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Crazy Climbing


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#1 Guest_georgie_*

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 03:57 PM

Hihi,

Hope you're all good. New to the forum and new to tortoise keeping!!

I have a quick question... Do your tortoises climb a lot? Reason I'm asking is I have 2 in the same viv (36x12x24") and one seems to enjoy climbing much more than the other. Both of them are around 8.5cms. There is plenty of nice flat space for them to roam around on but one of them won't stop climbing!! He'll climb up as high as he can, slide down and then do it all over again time and time again.

Is this normal? I keep close watch on his eyes cos he seems to faceplant into the substrate every time but is there any other way he can damage himself when he does this?

Thanks in advance!!

#2 Guest_terrypin_*

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 04:25 PM

QUOTE (georgie @ Jul 12 2009, 04:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hihi,

Hope you're all good. New to the forum and new to tortoise keeping!!

I have a quick question... Do your tortoises climb a lot? Reason I'm asking is I have 2 in the same viv (36x12x24") and one seems to enjoy climbing much more than the other. Both of them are around 8.5cms. There is plenty of nice flat space for them to roam around on but one of them won't stop climbing!! He'll climb up as high as he can, slide down and then do it all over again time and time again.

Is this normal? I keep close watch on his eyes cos he seems to faceplant into the substrate every time but is there any other way he can damage himself when he does this?

Thanks in advance!!


hi welcome to the forum .i also keep hermans and i have found they do tend to do this when they are testing the boundaries and specially if they dont have a good depth of suitable substrate for digging down into.at 8.5cm yours could really do with a bit more space and the juvenile i have around this size lives with 2 slightly larger ones in a 12'x 5' enclosure with greenhouse access 24/7.they really do need to be out of the viv during the day at least, this size is not ideal and they cant develop correctly without more fresh air and sunshine.perhaps you could use the viv at night and put them into an outdoor enclosure during the day.
terry


#3 Guest_georgie_*

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 04:57 PM

QUOTE (terrypin @ Jul 12 2009, 05:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
hi welcome to the forum .i also keep hermans and i have found they do tend to do this when they are testing the boundaries and specially if they dont have a good depth of suitable substrate for digging down into.at 8.5cm yours could really do with a bit more space and the juvenile i have around this size lives with 2 slightly larger ones in a 12'x 5' enclosure with greenhouse access 24/7.they really do need to be out of the viv during the day at least, this size is not ideal and they cant develop correctly without more fresh air and sunshine.perhaps you could use the viv at night and put them into an outdoor enclosure during the day.
terry


Thanks for the reply!! So the climbing means we're doing something wrong? I'll give you a bit more in depth info so you can let me know where I'm going wrong cos I deffo wanna get this sorted if its not normal behaviour!!

The substrate is about 2" in most of the viv... 3" in the colder size. We let them outside in the day if it's warm but bring them in after a few hours and never let them outside at night and if its cold as I want to keep the temp regulated as much as poss. We haveIn the viv we've got uva and uvb bulbs to simulate sunshine which are on for 12hrs a day on a timer. We've got a heatmat on the warm side. They have a shallow dish of water on the cold side. The food bowl is in the middle and there is a hide on both the warm and the cold sides. We feed them a mix of fresh foods and food from the pet shop which says is for russian tortoises. The fresh food we add a little calcium supliment to. Every couple of days we give them a soak and weigh & measure them.

They only seem to climb when they are in the viv. Should I add another couple of inches of substrate? I got the viv from pets at home as a starter kit - The said the size should be fine until next year but if this isn't the case I've got my old lizard viv in the garage which is 4ft. What do you think I should do? Sory this post is long but I figured if I gave you a little more detail it may pinpoint the prob exactly.

Thanks again!!

