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#67593 Hi All

Posted by babettebeau on 30 May 2017 - 12:00 PM


Please can you send pics of your 2 tortoises? Do you know which specie they are? How do you know they are two males at this age? Do you have pics of their full extended tails showing the orifice?


If they are Mediterranean like Hermann, Gracea, please read below.


Below are some advises. Pardon my abrupt content, I tried to keep it to the basics and essentials for the suitable husbandry of Mediterranean tortoises in captivity (from what I have learnt).


1) Indoor enclosure:

Glass vivarium is totally unsuitable because

- It provides no temperature gradient/spectrum for them to thermo-regulate. Basically it is stuffy in the whole vivarium, not good for tortoises.

- The tortoises will try to get through the glass constantly because they see through, this will get them drive crazy and very stressed.


Please post of pic of vivarium to see how it is. May be you can remove the glass panels.

Alternatively you can buy a good size rabbit cage instead or make a tortoise table with a drawer or a shelf cabinet.


2) Substrate: 

Sand type is not suitable. 

You need plain top soil or coconut coir.

If top soil is used, you need to water it on the edge of the 4 walls of the enclosure, the aim it to have the soil damp underground and dry on top (like in a pot where a plant would be)

If coconut coir is used, you need to frequently make the coir damp but not soaked. Basically you poor water gradually and mix it all until you get the correct dampness.


3) Food:

Vegetables and fruits are not suitable. Kale, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, rocket, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, peppers, beetroot, squash, courgette etc are not suitable.

Please feed with mature weeds (dandelions and their flowers, plantains etc). Weeds are free outdoors. Try to give a different type of weeds each day or at least some variety during the week. Only feed very little clover occasionally because clover is too high in protein that is not good for torts.

Wash the leaves with water and sprinkle like dust a very small pinch of your supplement.

Below is a list of weed names and also seeds to buy if you would like to grow. if you grow, only give fully grown weeds.



if you have doubts about a weed, please ask this forum. Someone will be able to identify the weed and tell if the weed is safe.


4) Food quantity:

For your tortoises: 2-3 good size weed leaves each day would be sufficient for both of them. Resist the temptation to feed too much. Not good for tortoises to be overfed even if they eat all the food you give them, they are programmed to eat and eat. Other can comments on food quantity as mine are only 20 months old and i give them 2 leaves max each day.

Hide the food so that they search for it, do not put it on a plate and don't serve it in front of them.


5) Food supplement:

When you finish your supplement, buy some Nekton MSA. Choose the smaller tub of 40gr, and get a new one every two months because the product expires after two months. Again the dose is proportional to the weight of tortoises, not to the quantity of food given. For your torts, it would be a small pinch sprinkled like dust on the leaves.


6) Hydration:

Provide fresh water daily in shallow recipients for your tortoises

Soak your tortoises in  very shallow luck warm water 3-4 times a week for 15-20 minutes. Water should not go above the base of the carapace/shell. If they want to get out of the water sooner, change the water because it has gone too cold for them.

When soaked they will absorb water and probably drink some water, When being soaked in luck warm water, they might also poop, urinate and pass out a creamy white liquid called urates. The more liquid the urates is the better because it means they are well hydrated.


7) Lamps: Heat + UV

Do you know how long the lamps have been in use for (how old are they?)

Do you have a laser thermometer to measure temps under the heat lamp?


8) Clean up daily the poo droppings.

Clean up daily uneaten food, soiled substrate.

Clean water dishes daily.


9) Do not let your torts walking around your house/flat. They must stay in their suitable enclosure.


10) Do you have an outdoor space for their future outdoor enclosure? This is a subject we can talk about later though. The more important is to get the basics right first.


That's all i can think of for now, i hope this helps. And i hope this is not too overwhelming for you. Being a tortoise keeper is quite a commitment and dedication.


#66816 Hank Is A Bit Off?

