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Over Wintering


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#1 Guest_Robbo01_*

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 04:48 PM

Dear All,

I found this forum after purchasing my Hermman Tortoise but obviously wished I had found it sooner.

Anyway after purchasing our little friend and the dreaded vivarium, which was recommended by the pet shop, we took him to a vet to ensure he was ok. The vet said he was fine, bit on the small side and said we should over winter him due to his weight. His shell was also a little soft,. Forgot to say he's about a year old.

What I wondered was is it ok to keep him in his tortoise table while over wintering, might be a silly question but wouldn't the heat be lost quite quickly. Please see pictures of my set up. I have a thermometer to check the temperture but as the nights draw in won't I need to keep his heat lamp on all night to ensure it stay above 10 -15 degrees. Any thoughts on what I need to do during this over wintering would be great. I don't expect the house to drop below 10 degrees but during the day while we are at work I'm never sure if it will?

I'm glad I found this site, as he looks much happier in the tortoise table which I adapted from the vivarium due to the info. on this forum. Any suggestions on setup also appreciated.

Cheers Rob

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#2 Guest_Ozric_*

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 08:10 PM

Hi Rob. Most of us in the UK wouldn't stand for our houses being way down at 10C these days. That is very much a low temp though and we need to watch out for drafts too. Most of us don't need any additional heat at night when we have our tortoises indoors. One way to provide extra heat is to use a ceramic heat emitter on a thermostat. This provides localised heat and the heater element lasts forever. They come in different wattages. I see your lamp is solarglow. I haven't used that one so couldn't comment much except to say you might need to move it nearer if the background temperature is lower.

In some houses there is a chill off the glass so not having the table too near the window might be an idea as well.

#3 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 10:47 PM


Hi Rob,

Congratulations on your new arrival. wub.gif And welcome to the forum!

This is a lovely forum to use, friendly, if not a little batty. wacko.gif

Well done you for making changes to improve things for torty, we are all learning as we go and enjoy sharing what we learn.

Can I ask what you are using for a substrate? Most of the guys on here use sterilised top soil some mix it with children's playsand. The little guys love to dig down. If they are hot, they dig, if they are cold... they dig!! rolleyes.gif This could ease your concern over temperatures a little?

Paula x

#4 Guest_Robbo01_*

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 06:42 AM

QUOTE (Ozric @ Sep 14 2009, 09:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi Rob. Most of us in the UK wouldn't stand for our houses being way down at 10C these days. That is very much a low temp though and we need to watch out for drafts too. Most of us don't need any additional heat at night when we have our tortoises indoors. One way to provide extra heat is to use a ceramic heat emitter on a thermostat. This provides localised heat and the heater element lasts forever. They come in different wattages. I see your lamp is solarglow. I haven't used that one so couldn't comment much except to say you might need to move it nearer if the background temperature is lower.

In some houses there is a chill off the glass so not having the table too near the window might be an idea as well.




Thanks Ozric, It's still all new to me and I want to ensure I'm doing the best I can. I was thinking about getting a thermostat to ensure correct control of heat output for daytime as I regulate the temperture by a timer at the moment. One thing I have noticed is the little guy doesn't seem to want to go to bed at night, in his bed is hay and soil which I thought he would borrow into. If I place him in there at night, within 5-10 minutes he's out again, I've checked the temperture and it's around 20 degree's which is the more or less same in the open space? He used to borrow quite a bit when he was in the vivarium, maybe it's too warm in there for him?

I'll also move the table away from the window, this should ensure the temperture stays fairly stable

Thanks

#5 Guest_Robbo01_*

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 06:54 AM

QUOTE (Hettie @ Sep 14 2009, 11:47 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi Rob,

Congratulations on your new arrival. wub.gif And welcome to the forum!

This is a lovely forum to use, friendly, if not a little batty. wacko.gif

Well done you for making changes to improve things for torty, we are all learning as we go and enjoy sharing what we learn.

