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Hermanns Tortoise problem please help

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#1 Guest_lisa0307_*

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 06:48 PM

Can anyone advise me on a problem I have with my male Hermanns Tortoise. I got him from people that couldn't look after him and really had no idea on feeding and housing etc. He is 4 years old and very vicious,he chases and bites at our legs and feet all the time he is out. We have another much,much older female tortoise, different speices who doesn't come into contact with him as he bites at her face and feet. The problem is that when he came to us he was off his food, we tried everything and eventually got him to eat,everything was fine for a few months and then he starts to starve himself again. This goes on and on like a vicious circle and we can't stop him from doing it. Also he seems very sexually active for such a young tortoise,we did some reading up and it said they don't become sexually mature until they are eleven or more. He is constantly laying on the feet of our electric heater when it's turned off and masturbating for want of a better description. Please can anyone give us any help or advice as to what we can try,our vet says he should be destroyed if he keeps starving himself but thats too easy to give up on an animal that has had such a bad start in life. Any information/advice would be greatly appreciated. Many Thanks Lisa from London :P

#2 Guest_arnhib_*

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 08:21 PM

Hello Lisa
Well my first advice is to change your vet.

It sounds to me like your tortoise is large for his age, if he is sexually mature at the age of 4, or that the age is not correct, but they do start to get sexually active quite young, but I would normally say 5/6 years old. I doubt if he could fertalise any eggs yet but one never knows :-)

Is there a specific time when he stops eating, very hot weather, cold weather, late summer,????
Males are very sexy, skirting boards, shoes, anything they can mount is ok,

When you say he bites is it skin he goes for, if so, he thinks it's food of some kind.
Give me the answers to these questions and we'll take it from there

#3 Guest_Joanne666_*

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 08:39 PM

I agree with Arnie, what a terrible thing for the vet to say......he sounds very horny, a common problem with torts becoming sexually active. My vet is a tort keeper himself, and complains that his males will starve themselves for weeks on end when 'in the mood' and race around the garden being very aggressive and dominant, it sounds a similar thing.
Hope some this helps too.

#4 Guest_lisa0307_*

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 11:30 AM

Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. Firstly the people that had him before us never hibernated him so because of his constant weight loss and then gain we haven't either as we didn't think it was safe to do so. His age is correct as they gave us papers and photos of him when he was younger. He starves himself all year but this year has been worse the only thing that temps him is romaine lettuce which we know isn't good for him but I'd rather he had something than nothing. He'll eat cooked peas,beans and broccoli no problem. We've even hand picked lovely wild plants for him but he's not interested. The last time he stopped eating we gave him cantaloupe melon on the advice of a lady at a tortoise food company "Pretty Pets" and it worked, he loved it and he started eating again for quite a few months. He has pretty pets on his food to give him extra vitamins etc. He lives in a large vivarium most of the day with a very expensive uv light and heat lamp but he likes to roam the house climbing and exploring so we let him out when we get home from work, this is when we suffer our injuries. I can't wear long skirts as he chases me and bites and pulls at the skirt until it tears, he's very strong for such a small creature. He chases our yorkie aswell. He bites at our ankles and toes and can inflict nasty injuries, it's like he's on a misson to inflict pain! He doesn't like being in the garden much and will walk in if the doors open. I don't leave him out there on his own due to thefts and the fact he would get lost he's quite small, the length of his shell measured along the bottom from front to back is 17cms and he weighs 804 grams if this is any help. When he chases and goes to bite us we always put food in this path but hes not interested in it. Because of his bad start in life (he lived in a vivarium with a heat pad AND heat light and a uv light that wasn't strong enough and he was constantly fed calcium powder which was recommended by their vet at the time he was starving himself, along with foods such as sweetcorn and we think maybe dog food) he has a bit of a lumpy shell but that seems to be correcting itself as time goes on. My vet says he has anorexia and because it's a mental illness theres nothing that can be done so this is why I'm hoping for some help. I thought that there may be something I could feed him to calm his sexual desires. If you'd like any more information regarding Humphrey the Hermann please feel free to ask, all information/advice would be so greatly appreciated. Many Thanks Lisa

#5 Guest_arnhib_*

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 12:57 PM

Hello Joanne
Do you want this one :-) Needs a long answer and lunch is ready haha
Lisa I think you have to be cruel to be kind
For the moment, Cos/Romaine lettuce is ok, everything else your giving him, bin it, if Joanne doesn't reply. will get back to you tonight

#6 Guest_firefox_*

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 02:50 PM

Excuse me I'm sure but what a load of bollocks your vet talks - bin him too! Your tortoise is completely normal - tough love is the way to go and he will never look back. Just off to take soem prozac to Greece and Turkey for the torts - Back next year!}>

