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Newie needs advice please


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#1 Guest_littledeedee_*

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 03:32 PM

Hey, I am new to this site and was reading to find as much info about my boy as possible and found this site. I really could do with some advise as Im concerned and keep getting such different conflicting information, so hopefully people that actually have Torts may help.

Alfie is now 6 years old.

I bought him from a reputable place when he was 1yr old. they sent me home with him, a vivarium, UVA, thermastate, heat matt and heat lamp and some calcium poder to put on his food. All was good... Alfie decided he didnt like being in the Vivarium and used to break out ALL the time and so used to let him walk about the house all day, and put him in vivarium to sleep. When he was about 3 he kanikazed out and broke off part of his jaw, so i took him to the vet. the vet trimmed his jaw and advised me, due to stress not to hibernate him. he was low on calcium and so his shell is a bit flat. He moves very well and so the vet wasnt over concerned but gave him a steriod injection, which has worked a treat and ever since his shell is lovely and hard.
Ive struggled to keep him in the garden as he would just wait at the back door and wait for the door to open and in he would try and come. Ive also struggled giving him calcium as he would leave his food. So as much as he hates it, i surringe some stuff direct into him now and again and bath him in it.

so, shell under control, garden and sunlight under control. (even today i have put him in the garden to get some sun)

I have 2 problems now.
1) he does narf move BUT he never uses his feet, he scuffles more than walks and uses his back knees rather than his feet. Is this fairly normal or have i caused him damage by him walking on my stone floor?

2) I want to hibernate him BUT seeing as he dont and wont use a vivarium, he sleeps near the radiator. want sound advise of how to get him ready and seeing as its his first time, is it really a case of moving him to a colder room, not feeding him for approx 10 days and when he is dozy, put him in a breathable box with compost in the bottom and put him in the garage?

l know I should of hiberbnated him by now and this year he has spent a lot of time in the garden (i penned him so he got sunlight) so am hoping he will know what to do.

i really do care about him, am regulary online looking for info and spent alot taking him to vets, so not a case of neglect but really do want to do right for him and as said before, keep getting all different answers.

help would really be appreciated. (i have enclosed a piccy of him litrally JUST now feasting on a weed)
dee

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#2 Guest_cyberangel_*

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 03:43 PM

I am sad to say that the info and things you were persuaded to buy from the petshop are nealy all wrong.
Heatmats are not needed, open topped enclosures are far better for med tortoises.
I take it you had a UV tube along with the heatbulb?
If so have you changed the UV tube in this time?
As they only last six months:0(
And from the looks of your tortoise and the fact he/she had a soft shell, I would say the flatness is due to lack of UV.
During the months of May until at least September depending on where you live, your tortoise should be outside. He/she will get natural UV from strong light and the sun.
His/her diet should be weeds weeds and more weeds along with some flowers.
You could make an outside enclosure with boundries so he/she cant wait at the door, your tortoise has you sussed :0)
It sounds as though your tortoise has Metabolic bone Disorder, due to the wrong husbandry (sorry not getting at you, just pointing out the truth). Especially if he/she is shuffling along. Your tortoise should be walking on sort of tip toes.
You need to get him checked out by a tortoise vet, the one you have used is either incompetent with tortoises or has no idea about them. So you need to change your vet, sorry.

#3 Guest_littledeedee_*

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 03:49 PM

QUOTE (cyberangel @ Oct 8 2010, 02:43 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I am sad to say that the info and things you were persuaded to buy from the petshop are nealy all wrong.
Heatmats are not needed, open topped enclosures are far better for med tortoises.
I take it you had a UV tube along with the heatbulb?
If so have you changed the UV tube in this time?
As they only last six months:0(
And from the looks of your tortoise and the fact he/she had a soft shell, I would say the flatness is due to lack of UV.
During the months of May until at least September depending on where you live, your tortoise should be outside. He/she will get natural UV from strong light and the sun.
His/her diet should be weeds weeds and more weeds along with some flowers.
You could make an outside enclosure with boundries so he/she cant wait at the door, your tortoise has you sussed :0)
It sounds as though your tortoise has Metabolic bone Disorder, due to the wrong husbandry (sorry not getting at you, just pointing out the truth). Especially if he/she is shuffling along. Your tortoise should be walking on sort of tip toes.
You need to get him checked out by a tortoise vet, the one you have used is either incompetent with tortoises or has no idea about them. So you need to change your vet, sorry.



#4 Guest_littledeedee_*

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 03:54 PM

Thats fine, i appreciate your honesty.

This year I did put him out of a day but brought him in of a night (crazy but was worried about him) as i said, i think this year was the best out doors he has had, ok not the best seeing as he is 6 but i am trying to do right by him.

Yes the basking lamp as well as a UV tube BUT he isnt really getting the benefit as he isnt in there, he still walks around the house if he isnt in the garden

will the problem with his legs improve?

