First time hermanns tortoise owner!

Use this forum to discuss general questions about any aspects of tortoise care.
Hannahmilky
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Re: First time hermanns tortoise owner!

Post by Hannahmilky » 17 Oct 2019, 12:41

He’s home! Very active checking out the whole table! And eating lots!
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Hannahmilky
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Re: First time hermanns tortoise owner!

Post by Hannahmilky » 17 Oct 2019, 12:42

Measurements
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Nina
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Re: First time hermanns tortoise owner!

Post by Nina » 17 Oct 2019, 16:25

Hi Hannah,

Yippee!! What a lovely little tortoise -- have you chosen a name yet?
I'm glad that he is enjoying the little tortie palace that you made for him, and I'm sure he'll be really happy there.

Just one thing -- did your scales really measure that he weighed 10g? I don't think they are right then, because at 6.7 cm (it's actually better to do it in mm when they are this small), he should weigh closer to 100g (it could be less than that, but he would have weighed more than 10g when he was born, so unless I'm reading your notes wrong there is something odd there). What scales are you using?

Nina

Hannahmilky
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Re: First time hermanns tortoise owner!

Post by Hannahmilky » 17 Oct 2019, 16:42

Oh! That is weird, I have digital scales that I bought new for him :?
I will weigh him again in a min! His name is Ball Toto :lol:

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Nina
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Re: First time hermanns tortoise owner!

Post by Nina » 17 Oct 2019, 16:49

Ball Toto -- great name (isn't it a brand of some sort of camera?). He/she can be BT for short!

Nina

Hannahmilky
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Re: First time hermanns tortoise owner!

Post by Hannahmilky » 17 Oct 2019, 16:51

Okay he is weighing 60g now. I think the scales didn’t tare correctly when I was doing and I did it on carpet (which I knew i shouldn’t have :oops: )

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Nina
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Re: First time hermanns tortoise owner!

Post by Nina » 17 Oct 2019, 17:09

Whew, that sounds better!

Nina x

Hannahmilky
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Re: First time hermanns tortoise owner!

Post by Hannahmilky » 17 Oct 2019, 21:36

:D I’m so in love with this little thing. I can’t believe how active and fast they are! He has spent the whole day exploring every inch of the enclosure, been in and out of his water dish, nibbled on the cuttlefish, eaten the whole lot of food I laid out and checked out all the hides and investigated behind the rocks etc.

We bathed him this evening and gave his shell a little scrub 😍 he didn’t go to the toilet during it and I’m yet to see any wee or poo from him, but I’ll keep an eye on that.

After the light was turned out, I found him half buried into the soil and completely inside his little shell 💚💛💚

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Nina
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Re: First time hermanns tortoise owner!

Post by Nina » 17 Oct 2019, 22:43

That sounds like an absolutely perfect day -- and long may it continue! Do send more photos (we never get tired of looking at photos of adorable tortoises)!

Nina

Hannahmilky
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Re: First time hermanns tortoise owner!

Post by Hannahmilky » 18 Oct 2019, 06:59

How long should I let him sleep for? And the light should be on for 12 hours in the day yes? I turned it off at 8pm last night, should I leave it a full 12 hours with it off?

Also what’s the normal poo/ wee amount, not seen any yet

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Nina
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Re: First time hermanns tortoise owner!

Post by Nina » 18 Oct 2019, 08:57

What you are trying to do is to mimic a bright summer's day so yes, definitely keep the light on for at least 12 hours (something like 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. or 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. or even longer is fine, and you can have the light on a timer to make it easier for you). Young tortoises do sleep a lot too, so I wouldn't get worried if he sleeps a lot. The thing to check on is if he doesn't wake up in the morning -- as that might mean he is going into hibernation mode. I would let him settle in and establish his own hours (when indoors mine often take themselves off to bed mid-afternoon, although outdoors they tend to stay up much later if the weather is good. At the moment they aren't waking up at all in the morning as they want to hibernate, and as I'm not quite ready to prepare them for hibernation I get them up each morning and put them under the lamps, but they do tend to go right back to their hidey places after they have eaten a bit. If he persistently wants to sleep all day then do wake him up and put him under his light, but I would give him a while to establish his own routine first.

With a tortoise so small, it could be difficult to see his poo. I can't remember -- are you using a soil/sand based substrate? A small poo can easily be covered over in substrate just from him walking about, and the dark wet clump of soil from wee can also dry up under the lamp. A tortoise's digestive system is very slow, and if you don't know when he was last fed, then it could take a little while before you notice a poo, so do keep up the baths, as that is the place you are most likely to see them (they should be dryish and sort of bullet shaped).

Also, it's really important that he doesn't grow too fast, so try your best (I know it's difficult because they look up at you with pleading eyes) to limit and monitor his food intake. From the one photo, it looks like his shell isn't completely smooth, and is very slightly bumpy -- if that is the case (and it might just have been the angle of the photo), then he has probably been fed either too much food or the wrong kind of food and has grown a bit too quickly. This is easily corrected and nothing to worry about. My Doris was about the same size as Ball Toto when I got her (a bit bigger) and she was really very bumpy, but her subsequent growth has been smooth so the original bumps hardly show now.

Nina

Hannahmilky
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Re: First time hermanns tortoise owner!

Post by Hannahmilky » 18 Oct 2019, 09:49

He’s just on 100% soil at the moment. Yes I didn’t think how small they would be, his little bum is quite tiny!

