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#1 Guest_dawnhughes_*

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 04:51 PM

Hi there.

We are considering getting a tortoise and after much research have decided that a horsfield seems the most suitable. As a first time owner we are trying to do as much research as possible to ensure we meet their needs and can provide it with a good quality of life.

One slight concern I have which I can't seem to find an answer to elsewhere is whether tortoises carry diseases, pathogens etc which may be harmful to other animals or vice versa.

We live in a large south facing, sunny, fully secure garden (surrounded by 8ft fences) and during the summer warmer days would love to allow it to roam around the garden in which my rabbits also have the run of. Is it safe to keep rabbits/ tortoises in close proximity? (It will be housed indoors at night and on cooler days in a viv.)

Sorry if it sounds stupid but I would hate to risk endangering either of the animals.

Thanks for your help!
Dawn x



#2 Guest_Joanne666_*

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 08:10 AM

Hi Dawn,

Well done for doing your research first
I havent heard of pathogens being passed by a rabbit but I will check it out for you.
Russians much prefer to be outside permanently, and a viv is a definate no-no. They create high humiditity which can cause pneumonia :-( .
Ideally you need a heated greenhouse or cold frame so your tort can live outside almost permanently, they dont like being moved in and out either. A ceramic heater on a thermostat is a popular method of heating outdoors, when the temp drops to say, 13 degrees, your heat lamp will switch on and raise the amibient temp for your tort.
There is a lot of excellent info at www.tortoisetrust.org.
And no, it wasnt a stupid question at all :-)
Hope this helps

#3 Guest_dawnhughes_*

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 04:53 PM

Hiya.

Thanks for your advice. So you would recommend that I get a tortoise table to house him in the shed rather than indoors then? Our shed alreay has lighting and two plug sockets alreay installed as my rabbits hutches currently occupy it.

Im hoping to get the accomendation sorted this weekend- just trying to find out the essentials- theres so many confliting pieces of advice, its difficult to know which is right!!!

The horsfield I will be getting is approx 3.5yrs old im told. Do you mind me asking your opinion on whether it would be kinder to get two for company for one another? Other than vet bills, larger accomendation, extra food bills etc.. is there any other things I should consider when taking on two? Or would you recommend as a novice we should just get one? I dont want to breed any!!

Dawnx



#4 Guest_dawnhughes_*

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 11:34 PM

The websites I have been on suggest that two males is a complete no no, while even a male & female may fight unless a single male is housed with multiple females which unfortuantly I cant afford! Looks like it is jus one tortoise for us then!!

Is this the same with the hermann tortoises also?

#5 Guest_Joanne666_*

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 08:21 AM

Hi there,

Many people successfully keep mixed sexes and single sexes together. A problem can occur when introducing a new tortoise to a collection, it can upset the pecking order . Many torts who are kept together from young can quite happily live together in harmony. Problems will occur if you have one male and one female. With only one female to 'amuse' a male, he will constantly persue her and the stress will make her ill. In captivity there is no escape from him amourous attentions and therefore at least 3 females is best with one male. Males can live happily together, the problems seem to occur if there is a female nearby, if they can smell her they will fight amongst themselves, however without a female theres a good chance they would get on fine.
Yes this applies to Hermanns too, all torts actually.
Your shed will be an ideal place to keep your torts, particulary russians who thrive outside and dont really like indoors that much. You will need a ceramic heater on a thermostat, then if the temps drop below 12 degrees your heater would kick in and raise the ambient temp.
Hope some of this helps

#6 Guest_dawnhughes_*

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 11:55 PM

Thanks guys for yor help & advice!!

We are actually getting two female (as far as he can tell at this age) 3.5yr old horsfield tortoises from a breeder at the end of the week.. He has assured us that we shouldnt experience any difficulties taking on two which have already been brought up together and due to the fact that they will be given the freedom of our very large garden during the warmer days. If it does become a problem however we can always separate them at a later date if need be.

We have taken the advice of the breeder in sorting out the accomadation and hope to have it complete in time for the new arrivals on Sunday.

Can I be cheeky and ask if you would mind sharing you tortoises names. We are really struggling to come up with names. for some unknown reason I have the strange desire to call mine 'Squirt'. I havent a clue were it came from it just popped into my head lol.

Dawn x

#7 Guest_desertrat_*

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 07:25 AM

Hi Dawn

Lol, i got my herman tort a few years ago and I call him (or her) Squirtle. You can use it if you want, I'm sure Squirt(le) won't mind sharing the same name.;-)

Rich



#8 Guest_Joanne666_*

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 08:22 AM

Hi Dawn,

Good luck with your new additions . At 3.5 years old it is impossible to sex them, but your breeder is right, if they've grown up together you should experience too many difficulties, especially if they turn out to be the same sex.

#9 Guest_dawnhughes_*

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 07:46 PM

Hi Dawn,

Good luck with your new additions . At 3.5 years old it is impossible to sex them, but your breeder is right, if they've grown up together you should experience too many difficulties, especially if they turn out to be the same sex.[/quote]

Hiya,

We are hoping there will be no probs, he thinks the majority of his horsfields are female so hopefully that'll turn out to be the case. There accomadation is coming along nicely... just got a few more things to get and it'll b sorted. Plus one more name to come up with...

Dawn x

ps/ Desertrat-Squirtle is lovely! Great site!



#10 Guest_desertrat_*

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 08:10 PM



Thank you very much Dawn
:)

 Rich



#11 Guest_dawnhughes_*

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Posted 25 June 2005 - 10:32 PM

Hiya all!

