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WORRIED AND NEED HELP PLEASE!


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#1 Guest_colin's mam_*

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 07:36 PM

Hi - My lovely hubby bought me Colin last week for my birthday along with a vivarium and I am thrilled, but very worried. I have read that viv's are not good for torts and am scared we are being cruel. I have read lots since having him, and know that we need to make adjustments to his viv. Until I can make changes I have left the glass doors open enough for some ventilation, but not enough for him to escape and there are a couple of small vents in the back. I intend on changing his bulb this weekend to a more appropriate light rather than just a light bulb. We put the uv light on in the day and then put the bulb on in the evening, and turn it all off when we go to bed - is this correct? The temp is around 30C and we have put him outside on the grass in the day when we are there to supervise him. I am also going to buy a guinea pig cage this weekend, and make an area of around 10 metres square for him, so he can stay outside more in the day when the weather permits.

I am going to also take him to the vets to give him the once over, and get him wormed if need be. My hubby did buy him from a reptile shop (owner has tortoise's himself) and he comes from slovenia (with certificate) but having read on here not sure that this is ok?

We are going on holiday for 12 days in August and I am concerned about his welfare whilst we are gone. My neighbour will look after him but not sure whether they will give him the TLC and understand the importance of his care whilst we are away (only because they might not understand torts and not through neglect I might add). We are just learning ourselves so do not feel that we are able to give all the instructions that will be needed. I love Colin wub.gif and really want him to have a good life, but didn't realise the worry that I would have on looking after this beautiful creature. Any help and advice would be very much greatly received. Sorry for the length of this topic, but I have so many questions and when I look for answers there seems to be such a variation in answers!

#2 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 07:59 PM


Hi Colin's mam!

A very warm welcome to the forum!

Don't worry... we'll sort you out! biggrin.gif Honestly, your story is soooo familiar!! Hands up guys who has had the same happen... 10, 20, 1000!!

Every change you can make for Colin will be one in the right direction, but it will be impossible to do overnight, but you are a new "mam" and are learning lots already... lucky ol' Colin! biggrin.gif

The first thing you can do is to sort out his lights, you have a UV lamp, this needs to be switched on for 12 hours per day, I am unsure what your other bulb is? The heat bulbs also need to be on for the same amount of time, but not in the evening.. if you put them on together then as Colin basks he will get the UV he needs.

It is essential for Colin's metabolism and digestion that there is a drop in temperature at nightime, so please don't put any additional heat on in the evenings, Hettie's lamps are on a timer 6am-6pm. You can buy combined heat and UV bulbs some people use Megaray and others Powersun bulbs.

Are you giving Colin regular baths? This is a very important step as it will prevent him becoming dehydrated. How often he needs them will depend on his age. It is especially important as he is in a viv.

He will love being outside, if he is tiny make sure his enclosure has shelter and is preditor proof, birds have been know to fly off with babies. blink.gif
Keep asking questions... we all do!!

Paula x


#3 Guest_Lin_*

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 08:18 PM

When you say you are going to get a guinea pig cage, an indoor guinea pig cage is good for an indoor run. If you mean an outdoor hutch, it wouldn't be suitable because he will climb the wire door. ohmy.gif

#4 Guest_terrypin_*

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 03:45 AM

hi welcome to the forum.what size is colin and what size is his viv as this is important when sorting his lighting.i find the uv combi heat lamps are best and these are all i use now.i must say they work best with an open topped enclosure because the heat will build up in an enclosed space like a viv which could be dangerous for colin.hermans tortoises require some humidity particularly in their substrate and will become lethergic if kept too dry.if colin is a recent import i may be a good idea to get him wormed and treated for any parasites.
terry

#5 Guest_colin's mam_*

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 03:28 PM

QUOTE (Hettie @ Jul 20 2009, 08:59 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi Colin's mam!

A very warm welcome to the forum!

Don't worry... we'll sort you out! biggrin.gif Honestly, your story is soooo familiar!! Hands up guys who has had the same happen... 10, 20, 1000!!

