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Darwin


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#1 Guest_Polanski_*

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 07:12 PM

Hi All,

I got a tortoise (Hermann) for Xmas having wanted one for years - what a nice surprise. I have taken some time to scour the web and find this board and information contained therein very valuable. I have attempted to paste in a picture of 'Darwin' along with his (or her) home - hopefully agreeable to all - anyone any tips on this? I am feeding 'him' various weeds alongside 'crispy' salad which he loves! I will find him a tasty leaf tomorrow!



I would be interested in another tort as a partner given these pets last 50 years? Any tips to share with the more experienced and newbies (I note a few others) please feel free to discuss!

Kind regards

Pol :D

#2 Guest_lepinsky_*

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 07:59 PM

[updated:LAST EDITED ON 01-01-07 AT 07:59 PM (GMT)]Hi Pol,

Congratulations on getting Darwin! Your picture didn't come through (you need to push the Reply button and just below the box that you write in is a box that says Attachment, and under that you click on Click here to choose your file. Then choose a picture from your files and don't forget to click on Upload (and click the box that says .jpg (not .html).

Re getting a partner for Darwin - there are various considerations. You won't be able to tell Darwin's sex for several years (if he's young now), and if he is a male than it usually isn't wise to have just one male and one female because the male can pester the female constantly and cause stress (people often have one male to two females). Also, even if they are of the same sex they sometimes will not get on, so you need to think about the possibility of having two separate enclosures. Having said that, two torts can often get on really well. If you do get one, then you will need to keep it completely separately from Darwin for four or five months at least (and wash hands after handling one and before handling the other), as you don't want Darwin to pick up a disease from the new tort. Of course if you got Darwin from a breeder, and the new tort is from the same breeder, you could have a shorter quarantine period. In the wild, torts are solitary animals, meeting up only to mate, so it isn't essential, but many people report that tortoises do really well in groups or in pairs.

Looking forward to seeing a picture of Darwin. I'm sure he's lovely!


Nina

#3 Guest_arnhib_*

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 11:52 AM

50, they are just in their prime by then, double it and you might be closer :-)
http://www.tortoises.net
http://www.thetortoisehouse.com
Easy, but good reading.
Make sure the diet, heating, housing and supplements are right

If you still have problems loading your photo from the link at the bottom of the message

'Click here to choose your file'

Then resize it, I have just had to reduce one of mine by 50%
Welcome to the list, and hi Darwin.
Arnie

#4 Guest_Polanski_*

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 05:44 PM

Hi Nina and Arnie and thanks for your responses.

I have pasted (!) below, see what you think.




Kind regards

Pol

#5 Guest_Polanski_*

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 05:47 PM

And his house. I can only paste one picture at a time because of the 250K limit, also it doesn't appear to like more than 1 image at any one time.

Anyway see what you think from a beginner!

Kind regards

Pol

#6 Guest_lepinsky_*

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 06:08 PM

Darwin is really lovely, Pol! I can see his picture because you attached it as a .jpg, but I can't see his house because I can't see .html attachments (but I know that Arnie and some others can). If you want to repost it as a .jpg I'd love to see his house.

Is that wood chip he is on? You might find he is even happier on a substrate of either a 50/50 topsoil and playsand mix, or hemp (aubiose), as they can dig down into it more easily.

Nina

#7 Guest_Polanski_*

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 08:56 PM

Its a close-up picture isn't it. I have tried for the house below.

Thanks for you advice, although I am considering the 50/50 mix for an external enclosure near the house with another cover other the delicious weeds on the grass. mmmmmm.



Kind regards

Pol

#8 Guest_lepinsky_*

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 12:39 PM

Hi Pol,

It looks like you've made a really nice enclosure for him. A few suggestions. You might move his little hide box to the cool end of the enclosure (where the paper is - although if he chooses to hide and sleep in the paper instead then that is fine). Be careful you don't have paper in very long, thin, strips because tortoises have been known to get long thin strips wound around their necks. It's great that you've got some slate to feed him on, and some cuttlebone in the enclosure for him. Does he have a water bowl? Some tortoises hardly ever seem to drink, and others drink a lot, but it's a good idea to have a shallow bowl of water in there (a plastic saucer from a plant pot should work well - you can sink it into the substrate) so they have a choice - and they can even sit in it if they want to. The enclosure seems a good size for Darwin now, but even with a lot of space tortoises get bored easily, so you might think about putting something in to cut off the sightlines (a little plant in a pot? Some big rocks that he'll have to walk around?). Just some thoughts, but you've done a great job, and I'm sure Darwin is happy there.

Nina

#9 Guest_Lilly1_*

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 09:23 PM

Hi Pol,

Darwin is really cute. I got a Hermanns tortoise for xmas as well. I am not sure weither my tortoise is a girl or a boy but its name is Donut. I had been wanting a Tortoise for such a long time and i cant beleive how lovely they are :D . Donut is now part of the family
:-) Darwin and Donut look really similar!

love lilly
p.s the pictures are really good!
:D

#10 Guest_nick owen_*

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 09:41 AM

[updated:LAST EDITED ON 03-01-07 AT 09:42 AM (GMT)]I heard they were fine to have on their own but I didn't want to have a lonely tortoise so I bought two. They seem to get on like a house on fire! Never seen them fight, they eat together and snuggle down at night together! I was told they were male and female although I've now learned that its hard to tell when they are young so who knows!! But the guy at the shop seemed certain that they were boy and girl - having said that the opinion of pet centre staff doesn't seem to hold much weight round these parts...lol.

#11 Guest_Ozric_*

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 02:45 PM

Hi Pol

lovely photo!

You might want to think ahead for summer quarters outside and at the same time think about growing suitable food plants such as your dandellions, clover, hawksbreard etc. Over the year your tort does benefit from access to a wide variety of plants and real sunshine if you can offer this.