#4 Guest_terrypin_*

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 06:58 PM

hi you arent neccessarily wrong just different to what i have lol.i would give them as much space as you can indoors ,rather than a viv it is easier and cheaper to knock up a tortoise table in the space you have available.i find tortoises need to bask and a heatmat is far from ideal normally they get their heat from the sun which is overhead and too much bottom heat can cause problems with their development again as in thickening of the plastron.the best quality of heat and uvb is nowadays is from a heat and uvb combi lamp .unfortunately these can cause a heat build up in vivs so may be best avoided while you use one.a seperate heatlamp and uv f/tube would suit and you could use a dimmer switch on the heat source or control with a stat.i think the reason for the climbing is not enough room or they arent happy with the environment.
terry

#5 Guest_Lin_*

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 07:11 AM

If you go on the photo gallery section titled 'Help let me out' on 16 May, you'll see a picture of Victor climbing - he's 4" off the ground. He climbed 12" out of his enclosure when he was tiny. He's always climbing

#6 Guest_georgie_*

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 01:43 PM

A heatlamp did come with the setup but I think it may have been to big... We tested all the electric for a week before we got the tortoises to make sure temps were right and with the light on both sides of the viv were v hot even though the lid is completely mesh so thats when I brought a heatmat and a thermostat and it seemed a lot more controlled. Maybe I'll switch out the heatmat and put the heat lamp back on this thermostat I got. Will they mind if the light clicks on and off during the day? There will still be the UV bulbs on so there will still be a difference between night and day for them.

Lin - what a naughty boy!! Good job you managed to get him back in!! Do you find that one of yours climbs more than any others you may have? What do you think about this behaviour? Should I be worried about my tortoise?

#7 Guest_lilacgeorge_*

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 03:04 PM

Hi Georgie,

Welcome to the forum wub.gif

You need to ditch the heat map, they are no good for tortoises. Terry has explained why. The whole idea of the lamps is to simulate the sun so you need a white bulb above - you don't have to get anything expensive - a 40watt spot bulb would be sufficient, then you need the UV - this can be way of a UV tube or a UV bulb. Either way the UV has to be near the heat lamp so that they benefit from both, from how I read your message you have the bulbs at seperate ends? Also you dont need a seperate UV and UVA bulb??? If you have to use the viv then I would advise you swap to the bigger one, unfortunatly vivs have been linked to respiratory problems though so are best avoided.

The climbing behaviour is typical of torts - some do it, some don't - (out of my 6 I've got one that climbs) but more so if they are in a viv. The fact they they only seem to do it when in the viv shows it is an environmental thing.

I notice on the food front as well that you feed pet shop food???? Again these foodstuffs are no good for them and will cause lumpy shells, all she needs is weeds topped up with floretti if you can't get enough weeds. If they are on a weed based diet then you don't need to give additional supplements.

Hope this helps

#8 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 05:58 PM


Hi Georgie,

I would also swap to the 4ft one, the bigger the better! Does it have any ventilation mesh in it? Can the top be left off and the lamp be put on a bracket? The only other thing I can think of is that if it is made of glass and the little guys can see out they may become stressed as they can't understand why they can't get to where they can see... perhaps you could put something around the bottom to block the view? Most people do prefer the table top, or indoor rabbit cage option for their tortoises.
I was also sold the whole viv idea and Hettie my oldest tortoise still lives in hers at night time, (until we sort out a permanant outdoor alternative) we have adapted it so that she can come out onto an open area, hang on I will see if I still have an old picture....




There you go! They are old pictures, I no longer use bark, and Hettie has managed to give it that lived in look!! rolleyes.gif
Paula x

#9 Guest_georgie_*

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 06:52 PM

Brilliant thanks!! Heaps of help smile.gif Hettie I love the fact you've turned your slope into a hide 2.

I read in a book about them getting confused with the glass and they advised a strip of tape around head height which we've done. They don't have any trouble with the glass its just climbing that I thought may be an issue.

The top is completely mesh with the strip bulbs in the back. The lights are 2 UVA and 2 UVB bulbs that came with the kit and sit at the back. They are only short ones so they work out to the equiv of a 28" strip so the acutal light unit is thin but it does stretch all the way across the back. It does have 2 switches on so I can turn of half of the lights if less are needed. The lamp came with the fixings to either hang it or clip it.

