Substrate for horsefield

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Kazcp1
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Joined: 13 May 2021, 21:41

Substrate for horsefield

Post by Kazcp1 » 13 May 2021, 22:09

Hello, I have an 18 month old horsefield but have only had him a couple of weeks. He's in a tortoise table and i'm using habistat tortoise substrate and then hemp is his bedroom area, is this right? I'm reading alot of different things in regard to topsoil or spraying it down. He seems sad today and not really eaten or been up much, he only got up as my daughter got him up after school. I just worry I'm doing everything right for him. Any advice happily received, thanks Karen

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lin
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: Substrate for horsefield

Post by lin » 13 May 2021, 23:16

Hi Karen.
Thanks for contacting us and congratulations on your new tortoise. I will send you a copy of the Horsfield caresheet and while you are reading that maybe we could make a few tweaks to your enclosure to make things easier if you send in a photo of the setup (it’s sounds all good to me with the exception of the hemp. It’s not the best as some of it is sharp), let us know the temperature in the hot and cool areas, the UVB your using and are you giving a daily bath. Is he from a breeder or one purchased from a garden or reptile Center.
Oh, just a side note. Horsfield only has one ‘e’ in it :P
Either I or Nina will get back to you in the morning if that’s ok.

https://www.tortoise-protection-group.o ... 014New.pdf

Lin

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Nina
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Substrate for horsefield

Post by Nina » 14 May 2021, 09:30

Hi from me too, Karen,

Congratulations on getting your Horsfield (the species is named after Dr Thomas Horsfield, a 19th century naturalist and explorer), and double congratulations on having him in a table and not a vivarium -- you've made a really good start!

Just to add to the good advice that Lin gave you, the temperature and light levels in your table really affect the energy levels and appetite of a tortoise, and if a room is cold you might have to lower the light a bit to get a warmer temperature, or if the room is hot you might have to raise it. What you are aiming for is a temperature of 30C directly under the light (which should be at one end of the table) and at the height of the tortoise's shell, and about 20C at the cooler end of the table. Please note that a thermometer mounted on a nearby wall will give a temperature much lower than directly under the light, so you need to measure it in the proper place.

As Lin says, your set-up sounds fine and might only need a few tweaks, and a photo would be great (it needs to be reduced in size before posting, and if you can't do this then you can send it to us at contact@thetortoisetable.org.uk and we'll reduce it for you and post it.

I agree with Lin about the hemp. Years ago we used to use hemp, and it was very popular, but then it was discovered that tortoises' eyes were getting scratched from sharp edges and sometimes they ate it and that caused throat irritation. In the wild tortoises live on a sandy soil, so your Habistat substrate will be absolutely fine in the sleeping area, and tortoises do like to burrow down (and disappear!) so make it nice and deep. If you want a cheaper alternative to the Habistat substrate then you can just use ordinary sterilised topsoil mixed with children's play sand, and you can buy bags of both of these at garden centres, DIY shops, etc. Whether you use Habistat or a sand/soil mix, you will need to either give it a light spray every day, to keep it from getting too dusty, or every couple of days just pour some water on it and mix it in, but it is very important that the result is just the teeny tiniest bit damp -- not at all wet (a handful of soil should just start to clump together if you make a fist), because tortoises don't like or do well on a wet substrate.

We look forward to your answers to Lin's questions and hopefully a photo, and I'm sure we can get your little one back to full energy and appetite with just a few minor adjustments.

Nina

Kazcp1
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Joined: 13 May 2021, 21:41

Re: Substrate for horsefield

Post by Kazcp1 » 14 May 2021, 19:38

Thanks so much for your replies, I've emailed the photos.
We have a combined heat / uvb lamp, I've adjusted the temperature under the lamp it's around 31. I'll remove the hemp tomorrow and put deeper soil and substrate in all the areas. We are going to make him an extension so he has more space to roam and explore.

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Nina
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Substrate for horsefield

Post by Nina » 14 May 2021, 21:06

Thanks, Karen -- that sounds great. We haven't received your photos though. Can you check the address you mailed them to? It's contact@thetortoisetable.org.uk. Or maybe try sending them to me at nina@thetortoisetable.org.uk. Was the email unusually large because of the number of photos? It shouldn't happen, but occasionally if an email is very large it doesn't go through, so maybe try sending only one or two in an email, and then spread them across several emails.

Nina

Kazcp1
Posts: 4
Joined: 13 May 2021, 21:41

Re: Substrate for horsefield

Post by Kazcp1 » 14 May 2021, 21:39

Thanks, I've tried to send again and in a couple of emails. Maybe I've gone into the junk box as my email is .net and not all emails like it! 😆

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Nina
Posts: 1499
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Substrate for horsefield

Post by Nina » 14 May 2021, 21:57

Thanks so much, Karen -- got them now! I'll reduce them in size tomorrow and post them here (it takes me a little while), but in the meant time just to say that he's a real cutie (what's his name by the way?), and you have made him a nice tortoise table. That little round thermometer on the wall won't give an accurate idea of what the temperature is under the lamp, but I'm surprised that it said 34C and then you lowered the lamp and got a lower temperature.

I need to sign off now but will write more tomorrow -- and thanks again for all the trouble you went to, sending those photos.

Cheers,
Nina

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Nina
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Substrate for horsefield

Post by Nina » 15 May 2021, 15:50

Hi Karen,

Many thanks for sending me the photos (and I've sent you an email in return, answering some of your questions). I've reduced the photos and posted them here. He's a really lovely Horsfield and I think he is going to have a very good home with you.

It's been so cold and dark recently, and even indoors tortoise sense when it is cold and dark, so it's important to give them as much light and the right temperature. In my email to you I included a link to they type of thermometer that makes it easy to measure the temperature under your lamp. If you can get it to 30C under the lamp and at the height of the tortoise's shell, and 20C in the cooler areas that should be fine.

I do think he will enjoy having the soil-based substrate instead of the hemp in his sleeping area, and let's just hope that the great British summer makes an appearance sometime soon, because he will love going outside as well (and the UVB from the sun is of a higher quality than any we can provide indoors with our lamps.

Nina[attachment=0]m_Karen's tortoise7.jpg[/attachment][attachment=1]m_Karen's tortoise6.jpg[/attachment][attachment=2]m_Karen's tortoise4.jpg[/attachment][attachment=3]m_Karen's tortoise2.jpg[/attachment][attachment=4]m_Karen's tortoise 5.jpg[/attachment]
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Kazcp1
Posts: 4
Joined: 13 May 2021, 21:41

Re: Substrate for horsefield

Post by Kazcp1 » 15 May 2021, 16:27

Thanks for your reply, I've removed all the hemp today and added topsoil. He was actually up when I got up this morning which is unusual and he's been up all day, in and out of his hide, investigating and going over his new ramp. I've put his food up at the top and he's been up a few times. He's loved his cuttle fish today. I will order the thermometer you have suggested.
I have also weighed him and he is 202grams.
Thanks for all you help.

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Nina
Posts: 1499
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Substrate for horsefield

Post by Nina » 15 May 2021, 21:20

Hi Karen,

It sounds as though he has turned a corner and will be just fine, which is great news!

200g is a little big for a two-year old, but he might just be genetically bigger. I have one tortoise that has always been small (just like some people are naturally larger and some smaller), and one that is larger, but do keep an eye on his growth and try to keep it slow.

Did you see my email to you earlier today, and the offer of the Observation Records Booklet?

Nina

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