Posted by Graham on 12 September 2016 - 04:31 PM

Hi, Jen. I shouldn't be too worried if I were you; with the season changing, torts are now beginning to slow down. Indeed, Harry is going this way too, spending more time in his house and becoming much less active. I've noticed it's always the same at this time each year.
I'm sure other members will be experiencing the same.

#66669 Confused Newbie Whose Inherited....

Posted by JenB on 28 July 2016 - 06:23 PM

Hi, I'm a Newby too. Everyone on here has been fantastic.
I took Hank on a few months ago he is 6 years old and was in a vivarium with a head pad too. I bought some wooden drawers off ebay for £15 and put him in there with some soil, rocks and plants. He loves his broken plant pot as a hide (he has never had a hide). The difference in him immediately was amazing, he just seems so much happier.

I've been working on an outdoor area, I'm nearly there. I know how you feel, I've panicked all the way through this adventure but everyone here has helped me. It's not been that difficult getting the electrics sorted outside either.The thought of it all is bigger than it is to put it together. We bought a frost heater off ebay too they are pretty cheap.
Just look around for things, most things you might already have or friends and neighbours might be getting rid of. xxx

#66490 Bigger Enclosure

Posted by Graham on 18 June 2016 - 05:12 PM

I took the shed down in the garden whilst Harry was hibernating earlier in the year, and planted it up. This has given him a bit more room, and a lot more choice of weeds and flowers to feed on.



So far, it's growing well:





Busy foraging for nibbles:





His enclosure is now all the better:





He still leaves it in the afternoon for a stroll along the garden path, and a bask in the sun:





And onto the patio, where he gets up to his usual mischief; this time head-first into a bucket to see what's in there:





I'll post some more pics when the flowers bloom, hopefully in the next couple of weeks.

#66134 Rather Pleased

Posted by Graham on 24 April 2016 - 06:33 PM

I know this is as far off topic as it could be, but I'm a little bit on the pleased side, and wanted to tell.

I took up Taekwon-Do at the grand old age of fifty to keep fit and active, and now, three and a half years down the line, several black eyes and bruised bones later, I gained my Black Belt today!




Not bad for an old fella  :yay:


#65816 Harry's Awake

Posted by Graham on 05 March 2016 - 04:14 PM

Hi, all,

I took Harry up from hibernation today, his eighteen weeks were up.

After a warm shower and bask under his lamp, I put him out in the enclosure for an hour.








"Where's the shed gone?", he thinks.




Half-hour under his cloche to catch the sun's rays and warmth.



A new corner to burrow down in.




I brought him in at 4pm as the sun was setting, and now he's retired to his bed-box for an early night.


Another successful hibernation, and it's great to have him back. :thumbup:  :excited:

#65343 My Hermann's Tortoise Self Build Enclosure

Posted by gizmosmum on 10 December 2015 - 07:06 AM

Thanks for protecting our forum from agrevation we like it the way it is. Friendly, constructive and helpful.:-)

#65330 My Hermann's Tortoise Self Build Enclosure

Posted by Beermat89 on 08 December 2015 - 10:19 PM

Hi Shelly
The keepers that you are talking too are very experienced and have studied them in their natural habbitats so being rude on here is making your self look silly!yes you may have worked in a Zoo doesnt mean your an expert on keeping tortoises,If you dont like having people giving you tips or advice them please dont post on here!

#64239 48 Today!

