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might be getting a spur thigh but have no idea what to do

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#1 Guest_spurry_*

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 05:27 PM

MY mums friend has a 30 year old spur thigh tortoise but doesn't look after it properly. he feeds it green beans and grapes (has done for the last 16 years!) For hibernation he wraps it in newspaper, puts it in a box and leaves it in the loft. It's just got ill and stopped eating just after it came out of hibernation, so its at the vets at the moment getting x rayed for a trapped egg etc....

he said that i could have it and i really really want it but i dont know where to put it. i know the food to give it and needs etc but i dont know what to do with her because i dont have an empty shed to put her in with heat lamps and ubv lamps. . He lets her sleep in a cat basket on a blanket without any lights at all. Does anyone have any ideas where she could sleep? i'll be putting her in the garden in the daytime but it's just at night thats the problem.

#2 Guest_hollyj_*

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 08:47 PM

if it was me then i would take it but then rehome it at one of the many rehoming centres for tortoises. They know how to look after them and will take care of him properly. Dont just have him for the sake of it. if he is ill would you want ot pay for the vets bill if you arent that bothered about having him. a tortoise sounds like a good idea if someone offers you one but i would think if you have the time the space the knowledge and the money seems as tho it is at the vets. The final decision is yours tho.
good luck

#3 Guest_Jo_1984_*

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 11:00 AM

You sound passionate about taking him on, i'll paste a few sites to take a read of...
This site is great for diet and includes pics for weed hunting...
As long as temps don't drop below 10c,and you have a secure garden (torts are brilliant diggers!) he can stay out day and night, and will probably have favourite places to sleep (under bushes etc).
The tortoise trust www.tortousetrust.org has loads of info which im sure which will be very helpful :-) :-)
Good luck with the research, let us know if you decide to take him on
Jo x

#4 Guest_spurry_*

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 02:47 PM

thanks for the sites, they were really helpful. I've decided to take her because i've always wanted a tortoise.


#5 Guest_Flash Herman_*

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Posted 10 June 2007 - 02:39 AM


I have an adult spur thigh too. She is an "outdoor" tortoise and should be as an adult. Only the babies and young torts need a tort table and UV lights indoors.

You can build a tortoise enclosure outside, which is basically a secure area planted with juicy weeds and interesting features like different substrates (soil/pebbles/grass). You can add a small coldframe which is like a mini-greenhouse. They have some in Lidl at the moment for only 20. You can raise it up on some bricks so the tort can go in and out when it wants. It gets warm inside so is good for regulating their temps. They need room for sunbathing and a shady place too. You can add a little wooden tort house or rabbit hutch with a ramp to go in and out, which locks at night so it can be safe inside. You can put a heat lamp inside with a thermostat set to come on only if the temps go below 10 degrees. It will get all the UV light it needs from the sun.

Read some threads on hibernating on this forum as you will need some advice on that nearer the time! Insulated lofts freeze in winter and torts can go blind and even die if they get frozen.

my set up outside is not quite finished as I don't have the heat lamp installed yet. I am bringing my tort in at night for the time being, and she sleeps in a plastic storage box filled with hemp which she buries in quite happily. It is in the coolest part of the house and she goes out first thing in the morning until late at night.

Look at the Shelled Warriors site for great pics of outdoor enclosures, there is a forum just with photos on. These might give you some ideas.

#6 Guest_spurry_*

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 07:33 PM

[updated:LAST EDITED ON 11-06-07 AT 07:38 PM (GMT)]thanks for the advice, but how would i connect the heating lamp to the outside enclosure?? because i dont have any electricty outside. can you get lamps that run on batteries?

Also would i put the lamp in the wooden tort house/hutch or just put it in the enclosure??

#7 Guest_Flash Herman_*

Guest_Flash Herman_*
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Posted 12 June 2007 - 12:59 AM

You'd put the heater in the hutch/house. make sure there is enough roof clearance and some people use a tubular heater for this as it is slim. I am looking to buy one of these I think, as my ceramic lamp is too tall. You can buy them from reptile pet shops. You would have to run an outdoor extension cable to the area. There is one that goes outside and spikes into the ground with 3 sockets for 8.99 at B&Q at the moment, which is half price. You also need a thermostat which controls when the heater comes on (i.e. if temps go below 10 degrees). You can get these at Maplins electronics shop, and probably online too.

My tort has never had a heater in her life before and has just weathered the spring, summer and autumn each year, only coming indoors at night. I have only had her a short while though, and want to do everything properly! (New mum, worry about everything!)

#8 Guest_spurry_*

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 06:06 PM

[updated:LAST EDITED ON 12-06-07 AT 06:06 PM (GMT)]sorry for all the questions but what do you do when its pouring down with rain all day (and night)

#9 Guest_Flash Herman_*

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 12:27 AM

questions are good!

Re rain: so long as the tort has a dry place to shelter, it will be OK. They are good at deciding for themselves where they want to be (dry/wet, warm/cool, indoor/outdoor, etc). A coldframe is ideal for this as it warms up inside and is dry.

#10 Guest_spurry_*

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 06:51 PM

This will probably be the last question (hopefully). In the coldframe and tortoise house what do i use for bedding?

#11 Guest_Flash Herman_*

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 11:40 PM

I use hemp (brand name Aubiose) as it is non-dusty and the torts like to bury themselves in it. It looks like wood shavings but is better for torts. You can get it from large pet shops and horsefeed suppliers in a huge bag for around 8 which will last you ages.


PS - don't worry about the questions. Better to ask than get it all wrong. Not that I have all the answers of course, but someone else will!

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