Tortoise home

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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vanrose66
Posts: 5
Joined: 10 Mar 2021, 19:32

Tortoise home

Post by vanrose66 » 10 Mar 2021, 20:07

Good evening everyone,
I brought my 2 spur thighed tortoises (6 months old) home on Saturday. This is my first time as a tortoise mummy and have researched for around a year before we built their home and actually got them. I joined a forum today - didn't raise it was american- an wow are the rude, but they have got me worried about my 2. According to them we have no idea over in England about caring for tortoises.
Anyway I wonders if I could just run by you what I'm doing and hope you can put my mind at rest.
Tortoise table is 125cm by 55cm, I have the soil, sand and limestone subtrate and a combination bulb. Temp under bulb is 98-100° away from bulb its around 79-82°, night time drops to approx 72°. The covered bed area has a 5w heat mat attached to the side wall and is on low all the time. I spray the subtrate 3-4 times a day. I bathe them every morning and place them back under the basking lamp where they stay for a while then have a wander and some food, they then go into the tunnel or covered area until mid afternoon when they come back out to bask and fees.
I hope this all sounds OK- anything you feel I may need to change am happy to listen.
Tried to attach photo but it says file too large.

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Nina
Posts: 1525
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Tortoise home

Post by Nina » 10 Mar 2021, 21:36

Hi Vanrose, and welcome to The Tortoise Table! And many congratulations on getting your two spur thighs. We'd love to see photos of them and of your set-up. If you can't reduce the photos in size, then just send them to me at nina@thetortoisetable.org.uk and I will reduce them and post them here for you.

Yes, it's true that some forums are shockingly rude and unsympathetic to new keepers (and that happens with some forums here as well as in the USA). One of the reasons we started The Tortoise Table was because there was so much conflicting advice on the internet, and so many unhelpful and even bullying people on forums (not all of them, but if you're a new keeper, your confidence can really be dented if people are nasty to you). You'll never find us like that and we always try to be friendly and helpul.

It's good to hear that you have a table and not a viv, and a soil-based substrate too. That's a great start. Also, the bathing will help to keep them hydrated and spraying the substrate will keep it from getting dusty and provide a bit of humidity.

The only thing I can see that needs adjusting is your temperatures are too high -- especially under the heat source. Are you measuring the temperature directly below the lamp, at the height of the tortoise's shell? A thermometer on a nearby wall will give an artifically low and inaccurate reading, and we can recommend a type of thermometer which isn't expensive but has a probe that can hang down into the circle of light below the lamp and give a more accurate reading. 98F -100F equates to 36.7C - 38C and is way too hot -- and in fact that is fairly dangerous for a tortoise. Fortunately yours can move away from that temperature to cooler areas, but I think you need to raise your lamp up higher, so that it is further away from the table and produces a lower temperature in the table. What you are aiming for is about 30C (86F) directly under the lamp. Your temperatures of 79F - 82F at the cooler end equate to 26C - 28C and are also a bit too warm, and you should be aiming for about 20C (68F) at the cooler end of the table. When you raise the lamp the temperature at the cooler end will lower too.

What wattage is your lamp? If it weren't a combination bulb (which I know is expansive), I would recommend getting a lower wattage bulb, but raising the one you have should bring the temps down to an acceptable level. It's really important that you are able to raise and lower a lamp, because the ambient temperature in a room has a huge effect on the temperature in the table, and on warm days you need to raise the lamp and on cooler days you need to lower it, so I hope that is possible on your table.

You shouldn't really need a heat mat in the sleeping area at night, as tortoises in the wild experience a drop in temperature at night, and as long as your room doesn't drop below about 13C or 14C at night you should be fine. But if you're having cold nights, keep the heat mat, and It is very good that you've mounted it on a side wall and not on the floor of the table, so well done with that.

I think the tortoises seem happy with you, as they are doing exactly what tortoises do in the wild -- coming out in the morning and eating and wandering about, napping during the middle of the day, and coming out again in the late afternoon for another nibble and walkabout. Young tortoises also do sleep quite a bit, so that is normal too.