Posted by Graham on 22 June 2015 - 04:41 PM

Hi, all,
I've had Harry three years now, can't believe where the time's gone. He hatched on June 21st 1967, and was bought by the breeder's neighbour for five shillings (25p). She had him for forty-two years before she passed away in 2009. As you can see by his smooth shell and general good health, he was well looked after. Harry then went to a patient of mine who fosters and re homes tortoises in the same situation as Harry.
Around that time I'd decided I'd like a tortoise, and realising it was a big undertaking, spent a good two years thoroughly researching the subject, and preparing the garden for his residence. In 2012 the garden was looking good with flowers and weeds, and I felt confident that I'd learnt enough to care for him properly. I also joined this forum to ask the plethora of questions I knew I'd have along the way.
Harry joined the family that same year and settled in really well right from the start. The lady I got him from was very well-meaning, but old-fashioned in tortoise husbandry, and as a result, he was rather underweight. Thankfully, he took to his new proper diet very quickly, and gained 200g in the first five weeks. Now he stays at a steady 1550g which is perfect for his size.
Yes, he is a little spoilt, but not mollycoddled; I like him to live as close to as he would in the wild as possible.
His future is pretty secure; he's likely to outlive us, so we'll have him until the time comes. Our son loves him, and has also learnt to look after him properly. He's also stated that he fully intends to inherit him (along with the house, no doubt!) when we're six feet under, so it seems Harry doesn't have to worry about where he's going to end up.
Quite a fortunate little tortoise methinks!

#63980 Outdoor Enclosure Advice

Posted by viperzbite on 26 May 2015 - 08:10 PM

Hi Ben,
It maybe best to wait until you are able to provide the best outside enclosure for a tortoise. :)
I do agree with Sue that pet shop advice and a good breeders advice will be different, a breeder wont just sell a hatchling for a sale they make sure the hatchling is going to the best place, I know myself I have turned people down if I feel there not the right home for one of my hatchlings, I think your best to take your advice from keepers and breeders who are not here for any other reason than to help. :)

ok thanks. Then I may wait on getting a tortoise til I can buy my own place. Probs a few years away but in mean time will look at something else. Always want what is best for my pets and if I can't provide that in rift now then not much point getting something I can't provide best home for.

Thanks for the info. Exactly why I came hear

#63866 They've Arrived...

Posted by finndor on 02 May 2015 - 11:00 AM

This morning my little guys arrived. They are just adorable!


They have had a warm, and are now eating and having a good explore, they are very interesting to watch, finding myself just sitting and looking.


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#68253 Hello, I Am From Germany....

Posted by babettebeau on 18 February 2018 - 12:15 PM

Generally speaking in the UK the people who are successful in keeping their tortoises outdoors when they are not in hibernation are the ones who have adult tortoises and have a shed (garden house) with radiator and heat lamps, and with good insulation. Some shed have glass for light (greenhouses). In the UK young tortoises can't stay outdoors as long as the adults ones. The bigger in mass weight and size they are, the longer they keep heat so more sustainable for adults to manage a life outdoors.

#68214 New Roof

Posted by Graham on 10 February 2018 - 05:00 PM

I made a new roof for Harry's house today; it was only supposed to take an hour or two, but took me about seven hours from beginning to end.

The original lasted five years, so I hope this one proves just as durable.

I'm now numb, wet and freezing  :sob:




Hope Harry likes it.

#68081 Happy New Year.

Posted by Tiddles123 on 31 December 2017 - 10:02 PM

Happy New year. Hope it's a good one x

#68072 Hibernation Plan For My Two Years Old Hermann Torts

Posted by babettebeau on 28 December 2017 - 05:46 PM

Hi there, I thought I would put this hibernation plan on the forum as it could be helpful for other keepers of young Hermann tortoises.



·         Windown duration: 2 weeks.

·         Hibernation duration: 8 weeks, may be 9-10 weeks if they are doing very well.

·         Boxes where babies will hibernate: deep plastic boxes with lid. Lid with plenty of holes or one big hole in the center of the lid. One box for each baby.

·         Substrate in the plastic boxes: compacted damp oil at the bottom and sides to suppress thermic bridges. Then above that a deep layer of damp coco coir and a layer of dried oak leaves (from the forest, non treated and cleaned by me).

·         A container with water will be in the fridge for humidity.

·         Fridge: larder fridge, I cleaned it, optimal temp 5 degrees Celsius, tolerable temp range 4-6 degrees Celsius.

·         Digital thermometers with probes. Probes put in several places in the fridge and in the plastic boxes. The thermometers are set up with an alarm outside the fridge when the temp goes out of range.

·         I will set up one of my netcams in front of the digital thermometers to monitor temps when I am at work.




