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New 1 Yr Old Tortoise, Total Novice - Pls Help!


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#1 kimmie1985

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 07:51 PM

Hi, today my dad arrived with a gift for my 2 yr old daughter, a 1 yr old herman tortoise! (from a registered breeder)
So basically i need to know everything! Ideally id like it to live outdoors. Am i right (from reading info on this site) that they dont need lamps when living outdoor only indoor? can they live outdoor all summer long (obviusly in a safe and secure inclosure)? I am feeling rather overwhemled with this huge responsibility and want to know how to do things proberly for the best care for our new tortoise! (My dad thought cos i used to work in a vets, that i'd know all about tortoises, pah)
thanks in advance for the advice, kim

#2 jay

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 08:11 PM

Hello Kim welcome to the forum
awww,what a lovely present ,we love to see photo's on the forum,have you chosen a name yet?
My horsefield torts live outside 24/7,they live in a breeze block house which is insulated and has uvb strip light and basking lights which is surrounded by there enclosure so they can wander in and out in the summer,there lights are on a timer which i overide in the summer months as they enjoy basking out in the sunshine when we get some sunshine :sun: :lol: ,there tubular heater comes on in the winter time,there substrate is topsoil,some use topsoil mixed with sand,i bathe my torts most days as they enjoy it and it is a good way to make sure they do not get dehydrated and they often poo in there bath.there is an edible weed list on the forum and if in doubt of any weeds just post a picture and someone will help if you are not sure, how are you housing your little one at the moment?looking forward to seeing pictures.
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#3 kimmie1985

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 08:30 PM

Thanks for the reply! obviously it would take a while for us to set something like that up. The breeder we had him from (darran who runs this site) told my dad (if my dad has recalled correctly) that he can live outdoors without lamps etc, is this right? im so confused lol.
he is currently in a cat litter try with soil in, few rocks, water and food (doc leaves!) im not to worried bout feeding etc, its just the home set, im worried about as were so unprepared! x

#4 cocktail&pimms

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 08:34 PM

im too new to torts to give advice but congrats on the new addition and hope you get the housing sorted soon :)

#5 kimmie1985

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 08:47 PM

thank you. I want to get this right, looking at the outdoor tortoise table for summer months, they look fab!

#6 kimmie1985

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 09:04 PM

http://www.ebay.co.u...=item1c29b9b394

looking at this for an indoor home, does this look like a good home/set up? thanks :)

#7 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 10:46 PM

To be honest you can't keep a one year old tortoise outdoors 24/7 in this country without some form of supplementary heating, it would just die. I'm a great advocate of outdoor lives for tortoises, but it's important that you have a form of background heat in the covered area. I'm quite sure that a breeder would not sell someone who is not prepared, I think there has been some crossed wires along the lines. You need to have an area large enough for the tortoise to be able to choose his favourite area, as in dry/damp, warm/cool etc The covered area absolutely must have a basking/heated area on a thermostat to prevent overheating and a timer to prevent it coming on at night. Do you mean that the cat litter tray is for the covered area or he just lives in that. You need to have protection from birds and areas deep enoguh for him to dig down to thermoregulate.
Please don't feed dock leaves as they are high in oxalic acid and will inhibit calcium uptake to the bones. Do you give any mineral supplements at all? I use Nekton MSA with good results. For a varied diet for Med tortoises have a look here www.tortsmad.com/diet.htm
Hope this helps.

#8 Sheli88

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 10:52 PM

aww no so he's living without uv and heat lights? it's quite cold here at the moment, I hope he'll be ok.

#9 mildredsmam

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 03:01 AM

hi kim welcome to the forum :) you can make your own indoor tortoise table alot cheeper than that by using something like a bookcase from argos http://www.argos.co....3EBOOK+CASE.htm turning on its back then filling it with topsoil :)
you can also add things like rocks etc have a look at the pictures in our indoor section might give you some ideas.
you can then look into setting something up outside with heat etc :)
have a look at the link sue (wizzasmum) has give you there loads of great information on there about diet and housing etc also another good one for diet is http://www.thetortoi...e/plants_19.asp

#10 kimmie1985

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 06:33 AM

Thanks for the replies. we have decided to keep him indoors from now on. He nnow has a temp heat lamp til we have him set up in his permanent home (which will be by the weekend)
He is currently living in a large cat litter with a damp soil substrate (breeders advice - is this right?)
Where does everyone get their foods? i can see its all wild weeds etc so do u just go searching for their food?
I know im asking silly questions but dont want anyone to worry he will be a well cared for and loved tortoise :)

#11 kimmie1985

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 07:09 AM

my mistake it wasnt a doc leave, it dandelion leaves hes feeding on, is this ok?