Every change you can make for Colin will be one in the right direction, but it will be impossible to do overnight, but you are a new "mam" and are learning lots already... lucky ol' Colin! biggrin.gif

The first thing you can do is to sort out his lights, you have a UV lamp, this needs to be switched on for 12 hours per day, I am unsure what your other bulb is? The heat bulbs also need to be on for the same amount of time, but not in the evening.. if you put them on together then as Colin basks he will get the UV he needs.

It is essential for Colin's metabolism and digestion that there is a drop in temperature at nightime, so please don't put any additional heat on in the evenings, Hettie's lamps are on a timer 6am-6pm. You can buy combined heat and UV bulbs some people use Megaray and others Powersun bulbs.

Are you giving Colin regular baths? This is a very important step as it will prevent him becoming dehydrated. How often he needs them will depend on his age. It is especially important as he is in a viv.

He will love being outside, if he is tiny make sure his enclosure has shelter and is preditor proof, birds have been know to fly off with babies. blink.gif
Keep asking questions... we all do!!

Paula x



Hi Paula - Many thanks for your response. I will try and answer your questions as best I can. His bulb is a normal 40 watt light bulb, but I assume that this is the wrong type to have. So am I right in thinking that he needs both the uv and the heat bulb on for 12 hours a day and then turn them both off at the same time, or do I just turn off the uv lamp?

I am a bit confused about the bath thing!!! He has a dish with water in but so far have not given him a bath - do I do this on a regular basis, or does he do this himself?

We have put him outside as much as we can this week, but have yet to get him an enclosure - we just make sure we are there with him whilst he wanders around the grass. He is 3 and is quite large (not a tiny one) - 9 and a bit cms across.

Many thanks for all your help and advice

#6 Guest_colin's mam_*

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 03:30 PM

QUOTE (Lin @ Jul 20 2009, 09:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
When you say you are going to get a guinea pig cage, an indoor guinea pig cage is good for an indoor run. If you mean an outdoor hutch, it wouldn't be suitable because he will climb the wire door. ohmy.gif


I have just read that a guinea pig cage would be ideal for outside, but haven't seen one as yet. I aim to adapt it (or get hubby to do so) so that he has an area where he can go inside and also put a glas/perspex lid on to keep him warm (I assume that he want need artificial light and heat then - is that correct?

#7 Guest_colin's mam_*

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 03:32 PM

QUOTE (terrypin @ Jul 21 2009, 04:45 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
hi welcome to the forum.what size is colin and what size is his viv as this is important when sorting his lighting.i find the uv combi heat lamps are best and these are all i use now.i must say they work best with an open topped enclosure because the heat will build up in an enclosed space like a viv which could be dangerous for colin.hermans tortoises require some humidity particularly in their substrate and will become lethergic if kept too dry.if colin is a recent import i may be a good idea to get him wormed and treated for any parasites.
terry


At the moment his viv is solid on 3 sides and 2 sliding glass doors, but I am thinking of getting hubby to saw the roof and make an opening as large as is possible and then cover is a mesh which will give him the ventilation that he needs. He looks quite sad at the moment and I am concerned that he is not happy - so we will be doing this sooner rather than later.

I have made an appointment with a vet who is an expert with tortoises but the earliest he could do was 6 August, so hopefully he will give him a clean bill of health and I can at least stop worrying.

Many thanks Terry for your help and advice

#8 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 05:32 PM


If hubby can saw the top off, does this mean Colins viv is wooden with glass sliding doors? If this is the case you could take the doors off and turn it the other way with the opening on the top... just the job!?

I am not sure about your bulb, I don't know if anyone else uses a normal bulb? Hettie has a heat bulb, no light, just heat. And of course her UV tube. Yes they both get turned off after 12 hours, the drop in temperature is essential.

If Colin is in the house at night the temperature will not drop low enough to cause him harm, the only time he might need any additional nightime heat is in deepest, darkest winter, when there are sub zero temps outside.... but even then most houses don't drop below the minimum required temp. (and besides, Colin may be hibernating then!) I think at 10C torties need additional heat, but I would be happier keeping Hettie at about 14C.... but that's just me!