Weight babies on day 1, 3, 5 and day 7. Weight loss should be due to passing poop and urates, not loss of reserves.

Watch how much they poop and pass urates.


Keep usual temps ie:

Temps under Megaray lamps: 30-32 degrees Celsius

Temps away from lamps: about 18-20 degrees Celsius


Keep usual lights for this time of year:

Megaray: 7am to 3pm

UV strip: 6:45am to 3:15pm


No food

No vitamin/mineral supplement (for example no Netkon MSA)

Remove grass plants and cactus plants as the babies can potentially reach them and nibble on them

Remove any young plant shoots growing opportunistically in the soil in the enclosure

Remove chalk


Soak babies daily for 30 minutes in the morning in tepid water, soaking will be from 7:30am to 8am before I go to work. When not in the office I will give them a second bath.


Dampen substrate as usual

Let dry the soil a little longer due to lower ambient temps in the winter.


Cover babies with substrate at night if they don’t dig in.


Watch for anything unusual/abnormal: sneezing, wet nostril, eye irritation etc.




Weight babies on day 1, 3, 5 and day 7.

Still no food etc.

Watch poop and urates

Watch for anything unusual/abnormal: sneezing, wet nostril, eye irritation etc.


Reduce gradually Megaray temps/light daily over 7 days, until no heat, no light.

Reduce gradually UV light daily over 7 days, until no light.

Reduce gradually over 7 days the ambient temp in their room to the coolest possible.


Soak babies daily for 30 minutes in the morning in water, temp of water should be at ambient temp, soaking will be from 7:30am to 8am before I go to work. 


Dampen substrate as usual

Let dry the soil a little longer due to lower ambient temps in the winter.


Cover babies with substrate at night if they don’t dig in.


On evening of day 7, make physical inspection (eyes, nostrils, tail etc.), weight babies, put babies in their respective boxes, and put them in the coolest area for the night (ideally between 5-10 degrees). It will most likely be in my cellar, I will make sure they are safe in the cellar for the night.


In the early morning of the next day, weight the babies accurately first and write down their weights (weight on that morning should be same as weight of previous evening, make one last physical inspection (eyes, nostrils, tail etc.), check there is no trace of urination, urates or poop in the boxes, and put them back in their boxes and put in the fridge.



·         Every day open and close quickly the door to renew air.

·         Let babies settle on the first two weeks, no need to touch them or weight them during these two weeks.

·         From week 3, weight accurately the babies weekly and write down weight on spreadsheet. Weight should be stable at optimal temp of 5 degrees Celsius. If loss of weight it should be a linear decrease and below 10% in total over the whole hibernation period.

·         Any sudden drop of weight could be urination or a last poop expelled at the end of the colon.

·         If urination happens, the tortoise must come out of hibernation.

#68067 Happy Christmas

Posted by Graham on 23 December 2017 - 10:59 PM

Merry Christmas everyone! 😁🎄
Enjoy the festivities xxx

#67943 Hibernating My 3 Year Old Tortoise

Posted by Tiddles123 on 28 October 2017 - 11:27 AM

Just shows how tiny she is doesn't it. The big one is a bruiser in comparison to her. No wonder she felt intimidated. Hopefully one day they will live happily together 🖒🐢🐢

#67937 Hibernating My 3 Year Old Tortoise

Posted by Tiddles123 on 27 October 2017 - 03:58 PM

Thanks Sue. Yes she seems alot happier on her own. Hopefully she is on the up now. Amanda

#67763 Photobucket

Posted by pontypriddwebdesign on 08 July 2017 - 01:26 PM

Hi , problem sorted (i think)
sorry for the delay , took a little bit of digging to find the solution.


#67701 Great App For Hourly Weather Forecast

Posted by babettebeau on 21 June 2017 - 04:01 PM


I would like to share a great app for weather forecast.

It is called Dark Sky premium

$2.99 per year.

Forecasts hour per hour for the exact location you choose.

You might find it useful if you have very young tortoises outdoors.