#12 cocktail&pimms

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 07:46 AM

you can get tortoise safe mixed weed seeds on ebay to grow for your tort, x

#13 kimmie1985

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 08:32 AM

thanks will order some today :)

#14 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 01:00 PM

Dandelions are fine, but not on their own, as part of a varied diet. You don't need uv lighting outdoors, but heat is a must. Not sure what a large cat litter tray looks like, but you need a three foot long area to get a good heat gradient. Are you sure your Dad got his info right, did he have a care sheet to go off?

#15 kimmie1985

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 02:57 PM

i have a 3ft long indoor tortoise table on order n also heat lamp and uvb lamp. Have a temp lamp set up til the appropriate one arrives friday. i have been researching their diet all day and will be giving squirtle his first bath this evening :)
Are their any shop bought food that you do recommend for tortoises or isit all wild weeds? thanks x

#16 Guest_Chrissyan_*

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 05:14 PM

:welcome: to the forum Kimmie1985. You have been given some really good advice on here, so I don't really have anything important to add. :)

Which indoor table did you chose, was it the one in your link? We also have a one year old Hermann, no one being particularly handy in our house, we didn't make our own either, but bought from a joiner off ebay. Saying that, it is lovely, it's on legs and is like a piece of furniture, which is just as well as it stands in my lounge. :)

For the outside run, my partner did manage to make one out of pine planks, which we varnished, it is about 4' x 5'. In there he also has a little wooden hut with a roof to sleep/get out of the sun/rain in, and a small cold frame,for extra warmth, with a little door cut in it, it is this one: http://www.greenfing...1&pf_id=LS6553D We also placed a semi submerged plant pot on it's side and a half round ridge tile, for extra hidey holes and a slate to eat off (all from B &Q) and a pot plant pot saucer to drink from. It also has a wire mesh lid to stop birds & other predators from getting him & the local cats using it as a litter tray. :rolleyes:

We grassed a small area of it and planted a few tort friendlily weeds. unfortunately we live in the frozen north and as I was saying on another thread on here, he really hasn't got to use it much and has spent most of his little life indoors, so a lot of work went into it, for very little use at the moment. :sigh:

On Wizzasmum's advice, we are going to look at getting some electricity to the garden so that we get a heater for him so he can get more natural UV. There is a thread somewhere where Kelly recommends some greenhouse heaters that are quite economical to run, I will find it.

Re: shop bought food,the answer is not really, those pellets they sell really have too much protein and should not be fed. Tort friendly weeds & flowers only, are the best diet of all for Squirtle (I love the name) Even supermarket bags of mixed salad are not that good and often include things they either shouldn't have, or have very little nutritional value, one exception Is Florette Crispy salad, we use that sometimes in the winter. Once you know what you are looking for, you will be seeing tort edible weed everywhere, we even have plantain and clover in our lawn. :whistle: It is expensive to get started up with a tortoise, but once you have the stuff, their long term keep is not very dear, especially the food. The soil used in their indoor table should sterilised top soil. Most people seem to think Wickes is the best supplier of this.

You, your daughter and even your grandchildren ;) should get a lifetime of pleasure out of Squirtle, looked after well, he should out live you all. :winkgrin:


Hope this helps

#17 jay

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 07:07 PM

Kim
I bet your looking forward to your new set up for your little one,the seed that i have had great success with is evening primrose and my torts love it,it comes back each year as well.
Jaynex

#18 kimmie1985

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 07:27 PM

aww thank you chrissyan, that was lovely you tori homes sound lovely.
We seen a pvc 36inch by 18inch home on ebay but my dad is in double glazing so is gonna make us one this weekend! would you recommend pvc? thought easy to clean!
i just got back from b and q with topsoil. fingers crossed its sterilised!
were also gonna get an outdoor run this weekend too, so exciting!
we have weeds growing in our garden i believe they are dandelion leaves! driving now been watching the side of the roads for weeds lol, weird!
thanks jay i will buy some primrose seeds this week!

Oo i do have one question! i have a young child so little concerned with regards to them being salmonella carriers. does this mean whenever they walk they could be leaving it behind or is it just internally (hope that makes sense!)

thank you
kim and squirtle!

#19 Guest_Chrissyan_*

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 07:35 PM

Kimmie, I haven't heard of a PVC tortoise table, but don't see why not ;) There must be no glass in your tort table though, make sure your double glazing dad knows this :winkgrin: , torts don't understand it and can get distressed trying to walk through it. It will also make it more humid like a vivarium.

Re: your child, just be vigilant when she touched the tortoise, making sure she washes her hands is all you need and let's face it, at two years old she will not be handling Squirtle unsupervised. We also keep a bottle of antiseptic hand gel on the shelf above our indoor table and pass it to any visitors who may have held our tort.

#20 kimmie1985

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 07:49 PM

ok thanks no glass will be used in the making of this home :) no she wont be touching, just thought if hes walking round (was just walking round kitchen after bath) will the floor need antiseptic washing? or am i being ott?! thanks




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