensive and therefore profitable, but often it is because they just aren't familiar with the best husbandry for tortoises.

If you can't return it then Lin's instructions on adapting a viv should work well, but I can certainly understand your disappointment at being sold a very expensive item that is really not fit for purpose. If you can return the viv then a tortoise table can be cheap to make (you can just use an old set of bookshelves with the shelves taken out, a large dresser drawer, or a large guinea pig/hamster cage -- the larger the better), something like this: https://www.ebay.co.uk/p/Little-Friends ... 2179166337 (they have a wire framework over the top and nice deep trays). Or you can buy ready made tortoise tables, some of which have second levels to provide more space. If you google 'tortoise tables' and click on 'images' you will see lots of them, plus we have an article on how to make one on our website here: https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tor ... -xZg-KYS9s

I know how frustrating it is to shell out lots of money on expensive equipment, only to be told it is not suitable -- and believe me there are many people who have done the same -- but we will help you all we can, and I know that Barry is going to have a great life with you.

Nina

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lin
Posts: 546
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: New Baby Tortoise

Post by lin » 14 Nov 2018, 17:31

Oh no. If the shop advised you purchase it then return it as not fit for the purpose it was sold and demand your money back. In case you need something to back you up then there is this for vivs like yours.
http://www.tortoisetrustforum.org/ttpho ... %20Two.pdf
You could easily build a suitable enclosure from an old bookcase laid on its back and the shelves taken out or there are plenty of ideas out there so let me know if you need any.

In an open top setup as well as a closed area the substrate will need spraying to keep the dust down so many people will do that once the lights are off and spray under the hot area making sure its moist but not in the least wet.

Yes, sexing tortoises will only be guesses until they are around 5ish so Barry could well be a Bernie :lol: :lol: :lol:

Anything else you need Ripley? just ask.

Lin

Ripley19
Posts: 4
Joined: 14 Nov 2018, 12:54

Re: New Baby Tortoise

Post by Ripley19 » 14 Nov 2018, 17:39

Thank you so much will contact the pet shop tomorrow. I did buy a thermostat and have set the probe near the ground as was worried about it being too hot. My thermometer says 30-35 one side and 20 the other side so does appear to have a cooler side. I have positioned the lamp so it was well in one corner. At night temp is around 15-20

Also sorry to ask if I have an open topped house do I need to have a night bulb for warmth or is it ok just I. The house as it is?

Thank you all so much
Last edited by Ripley19 on 14 Nov 2018, 17:46, edited 3 times in total.

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lin
Posts: 546
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: New Baby Tortoise

Post by lin » 14 Nov 2018, 17:43

LOL - Nina and I was answering ata the same time, as often happens.

I just found this quote -
What does not fit for purpose mean?
something that is fit for purpose is good enough to do the job it was designed to do. European law dictates that goods must be fit for purpose when sold.

The viv is not fit for purpose.

And this --
https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights ... -goods-act

So you are well within your rights to get a refund used or not.

Lin

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lin
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Re: New Baby Tortoise

Post by lin » 14 Nov 2018, 19:22

You shouldnt do Ripley. The house should be warm enough but a thermomiter will keep you up to speed with the min/nax temps overnight if you get a thermomiter with a probe and it stays above 12-14°C.
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Lin


Ripley19 wrote:
>
> Also sorry to ask if I have an open topped house do I need to have a night
> bulb for warmth or is it ok just I. The house as it is?
>
> Thank you all so much
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Nina
Posts: 851
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: New Baby Tortoise

Post by Nina » 15 Nov 2018, 08:46

Hi Ripley,

It's really good that you are getting a gradient of temperatures in your viv (although 35 is a bit too high, so you want to ensure that temps don't go above around 32C). And do bathe him every day or two, for around 15 - 20 minutes, in a container with high sides (like an old washing up bowl) that he can't see out of, in warm water that comes just up to where his top shell meets his bottom shell. That will ensure that he is well hydrated, and a bonus is that they usually poo and wee in the bath, so there is less to clean up in his enclosure.

Good luck with the pet shop, and if you need any help from us (we can provide you with statements from The Tortoise Trust and studies that show why vivs are not good for tortoises), let us know.

Here is a link to a page on Pinterest that shows lots of tortoise tables: https://tinyurl.com/ycxvnpck

I use probe thermometers like the ones in the photos, and it is good to get one that has a Max/Min function like the white one in the photos, so that you can see the highest and lowest temperatures reached since you last re-set it. Heres a link to a relatively cheap one: https://tinyurl.com/ybd5w8wm but you can get them in lots of places.

I think you are going to be a great tortoise keeper, and please let us know how you get on with the pet shop.

Nina

Ripley19
Posts: 4
Joined: 14 Nov 2018, 12:54

Re: New Baby Tortoise

Post by Ripley19 » 17 Nov 2018, 09:58

Thank you everyone for your advice I have spoken to the pet shop who are happy to exchange Barry’s home. However as we have cats and my dads a joiner we have decided to adapt the cage and make some mesh doors instead but have been given store credit to spend on anything else we should need.
As we are in the north of England and can get quite cold at night we thought doing this would be better so that if the temperature drops too low we can put the glass doors back on to ensure the correct temp at night.
I found a work colleague who keeps tortoises and she has a similar set up with four babies of different ages. I have also ordered the thermometer so I can keep an eye of the temp ranges and printed off the record chart so I can keep regular records.
Barry is gonna be spoilt

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Nina
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: New Baby Tortoise

Post by Nina » 17 Nov 2018, 10:54

That's great news, Ripley -- and well done to the pet shop for agreeing to take the viv back and give you a credit. Good lamps are expensive, so I'm sure you'll be able to use that credit note.

Tortoises can take a temperature down to about 12C - 14C at night, and most houses don't fall below that, so you shouldn't have to put the glass doors back on, but it's good to have them just in case. As your Dad's a joiner, you should be able to get a really lovely tortoise table out of this.
I would have him make it as big as your space will allow. One of the disadvantages of vivs is that they have a lot of height, but not so much floor space. This is fine for snakes and lizards who climb up branches, etc., but wasted on tortoises. Many people (including me) have tortoise tables that incorporate an upper level, with a ramp leading up to it. I feed my torts on the upper level, so they get lots of exercise and interest walking up and down the ramp to see if there is food at the top. Have enclosed some photos of mine (in construction and finished), just to show you what I mean. And there is an article on how to build a tortoise table on our website -- so maybe you can adapt that:
https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tor ... -_xz-KYS9s .

You could probably incorporate your viv into that. Sounds to me like Barry is lucky to have found a home with you and your family!

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Cheers,
Nina
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lin
Posts: 546
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: New Baby Tortoise

Post by lin » 17 Nov 2018, 11:53

That is great news Ripley, and I agree Barry is going to be in perfect hands with you.
Pics when the adaptations have been made please. Would love to see the final result.

Lin

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