The food says its a all around diet and its the stuff you hydrate before feeding them which I mix it up with fresh stuff but if it's no good at all I can throw it out - I already grow fresh stuff in the garden so thats no probs smile.gif By lumpy shells do you mean pyramiding (sp)? The food says it is specifically designed so theres no risk of it - not cool sad.gif

Thanks a bunch for all your advice its been really helpful!! I read 3 books before buying them but they all seemed to say different things when it comes to how to raise healthy tortoises!! Absolute nightmare!! Also, think I should go back to pets at home and talk to them about the starter kits they sell?? They seemed really knowledgable in there with their questionare and leaflets and advice but now who knows.

I'm a bit annoyed now... I planned for ages trying to get it all right and now it seems I've got it all wrong!! sad.gif Any other begginner tips welcome please smile.gif

#10 Guest_lilacgeorge_*

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 07:46 PM

Hi Georgie,

don't beat yourself up over it, most if not all of us have been there. My first tort - Frank - is a slovein tort, bought from a reptile place in Essex, he was couried to me and came complete with a viv!!!! Have to say though, after receiving advice on here I got rid of the viv etc. All mine live outdoors now (apart from Baby Lush!) and if they do have to come in I use indoor rabbit cages. I use a combined heat/Uv bulb both indoors and out.

I would still advise you to ditch the heatmat and the dry food - both are no good

#11 Guest_clairiscrazy_*

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 12:11 PM

hi georgie

welcome to the forum i too am new to owning tortoises ive had boris and clifford for just over 2 weeks now,

i know what you mean by conflicting information as this totally confused me one says one thing something elses says another..lol..


i think its all trial and error the first few months plus loads of worry and stress (well on my half anyway..lol)

i bought a large indoor guinea/rabbit cage for my tortoises as i had read about the vivs and thought nope ill go the cage way,
my pet shop owner had also offered me a heatmat and if i hadnt of read a few days before the heatmats are no good for them i think i would of accepted it,
we trust them to know about the animals they sell but it seems they just talk the talk aslong as they sell there wares so to speak.

the things i have done wrong and corrected so far are..

whole cage was covered in woodshavings and straw
whole cage covered with just straw
just had heat bulb
fed broccoli
bought them from a pet shop (cant correct this as i have them now but next time i will search out a breeder)

now my cage is like a little oasis..lol.

the substrate is topsoil/playsand they have a waterhole surrounded by slate they have a plant pot partly buried for a hidey hole with there own cress growing around it along with more rocks for climbing if they wish, food dish to keep food of the substrate
they have a huge house filled with straw which they love to bury and hide inside
we now have two bulbs heat and the proper uv bulb for the rays (they also go outside to get the real sun rays.lol)
fresh weeds picked daily (just ordered some seeds from shelled warriors to grow for winter time)

i think im finally almost sorted and can relax in looking after them..lol.. they get there daily baths aswell the next thing to worry about is there first hibernation ARRGhhhhhhhhhhhhh..lol.. but no doubt ill still be getting a few things wrong in the months to come thats why im glad i found this forum as i can always ask on here for advice smile.gif smile.gif

i dont remember my nan stressing as much as ive been doing when she had her tortoise when i was little..lol..

#12 Guest_AndyG_*

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Posted 31 July 2009 - 09:39 AM

here's stompy tryimg to escape, climbing up a hebe rolleyes.gif
Attached File  DSCF2360.JPG   4.93MB   65 downloads

#13 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 31 July 2009 - 07:48 PM


Hi Andy & Louise,

Welcome to the forum!

Funny little chaps eh? why go round things the easy way when you can struggle over the hard way? biggrin.gif rolleyes.gif

Paula x

#14 Guest_Lin_*

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Posted 31 July 2009 - 08:04 PM

I've had to make sure my hebe isn't in the corner, else Victor would be able to reach the wire.




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