#5 Guest_cyberangel_*

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 04:30 PM

Yes the basking lamp as well as a UV tube BUT he isnt really getting the benefit as he isnt in there, he still walks around the house if he isnt in the garden

will the problem with his legs improve?
[/quote]
If its the same tube as you had to start with then it has not done him any good from after the first six months you have had him:0(
You need an open topped enclosure, if you can you could attach it too the exsisting Viv, so he has the choice of the outside area and the inside. Vivs are generally far too small for a adult sized tortoise. Which yours is virtually adult size, if not in age.
If you keep giving into his/her demands ( letting them roam the house, which is not good as he can pick up things that you and I wouldnt see so easily such as hairs) And letting him/her back into the house, when he looks at you with his/her beady black eyes:0) They know you will give in first:0)
He/she should really be winding down for hibernation by now. And in previous years.
Sorry this is all sounding negative, but its now in the past and you are trying to do whats right now.
I really would get your tortoise looked at by a tortoise vet, he/she will know how the MBD is affecting your tortoise. It might well be that their body and shell is too heavy for his/her body to lift up. Or his/her legs are weak, the only way to get some strength in the legs is exercise. Climbing over different surfaces, such as largish stones, logs, tiles etc. Its really hard to advise without actually seeing your tortoise walk etc.
But a tortoise vet would be more help.

#6 Guest_littledeedee_*

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 04:30 PM

thanks Sandy,

Ive just made an appointment to see a Reptile specialist, hopefully will give him everything he needs and advise what to do to make him normal.

he is a happy lil tort and so thats whats so confussing... and boy does he move!

oh yes, has his mum around his lil claw alright. Im sure he thinks he is 6ft 3 and not 6inches high!!

ta
Dee

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#7 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 04:54 PM


Hi Dee,

Welcome to the forum. smile.gif

Good news that Alfie is going to be checked out. Your vet will be able to advise whether you should hibernate or not. Any hint of illness and the little fella should be kept awake it can be fatal to hibernate a tort in poor health.

Have a look at our enclosure section you will get some ideas from there. I was also sold the whole viv set up... there's money to be made in pet housing!!
I adapted Hettie's until I was able to change her set up completely.



I also learned not to use wood chippings seen in the picture! biggrin.gif

Let us know what the vet says and we will be able to help, either with the hibernation or with helping with overwintering set up ideas.

Best of luck,

Paula x

#8 Guest_littledeedee_*

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 05:09 PM

Thanks Paula... am finally glad to find a descent website!

yeah, hes such a happy lil fella would hate for him to not be right or for me to be killing him with kindness (people think im crazy the way i talk about him!) but hes my boy with such a funny personality.

WOW that home you have there looks a fair ol size! its like a tudor mock for Torts!!
where do you keep that and also when would you put your tort in there?
Alfster is such a dominant little sod, i cant see him adjusting and being confind to a space like that EVEN if that is what torts are sposed to do!

Me boy is just in the bath, just check out his back legs and when I lift him, they do go into a normal position and so Im hoping he isnt too bad and looks like his shell is too heavy rather than his lil legs being deformed. (and they are stong when ya hold them). so hopefully wont be too bad news


#9 Guest_Freddy McGavin_*

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 05:10 PM

Hi Dee and welcome to the forum,
I would have nothing to add to the really excellent advice you've already been given. I hope everything works out for you and Alfie. Best of luck wink.gif
Kind Regards
Freddy biggrin.gif

#10 Guest_littledeedee_*

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 05:21 PM

thanks Freddy.
ph34r.gif (dunno what this face means, just looked funny.. so excuse me if its rude)

#11 Guest_cyberangel_*

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 05:49 PM

QUOTE (littledeedee @ Oct 8 2010, 06:21 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
thanks Freddy.
ph34r.gif (dunno what this face means, just looked funny.. so excuse me if its rude)


Sometimes the tortoises with problems have really great characters, so thats a bonus:0)
And if the vet thinks he is healthy, then I would recommend hibernation for eight weeks. As he can/will benifit from it. But only if he is deemed healthy.

#12 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 06:29 PM



I know what you mean about being thought of as crazy when we talk about the little chaps, when I first got mine the guys at work used to ask me about them alot.... now they don't ask... too much information for none torty peeps. laugh.gif If anyone mentions them someone else usually makes slicing off the head motions with their hands, behind me!!! laugh.gif Hettie is our princess and the two littlies are still the babies at 3 years old! rolleyes.gif

If you have to overwinter Alfie, and the temperatures on his table or in his viv are right, he will probably still slow down during the winter months. Torts on tables usually have heat & UV for 12 hours but when Hettie was poorly my vet advised to up it to 14 hours throught the winter in order to try and 'trick' her into thinking it was summer. She could still barely stay awake despite daily bathing.

How often do you bath Alfie?

I don't use this enclosure anymore, I was lucky as our house was 'ripe for improvement' when we moved in and so we were able to build this under the stairs without worrying about messing up decor. biggrin.gif

When you've had a read of all the other stuff you will want to look at take a peek at the edible weed section, Alfie will just love 'em!

We can tell you what is growing at the moment for you to look out for.

