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First Time Owner - Food Help Please?

First Time Owner Food Diet Hermann

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#1 abigsnail1992

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 11:16 PM

Hi All,

I'm still fairly new to the tort community & could do with some advice! I got my little Hermann, Norman, last August & he hatched in 2014 (captive-bred, I believe). The pet store I bought him from gave me a fair bit of info about tortoise care, which I've followed, however I'm a little concerned if following them is right.

The place I got him from kept him & his siblings in a viv, where the light was on for around 12 hours a day but heat was constant, which I've kept to as that's what Norm is used to. However, I keep him in an open table top so he gets some ventilation, and it has a little 'bedroom bit' where he has some shredded paper to snuggle in if he wants. I've set a little water dish into the Herbifloor-ing & he has his little log cave if he wants to hide. I bathe him 2-3 times a week to stop him from dehydrating too.

Now, diet. I'm so confused. The place I got him from fed him fresh veggies everyday, i.e cabbage, cucumber, tomato etc, with Nutrobal dusted over, which again I've stuck to as it was recommended by them & little Noo is used to it (& loves it). I also pop in some dried flower mix, but he doesn't touch the stuff & looks at me in disgust! He's got a cuttlefish bone in there & has a nibble when he fancies, and is all about dandelions when we can get them! I found this list which states a multitude of food stuffs are okay & which is also what I've gone by for his diet, however, I'm reading so many conflicting things about these foods that I just don't know! Obviously I want to give my little guy the best life I can & the last thing I want is for him to be poorly! I've ordered some dandelion/clover/watercress seeds so I can give him better variation, but I'm just very stuck on what to do for the best for him & could do with some advice. He seems a happy chappy & is super sociable & active (and loves a snuggle in my bathrobe), and I just want to make sure I'm doing right by him.

Thank you!

#2 wizzasmum

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 11:37 PM

If you had him from a pet store it's very unlikely they were his siblings, unless the shop bred them. His papers will give an indication of where he was bred. Vivs are poor accomodation, heat should never be constant as the tortoise, being ectothermic cannot thermoregulate properly. Sorry to sound so negative, but you need to remove the paper and give him soil to dig into. Paper won't keep him warm as he is cold blooded, but deep soil will help him to thermoregulate and grow a nice smooth shell. All of the things the shop were feeding are bad really. Cucumber won't do any harm but it's mainly water, cabbage will prevent the uptake of calcium and tomato will upset his gut flora. He's not daft ignoring the flower mix, it's not very good for him either. When confused, imagine what he would eat if wild........fresh weeds and flowers, no cabbage, cucumber or tomato. Remember that anyone can put info on the Internet and they all think they are experts. Stick with long term groups such as this, the tortoise trust and websites belonging to long term breeders, not people who have only kept them for a few years. It takes years for a young tortoise to be ruined and even longer to recover, if at all. The only seeds I recommend are the ones the tlady formulated, found here www.tortoises.net Be wary of stuff sold on eBay, Facebook groups etc as most of these sellers have no knowledge of a good tortoise diet and simply sell any none toxic plants which are not always a good tortoise diet. Treat him as a wild animal and not a cuddly pet, as their behaviour can often be misconstrued ie cuddling in a bath robe just means he wants to dig in, but of course he won't get the same result as digging into soil and instead of keeping hydration up, the dry fabric will actual draw moisture away from the shell. Always think of what would happen in nature if you wish to have a content, well grown tortoise. A two year old would normally weigh less than fifty grams. Hope this helps ;)

#3 mildredsmam

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 04:08 AM

Hi All,

I'm still fairly new to the tort community & could do with some advice! I got my little Hermann, Norman, last August & he hatched in 2014 (captive-bred, I believe). The pet store I bought him from gave me a fair bit of info about tortoise care, which I've followed, however I'm a little concerned if following them is right.

The place I got him from kept him & his siblings in a viv, where the light was on for around 12 hours a day but heat was constant, which I've kept to as that's what Norm is used to. However, I keep him in an open table top so he gets some ventilation, and it has a little 'bedroom bit' where he has some shredded paper to snuggle in if he wants. I've set a little water dish into the Herbifloor-ing & he has his little log cave if he wants to hide. I bathe him 2-3 times a week to stop him from dehydrating too.

