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Some Advice Needed


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#1 DeliciousDuke

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 12:21 PM

Hi all,

In the last few days I've started looking after Dexter, a 7 year old Hermann Tortoise, because his previous owners were neglecting him since they got a dog and I thought he could use a new home.

I read up on what to feed him and luckily, due to my lax gardening, there's a plentiful supply of weeds for him to feed on.

However, the more research I've done, the more it seems that the previous owners have done a fairly shoddy job looking after him.

His shell is very lumpy, he's wheezing a bit and he has a very large beak (looks like a walrus).

The habitat he came with is wooden and half open topped, about 4x2 foot and has a little house for him to hide in, there is a pane of glass built into the habitat which he is always clawing at. There's a heat lamp and a UV bulb and the substrate he came with is some sort of dry sandy mixture, about an inch deep. His previous owners bathed him once a month and cleaned out his habitat when it started to smell.

Dexter's apparently never hibernated either, he's always lived indoors in a flat so I doubt it's ever been cold enough, I don't intend to try to hibernate him this year but is it something that he should be doing to stay healthy?

I've lurked a bit on here for the past few days and have worked out a few things I need to do.

I'm taking him to the vet to have a checkup.
Going to get some topsoil & sand from B&Q
Replace UV Bulb
Get some slate and cuttlefish so he can wear down his beak and claws.
Covered the glass so he can't see out, may replace habitat entirely when I can.
Giving him a bath every day for now incase he's dehydrated.
Letting him run around the garden when it's not raining.

This forum seems to have given good advice to other new owners so I was hoping someone could tell me if anything I have planned is wrong and if there's anything else I can do for him.

Thanks in advance.

#2 mildredsmam

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 04:21 PM

hi welcome to the forum :wave:
most of your plans sound great i would just get top soil as a substrate no sand it can cause eye problems.
if you take him to the vets they,ll trim his beak for you.
i would,nt hibernate this year but it is best for them to hibernate so you could look into it more ready for next year.
also i would get him some supplements to sprinkle over the weeds like nutrobal and limestone flour :)

#3 Guest_Chrissyan_*

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 05:11 PM

:welcomecrowd: to the forum, Dexter is lucky to have you now. :) His tortoise table sounds okay apart from the glass. Have you thought of getting that film they put on car windows so that you can still see him, but he can't see out? Just fill the table with sterilised top soil from Wickes and water it regularly.Make sure he always has a shallow dish or water in his table too.

I am afraid it does sound as if he may have a respiratory infection, so you could end up with quite hefty vets bills. Please make sure that you go to a specialist reptile vet as regular ones often have very poor knowledge of tortoises.

Did the owners give you his A10 paperwork?
It would be nice to see some photos of Dexter & his table. :)

#4 jay

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 08:21 PM

Hello and welcome to the forum
sound's like Dexter will now be in good hands,looking forward to seeing some pictures,hope all goes well at the vets.
Jaynex

#5 DeliciousDuke

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 12:15 AM

I've added a few photos to the Flickr page linked to from the front page...not sure if that's how things are done around here, I've only had a chance to take a couple of pictures.

I'll definately get him some supplements to put on his food. The details I got about the way he was previously kept makes me think he's been fed fairly poorly, lots of fruit and lettuce, I'm concerned about his shell so I want to get him full of the right stuff.

The one way glass sounds like a good idea, I don't know how to do that though. I'll have a look into it. Would he be freaked out by his reflection? I've read that males will fight each other, I don't want him trying to attack his reflection.

I'm prepared for the vet bills, even though I've only had him for a few days, I've loved having him stomp around the living room and garden, I'd love to have him keep doing it for many years.

I've given him a little bowl for water, I'm changing the water twice a day since he seems to love chucking dirt into the bowl, I don't know if that's normal tortoise behaviour or if he just doesn't like the bowl.

He did come with paperwork and the vet I contacted was one I heard about on this forum. Ashleigh vets in Chorlton, Manchester. Hopefully they know what they're doing.

#6 mildredsmam

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 03:54 AM

morning their water bowls always dirty and need clean water :)
when you can get the supplements add to the food on different days not at the same time :)
let us know how you get on at the vets :thumbup:

#7 DeliciousDuke

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 06:12 PM

I've done most of the things I had planned for Dexter now, though the earliest I can take him to the Vet is next Saturday.

His health may not be as bad as I'd thought though; apparently he has been wheezing quite badly for the past two years. When I brought him home, you could hear it from across the room but it's definately got better since he's been here, just a slight wheeze and it's not constant anymore, just every few breaths. Could it have been from dehydration or bad diet rather than an infection?

I'll tell the Vet about it either way, don't want to take chances.

#8 DeliciousDuke

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 10:02 PM

I took Dexter to the vet today.

Turns out he's a healthy tortoise, he's got a nice tough shell, good size & weight for his age and it turns out that his wheezing is just down to him being a heavy breather, no sign of infection.

The vet 'burred' (sp?) his beak so now Dexter looks a bit more handsome, I expect it'll make him more comfortable too.

I've been told to call up in a few weeks and get info on how to get him hibernating this year.

Must say I'm happy with how it's gone, I was worried about the little guy but it seems he's more robust than I gave him credit for.

#9 mildredsmam

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 05:37 AM

hi thats great have a read of this about hibernation it might give you some idea http://www.tortsmad....hibernation.htm :)

#10 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 08:27 AM

Just check back after speaking to the vet re hibernation. Some of the husbandry given out re this particular practice can be quite dire. They have recommended viv habitat, keeping on newspaper and are known for the statement 'all torts have herpes', although I'm sure someone might regret having said that lol.




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