He slept under the basking spot (when it was off) i turned it on about 7.30am, all his limbs and head started to come out but he wasn’t very interested in actually moving from the spot. He was still in the basking spot which had now reached the 35c but still didn’t move (he was blinking and looking around)
So I decided to move him, he’s definitely warm enough to the touch. I put him near his breakfast, he had a sniff then turned around and walked very slowly to the water dish, sniffed a rock then came back to the feeding slate(walked much quicker this time) had a very small nibble on dandelion leaves and then went back to the basking spot. And as I write this he is now eating again!
I too thought his shell was slightly bumpy, how much should I give him as a rough guide? The pet shop worryingly didn’t seem overly up on the feeding amounts,when I questioned same size as shell/ amount to eat in 20 mins etc, he kind of laughed and casually said “oh we just put a bowlful out and leave it there all day and they just eat at it”

I’ll get a side on view of his shell for you

Hannahmilky
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Re: First time hermanns tortoise owner!

Post by Hannahmilky » 18 Oct 2019, 09:56

Here’s some pics. I kept meaning to ask about the ‘sharpness’ of the edge of his shell at the back?
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Nina
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Re: First time hermanns tortoise owner!

Post by Nina » 18 Oct 2019, 10:01

Ahh, those photos are much better in terms of seeing his shell. He's not bad at all, and his shell is pretty smooth -- I think the growth rings around the scutes look a bit big though, so he did perhaps grow a little fast, but he is absolutely fine and very handsome. The sharpness of his scutes at the rear is perfectly normal, so all is well!

Nina

Hannahmilky
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Re: First time hermanns tortoise owner!

Post by Hannahmilky » 18 Oct 2019, 11:57

I was reading up on the growth rings last night, that’s amazing, they are like a tree then! Is that what the lines are on each individual scute?
There’s a tortoise at a house I visit for my job who was rescued and he has suffered pyramiding :( I’ll see if I have a good photo

Hannahmilky
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Re: First time hermanns tortoise owner!

Post by Hannahmilky » 18 Oct 2019, 12:04

That’s my 6 yr old’s hands for size comparison!
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Nina
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Re: First time hermanns tortoise owner!

Post by Nina » 18 Oct 2019, 12:22

Yes, that's pyramiding, and there are much worse examples. I once saw a cross section of a tortoise's shell with metabolic bone disease, compared with a cross section of a healthy tortoise's shell, and the scutes that are pyramided were almost like a sponge -- lots of holes in the internal fabric of the shell, making it less strong. I just had a quick look for the picture but can't find it and I need to go out now (but will have another look later on).

Nina

Hannahmilky
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Re: First time hermanns tortoise owner!

Post by Hannahmilky » 18 Oct 2019, 16:43

Urgh that sounds horrible.
Is this normal?
Ball has buried himself under the soil but it’s only 4pmish and he’s done it just slightly to the edge of where the basking light ends (30c currently directly under light)
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Nina
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Re: First time hermanns tortoise owner!

Post by Nina » 18 Oct 2019, 22:03

Yup, perfectly normal. They love to bury themselves (you wonder how they breathe, but they do). I have Horsfields, which are by nature burrowing tortoises, and they will completely bury themselves if the substrate is deep enough -- and then you panic because you think that they have escaped or been stolen! If you spray the substrate lightly every day or two, so that it holds together a tiny bit, it is even better for digging into. And 4 p.m is a very good time for him to take himself off to bed. I think he's doing really well.

Nina

Hannahmilky
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Re: First time hermanns tortoise owner!

Post by Hannahmilky » 19 Oct 2019, 08:11

Fantastic :D
I feel like a new human parent again :lol:
I do keep spraying it when it looks too dry.
Still no sign of poo in yesterday’s bath. I’m scanning the substrate like a hawk all the time now haha

At the 2 week weigh in, what sort of gain should I be hoping for?

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Nina
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Re: First time hermanns tortoise owner!

Post by Nina » 19 Oct 2019, 20:02

I would have thought a gram or maybe two. The thing is they can easily lose a gram in having a poo, or weigh an extra gram after they've just eaten, so you need a longer period of record keeping to get an accurate picture -- a couple of months or so. Just keep doing what you've been doing and I think he will thrive!

Nina

Hannahmilky
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Re: First time hermanns tortoise owner!

Post by Hannahmilky » 23 Oct 2019, 21:21

Had him 6 days today and I’ve only just scooped up first poo! Now whether there’s more hiding in the soil I will never know! I’m just glad I’ve finally had confirmation that he does in fact poo!
I noticed when he’s under the UV light his mouth looks green around the edges, first noticed it yesterday. It doesn’t come off after his soak. I’m sure it’s probably just a mixture of wet calcium powder and greens but just thought I’d check in case it was something bad. Pictures aren’t great, he wouldn’t stay still!
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Nina
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Re: First time hermanns tortoise owner!

Post by Nina » 24 Oct 2019, 09:31

Yippee -- the first poo! LOL, you must be really relieved.
I can sort of see what you mean about the green on his mouth, but I think it is probably staining from the leaves he is eating, rather than some sort of horribly lurgy.
It sounds to me like he is settling in really well.

Cheers,
Nina

Hannahmilky
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Re: First time hermanns tortoise owner!

Post by Hannahmilky » 24 Oct 2019, 10:01

Thanks from the reply! Yeah I’m not too worried just thought I’d mention juuuust in case!

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Nina
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Re: First time hermanns tortoise owner!

Post by Nina » 24 Oct 2019, 11:02

It's always good to mention stuff, just in case, and it is good that you are so observant.

Cheers,
Nina

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