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#1 Guest_Space Monkey_*

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 09:24 PM

Hi,

My two tortoises, Tom and Jerry, sleep quite alot and seem rather inactive. They also seem to hide in the corners of their enclosure, and when i had a plant in there they hid under it alot. I was wondering if anything was wrong or if this is normal behaviour for tortoises of their age (3 years). Can anyone help?




Peter

#2 Guest_Ozric_*

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 10:32 PM

Hi Peter

can you tell us what the temperature is in the warmest place and also at the coolest? Tortoises depend on light and heat to become active. Equally too much heat can make them hide away from it.

When kept indoors Hermanns may be quite inactive if they are getting everything too easy. If there is no point in moving about and no need to go and look for food they sometimes don't bother.

#3 Guest_cyberangel_*

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 06:59 AM

Great advice from Jonathan, also to just add keeping them hydrated helps too. Daily bathing in shallow water does this.

#4 Guest_Space Monkey_*

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 03:48 PM

Well my thermometer reading right now is 22.6 C (72.7 F). The lowest reading since Saturday was 18.8 C (65.8 F), and the highest 23.1 C (73.6F). (The thermometer is about midway between the ground and the lights). They usually climb onto their shelter quite often, to get more heat from the lights, how long would you suggest that I have their lights on each day? The lights that I have are a 26Watt Repti Glo 5.0 UVB tropical terrarium lamp and a 13Watt Repti Glo 10.0 UVB desert terrarium lamp. Would you say that these are sufficient for my two tortoises and if not what would you suggest?



Peter

#5 Guest_Space Monkey_*

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 04:36 PM

Attached there should be some pictures of where i keep my tortoises and some others. Does this look OK for tortoises?

Attached Files



#6 Guest_wuz06_*

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 04:55 PM



Hi there!

Usually your looking with temperatures 32 degrees at one end and then at a cooler end the temps should be about 20ish - this may be why your torts seem to be inactive. Im not sure about your bulb because I use a combined megaray one so I am clueless with all other types! blush.gif

Vivariums are not the best enclosures for torts because of ventilation and I know the glass can upset them because they can see out but cant quite get to where 'out' is!! You could also try perhaps putting some topsoil into their enclosure because torts love to dig down, I spent loads on little hidey holes and cabins and my tort chooses to dig a hole and sleep in that instead!! rolleyes.gif

Louise

xx

#7 Guest_seesaw_*

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 07:00 PM

Hi Peter,

There are many issues here which explain the behaviour.

1. Your enclosure looks far too small, and its not suitable for keeping tortoises. It's the equivalent of you being locked in a small bedroom with the heating on. Its so small that they can see the whole enclosure. They have nowhere to go and have no stimulation to keep them happy. My advice is to get them out of there asap.

2. Your lighting is also not correct. Your using UVB bulbs. These are for light only, not heat. The tortoises need to bask under a heat source in order to become active. They will bask until they are warm, then they will begin to move around. You have to put them in an open enclosure, with a basking light on one side of it. So there is a warm area and a cooler area. Your temperatures would be the equivalent of the cooler area.

3. The sand you are using on the floor isn't suitable for these tortoises either.

If you take action on this now, there wont be any major issues. However, if you leave it like this i believe the tortoises will get worse. I hope this helps you.

Graham.

#8 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 08:10 PM

Hi Peter,

Welcome to the forum. smile.gif

Like so many of us you have been given some poor information on husbandry for your little guys. sad.gif

To provide the correct environment you would have to make quite a few changes. Have a look on the forum at the enclosure section. Hopefully it will give you some great ideas on where to start. If you have any specific questions please just ask, we will be happy to help you get things right for the little guys.

People have made enclosures from all sorts of things, upturned book cases, indoor rabbit cages are popular too. You could use lots of things to provide a temporary enclosure while you sort things out, but a heat source is absolutely vital.

If you are lucky enough to have a greenhouse or coldframe you could maybe get them outside straight away? Just make sure it is secure, that they cant climb or dig out and that it is covered to stop your little ones being taken by wild life and birds.

In answer to your question 12 hours of UV will be neccessary.