Can I ask what you are using for a substrate? Most of the guys on here use sterilised top soil some mix it with children's playsand. The little guys love to dig down. If they are hot, they dig, if they are cold... they dig!! rolleyes.gif This could ease your concern over temperatures a little?

Paula x



Hi Paula,

Thanks for your quick reply.

I'm using astroturf as I find it easier to clean out, but if you think I should be using the soil and sand I can change it. I'm using soil and hay for his bed area, although he doesn't seem to use it.

Where the log is, I used to put a soil and sand mix in there for him to burrow into but he doesn't seem to use it, we also found that it dries out too quickly, any ideas on keeping it moist? maybe he would use it then.

Thanks

#6 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 08:25 PM


Hello again! smile.gif

It is difficult getting stuff right when you first start out, there is so much to learn.

There is lots of conflicting advice around. Keeping a tort is like having children we all do things in a slightly different way, but basic needs must be met to keep the little chap healthy.

I would definately recommend changing your substrate. Either to sterilised top soil, or to a mix of the top soil and children's playsand. Again it is trial and error, I have read ratios of 50/50, 70/30, it is not an exact science, in the outside enclosures we don't go to these lengths!! I found 50/50 to be too sandy and the little chaps ended up with sand in their eyes. I go for 70% soil, 30% sand and this works for my chaps.
Some people lightly mist their soil with a spray gun. Do not do this when the lamps are on as it can make them blow, perhaps at night time when the lights go off?

Hay is not supposed to be good for the little chaps as it can harbour mould spoors if it gets damp, this can cause respiratory problems. Also care needs to be taken near the heat bulb in case it catches fire.

Paula x



#7 Guest_Robbo01_*

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 07:14 PM

QUOTE (Hettie @ Sep 15 2009, 09:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hello again! smile.gif

It is difficult getting stuff right when you first start out, there is so much to learn.

There is lots of conflicting advice around. Keeping a tort is like having children we all do things in a slightly different way, but basic needs must be met to keep the little chap healthy.

I would definately recommend changing your substrate. Either to sterilised top soil, or to a mix of the top soil and children's playsand. Again it is trial and error, I have read ratios of 50/50, 70/30, it is not an exact science, in the outside enclosures we don't go to these lengths!! I found 50/50 to be too sandy and the little chaps ended up with sand in their eyes. I go for 70% soil, 30% sand and this works for my chaps.
Some people lightly mist their soil with a spray gun. Do not do this when the lamps are on as it can make them blow, perhaps at night time when the lights go off?

Hay is not supposed to be good for the little chaps as it can harbour mould spoors if it gets damp, this can cause respiratory problems. Also care needs to be taken near the heat bulb in case it catches fire.

Paula x



Hi Paula,

Thanks for your reply, I've now changed the substrate to 70/30 as suggested, but our little chap doesn't seem happy at all. Tonight I've found him on top of his slate in the open. He seems to be trying to get away from it. Any suggestions?

Thanks

Rob

#8 Guest_Dawn_*

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 07:29 PM

Please stop worrying, what your doing sounds fine, give him chance to settle, it can take a while but I'm sure it'll be fine in the end! Torts don't alwats bury down at night, some of mine do whilst others just sit on top of the substrate and sleep. Its not unusual for them to sleep on the slate either - after all its nice and warm there!

#9 Guest_Robbo01_*

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 08:47 PM

I'll try and stop worrying, thanks for all the advice....

Rob

#10 Guest_Ozric_*

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Posted 19 September 2009 - 12:11 PM

I find my torts behave differently when they are indoors. When they are outside in their housing, they only seem to feel safe sleeping under cover, be it a pile of moss or twigs, inside a wooden shelter or under a slate. Indoors they are a lot less choosy and often just sit right down and nodd off. This is telling me that when they are indoors they somehow know its safe and not necessary to find a hide-out at bedtime.

Mind you, every single one is different. I have one that doesn't like to be inside anything to sleep. That one really prefers to be jammed in between something firm on each side and will spend ages looking for this. I usually have some rocks or bits of wood lined up for that one to squeeze between.

Its true they can take time to adjust to a new substrate so don't worry if he seems unsure at first.




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