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Found This Little Guy On The Street!


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#1 martine

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 08:58 AM

So, I found this little guy cruising around town, in the outskirts of Marseille, France. Not sure whether she's a male or female, but we think she's a girl, therefore her name: Martine.

We decided to let her live in our garden. Although we live in the center of the city, we have a nice, large enclosed garden in which I hope she'll be super comfortable.

But, given the above, are there any special measures that I can take in order to ensure she's happy here?

Some of the questions that come to mind:

-Is it safe to let her live outside the whole year?
-Should I build her a little house of sorts?
-Should I prepare her for hibernation during the coming months? How do I do that?
-What should I feed her? So far she seems to eat stuff she finds in my garden plus the mixed greens I give her.
-What do I do on rainy days? (like yesterday) I just want to make sure she's getting enough light.

Overall, I'd just appreciate any tips from owners who have outdoor turtles. I just want to make sure she has a happy, long life!

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#2 Freddy

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 11:37 AM

Hi! welcome to the forum. Glad you found us. I will try to help you as best I can...

Some of the questions that come to mind:

-Is it safe to let her live outside the whole year? No, I'm afraid not, especially during the autumn and winter and when it's cold.
-Should I build her a little house of sorts? Judging by her size you will need to build her an open top indoor enclosure of topsoil with a special UVB light and heat lamp. Please see the indoor enclosure section of this forum for ideas.
-Should I prepare her for hibernation during the coming months? How do I do that? If she is a wild specimen, chances are she has probably hibernated before and will do so again this year. So you will need to prepare. Please visit the following site for information about hibernation, enclosures and the general care of your tortoise: www.thetortoisehouse.com
-What should I feed her? So far she seems to eat stuff she finds in my garden plus the mixed greens I give her. You will need to feed her a mixed weed diet. You can supplement these with different types of salads like raddicio, little gem. butterhead and others especially when weeds are in short supply. Here is a website database of edible weeds and flowers you may find useful: www.thetortoisetable.org.uk
-What do I do on rainy days? (like yesterday) I just want to make sure she's getting enough light. You will need to provide her with and outside shelter and enclosure for cooler rainy days. Also have a look at the outdoor section of this forum or some of the sites I have given you for ideas.
Overall, I'd just appreciate any tips from owners who have outdoor turtles. I just want to make sure she has a happy, long life! No problem we are a friendly, helpful bunch here. I wish you the best of luck with your new little one.


Hopefully there will be others along shortly to offer you more helpful advice. Take care.
Kind Regards
Freddy

#3 martine

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 12:55 PM

Thank you for all the info you've provided so far. I just wanted to clear up that I posted these questions specifically in this forum because I was told on another forum that she was a Hermann. If she isn't, I still have no idea what she is...

Today she seems to be doing good, walking around the garden, hiding under dry leaves, basking in the sun. She also seems to have a good appetite. I've locked the cat inside so Martine can enjoy herself outside. No worries about her escaping: we have a short cement fence and a taller wire fence surrounding our garden.

I am leaning more towards letting her hibernate, since she can quite possibly be a wild specimen (my neighbors found her in the outskirts of the city) and I wouldn't want to disrupt her routines more than I already have (with moving to my garden, and her new diet). So I'll look around the websites you mentioned so I can start preparing her an adequate outside hibernation spot.

Nevertheless, if she's not a Hermann, does anybody have any idea what could she be?

Thanks for all your help!

#4 Freddy

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 01:04 PM

Ozric makes a very good point and one which I seemed to have overlooked. You will need to establish the species of this tortoise as some tortoises are imported into Marseilles from Africa and have very different needs to Hermanns. If she starts to slow down and refuses to eat you will know she is beginning her wind-down to hibernation. Take care.
Kind Regards
Freddy

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 02:14 PM

I am not sure what species of tortoise you have there! Do you think it might be somebody's pet that has wandered off?

Certainly she looks like a Mediterranean species.

The South of France does have a climate that can be suitable for these tortoises to live outdoors for most of the year. But in winter there will be too many cold and wet days when your tortoise would not be active. So for part of year you will either have to bring her indoors and keep her warm and lit up, or you have to allow the tortoise to hibernate.

But before we get too far we should be sure we know what species of tortoise we have here since not all species hibernate. Martine does not look like a hermann to me but I could easily be wrong.

If this is a hermann then probably you can keep her in your garden most of the time but there can be a threat from dogs or birds that might come into the garden and tortoises can be very good at escaping.


Looks like a hermanni hermanni so far but need other pics. That would make sense anyway given that it is found in it's native area ;) Care as for other hermanns and hibernation preferred - looks like a wild specimen to me ;)

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 02:16 PM

Thank you for all the info you've provided so far. I just wanted to clear up that I posted these questions specifically in this forum because I was told on another forum that she was a Hermann. If she isn't, I still have no idea what she is...

Today she seems to be doing good, walking around the garden, hiding under dry leaves, basking in the sun. She also seems to have a good appetite. I've locked the cat inside so Martine can enjoy herself outside. No worries about her escaping: we have a short cement fence and a taller wire fence surrounding our garden.

I am leaning more towards letting her hibernate, since she can quite possibly be a wild specimen (my neighbors found her in the outskirts of the city) and I wouldn't want to disrupt her routines more than I already have (with moving to my garden, and her new diet). So I'll look around the websites you mentioned so I can start preparing her an adequate outside hibernation spot.

Nevertheless, if she's not a Hermann, does anybody have any idea what could she be?

Thanks for all your help!