Now, diet. I'm so confused. The place I got him from fed him fresh veggies everyday, i.e cabbage, cucumber, tomato etc, with Nutrobal dusted over, which again I've stuck to as it was recommended by them & little Noo is used to it (& loves it). I also pop in some dried flower mix, but he doesn't touch the stuff & looks at me in disgust! He's got a cuttlefish bone in there & has a nibble when he fancies, and is all about dandelions when we can get them! I found this list which states a multitude of food stuffs are okay & which is also what I've gone by for his diet, however, I'm reading so many conflicting things about these foods that I just don't know! Obviously I want to give my little guy the best life I can & the last thing I want is for him to be poorly! I've ordered some dandelion/clover/watercress seeds so I can give him better variation, but I'm just very stuck on what to do for the best for him & could do with some advice. He seems a happy chappy & is super sociable & active (and loves a snuggle in my bathrobe), and I just want to make sure I'm doing right by him.

Thank you!

Hi, welcome to the forum. :)

Your tortoise will thrive best having a natural diet of weeds and plants, there's quite a few weeds about at the minute, you might find this helpful http://www.tortsmad.com/diet.htm  and this is a really good book to help as well http://www.tlady.clara.net/id16.htm  this is the only place I buy my seeds from http://www.tlady.cla...t/herbiseed.htm  :)



#4 gizmosmum

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 07:51 AM

Weeds are coming through now, dandelioñ, çlover and plantain just starting, red dead nettle, jack by the hedge, willow herb are what I am finding at the moment,
http://m.thetortoise...m/plants_19.asp
Tortoise table site is a good identification site telling you a bit about each plant.
So lots of spring weed walks!!

#5 abigsnail1992

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 11:11 AM

Thanks all! His flooring is Herbifloor pellets, so he gets a good dig, and he's bathed often to keep him hydrated. Luckily the weather's getting better now so he can go out more! I'll get to getting him his weeds & plants :) As you say wizzasmum, the internet thinks they're the expert so it's a little tricky sometimes!

#6 wizzasmum

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 06:33 PM

Pellets are not good for them and have poor thermoregulation property. You need soil or coir for him to dig into, deep enough for him to disappear underneath. The pellets are are from alfalfa, which can damage the kidneys when eaten, so best avoided.

#7 wizzasmum

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 06:34 PM

willow herb are what I am finding at the moment,http://m.thetortoise...m/plants_19.asp
Tortoise table site is a good identification site telling you a bit about each plant.
So lots of spring weed walks!!


I'd not deliberately feed willow herb to be honest, it's very high in tannins which torts don't tolerate well really ;)

#8 abigsnail1992

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 09:58 PM

Pellets are not good for them and have poor thermoregulation property. You need soil or coir for him to dig into, deep enough for him to disappear underneath. The pellets are are from alfalfa, which can damage the kidneys when eaten, so best avoided.


Good job I've run out of pellets & need to clean him out then! Won't be going back to that store for advice but at least I know now! Thanks!

#9 wizzasmum

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 10:34 PM

Good job I've run out of pellets & need to clean him out then! Won't be going back to that store for advice but at least I know now! Thanks!


Lol, the only things pellets are good for is the pet shops bank balance. Stick with soil or coir or a mix of both for a healthy torty. :)

#10 gizmosmum

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 07:25 AM

I'd not deliberately feed willow herb to be honest, it's very high in tannins which torts don't tolerate well really ;)

thanks sue, must have misread that one,she's not keen anyway,

#11 wizzasmum

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 08:50 AM

Good to remember that although the site you mentioned for ID is excellent for just that, many of the plants listed as OK are not necessarily a good diet for tortoises. I know a varied diet is the way to go, but that is a relatively small group of varied plants. That's why I always recommend Lins book, it's all they need in this country and while others won't necessarily cause harm in the short term, they well might in the long term. When watching them in the wild, it's surprising how little of the plants out there they actually choose to eat and how many they ignore :)

#12 abigsnail1992

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 10:50 AM

Well, whilst I await the seedlings to grow I've managed to get hold of some watercress & romain lettuce & Normy absolutely loves it! Hopefully his dandelions & clovers will be through soon enough :)





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