Paula x

#9 Guest_cyberangel_*

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 08:16 PM

Your light levels are far too low, they need a lot more daylight to make them active. Along with higher temperatures.
And as has been said, viv do not make good homes for med tortoises, not enough air circulation. I presume they were bought from a shop/garden centre?

#10 Guest_Space Monkey_*

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 08:58 PM

Thanks for all the help guys, i used to have an open pen for them made from a wooden frame but it took up alot of room. I got the vivarium from dobbies and the people there said that this would be fine for them. angry.gif Do you suggest that I start using the open pen again? In the meantime do you think that during the day I should leave the doors of the vivarium open so that Tom and Jerry can get more air in there?



Peter

P.S. - If anyone knows about snakes, are vivariums suitable for them and what breed would you suggest that i start out with if they are? If vivs are not what is the most suitable for a snake?



Peter

#11 Guest_Ozric_*

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 09:07 PM

Hi Peter

I hope you don't feel put off by us all saying things about your set-up. I started off badly with tortoise keeping and I was lucky when I found this site and somebody here put me on the right lines. But to begin with, I didn't want to believe them because the man who told me what to do at the start said he was an expert and he had loads of tortoises and was a breeder. I just wanted to belive he was right. But he wasn't.

I don't think any of us on here would say we were experts but between us we do have a lot of knowledge and its been built up over years and years.

And we're still learning new stuff all the time.

The reason your tortoises are not active is because its not anywhere near warm enough to get them going properly. They need at least 32C at the hotest place but they must be able to get away from that heat too. And at night they don't need any heat when they are indoors.

We think your tortoises would better off out of the vivarium but this might not be possible for you to do right away. To get them active and feeding properly you will need some more heat.

I hope you will stick with us on here. By the way, I'm in Glasgow. Jonathan

#12 Guest_Ozric_*

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 09:09 PM

Hi Peter - yes leave the doors open if you can for more air to get in. But your torts needs more heat for their bodies to work properly.

Dobies should stick to selling plants and compost. That is what they know about. They don't know about tortoises.

#13 Guest_Dawn_*

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 09:16 PM

QUOTE (Space Monkey @ Apr 27 2010, 09:58 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks for all the help guys, i used to have an open pen for them made from a wooden frame but it took up alot of room. I got the vivarium from dobbies and the people there said that this would be fine for them. angry.gif Do you suggest that I start using the open pen again? In the meantime do you think that during the day I should leave the doors of the vivarium open so that Tom and Jerry can get more air in there?



Peter

P.S. - If anyone knows about snakes, are vivariums suitable for them and what breed would you suggest that i start out with if they are? If vivs are not what is the most suitable for a snake?



Peter



Hi Peter,

Firstly welcome to the forum from me & mine wub.gif

Ok I think you're getting enough help on the habitat set-up so I thought I'd put in my two-penneth worth on the 'other uses for viv' issue biggrin.gif Viv's are suitable for snakes - corn snakes seem to be a good breed to start out with. I've got a bearded dragon (lizard) these are small and very tame and an excellent reptile to have as a pet wink.gif

#14 Guest_seesaw_*

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 09:17 PM

Hi Peter,

Please read the previous replies to your post carefully. You have been given some good advice!

This vivarium is NOT suitable. Leaving doors open does not solve the problem. Go back to your open pen and research what lighting is required. This doesn't have to be expensive. You can use your current bulbs for light, and buy a spot lamp bulb for about a 1.00 as a basking light.

With regards to snakes, your asking in the wrong place. I understand that you're young and want to keep exotic pets, but I suggest you focus on providing these tortoises with a suitable home before taking on more reptiles. Tortoises need space, so if you feel that the proper housing takes up too much room, maybe you should consider re-housing them and finding a more suitable pet.

Continue to keep asking questions and researching tortoises, you'll get there eventually!

Graham.