Regarding company for your tort, views do seem to differ a little here. I have two little ones and have not had any difficulties but others report agressive behaviour etc.

#12 Guest_Polanski_*

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 06:40 PM

Hi Nick, Lilly, Ozric and Nina,

I assembled the entire enclosure using advice from this site and all the people interested in torts. Nina - the blank space in the box is where the water goes, at the time of the picture I was changing the water.

Darwin is just getting used to the enclosure and for the first time he has been literally running (well walking very quickly) around and investigating various parts. Ozric, I have a garden some 100 metres long in 2 parts, the front part is mown and for sitting in and enjoying the sun - the back part is semi-wild with lots of tasty weeds and wild plants for Darwin, I just need to ensure anything dodgey is removed. I intend to provide an enclosure with chicken-wire top to sit on the wild side of the garden above these tasty treats and UK sunshine (so not too glorious - although exceptionally mild at this time of year?).

I am really happy to have some new friends who are interested in tortoises as well, some people I talk to think I am weird! ha ha!

Kind regards

Pol

#13 Guest_Polanski_*

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 06:50 PM

Hi All,

You may be able to help me a little further...

I have a timer switch on Darwin's home which triggers in the morning and evening, in that time 3 hours the heat and UV is provided. I understand that no heat is required overnight and that lightening should be reduced to a minimum to mimic natural living. Is the 2 stages of 3 hours sufficient - he appears very happy?

Kind regards

Pol

#14 Guest_rockette_*

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 07:35 PM

Hello there Pol,

All my friends think I am weird too!!!! Do you begin to wonder if they might be right?

Pam

#15 Guest_lepinsky_*

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 10:23 AM

Hi All,

You may be able to help me a little further...

I have a timer switch on Darwin's home which triggers in the morning and evening, in that time 3 hours the heat and UV is provided. I understand that no heat is required overnight and that lightening should be reduced to a minimum to mimic natural living. Is the 2 stages of 3 hours sufficient - he appears very happy?

Kind regards

Pol



Hi Pol,

I think you want the light/heat on for longer than that, and in a continuous way to mimic summer daylight. Most people have their light and heat on for 12 - 14 hours. I have my timer for the UVB and basking lights set to go on at 7 a.m and off at 7.30 p.m. And no light or heat at night.
Nina

#16 Guest_Polanski_*

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 08:30 PM

In the winter months Nina, I put the heater and lamp on at 7am till 10 up to when the "sun" is out then 5pm till 7:30pm when the "sun" goes down. I had assumed the tort house inside is warm enough around 17-20c throughout the day and warming till 11pm then off until around 7am. Darwin does seem to have worked out the process, but I'm open to adding extra time - how do you know when a tort is happy, its big grinning face?!

Kind regards

Pol :-)

#17 Guest_lepinsky_*

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 12:11 AM

In the winter months Nina, I put the heater and lamp on at 7am till 10 up to when the "sun" is out then 5pm till 7:30pm when the "sun" goes down. I had assumed the tort house inside is warm enough around 17-20c throughout the day and warming till 11pm then off until around 7am. Darwin does seem to have worked out the process, but I'm open to adding extra time - how do you know when a tort is happy, its big grinning face?!

Kind regards

Pol :-)


Hi Pol,

If I've got this right (and I might not have), your tort only has heat from the basking bulb and UVB light between the hours of 7 - 10 a.m. and then from 5.30 p.m. til 7.30 p.m., and in the intervening daylight hours it is just the sun coming in through the window. Is that right? If it is then I think you need to adjust your temps. Your tortoise needs a basking spot with a temperature of around 90F (32C) for about 12 hours a day, with a cool spot during that time of about 70F (20C) - at the other end of the enclosure, and the UVB light on at the same time. If you have your lights on from, say 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., then they can go off at 7 or 8 p.m. and you don't need any heat or lights until they go on at 7 a.m. the next morning. If your tortoise is having only a temperature of 20C during the hours of 10 a.m. until 5.30 p.m. (because your lights aren't on)then that is not enough. And UVB rays from the sun cannot pass through glass, so you must have your UVB light on in the enclosure during all the daylight hours. Apologies if I have misinterpreted what you wrote.

Nina

#18 Guest_Polanski_*

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 08:12 PM

No Nina, you were absolutley right the first time. I have changed the settings and even added another peice of slate because of my guilt - I have even staggered the levels and Darwin loves it!Thanks for your guidance again you know your stuff!

Obviously when the summer season comes around Darwin should be ok in natural light - when do you recommend he can go outside and around what time of years and temps would you suggest?

Once again big cheers.

Kind regards

Pol

#19 Guest_lepinsky_*

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 12:18 PM

That's great you've got it sorted, Pol.

Re the summer and outdoors. Well, they can go out whenever it is warm, and they can go out quite early if they have the ability to continually go to somewhere where they can warm up (they're like little storage heaters: they bask in the heat, and then they retain that heat for quite a while). Some people have a cold frame set up on bricks, with one brick removed so that the tortoise can come and go. The temps in a cold frame will be surprisingly warm, even in the Spring. Others have a basking lamp rigged up in a cold frame or a little shed outside so the tortoise can come and go. You will be amazed at how active and happy they are when they're in the natural sunshine - and a couple of hours of sunshine are worth more than a day of indoor UVB light.
Nina

#20 Guest_Polanski_*

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 05:43 PM

Its amazing the effect of UV eh! Even I should get more!

I am going to make a tortoise run (lol) in Spring with a glass top partition to catch the rays and a space (with wire) for natural rain to fall - I've a brilliant excuse not to weed now also!

I'll send you a picture when he is experiencing his first bit of "freedom!"

Thanks Nina

Kind regards

Pol




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