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hermanns tortoise viv heat

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#1 henrybevan

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 07:51 AM

I have a 1 year old Hermanns who appears to be in excellent health but I have been given so much conflicting advice on heating, vivariums and diet that I have been reduced to a quivering wreck and have taken to cutting my hair off in the shower whilst sobbing uncontrollably. Not really, but I could if I wanted to. This is Leonardo's set-up:

3' by 1' vivarium, heatlamp on one end set at 84 degrees Farenheit 24/7 (guy who sold us Leo stressed emphatically that the temp should not change, as the fluctuations would cause digestion problems)

90cm uv lamp, on for about 14 hours per day, hanging on the back of the viv about 15cm above bark chippings.

A water bowl inside at all times (thinking of taking this out and just bathing him every two days instead ...

We feed him a variety of dandelion leaves, rocket, baby gem lettuce, dried mixed food, rose petals and rarely tomatoes, strawberries and carrot shavings.

He has an adorable little green house I made him using cardboard and papier mache which is filled with anti-dust hay.

We take him out every two days or so and bathe him and let him wander around the garden. He usually eats some wild weeds then tries to burrow away from the sun, which I thought was a little odd.

He used to scratch and bump at the glass in his viv but now when he's not lying still in a shady spot near his heat lamp, he's taken to scrabbling around behind his house at the far end of the viv (away from the heat lamp).

I should hate to think we're doing anything wrong as he is an irreplaceable part of our family but seeing as people have been telling me not to use a viv, glass or dried food and others have been refuting this, I am not at all sure what to do. At the moment he looks healthy and happy. In as much as one can say that a tortoise looks happy; I have never actually seen him smile, let alone heard him laugh or sing.

Thanks for you help and I look forward to your replies! Let them be manifest, yet succinct.

Henry

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#2 mildredsmam

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 08:45 AM

hi welcome to the forum :wave: im glad you found us every ones very friendly on here and happy to help :)
to start vivs are not the best to house a tortoise a tortoise table would be a lot better for your tortoise with a substrate of top soil only any thing like hay or shaving are not very good as a substrate there to dry if you have a look on the forum in the indoor enclosures section you might get some ideas how others keep theres :)
you say he scratches and bumps into the glass in his viv this will be cause hes stressed they can see through the glass but car,nt understand why they car,nt walk through, they need different temperatures which a viv does,nt give, a tortoise table gives them the choice of different temps, also they dont need heat at night they need a drop in temps so turn all lights off :)
as for his diet he needs a weed and plant diet only fruit and veg are no good for them have a look on here it tells you what to feed and what to avoid http://www.thetortoi...e/plants_19.asp hopefully some one else will be a long soon to add some more :)
you have a lovely tortoise there :thumbup:

#3 Guest_Chrissyan_*

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 09:22 AM

:welcome: to the forum, unfortunately you have been given very wrong advice, all I can do is re-iterate what Karen said.

(guy who sold us Leo stressed emphatically that the temp should not change, as the fluctuations would cause digestion problems)

This is especially poor, in fact the exact opposite is true. Tortoises themoregulate ( adjust their own temps) and need to be able to do that, with heat, digging in the soil & shade etc.

Advertise your viv for sale to someone who keeps snakes or lizards.

Buy or make a wooden tortoise table with no windows and fill it with sterilised top soil

Make sure he has a hide with a lid and other interesting bits like a terracotta plant pot on it's side, rocks etc, not cardboard and no hay.

A combined or separate lamps are needed, for the UV & warmth, positioned away from the cooler hide,temps should be 34°C under the warming lamp and 20° at the other end. No heat or light at all at night, just normally house temps. You can get a timer for your light & heat,

Is he from a pet shop? maybe you should take a poo sample to a specialist vet to check for worms.

Make sure he has calcium & vitamin supplements and perhaps a cuttle fish bone

Feed him only on tortoise edible weeds and flowers, no fruit, no veg and definitely no dried food.

Getting him out in the garden is good, he would be better in his own run with a hide

Never leave him unsupervised with any pets

Also beware of the slight salmonella risk and after handling always wash your hands

Sorry but The guy who sold him to you, doesn't know his arse from his elbow. :angry:

Does he have the correct paperwork ie: Form A10?

Any more questions, fire away. :)

#4 henrybevan

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 06:54 PM

Thank you both so much, I will do all the above with alacrity. Yes, we have the A10 and we sprinkle a pinch of vitamins (the right ones!) on his food. Is there any way of knowing how to make the 'perfect' tortoise table? I am good with DIY but don't trust Google to tell me how ... Thanks again, I'm so glad I joined this site!

#5 Guest_Chrissyan_*

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 07:07 PM

Hi, just have a look at some of the ones on this forum and elsewhere on the net to get ideas, make it as big as you have room for. Put the heat & light at the opposite end to the hide, don't put in glass and make sure you varnish & line it before the top soil goes in (mine has lino and then ground sheet) :)

#6 henrybevan

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 07:07 PM

Oh, and seeing as all the other advice we got when we bought the tortoise was from said idiot, do we feed Leo every 3-4 days? And what temp should the heat lamp be set at during the day? We have a thermostat and one of those large heating bulbs - is this ok as a "basking lamp"? Thank you!

#7 Guest_Chrissyan_*

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 07:14 PM

You do have to be aware not to overfeed as in the wild they forage for miles looking for food and are not always successful. Imagine Greece & Turkey in August, very dry and sparse vegetation, very unlike the UK. Over feeding can cause a lumpy shell called pyramiding. They also do not eat for up to 5 months during hibernation. Feeding him once every three days should have done no harm, but most keepers feed them enough to cover their shell once a day.

Here is some indoor accommodation: http://www.hermann-t...hp?showforum=52

Heating bulb should be fine,You do not need a thermostat , just a thermometer to check that the temperature directly under his basking lamp is 34°C. The rest of his table should be about 20 °C :)

#8 mildredsmam

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 07:18 PM

also just to add its a good idea to weigh your tortoise and keep a record of it you want your tort to gain about 2/3g a month any more your feeding a little to much :)

#9 jay

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 08:48 PM

Hello and welcome to the forum :)
you have been given some great advice,there are some table top homes on ebay,ideal if you can make yourself much cheaper.
Jaynex




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