You probably already have a good care sheet for Spur Thighs, but if not here's a link to one:
https://www.tortoise-protection-group.o ... 014New.pdf

I hope that helps, and I look forward to seeing photos of your little ones (what are their names by the way?).

Nina

vanrose66
Posts: 5
Joined: 10 Mar 2021, 19:32

Re: Tortoise home

Post by vanrose66 » 12 Mar 2021, 09:41

Hi Nina
Thank you for your lovely reply. Yes I was worried about the temperatures, I have 2 digital thermometers that I am using and one is a hygrometer too.
I have the lamp on a chain so it can be raised and lowered as necessary so will re adjust when its cooled down this evening.
I will send you the photos too as cant seem to work out how to get them smaller to upload 🤷‍♀️

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Nina
Posts: 1525
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Tortoise home

Post by Nina » 12 Mar 2021, 10:57

Hi Vanrose,

Thanks for sending me your photos -- and here they are. What lovely little torts you have! And a very nice set-up too. It's good that you have different textures for them to walk on, as that provides variety. Also the spider plant looks good too. I had one in my table two days ago, to welcome my tortoises up from hibernation, but unfortunately they have eaten it to the ground today (but I have plenty more. Mainly I grow decorative grasses, as mine tend to eat those a bit less. Have attached a photo.

Also good about the thermometer. Are you measuring the air temperature, or is it a temp gun where you point it at something (like the substrate or the tortoise) and measure that temperature.

Will the torts have an outdoor enclosure for when the weather is better? They love being outdoors, and the UVB from the sun is of a far higher quality than what we can provide indoors, but I know that not everyone has that option.

Please feel free to ask any questions -- and do send more photos -- we never get tired of looking at photos of lovely tortoises.

Nina
[attachment=0]m_vanessa's torts4.jpg[/attachment][attachment=1]m_Vanessa's torts3.jpg[/attachment][attachment=2]m_Vanessa's torts2.jpg[/attachment][attachment=3]m_Vanessa's torts1.jpg[/attachment]
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m_vanessa's torts4.jpg
m_Vanessa's torts3.jpg
m_Vanessa's torts2.jpg
m_Vanessa's torts1.jpg

vanrose66
Posts: 5
Joined: 10 Mar 2021, 19:32

Re: Tortoise home

Post by vanrose66 » 12 Mar 2021, 12:20

Thanks for uploading them Nina - they haven't actually touched the spider plant as yet but do sit under it.
The thermometer is hanging and it at shell height.
It is at 32 and 22 so will move it up this evening when the bulb has cooled down. I've also turned off the heat mat for now.

Yep they will have a 15 x 10 enclosure with all their bits and bobs, rocks to climb, hideouts and hopefully some plants to forage, although I am having to grow them and my plant skills are the best 😂

While small they will have a mess lid too as we have some large crows where we live and would hate a disaster on my hands.

Thanks again for your replies.

Vanessa

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Nina
Posts: 1525
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Tortoise home

Post by Nina » 12 Mar 2021, 14:57

That sounds really excellent, Vanessa, and it sounds like you've got everything well in hand! You are right to protect them from predators, and we know of one incident where a magpie took a baby tortoise. There are, of course, rats and foxes about, but if the torts will be indoors at night (or in a secure outdoor place) then that shouldn't be a problem.

Please don't hesitate to ask any more questions, and we'd love to see photos of their outdoor enclosure when it's ready.

Nina

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lin
Posts: 848
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: Tortoise home

Post by lin » 12 Mar 2021, 15:52

Hi Vanessa, I would like to welcome you too, and say what a nice setup you have for two lovely tortoises.

Lin

vanrose66
Posts: 5
Joined: 10 Mar 2021, 19:32

Re: Tortoise home

Post by vanrose66 » 13 Mar 2021, 08:44

Morning, Just reread my last reply and realised I need to proof read before sending. My plant skills really ARN'T the best and the lid will obviously be mesh not a mess 🙈

I will send photos when its done.

Thank you for your welcome Lin and nice comment about the set up.

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