Paula x



#13 Guest_littledeedee_*

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 07:05 PM

Hi Paula....

get this nerd alert tale!!
When I first got him, he was my life. When I used to go out for the night, (a few too many gins) if a bloke was to chat me up, my mates used to taunght me and tell me to tell the guy about Alfster... of course, being atanked up, proud mum didnt need telling twice... used to babble on and on and on about him. They were convinced I had a child.... and then Id show them a pic. They were a bit relieved but concerned he was JUST a tort!! and what a mentalist i was!!



If you have to overwinter Alfie, and the temperatures on his table or in his viv are right, he will probably still slow down during the winter months. Torts on tables usually have heat & UV for 12 hours but when Hettie was poorly my vet advised to up it to 14 hours throught the winter in order to try and 'trick' her into thinking it was summer. She could still barely stay awake despite daily bathing. - this is my worry at the mo. he dont have a table or anything. He just walks around the house!! he is so trained, he poos on news paper AND he sits at his mat each morning waiting to be feed. they are very clever!
I suppose this will be the next thing i will have to sort out.
I think Im going to have trouble getting him used to a confind space without him having the right ump with me sad.gif
BUT its for his own good!!
Ive just had a nose on ebay at them.... PRICEY!!! but im sure i can make one!
need some advice, i need a fitting for a VB strip light as well as an attachment of a basking lamp?
the only other thing is where to put it! gonna look a right sight in my minimalistic lounge!!!!

Didnt realise torts were this hard work... speak to my mum and older relatives and theyre all like "put him in garden and then in a shoe box in airing cubaord in winter".... errrm not as easy is that is it!!


How often do you bath Alfie? - i bath him every couple of days BUT hes climbing the walls last couple of days (norm means hes struggling for a poo) so have bathed him daily this week.

I don't use this enclosure anymore, I was lucky as our house was 'ripe for improvement' when we moved in and so we were able to build this under the stairs without worrying about messing up decor. biggrin.gif - ooooh, what a great idea

He munches on rocket salad and mixed leaf salad normally, tomatoe, runner beans, a bit of cuecumber now and again....VERY and i mean VERY occationally a bit of melon or strawberry. he helps himself to the weeds (and gravel) when hes in the garden. Mum had some dandilios in her garden and noticed he loved them when I took him down there (yes, i take him put with me sometimes) and she brings them up for him as a treat.

I seriously am going to start again on educating self re what he needs, i tried him on cuttlefish last year and he looked at it and at me like i had insulted him!!

and I tell you something. He IS NOT going to like being treated like a tortoise!!


Dee
x

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#14 Guest_littledeedee_*

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 07:28 PM

ive just been online and seen this.

seriously, could/would a tort climb up and down the ramp?
my gosh my Alfie is a lazt sod!!! he dont climb anything!!!

If this looks good, ill have a go at making this as when painted white, wouldnt look to ugly. Plus I supose id have to think how to attach lights and bulbs

... hmmm cant beleive Im looking a tort websites on a friday night!! Im getting old!!

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#15 Guest_Freddy McGavin_*

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 08:48 PM

Hi Dee,
If you do get the all clear to hibernate Alfie,I would use topsoil in his hibernation box rather than compost as this can contain harmful additives. Hope this helps.
Best of luck wink.gif
Kind Regards
Freddy biggrin.gif

#16 Guest_littledeedee_*

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 10:19 AM

thanks guys,
you have all been very helpful and cant wait to take him to the tort vet.

In the mean time, ok its not ideal BUT would you put him in the vivaruim with the nessisary UV and basking lamp.
I know its not ideal but I wont be able to get/make him a table in a short time and maybe the vivarium would be better than him walking about the house?


D x



#17 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 07:41 PM

Hi Dee,

You are lucky to be chatted up and to tell the chaps about Alfie, in my day all I used to attract was the 10 to 2ers!! (don't want to buy a drink all night but think you still might go home with them! laugh.gif rolleyes.gif) I am happy those days are over and I can spend my time doing the things I am happiest doing!

Aaaand just think how many UV bulbs you can buy by staying in on a Friday night! biggrin.gif

I don't think that table looks suitable at all, the ramp is really steep and has no edges to it. blink.gif

People buy cheap book cases or chests of draws and convert them... hey, no painting!

You can buy a combined heat and UV lamp which would be less wires, they are more expensive but last longer.

He does sound a right character, I have never heard of a paper trained tort. He will need UV, not usually recommended but I wonder what others think to the idea of breaking him in gently? Perhaps being on the table in the day while the UV/basking light is on and then doing what he usually does in the evenings? I have only had my torts for a few years so wonder what the more experienced keepeers think to this idea?

Do you use a vitamin suppliment on his food?

Paula x



#18 Guest_Freddy McGavin_*

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 08:03 PM

Hi Dee,
I'm not too sure of the indoor UV/heat requirements are for a 7 year old tortoise especially over the winter period. This is why it is important to hibernate Alfie if he is deemed healthy by the vet. Over wintering a tort particularly one as old as Alfie can be problematic and difficult so hibernation where possible is always the preferred option. I think if the worse comes to the worse and you do have to keep him up over the winter, Paula's advice of just using UV/heat in the day and allowing him to do what he otherwise does in the evening would seem like a good compromise to me. Hopefully, there will be others along shortly to offer more, helpful advice.
Kind Regards
Freddy




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