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My Tortoise Won't Burrow At Night


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#1 medeconz

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 02:24 AM

Hi, my name is Leeann, from Christchurch, NZ.
I have a Hermann Tortose who is almost 2 1/2 yrs old now.

Sue knows me from the Tortoise world forum which I cannot find now.

Due to our earthquakes in Christchurch Vinnie has an inside enclosure when I am not at home. It is a large one with plenty of room.
The other reason he's inside when I'm not home is our street has a lot of people who go sneaking around properties with damage post earthquakes and I would be mortified if he was stolen.
I renewed it during his hibernation and has 2-3 areas where he can burrow, but won't.
He would rather sit under his ramp where there is no soil, or lays on top of the soil.
He gets plenty of calcium and Vit D, and eats well so his shell isn't pyramiding (no more than what it was when I got him) but wondered if there's something I could do to encourage him. Maybe it's not deep enough, but it seems to be. I've only seen him a handful of times actually trying to burrow.
In the end I place him in the soil and cover him up.

Thanks,
Leeann

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#2 den2908

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 07:35 AM

Hi Leeann,
It may be that your ambient room temps are too high. In the wild the temps would drop at night and this encourages burying. Im no expert, I know this can help.

Let us know how you get on.

Denise

#3 Kelly

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 07:45 AM

Hermanns don't really burrow in the way that horsfields do. They just dig down into scrapes into the soil. Generally the tiny hatchlings are more likely to totally submerge themselves than the older juveniles, so that they do not dehydrate.

Just provide a good depth of soil and keep it moist by spraying it daily and watering when it dries out..... then if your tortoise feels the need to dig down, he has the option to. Most only do this when they are too cool or too warm. If you are keeping optimum temperatures in the tortoise table, then he isn't likely to display this behaviour anyway..... normally, this will only be seen in their outdoor enclosures where the temperatures are more likely to fluctuate.. x

#4 Freddy

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 09:18 AM

Hi Leeann,
Welcome to the forum. I agree with Kelly. Your tortoise will only burrow down if it is too hot or too cold. So temps in his enclosure must be just fine. There is no need to worry. Hope this helps. Take care.
Kind Regards
Freddy

#5 mildredsmam

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 04:42 PM

hi leeann welcome to the forum :)
i remember seeing you on tortoise world not sure what happened but im sure you will find everyone very friendly on here :thumbup:

#6 medeconz

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 06:07 PM

Hi everyone, and thank you.
That makes me feel much better.
It 's officially summer here next week so the temp is warmer outside (at times!) but I do try to keep it cooler inside, but it's not cold.
There is plenty of depth and I do water every day.
Phew, I feel better now.

I love these forums. It helps me so much with my wee Vinnie.

Thank you so much. :)
Leeann

#7 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 10:17 PM

Hi, my name is Leeann, from Christchurch, NZ.
I have a Hermann Tortose who is almost 2 1/2 yrs old now.

Sue knows me from the Tortoise world forum which I cannot find now.

Due to our earthquakes in Christchurch Vinnie has an inside enclosure when I am not at home. It is a large one with plenty of room.
The other reason he's inside when I'm not home is our street has a lot of people who go sneaking around properties with damage post earthquakes and I would be mortified if he was stolen.
I renewed it during his hibernation and has 2-3 areas where he can burrow, but won't.
He would rather sit under his ramp where there is no soil, or lays on top of the soil.
He gets plenty of calcium and Vit D, and eats well so his shell isn't pyramiding (no more than what it was when I got him) but wondered if there's something I could do to encourage him. Maybe it's not deep enough, but it seems to be. I've only seen him a handful of times actually trying to burrow.
In the end I place him in the soil and cover him up.

Thanks,
Leeann


Hi Leeann, tortoise-world site was compromised in some way. The site owner did say it would be back up and running again soon, but doesn't seem to be happeneing at the moment :(
Your litle one will not dig down unless you make the enclosure more like a wild habitat with a big drop in temps at night. You need to make sure all lamps and heating are off and that the area under his rramp is blocked to encouarage digging. Burying themselves is pretty important while growing to encourage good shell growth, otherwise, sitting on the surface all the time tends to prevent correct hydration.
Hope this helps :D

#8 medeconz

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 10:57 PM

Thanks Sue, I knew you'd come to my rescue again!!!
I'll block the area off under the ramp.
All lamps etc go off at a set time every night.

Thanks again,
Leeann

#9 Freddy

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 11:52 PM

Although I agree with Sue, I would have to say that very few captive tortoises have perfectly grown shells. To me this is only of aesthetic value. I feel it is far more important that a tortoise be healthy. Of course others may differ and I am by no means an expert in this area. :thinking:
Kind Regards
Freddy :D

#10 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 01:12 PM

Although I agree with Sue, I would have to say that very few captive tortoises have perfectly grown shells. To me this is only of aesthetic value. I feel it is far more important that a tortoise be healthy. Of course others may differ and I am by no means an expert in this area. :thinking:
Kind Regards
Freddy :D


Oh for sure, lots of my rescues are lumpy and bumpy, so long as it's not lumpy for the wrong reasons(MBD etc), plus of course if the rear end of a tortoises shell is deformed (even just by poor habitat) it could impact on breeding at a later date. I know not everyone is interested in breeding them, but if you have mixed sexes, it's going to happen and if the gap between plastron and carapace is not big enough to pass eggs, then surgery can become necessary ;)

#11 Freddy

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 08:18 PM

I didn't know that, Sue. :( Thanks for explaining. ;)
Freddy :D

#12 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 09:04 PM

I took on a leopard once that was like this, luckily it was a male but still needed correcting very slightly as his tail would get stuck in the gap, poor boy :(

#13 Greenslider

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:23 PM

It could be individual specific behaviour. In a captive environment, some animals behave differently to others , even with the same stimuli. One of my ladies burrows down under a dry hide, in a chilly corner of her table atm, whereas in summer she made a dug out under a rock at night. Current nighttime table temps are as low as 10c, yet she digs out every morn and comes to the basking lamp..currently set for 23-25c in an effort so simulate seasonal Balkan temps, The other lady falls asleep , exposed in the centre of the table despite 8" of soil available and several hides of varying humidity and a few stones to dig under Whereas she was digging on days in the summer when the sun room and MVB might creep temps up into the mid/high thirties.
Maybe provide a variety of hides (flat stones on the substrate to dig into, tunnels, hebe saplings etc),but its hard to gauge every individuals behaviour..many of my aquatic turtles, blatantly fail to adhere to whet the experts profess their behaviour should be. If the tort is basking, eating and kept reasonably active you are getting the basics right ..but like raising kids, animals like to throw their own motifs into the script :!

#14 medeconz

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 01:05 AM

Good news on the burrowing front...he has started in the last two weeks to burrow in!
I added more dirt and now I wet it every day he has started burrowing in the same area now.
So proud of my wee Vinnie!!!

Thanks for all your help everyone.
Leeann

#15 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 12:21 PM

Good news on the burrowing front...he has started in the last two weeks to burrow in!
I added more dirt and now I wet it every day he has started burrowing in the same area now.
So proud of my wee Vinnie!!!

Thanks for all your help everyone.
Leeann



Yeah, brilliant, I knew he would get the hang of it ;)




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