#15 Guest_Space Monkey_*

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 10:05 PM

Thanks again for all the help,

The pen I used to have was about 1m x 0.5m, is this big enough or do they need bigger? I used to have MVB light for them, the ones that produce heat and uv, but my brother stole it for his terrapins for their indoor winter pond, is this the best or if not what is the best one for them? Also I could probably get the pen I had out before for them by tomorrow, will the two lights I have at the moment be suitable until I can get a new one? (What sort of height should I have them at)? Or does it just depend on the heat it produces, I used to use about 1 inch of soil and 1 inch of play sand on the bed of the pen, I also used to have fake plants and being out when it is raining, is this true? mellow.gif



Peter

#16 Guest_Ozric_*

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 10:19 PM

Peter I think the pen would be much better than the viv. Will you still be using the UV lights over the pen? If so, put them next to the heat source.

You can use something like a reading lamp as a heat source on a temporary basis. To state the obvious, make sure the tortoises cannot touch the bulb and that it won't start a fire. If you use this way of providing heat you wil find the tortoises sit next to it a lot.

I think the strip lights you have there don't produce hardly any heat at all.

There are different views about lamps. Lots of people use strip lamps for UV such as those you have and an ordinary bulb for heat. Personally I do like the combined heat and UVB mercury vapour lamps but they are more expensive.



#17 Guest_cyberangel_*

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 06:58 AM

Your soil and sand should be mixed as a substrate, and to be honest more soil used the better. As sand can sometimes irritate their eyes.
But heat and light is probably your biggest problem with them not being active. I have used tubes and spotlight which work well, its just you have to change the tubes every six months, as the UV in the tubes depleats. The combination lamps UV/heat last up to two years before they need changing. So work out cheaper in the long run.
The heat sorce has to be at a height, which makes the temps under it at least 32c.

#18 Guest_Dawn_*

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 07:25 AM

QUOTE (seesaw @ Apr 27 2010, 10:17 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi Peter,

Please read the previous replies to your post carefully. You have been given some good advice!

This vivarium is NOT suitable. Leaving doors open does not solve the problem. Go back to your open pen and research what lighting is required. This doesn't have to be expensive. You can use your current bulbs for light, and buy a spot lamp bulb for about a 1.00 as a basking light.

With regards to snakes, your asking in the wrong place. I understand that you're young and want to keep exotic pets, but I suggest you focus on providing these tortoises with a suitable home before taking on more reptiles. Tortoises need space, so if you feel that the proper housing takes up too much room, maybe you should consider re-housing them and finding a more suitable pet.

Continue to keep asking questions and researching tortoises, you'll get there eventually!

Graham.



Graham, please don't take this personally but Im really sorry, I found this reply a little to harsh unsure.gif Peter is trying to do his best by asking advice and I feel that judging whether he is 'capable' of owning a tortoise is not a desision for us to make, I speak from experience as I too had replies like this when I first started out rolleyes.gif we all have to start somewhere and I bet there's not one single person on this forum that can hold their hand up and say that they haven't made or learnt by their mistakes. As for asking about snakes, Peter is more than welcome to ask questions on the 'all other pets' part of this forum as I'm sure some of our members have experiences of snakes and again, when I got my lizard I received some very good advice from members on here who also had lizards.

There are ways of adapting vivs into more suitable accomadation if there is no other alternitive way, opening the doors is one idea. Yes it would be more ideal to use the pen, but if Peter is unable to at this moment in time then opening the doors as a temperary measure for now is the next best thing.



#19 Guest_Space Monkey_*

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 04:05 PM

Hey, I'm going to get soil and sand for the tortoise pen at the weekend. Is there anything else anyone would suggest I try to get while I'm out to improve their pen at the moment? Anything else I should put in to make it better for the tortoises?



Peter

#20 Guest_Dawn_*

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 05:12 PM

Hi Peter,

Here's what I would advise you to get...

Topsoil (I wouldn't worry too much about the sand)

UV light

Heat Bulb (either a 'proper' reptile heat bulb or a normal reflector spot bulb eg R63)

Lamp holders to hold the above bulbs - if you get the UV tube you will need the correct fittings for it

Shallow water dish

Slate - a piece to eat of and a piece to go under the heat lamp

Thats the basics. You could also get a hide/den for them but 9 times outta 10 they don't use them, they prefer to snuggle down in the soil.

For bathing use a biscuit box (the plastic sort - jacobs biscuits for cheese type)

You will also need suppliments - particulary if they are indoors. I tend to just use cuttlefish

Errrr, think thats about it??




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