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#1 Guest_gwenq_*

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 04:02 PM

Now that I have introduced myself and Sam I can ask for some advice. Incase anyone didn't read it, Sam is a hermanns and he is 12 years old.

First off, whilst looking at tortoise sites the other day I realized that I always though Sam was a hermanni as it states this on his cites paper but I'm not sure if he is now!! I have tried to work it out but it is confusing as he seems to have certain aspects of all three sub species!! He doesn't have the unbroken dark lines on his plastron so I think I can safely rule out hermanni. Although I think he is quite small for a 12 year old tort. As for the other two species I am not sure. Anyone know of a fool safe way to tell them apart? I am thinking about getting a second tort and I need to know what he is first!!

Secondly, he has always had a slightly overgrown beak, I have always fed him from a piece of slate when he is indoors and he won't touch cuttlefish. I thought last week that maybe it could be doing with a trim. Is filing with a nail file the best way to do it?

Lastly, and please don't shout at me!!, I have never hibernated him. This has been mainly due to the fact that he was so Ill for a long time when I first got him but over the past few years I have just been too scared to do it. I have a fridge sitting in my shed ready for him, i have books and videos on the subject but I am too scared. I think I might try it this year for a few weeks. Does anyone else use the fridge method and do you find it a good method?

Thanks for your help.

Gwen



#2 Guest_Stellanne_*

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 05:36 PM

Hello Gwen and welcome to the forum. Although I have hibernated torts before I have always used a sort of box method in that I half fill a large container with soil and my torts dig down and rest for a number of weeks. I place the box in a very cold guest room and keep an eye on them. My ultimate plan is to hibernate naturally in the garden. However this year one of my torts won't be hibernating cos she has been poorly, another one won't cos she has just laid an egg

The other two.....my new rehomed six year old who has never been hibernated will rest as will my 4 year old I got at the beginning of the year.

What I am getting round to is that I planned fridging them.... Fridge sorted and tested..... Now I am scared to do it.... But I am following the count down in the hibernation section to the letter..... X x x hugs x x x I am sure others will be along soon to give some reassurance x x

#3 Guest_Stellanne_*

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 07:14 PM

Just to add at a different house my tort - who I lost cos she managed to escape my garden cos scrumpers left the gate open- always hibernated in the garden.... Dug down now... Emerged in march.... No problem and no effort. Guess what I am trying to say it is a natural instinct no matter how they have been kept in the past x x x hugs x x

#4 Guest_Freddy McGavin_*

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 08:24 PM

Hi There and welcome to the forum. :D
If you could post pics of your tortoise from different angles and also its underside we might be able to help you identify it.
Don't worry we are not going to scold you for not hibernating your tortoise. If he had a lot of health problems over the years your actions in not hibernating him are entirely understandable. But now that he is healthy, I think you should consider giving hibernation some thought. If you decide to use the fridge method I would do so indoors in your house in an area that is relatively cool and were ambient temps are stable. Outdoor sheds can be susceptible to extreme winter weather and freezing temps that can be fatal to torts. You will find a useful guide to hibernation using the fridge method by clicking on the 'Hibernation' link on the home page (in green).
Finally, trimming Sams beak with a nail file would be a good idea. You could also use a nail clippers. However as it is a 2 person job and you need to be quite confident I would suggest letting your reptile vet do it, as he would have the correct instruments.
If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to ask. We are a friendly and helpful bunch here. Hopefully, there will be others along shortly to offer you more, helpful advice. Take care.
Kind Regards
Freddy

#5 Guest_gwenq_*

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 10:11 PM

Thanks for the replies. I would bring the fridge indoors. I would never leave Sam in the shed. I never leave him outside even in summer. I put him out first thing in the morning after a bath and bring him in last thing at night, give him another bath and then into his upturned bookcase!! I wouldn't sleep a wink if he was not in the house!! Sam is a very pampered tortoise!! He is very precious to me!! I spent so much time with him when he was younger and Ill. I had to hand feed him for almost a year as it was the only way he would eat. I think for this reason he is extremely friendly, tame and if you put your hand palm up in his box he runs to it and sits on your hand. If you rub the back of his shell he wiggles his backside about!! It's really funny.

On the other hand if he doesn't want to be picked up he sure let's you know. I'm sporting quite a scratch on my arm from him at the moment because he obviously didn't want to be disturbed and was fighting me like a wildcat! He is such a tiny wee thing for a 12 year old. He is only about 5 1/2 inches long and 571 gms I worry sometimes that he is too small although he eats like a horse.

Does his weight seem ok for his size? I will post pictures tomorrow if my son is home early from uni - he will need to do it there is no way I can!!

Gwen

#6 Guest_Freddy McGavin_*

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 10:41 PM

He is only about 5 1/2 inches long and 571 gms I worry sometimes that he is too small although he eats like a horse.

Does his weight seem ok for his size? I will post pictures tomorrow if my son is home early from uni - he will need to do it there is no way I can!!

Gwen


Hi Gwen,
I suspect because of Sams size he could indeed be a hermanni hermanni. If we saw pics we would have a better idea. Another member Ozric would certainly know. Anyway Gwen, Sam is a perfect weight for his size. He sounds like such a character . You've both done well to get through all his lifes trials. What a wonderful story. Look forward to seeing his pics. Take care Gwen! ;)
Kind Regards
Freddy :D

#7 Guest_Ozric_*

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 11:59 PM

Hi Gwen. Lovely story about your tortoise and how you helped him through his illness. We can get so attached to them! Would love to see photos of him. Certificates will say Hermanni and that just means the tortoise is a hermann. The certificates do not separate the sub species and not everyone recognises them as being a different sort of tortoise at all. All hermanns are very variable. It does sound like Sam is small for his age but there is a huge variety in sizes and rates of growth with hermanns. Early illness might have affected his development.

If you post a few pics I'm sure we can work out which subspecies Sam is. Its best to take a variety of photos if you can, including the underside and if possible the head close up. There are a number of features which separate the subspecies but not all tortoises have them all. If Sam does not have continuous back bands on the plastron then he is almost certainly not a hermanni hermanni.

If you are getting another tortoise then I would suggest keeping them apart at first. Keep us posted!

#8 Guest_gwenq_*

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 04:48 PM

I tried to put some pictures on but I can't do it. I don't see the text menu when I type up a post - is this maybe because I am using an iPad?

#9 Guest_gwenq_*

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 05:40 PM

This is a test I'm trying to insert photos

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#10 Guest_gwenq_*

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 05:55 PM

Here are some pictures hope they are good enough

#11 Guest_gwenq_*

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 06:01 PM

Here are some pictures hope they are good enough - note the beak!! I tried to get the shell around the leg only one photo was clear but both sides are the same

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#12 Guest_Freddy McGavin_*

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 06:04 PM

Hi Gwen,
I must admit tortoise identification is not one of my strong points. Sam seems to have traits of the hercegovinensis or Dalmation tortoise.
Bruce keeps this sub-species and would have a better idea. Hopefully he will be along shortly to offer you more helpful advice. Best of luck Gwen.
Kind Regards
Freddy




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