We got our new arrivals today.

We decided to name them Squirtle (right in pic) & Digger (left) due to the fact it seems to always be digging lol. At the moment Digger seems much shyer than Squirt but im sure once he/she's given a few days to settle in they'll be fine.

They are so intresting to watch!!

Dawn x



#12 Guest_desertrat_*

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Posted 26 June 2005 - 08:21 AM

awwwww Dawn, they're so cute. How old are they?

#13 Guest_dawnhughes_*

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Posted 26 June 2005 - 09:06 AM



Hi,

the breeder told us they are approx 3.5yrs old.

However the info he gave us about how to care for them conflicts much of the infomation we have gathered from the internet. Until we have the shed converted he told us they will be fine indoors in a woodern viv which we purchased. He always uses heat mats so told us to purchase one asap (which we did),we also have a basking light. Also although he mentioned it wont really be needed in the summer we purchased a UV tude light in preparation.


What do you suggest in terms of lighting/ heating. At present we leave the basking light on all day in one corner and at night we swap to the heating pad. Aslso we leave the door furthest from heatpad/ light open at night to allow heat circulation (we cant in the day because of our dogs!). Is it necessary to ensure at least one of these are on at all times even tho they are in the house? I dont want to sizzle them lol.

With regards to water we have purchased a feeding/bathin bowl which we had filled with a shallow amount of water. However our breeder when he delievered our tortoises stated we shouldnt keep it filled at all times with horsfields as it is unhealthy for them to be damp. Instead we should fill it every few days. Whereas I have seen many peoples horsfield setups online which do indeed have a small water bathing bowl in theirs? I dont want them to dehydrate .

Sorry to sound thick but with all this conflicting info its making my head spin!!!!

Dawn

p/s. Looks like we are going to have a sunny day today so looks like they'll be able to spend some time outside!



#14 Guest_Joanne666_*

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Posted 26 June 2005 - 10:19 AM

Hi Dawn,

Your babies are beautiful, but the breeder has given you terrible husbandry advice. A viv is lethal !!! Go to www.tortoisetrust.org and read about vivs and the effect they have. Heat mats are terrible too !!! Take it out asap, all heat should come from above like the sun, heat mats can cause gut irritation, the bacteria in their stomach is constantly warm which encourages flora to thrive and this will make them ill. Also, there is a high risk of burning themselves on them. They manage quite well in the wild without a heat mat :-)
The viv is lethal, they cause high humidity which leads to pneumonia. Take the doors off straight away and place a piece of wood in the front so they cant climb out, Horsfields cannot cope with any kind of humidity at all. Then go to www.tortoises.net where you can find instructions to build your own tort table for next to nothing. Get back onto the breeder and ask for a refund on the viv and the heat mat, total waste of money ! The only decent advice he gave you was the dampness. Horsfields cannot cope with damp either, I wouldnt bother with a water dish at all......just bath them 2 or 3 times a week, making sure they cannot see out or over their bath (an old washing up dish is ideal for this) and this will keep them hydrated, russians dont drink very much at all.
Your tort does NOT need extra heating on a night, they originate from Russia where the temps get really cold, they are designed to cope with it, in fact our centrally heated houses are probably too hot for them !!
Any outdoor enclosure needs to be extra secure with a russian, they are excellent climbers and diggers. A concrete and wire mesh base needs to surround the perimeters or they will dig out. In the wild they will often dig down at least 20 feet so never underestimate a russian. They climb exceptionally well too, so dont put anything in the corners of the enclosure or they will use it as ladders.
Russians in the wild will only eat for 3 or 4 months of the year, so feeding must be very strict to avoid fast growth and pyramyding. Only feed the amount you think would cover their shells, like a leafy jacket, and miss a few days of feeding out.
Hope some of this helps, and please read the articles in the links above regarding the vivs, I cannot stress enough the dangers.
Lovely babies by the way ;-)

#15 Guest_Calamity Jane_*

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Posted 26 June 2005 - 12:16 PM

Hi Dawn,
Your babies are sooo Cute!!
But I totally agree with what Jo said, Vivs are Leathal and you need to get them out of there ASAP, Also Heat mats a definate NO NO, Please take all the advice Jo has said your Tortoises will only suffer if you continue to house them the way you are now,
Could I ask where did you by them from please?
As the breeder has given you terrible advice. :(




 Yours
Joanne
X
www.tortoises.piczo.com



#16 Guest_emma72_*

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 09:18 AM

could you give me some advice please i purchased a horsfield a few days ago he is 2 years and so cute, at the moment he is in my spare room as its been raining. what i wanna know is can i put him outside in rain or does it have to be sunny weather ...i know its a stupid question but i've read a few books and all it says is they like to bask in the sun.
thank you :(



#17 Guest_Joanne666_*

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 09:34 AM

Hi,

As long as you have a dry shelter for him to escape to, he'll probably enjoy having a shower in the rain :-) Rain in the wild encourages them to go to the toilet too.
Hope this helps.

#18 Guest_emma72_*

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 10:07 AM

thank you ...i have put him outside hopefully this will get him eating aswell. :7

#19 Guest_Joanne666_*

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 02:29 PM

How long has he been off his food emma?

#20 Guest_emma72_*

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 02:49 PM

only got him yesterday ..i have been told that they sometimes dont eat for a few days when you first have them is this true??
gonna bath him later when i bring him in. also been told not to handle him to much




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