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#1 Germanlady

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 04:20 PM

Hi there,

I am from Germany, live near Cologne. I´ve been keeping Greek (Hermann) tortoises since 1979. They live in the garden all year long. Now in winter, they hibernate in the ground, under those cold frames for plants.

I have registered here to learn how you in "British weather" keep your tortoises and which species (Hermann-, Horsfield- oder other tortoises) you prefer in Britain.

 

Greets from Germanlady



#2 mildredsmam

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 06:36 AM

Hi welcome to the forum.  :) 

We look forward to hearing more about your lovely tortoises and how you keep them.  :) 



#3 wizzasmum

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 09:48 AM

Hi there and welcome to the group. Do you give your tortoises the choice of heated areas in the summer? How long have you had them.

#4 Germanlady

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 04:04 PM

Thanks for your welcome.

Well, is it alright to answer your questions here or shall I write open a new topic?

 

But, here they are, my answers:

 

I have 21 landliving tortoises, 20 Greek ones (you call them Hermanns) and one Testudo graeca ibera.

It all began with 2 little tortoises in 1979.......

And no, I don´t need any heated areas, neither in summer nor in winter.

I have such -how do you say?- plant frames, in which is a dark house for sleeping and under which they dig themselves in for hibernation. The plant frames would get very hot inside when the sun is shining, so I cover them with straw mats except in spring and autumn. When all my tortoises are hidden in the ground, I fill the plant frames with straw and put straw around them. And I put the mats on the roof. So I prevent the cold getting to the animals. But they can dig as deep as they like, when they feel the cold. Finally I put a kind of large plastic sheet over the frame and fasten it wide-ranging from the plant frame, so that rain and melting snow doesn´t get too close to the frames.

 

So, please admin, if my posting is not in the right place here, move it!

 

Greets

Germanlady



#5 babettebeau

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 04:23 PM

Hello
I think you mean they have cold frames in Plexiglas correct? I am asking because I got the cold frame for my tortoises in Germany. It was impossible to find one in UK with plaxiglas Alltop.

Sabina

#6 Germanlady

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 06:05 PM

Thanks, Sabina, yes, cold frames of course. I have older ones, cheap and thin, but I have also two new ones, these here: https://www.beckmann...i=FS2&ci=213702

It is no alltop, but I´m very satisfied with the quality and the isolation. I´ve had them for 2 years now.

 

Greets

Germanlady



#7 wizzasmum

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 06:45 PM

Thanks for your welcome.
Well, is it alright to answer your questions here or shall I write open a new topic?
 
But, here they are, my answers:
 
I have 21 landliving tortoises, 20 Greek ones (you call them Hermanns) and one Testudo graeca ibera.
It all began with 2 little tortoises in 1979.......
And no, I don´t need any heated areas, neither in summer nor in winter.
I have such -how do you say?- plant frames, in which is a dark house for sleeping and under which they dig themselves in for hibernation. The plant frames would get very hot inside when the sun is shining, so I cover them with straw mats except in spring and autumn. When all my tortoises are hidden in the ground, I fill the plant frames with straw and put straw around them. And I put the mats on the roof. So I prevent the cold getting to the animals. But they can dig as deep as they like, when they feel the cold. Finally I put a kind of large plastic sheet over the frame and fasten it wide-ranging from the plant frame, so that rain and melting snow doesn´t get too close to the frames.
 
So, please admin, if my posting is not in the right place here, move it!
 
Greets
Germanlady


Yes fine to answer here. It’s good to hear of more naturalistic keeping. Mine use greenhouses to warm up, but I can’t trust them to give temps of 32c long enough for food digestion. Do you know of a lady called Editha Krüger? She is also in Germany and keeps her tortoises naturally too, although I think she uses supplementary lamps too. I e been to Cologne in winter and it was bitterly cold, but I’m thinking your summers must be warmer than here.

#8 Germanlady

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 07:18 PM

Our climate here is rather good and my garden has a lot of sunshine. Of course we sometimes have cold winters and rainy summers. I remember winters, when we had temperatures under - 15°Celsius at night for weeks. Unfortunately it seldom snows. Snow would be a good isolation. As the ground under the cold frames is light and tortoises can easily dig deep, it all went well so far. But when I get to know from the weatherforecast that it will be very cold, I isolate more with old blankets and styrofoam. But those winters are very rare. The first years I controlled the temperature to be sure everything went well. 

