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Should a 4yr old live outside


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#1 Guest_tcrosswell_*

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Posted 06 November 2005 - 04:43 PM

Hello all,

I'm new to world of tortoises and am yet to buy a Hermann tortoise as I'm doing lots of reading in to what requirements his new home should have.

We have decided to go for a 4 year old male Hermann tortoise (about 10-13cm long). However, we have not purchased him yet as the Vivarium, which store suggested, wasn't in stock.

On returning home and reading more, one of the things we are still not sure about is the most suitable housing. The staff member suggested that a 48" x 18" x 18" vivarium with glass doors would be suitable for the Tortoise until it is old enough to live outside, but after reading more about indoor housing I'm unsure.

It seems that the view on using a vivarium is mixed (although it seems most people here don't like them), with some people suggesting that a table top setup is preferable (with a heatlamp and UV light) than a traditional vivarium. I've also read that it would be OK to leave a 4 year old Hermann perminantly outside in the UK as long as he has a heatlamp in his enclosure to ensure he doesn't get cold. With all these different views I'm not 100% sure what is best. So I was wondering what setup would people suggest for a 4 year old Hermann?

We have an outside area set aside for an outdoor tortoise pen but should this only be used during the day in the summer?

Thanks again for your help,
Tom

#2 Guest_mattgriffin1_*

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Posted 06 November 2005 - 05:11 PM

Hi Tom

I had a baby living outside from 3 weeks old last year and a 4 year-old should definately be living outside as much as possible. During the summer months additional lighting and heating is rarely necessary in the outdoor enclosure unless it is a particularly cold summer or there is a prolonged spell of dull damp weather. It is always advisable to have the set-up in preparation for this though. The extra heat and light is really required for spring and autumn use when the temperatures and light levels are less reliable.
The worst thing you could do for your tortoise at this stage is buy a vivarium. There are lots of reasons but the main ones are that the humidity levels get too high for mediterannean species which often leads to respiratory problems, and the temperatures tend to even out in an enclosed vivarium which takes away essential thermoregulatory potential. A table-top enclosure is much much better and will be a lot cheaper to set up. If you are getting the tortoise imminently you won't be hibernating this year and so will need the table-top for overwintering this year.
Have you downloaded Lin Kings booklet? Most of what you need to know is in there, but someone on here will answer other queries.

Here is the link
http://www.tlady.cla...ide/GuideDl.htm

Matt.

#3 Guest_Calamity Jane_*

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Posted 06 November 2005 - 05:25 PM

Hello,
I totally agree with what matt is saying.
My tortoises are still outside now living in there outdoor enclosure, I believe this is the most natural way to keep them and I personaly wouldnt have it any other way,
My lights are on a timer and they go on at 9am in the morning and they are free to go in and out of there pen as they please, at 5pm all lights are out and i shut them in for the night, They are used to this now and are usually back in side ready for bed.
Hope this helps a little heres a pic of my set-up.




Yours
Joanne
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#4 Guest_tcrosswell_*

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Posted 06 November 2005 - 05:31 PM

Thanks Matt for your reply. It's so helpful to get responses from people who already have a tortoise.

So the best set-up would be an outdoor area that will be used from next Spring onwards?? and then an indoor tabletop for the Winter months?

Thanks for the link, I'll get reading that ;)


 Joanne: Thanks for the pictures, it's great to see other peoples setups (gives me so many ideas). So am I right in thinking you don't bring your tortoises inside at all? How old are your tortoises? Would you advise a theromstatically controlled heat mat to ensure that the temp does not get to low during the winter?



#5 Guest_Calamity Jane_*

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Posted 06 November 2005 - 05:59 PM

Hi Matt,
I wouldnt use a heat matt but I have just bought a tube heater which is on theromstat If it gets too cold it automatically comes on,
They were born in 2003 so they are 2 years old, I have only had them since march this year and this will be the first winter and to be honist I just dont know what to do for the best about Hibernating, I feel scared about it all. As yet they are still very active and come out eveyday and are still eating well. I would love to let them do it naturally themselves out side, But what do other people think about this, would they be ok left outside in this shed and if so do i just keep a permanent background low heat to keep the frost off.
Arnib I would like your help on this matter if you could please.
Thanks





Yours
Joanne
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#6 Guest_arnhib_*

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Posted 06 November 2005 - 08:52 PM

Hello Tom
I do hope your not buying from the pet shop on the ring road near B&Q
If you are I strongly advise against it, you have a good tortoise group that meets once a month at the Giffin at Thorpe the first Wednesday of each month and ther are some good breeders amongst them.
For more info go to this site
http://www.tortoisec...rg.uk/index.htm
The site still tells where the old club meetings were held but it has now changed to the above
Arnie
This set up contains a basking lamp for cold mornings and a tube heater for night time warmth when the weather gets too cold at night



#7 Guest_tcrosswell_*

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 07:59 AM

Thanks Arnie, don't worry though I'm not getting it from a pet shop. I contacted the Norfolk & Cos Tortoise Club when I first started thinking about getting a tortoise to ask for some advice, they recomended Swallow Aquatics just outside Norwich. All the animals there seem really healthy.

Arnie, how old is the tortoise you keep in your outdoor setup? My only worry is that when it snows the tortoise would freeze even with a small heater.

#8 Guest_arnhib_*

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 09:03 AM

Hello Tom
Are you saying that they reccomended the viv???
Arnie

#9 Guest_tcrosswell_*

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 11:40 AM

The guy told us that a 3 foot tank would be OK, but they would suggest that a 4 foot one would be better, hence the reason why we asked them to order one in. To be fair to them they also said we would need an outdoor pen for the warmer months, which we already knew and have a space set aside for. They didn't mention anything about a table top set-up.