Regarding baths, people all do different things... that is why there is so much conflicting advice, the thing is, there are no set in stone rules, most of the stuff we read is just what other keepers do.
Babies need regular baths to stop them dehydrating, as adults people bath them less often, some weekly, others two weekly, some will just add a shallow dish of water to the enclosure and leave the torts to get on with it. Colin is still a little chap and would benefit from bathing, If it were me (and this is just my opinion) I would be bathing 2-3 times per week.
My babies stand in Icecream tubs of lukewarm water, for 10-20 mins, I sometimes change the water 1/2way through to keep it lukewarm. It covers the base of their shells (probably about 1cm) make sure Colin can keep his chin above the water level!
The little guys absorb water in several different ways, they drink it, it is absorbed by their skin and they take some through the opening in their tails.
Most of the time after standing in the water for around 10 mins they will have a poo and a wee and sometimes pass a creamy substance called urates, all perfectly normal! rolleyes.gif Regular bathing also helps to keep their enclosure clean as they do their 'big jobs' in the bath!! blush.gif
There is alot to learn, but soooo worth it. wub.gif And, once you've got the hang of it taking care of Colin will be no probs! Tis just the first bit thats difficult, so much to know but needing all the info straight away. wacko.gif

Paula x

#9 Guest_clairiscrazy_*

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 05:54 PM

QUOTE (colin's mam @ Jul 21 2009, 04:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I am a bit confused about the bath thing!!! He has a dish with water in but so far have not given him a bath - do I do this on a regular basis, or does he do this himself?



hiya smile.gif

bathing him means putting him in a saucer or tub ( i use a plant pot holder? goes on bottom of plant pot to hold the water) with warm water in it make sure its shallow water so just below the top of the bottom shell (hope that makes sense) sorry im not used to the names of the body parts just yet as im new to owning tortoises aswell..lol..

my tortoises were hatched in 08 so there younger than yours i bathe mine everyday to make sure they stay hydrated, ppl normally bathe them for inbetween 5 and 15mins, if its 15mins remember to keep the water warm so you may need to change it a couple of times.
they also have a water dish available 24-7 but i never see them drink or go in it as of yet,

you may also notice when you bathe your tortoise he will dip his head under dont panic he will just be drinking, he may also wee and open his bowls whilst in there if so change the water (my two have yet to soil there bath water they wait till i put them back in there cage.lol)

on the outside enclosure i know mine is not ideal but for now its good for my tortoises and the garden for the time being, its called a voyager run sort of triangelar in shape its 5ft long with a indoor place for them to get out of the heat (yeah right were in the uk..lol) i am going to cover about 4inch high of the wire so my torts cant see out because i know when they grow a tad bigger they will be able to see over the wood and think they can get out.

try ebay and do a search just to give you some ideas on whats about or type in google,

i got my guinea pig/rabbit indoor cage from a pet store its just over 100cm in length and about 21inch in width but again my tortoises are small, so have a good look around and see what suits colin"s size.

whilst he is in the viv have you taped off the glass edges so he cant see out when the doors are closed? as he may get stressed and think he can walk through the glass,

i got betty and boris from our local pet shop with papers but found mine came from Macedonia so yes i also made the same mistake sad.gif (i will buy from a uk cb breeder next time) but betty and boris will get the best care i can give them now as its not there fault naughty ppl imported them over here,

i bought mine on 26th june and its been non stop worry this worry that am i doing this right that right..lol. i dont think ill stop worrying till there baout 5yrs old maybe..lol.

good luck on sorting colin out sounds like he will be fine once you have things sorted out for him and of course this place is great for advice and tips so always ask any questions smile.gif




#10 Guest_clairiscrazy_*

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 05:57 PM

lol im so slow at typing paulas bath advice is a lot easier to understand than mine..lol..

#11 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 06:29 PM

I've just written that I would bath 2-3 times a week! blink.gif (minimum)
My 2 year olds get bathed almost every day and hettie my 5 year old the same... but then she did have trouble with her kidneys which needed flushing, she needed lots of baths, old habits and all that, and she loves a bath!