I would say she is almost certainly a wild hermanni hermanni and to be honest the best thing would be to return her to where she was found. I'm all for rescuing, but not when it is a native species - do you have other photos of it from underneath, rear/tail area etc.?

#7 martine

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 03:48 PM

Thanks to all of you for your inputs! After some research online, I am also almost certain that I have a Hermanni Hermanni. And I think it's a male turtle too (because of the shape and length of its tail which is always kept hidden away). The good news is that I found a turtle/tortoise sanctuary (http://www.villagetortues.com/) not too far from Marseille in which they take Hermanni Hermanni's. I have contacted them for more info, and meanwhile I will make sure to keep Martine well-fed and cared for until she can join his friends in Provence during the next month or so (before hibernation). Given that Martine is probably a wild tortoise, I think he will be happiest over there rather than alone in my garden. And I don't want to leave him all alone somewhere in the outskirts of the city just out of fear of predators and what not. Since I took this responsibility on, I might as well make sure he's well taken care of.

In any case, since she's a wild hermanni hermanni specimen, and from what I understand, a bit rare, I'll take some more pictures of him and upload them to the forum during the next few days!

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 03:49 PM

:welcome: martine, do keep in touch to let us know how you get on with her. :)

Good find Ozric. :)

#9 martine

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 03:50 PM

There is only a very small habitat left on the French mainland which is suitable for these tortoises, about 80 km East of Marseilles in the Var region. It's possible that animal came from there if it was removed from the wild by a human being and taken to Marseilles.

What I suggest Martine does is to join this forum

http://tortues-actio...turalforum.net/

There are lots of French people from all over France on that forum who have experience of keeping these animals in your conditions. The weather here in the UK is totally different. Sadly!

I still don't think this tortoise is a hermanni hermanni but I wouldn't want to say for definite until I had seen more and larger photos as it's not possible to make an accurate ID from that one.


Thanks for your comment! Then maybe, she isn't... I'll take more pictures soon so I can get some more answers. I've contacted this place: http://www.villagetortues.com/ and I'm waiting for an answer, but i'll check out that forum you gave me the link for. Thanks!

#10 martine

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 04:17 PM

Do these help? What is she/he?Attached File  2012-09-04 18.07.30.jpg   1.49MB   55 downloadsAttached File  2012-09-04 18.07.30.jpg   1.49MB   55 downloads


Attached File  2012-09-04 18.07.23.jpg   1.48MB   53 downloads

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#11 Kelly

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 04:56 PM

Looks like a male Mediterranean Spur-thigh Tortoise to me..... but I'm no expert.... :hmm:

#12 martine

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 05:48 PM

In the French forum recommended above, they suggested that it's a male graeca... can anybody confirm that? And if he is one: would it be OK if I kept him in my garden or would it be best to take him to the turtle sanctuary?

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 06:44 PM

Hi Martine, I think we need a definite ID, before any decisions can be made, Not that I am offering one myself, I am not experienced enough :rolleyes:

#14 Kelly

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 06:46 PM

Same thing....
Mediterranean Spur-Thigh tortoise is a Testudo Graeca :)
.... and yes, he definitely looks male to me too.

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 06:51 PM

:doh: I didn't realise that Kelly. I can see the spurs in the photo now you mention it, I agree it's a boy.

Martine, it does look as if it is not native to France. I can see no reason why you couldn't keep him if you wanted, we keep torts in the UK and your climate is certainly a lot more natural for them. :)

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 07:37 PM

Same thing....
Mediterranean Spur-Thigh tortoise is a Testudo Graeca :)
.... and yes, he definitely looks male to me too.


Yes, def a graeca but not sure which sub species. It will be fine in your garden so long as you do not introduce any other species. I doubt the Tortoise Sanctuary will take it if they only deal with endemic species. Def male.

#17 martine

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 08:43 PM

Well, now that it's pretty much established that Martine is not a Hermann, nor a girl (so maybe I should change his name to Martin!), I would like to thank you all for your amazing help! I'll go try to communicate in French at the Tortues Actions forum to make sure Martin is comfortable until we decide whether it'd be best to keep him with us or to join his fellow tortoises in the Village des Tortues. As I said, I've already contacted them, but I did so thinking I had a Hermanni Hermanni specimen. As soon as they answer, I'll rectify the ID and see if the are still willing to house him. If they are, I'll make sure to take him there well before hibernation season starts (around November I believe).

Regardless, it's nice to know that there are so many supportive, as well as helpful, fellow animal and tortoise lovers out there in cyberspace! I sure would have been a bit lost without you, and Martin's life would perhaps even been at risk in my incapable hands.

I'll make sure to keep you posted on his whereabouts, and if I do go to the Village des Tortues I'll try to get some nice pictures to share with all of you.

Thank you again!

#18 Junior

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 06:16 PM

Hi I am not an expert guide on tortoises but I have 2 Hermann's at home and I think it would be a good idea to make an indoor enclosure during hibernation season. My tortoises are only 4 weeks old and are looking very well and I hope that Yours will too. Try to feed it Romaine lettuce they really like that. Maybe once in a while feed it fruit (once a week depending on how big it is).

Anyway I hope you have some great moments with your tortoises

Kind regards Junior

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 06:49 PM

Hi Junior
Not sure where you got your info but I would be wary of feeding hermanns on romaine and fruit. Romiane is fine as part of a mixed diet, butnot something to be wingled out and fruit is a definite no no, especially at just 4 weeks of age. I'd have a look at some better dietry advice if I was you to get your little one on a good start to a healthy life;)




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