Warming up during the active period sometimes is a bit difficult, I must admit, although the cold frames heat themselves even when the sky is clouded. But especially in spring I always pray for sunshine, because otherwise the tortoises go to "sleep" again. But so far - 39 years - no tortoise had a health problem.

I know Editha Krüger by name and by some private emails and in former times from forums. She specializes in graecas.

So, next time, when you -@wizzasmum- come to Cologne and when it is tortoise-active-period, just let me know. I invite you to have a look at my tortoises!



#9 AglaiaPan

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 09:26 AM

Hi Germanlady,

I'm from Austria and I'm also here to think outside the box. :winkgrin:

Fortunately it's quite easy to keep Testudo species in our climate, but in the UK it's more challenging to keep them outside year round.

 

I'm also reading in American forums, which can be interesting but also frustrating because of their horrible husbandry standards (like enclosure size,...) - they are so much worse than in Europe. :(



#10 wizzasmum

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 10:09 AM

So refreshing to see more naturalistic type keeping. Is is sad to see so many American keepers keeping their tortoises more as specimens than wild animals with specific requirements. The same can be said of many uk keepers too. Given that tortoises display stress related behaviours just like other animals, I find it hard to see how they don’t notice this, when they are kept in close confinement.

#11 babettebeau

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Posted 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.

#12 mildredsmam

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 05:17 PM

Hi German lady,  AglaiaPan 

We would love to see your tortoise enclosure pictures if you don't mind sharing it's always nice to see how others keep there's.   :) 



#13 Germanlady

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 07:59 PM

Well, I began to make photos in 2012/2013 here: www.boettgeri2012.blogspot.com

 

And then I added stories and photos and videos each year:

http://neuesaus2014.blogspot.de

http://neuesaus2015.blogspot.de

and so on.

Just change the year.

 

Enjoy!

I would be pleased about a feedback here :)



#14 mildredsmam

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 03:32 AM

Well, I began to make photos in 2012/2013 here: www.boettgeri2012.blogspot.com

 

And then I added stories and photos and videos each year:

http://neuesaus2014.blogspot.de

http://neuesaus2015.blogspot.de

and so on.

Just change the year.

 

Enjoy!

I would be pleased about a feedback here :)

Wow your set ups are lovely they look great, your tortoises are beautiful well done and thanks for sharing.  :) 



#15 wizzasmum

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 08:03 AM

Lovely to see them all outdoors eating naturally, just as they should be. Did you breed the smaller ones yourself? These photos would be great in the photo section. It woulD be good to have a section for naturalistic keeping, so that new keepers could see what a difference it makes. Ive got a little blind hermanni that also does well outdoors self feeding. She grows more slowly than the others but is still doing well. This is one of my sub adults last year.

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#16 Germanlady

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 10:04 AM

Well, I´ve had some own babies within 15 years. 2010 for the last time. 2010 I hatched all my eggs. Since then I´ve always destroyed them. It is so hard to find new keepers with good conditions and suitable groups. So I still have 10 youngsters -now nearly 8-year-olds- in my garden, which I would like to sell. Most of the ones from 2010 never saw an indoor-enclosure, therefore I had lamps in their cold frame. When I didn´t need the enclosure for the youngsters anymore, I removed it and also the power supply. But when we set up the new cold-frames (Beckmann), my husband put power supply in one of them, in case I might need it some time.

When I take new photos in the upcoming summer, I´ll put some photos in the photo section.

 

Long long years ago, someone gave me a blind Graeca ibera, which I cared for some years until it had to be put to sleep. It got many other problems over the years.

 

Nice animal in the photo!



#17 mildredsmam

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 04:56 PM

Lovely to see them all outdoors eating naturally, just as they should be. Did you breed the smaller ones yourself? These photos would be great in the photo section. It woulD be good to have a section for naturalistic keeping, so that new keepers could see what a difference it makes. Ive got a little blind hermanni that also does well outdoors self feeding. She grows more slowly than the others but is still doing well. This is one of my sub adults last year.

I've hopefully added a new section Sue for naturalistic keeping.  :lol: 



#18 wizzasmum

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 07:21 PM

I've hopefully added a new section Sue for naturalistic keeping.  :lol:


Oh that’s brilliant Karen. Hopefully summer will bring more interest. This year I’m hoping to have a more naturalistic approach to incubation too, so will post the progress.




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