Paula x

#12 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 06:34 PM

QUOTE (clairiscrazy @ Jul 21 2009, 06:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
lol im so slow at typing paulas bath advice is a lot easier to understand than mine..lol..


Aw, I don't know about that Clair, the more help given the better! biggrin.gif
As for needing quick typing, join us in the chatroom some time when were all 'chipping in' at the same time!! rolleyes.gif I once thought Dawn had slowed down alot... boy is she quick... and then I realised she was multi-tasking and answering a post at the same time! biggrin.gif

Paula x

#13 Guest_lilacgeorge_*

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 06:48 PM

Oit you lot!!!! I am here you know!!! tongue.gif Tsk, always picking on me!!!

Well, nowt left for me to say really! Beaten to it!

Paula, some people use 'normal' spot bulbs for heat which are just as efficient and a lot cheaper then commercially sold 'heat' bulbs. I have used these (In fact am using one for my lizards viv as with the warm weather a combi bulb was to warm for the viv). Personally I prefer to use combi bulbs - they do make a huge difference!

#14 Guest_Lin_*

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 06:48 PM

Clair, you mentioned your enclosure was 4" high. Victor climed a 12" wall when he was only a couple of inches long, so beware. wacko.gif

#15 Guest_clairiscrazy_*

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 09:32 PM

QUOTE (Lin @ Jul 21 2009, 07:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Clair, you mentioned your enclosure was 4" high. Victor climed a 12" wall when he was only a couple of inches long, so beware. wacko.gif



hiya lin


sorry didnt make myself clear the enclosure is triangle in shape so they cant climb out as the roof part is erm how to explain pyramid?? totally enclosed nothing can get in unless through either the hidey hole end or the run end and its about 14inch high..lol..

i meant i am going to cover along the bottom erm follow the wire round the run part and black it out to about 4inch high so the torts cant see out(dont want them thinking they can walk through wire), at the moment they cant see over the wood/bottom part of the run as there so small but just planning for there growth spurt..lol..


paula oooo chatroom something else i havent found on this forum yet..lol.. name time and place ill try be there..

#16 Guest_gail69_*

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 07:49 PM

Hi Colin's Mam

I too have my two tortoises, Dora and Phoebe in a wooden viv with glass doors. And as I have 2 dogs I feel this is the safest place for them. So i have put tape across the bottom of one of the doors so they can't see out and removed the other door. My partner has made a mesh door out of an old fire guard. It now looks like a rabbit pen with glass one end. (the warmer end). I thought about turning it on it's back and removing the glass but then would have to stand up to see them all the time. This way I can see them all the time. And I have to say they are much happier with mesh at one end.

Hope this helps.



#17 Guest_Lin_*

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 08:52 AM

Just beware he can climb mesh (and then fall off onto his back). One of our members couldn't find their tortoise in his enclosure then looked up and Hey Presto, there he was above him on the wire! huh.gif

#18 Guest_colin's mam_*

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 12:04 PM

Many thanks for all your advice and help. I did try to bath colin the other day, but he didn't seem to like it, but it could have been that the dish was too shallow. Will try him again in a deeper dish and see how we get on. As you know he is now 3, so does that make him still a little guy or an adult? I am going to change his viv but haven't decided which way yet. I did think of cutting a hole in the roof and replacing it with mesh, but I also like your other ideas of turning it on it's back and take doors out and cover in mesh (but like gail said I wouldn't be able to look at him without getting up) and I also like the idea of taking off one of the doors and changing it to mesh. I will let you know what I decide.

I am going to do a bit more research into his outdoors area before I do anything. I am going to get him a little house, and then pen off some of the garden. Is it right in thinking that I cannot leave his run area just all grass and that I need to make different surfaces for him to walk around?

Still not sure what to do with colin when we go on our hols - was thinking of asking the pet shop if they will look after him whilst we are away, but then worried about whether he might pick up something as he would have been seen by the vet before then and then I would have to have him rechecked when we get back. Help!!!!!!!! all these things you need to think about!!!!!! ohmy.gif

Once again, thanks for all your help and advice - it really makes it easier to make sure colin is getting the good life he deserves.




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