#10 Guest_arnhib_*

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 11:53 AM

Hello Tom
The tortoise that lives in that set up is already indoors at night. if you have only 1 tortoise it is an expensive way of keeping them warm just to sleeep, when a small box no matter what age would do indoors some where. and it doesn't take a minute to fetch them in at night and take them back out in the morning,
All my tortoises are hibernated so the frost snow issue wouldn't come up, I over wintered a sick adult tortoise last Winter, but I did it in home.
On saying this I have had some boxes made that fit onto the tube heaters that Joanne and I have, I'll try and post a photo, some one used this idea from me and even when the weather was bad, she said the temps inside the box registered 17 degree's, I also put some carpet squares down to keep them off the concrete the boxes are on, the boxes came after the tubes were installed, so yes you could I suppose in theory leave then in this sort of set up, but I wouldn't like to risk any animal of mine being blinded or worse still killed because of the cold, even in the UK, thankfully not very often, but the temps do go below freezing, sometimes well below, so I just wouldn't risk it.
In my opinion a healthy tortoise should always be asleep, Joanne my 6 one year olds have started ther wind down this weekend, why not do it with mine and I can talk you trough it, were would you hibernate them is my forst question
Arnie

#11 Guest_Calamity Jane_*

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 05:40 PM

Hi Arnib,
Well I was thinking I could Hibernate them in the garage, Its brick built,their are cupboards in there which they could go in. And at the miniute my Table-top enclosure is in there doing nothing.
Do you think it would be a good idea to bring them in there while i wind them down, Or I could take it in my conservatory to do it.
If I do... Do I just shorten the heat they get from the basking light and just stop feeding them with warm baths each day.
I really do want to do it as I feel this would be the best way to go, Its just a little scary.






Yours
Joanne
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#12 Guest_arnhib_*

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 07:35 PM

Joanne I've been doing it a few years and I still hate this time of year.
Do whatever your happier with, My little ones are in a cool room tonight in home, but tomorrow I take them down to the green house where they have full heating, this is essential the first week, bath them at least every other day, all this helps to get the food through their system, just don't look at them in the eye else you will falter, you must steel yourself against appealing little eyes
And that's it this week :-)
Next installment next Monday
You are lucky you have a brick garage
Arnie

#13 Guest_mattgriffin1_*

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 08:44 PM

Have you ever hibernated in a brick garage Arnie? I ask because I have one but was concerned the temps may actually get too high if the winter turns out to be mild again. Just wondered if you or anyone uses the garage and whether the temps stabilise?
I am at the moment planning to use the fridge again this year. I am also on week one and have 2 winding down in a cold-frame and 3 in the greenhouse. The cold-frame is actually staying a bit warmer overnight than the greenhouse at the mo I think. Have shortened the day a bit this week too as lights were still on 13 hours up until last week and 2 hermanns still active at 7pm!

Matt.

#14 Guest_katiew7103_*

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 10:56 PM

Its very interesting the various ways we all look after our torts. I only have one, he/she is 2 years old and lives outside permanently. He has a relatively small enclosure with a basking light and a tubular heater on a thermostat for colder nights, he has a rubber catflap for access to the garden. Now the nights have got colder I make sure he's in he's enclosure every night which can be fun when its already dark. He's still relatively lively, I will start wind down the beginning of December thereby I will hopefully avoid the really cold months of Jan and Feb. I'm very concerned about it. I'm hoping my loft is going to be a suitable venue although I am yet to test the temps. My tort has positively thrived in the outside environment (although it did take him some time to get used to the transition)
Katie

#15 Guest_mattgriffin1_*

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 09:18 AM

Be very wary about using the loft Katie, they can get very warm when the central heating is on. I often get a rush of warm air when I open my loft hatch.

Matt.

#16 Guest_arnhib_*

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 01:20 PM

Hello Matt
No I've never hibernated in a brick garage, but a close associate always did, the garage had no windows, so no sun got in, he used a box full of shredded paper and then put this into a polystirene box also filled with shredded paper, and the tortoise were always ok.
I agree that lofts can be notorious and temps should be monitered at all times, they can be quite warm and can also be extremely cold. Another place which I haven't got, is a cupboard under the stairs, maybe some one could moniter the temps for us over Winter to see what they are like. A wooden shed is not frost proof unless it is insulated, but could work if a thermostat is fitted to a tube heater which would come on it the temps went below 4 degree's.

Poly boxes can be bought for about 50p from any aquatics place that sells fish, I beleive also, Tesco have them too, they would need fresh air to them for a little while to get rid of the fishy smell :-)
Then once smell free, a line of holes needs to be put in for air, this applies to both boxes.
Arnie

#17 Guest_katiew7103_*

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 09:17 PM

Now I'm in a quandry.Where shall I put him/her. I don't have a brick out building or garage. I do have an under stairs cupboard but I'm sure it will be too warm. What about under the floorboards is that a good idea. I realy must get my thermometer to test temps, the thing is I don't think they'll be that accurate as it is still quite mild. Any other good ideas. I don't fancy the fridge thing.
Katie

#18 Guest_amy_smith33_*

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 07:38 AM

Hi Katie

Under the floor boards has been done before. If the temperatures are ok, and it suits you. Then its far better to hibernate there than not to hibernate at all.

Amy

#19 Guest_Calamity Jane_*

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 03:51 PM

Arnib,
I have decided that i'm gonna wait another week or so before i start to wind them down, They still seem very active at the minuite and I dont want to upset them yet.
Thankyou for your help though.
I will keep you posted to how i'm getting on.
Thanks again for your help, Its much appriciated!



Yours
Joanne
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#20 Guest_arnhib_*

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 07:04 PM

No problem Joanne
You have to be sure, If they don't go down till the end of December it will be ok, Just make sure they are fit and healthy before you do anything
Arnie




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