#7 Guest_Joanne666_*

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 06:21 PM

[updated:LAST EDITED ON 14-08-05 AT 06:25 PM (GMT)]Anorexia can be a big problem in torts :-( It can be as a result of not hibernating. I have recently helped a lady locally with an anorexic tort who had been fed on custard and rice pudding for years :-( She ended up in the vets being tube fed and thankfully now eats the correct food.
I think you need to find another vet, hopefully a more sympathetic one too. Your tort needs to be out of the viv and in the garden, not wandering around the house, its not the best environment for them. Make an enclosure which is secure and predator proof, preferably with a lockable lid.......he needs to get as much natural UVB as possible, especially after the bad start hes had with the previous owner. If he cant walk back in the house, he will soon get used to being outside, you need to be tough, no artifical UVB light will ever replace the real thing. If his enviroment in more natural, his behaviour may calm down a bit. Also please be careful with your dog, even the most mild mannered of dogs can turn and inflict terrible injuries on a tort.
He also needs a wild weeds and flowers diet, the lettuce hes getting a the moment is nearly all water, and none of the other foods are really suitable. Dandelions, plantians, sowthistle, honeysuckle flowers, petunias, lavatera, hibiscus, mimulus and hosta are just a small few you can offer him.....but be firm, he will need a lot of time and patience. It is harder to get anorexic torts to eat....which is why I think you need to find another vet, he may have to be tubed.
I hope this helps a bit, but Im sure Arnie will jump in with the bits I've missed .
Go to www.tortoises.net for further help and advice regarding outdoor accomodation

#8 Guest_arnhib_*

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 07:41 PM

Hello Joanne
No I think you've said it all,I think one of the main problems is, he has not hibernated, Lisa even if he is anorexic later in the year, I think hibernation will sort him out, even if it's only a short one.
They can go a long time without food, I had a female that was a bit off colour last Autumn, so I kept her up, she went 6 months, and the only food she had was what I forced her to have, and that wasn't much, perseverance has paid off and she is eating for England now, if she is off colour this year, I will put her into hibernation too.
So Lisa keep in touch and remind us of this in November.
Try all the things we have suggested and let us know if there is some improvement, the toe biting is normal even my little ones will have a go if I'm not careful :-)

#9 Guest_lisa0307_*

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 07:55 PM

[updated:LAST EDITED ON 14-08-05 AT 07:59 PM (GMT)]Thanks for your advice. Unfortunately most vets in the uk in my opinion do not know much about Tortoises full stop. If we take a tortoise sick or otherwise to a vet here it is given the same treatment whatever seems to be the problem, to give you an example, our female tortoise somehow last summer got past all the barricades we had made to stop her getting to our pond. We found her three hours later at the bottom of the pond grey in colour and holding her breath,god knows how she survived. She was taken straight to the vets and was taken in and put onto antibiotics as she was so full of water. As the antibiotics had to be kept in the fridge and our vet was going on holiday he left enough syringes of antibiotics in the surgery fridge all ready for another locum vet to administer. We had to take her everyday for this treatment. When we saw the locum vet try to inject frozen liquid into our Tortoises back leg we couldn't beleive our eyes,he was struggling so much the needle was bending. My husband said to him, I think you'll find thats frozen, he attacked my husband by saying it wasn't and promtly called a nurse to help him who confirmed it was frozen and needed to be placed into a glass of warm water to defrost it. Needless to say we never got an apology even after complaining to the head vet. Vets have one way to treat Tortoises in my opinion and it's the "fill them with antibiotics" alot of the time this is so unnecessary, Baytril being their favourite,they seem in no hurry to do the research on these animals but in the process charge an absolute fortune for keeping your animal for weeks on end at their surgey, force feeding it and filling it with medicine only to tell you at the end of it that nothing can be done. Our male Tortoise that unfortunately died two years ago had just this treatment and we were charged nearly 400 for a ten day stay and even then it said on the bill"compassionate discount" how nice!! So you see it really is very difficult to find a vet that knows anything about Tortoises in the uk and if you do you pay through the nose for the privilege. The Tortoise that went in the pond made a full recovery and seems to know not to go near the water now. I'll let you know how Humphreys doing after giving your advice a try. Thanks! Lisa

#10 Guest_lisa0307_*

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 08:17 PM

Just a quick question to you all, if I am to hibernate him this year and want to get his weight up,is there any fruit or vegetables that are safe to give him or has it got to be just the flowers and weeds you suggest. Is there a good web site that could tell me all the flowers and weeds that are safe and suitable to give him as all the books I have say things like apples, cabbage, tomato etc are ok for him to eat. Thanks for all your feedback. Lisa

#11 Guest_Dawn1717_*

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Posted 30 August 2005 - 06:22 PM

I am amazed that books are still suggesting fruit and veg for your tortoise as a stable food source really should be weeds plants flowers that sort of thing..you can actually buy some seeds from a site called herbiseed from the tladys site it comes highly reccomended from fellow toroise owners....plus you can add to the soil Limestoneflour to add more natural calcium to there diet without the risk of over dosing on d3 found in other supplements like Nutrobal...reptavite that sort of thing .
I actually sell limestone flour in small amounts 225g very cheaply compared to nutrobal...take a look if you are interested !
hope this helps

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