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How Big Should A Glass Vivarium Be For 2 Hermann Tortoises ?


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#1 Junior

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 05:03 PM

Hi everybody,

I have two hermann tortoises that are only 3 months old, there indoor glass inclosure is 4 feet by 2 feet...
I know that it s big enough for them at the moment and I know that one day I will have to get a bigger one. I have got 2 hides for them, one water dish and a piece of slate which i feed them on.

How long will there enclosure last until I have to get a bigger one?

Please comment on what you think is right.

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 06:01 PM

In the summer they will have to go outside, so the vivarium should not be an issue then. Make sure for now that your heat is only at one end and on a stat and that the substrate is deep enough for them to dig down and disappear. Make sure also that there is a good airflow (not just using vents) as I have seen several tortoises perish in these sort of conditions.

#3 Junior

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 06:23 PM

Actually wizzasmum they can not go outside for the first year of there life. And a constant amount of airflow is bad for them they need to be kept contained.
And i do not think you have answered my question.
Can someone please answer my question and tell me how long will a 4 foot by 2 foot indoor glass vivarium last for 2 hermann tortoises.

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 07:16 PM

Actually wizzasmum they can not go outside for the first year of there life. And a constant amount of airflow is bad for them they need to be kept contained.
And i do not think you have answered my question.
Can someone please answer my question and tell me how long will a 4 foot by 2 foot indoor glass vivarium last for 2 hermann tortoises.



Ooer I am so sorry junior for ruffling your feathers ;)
ALL of my babies go outdoors from hatching, every year. I've not lost one to this practice yet, although am always willing to learn if you know why they should not do this ;) I always thought airflow was essential but again, if you have evidence to the contrary I am happy to listen ;) The airflow in the Med is fairly constant despite the heat in some areas.
In reply to your question - it depends on how large your tortoises are and whether or not they are given enough airflow to grow properly without having a problem with respiratory problems. A dead tortoise is of course not going to need it for very long - sorry, couldn't resist. Please do give us that all important evidence though ;)

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 09:44 PM

Can someone please answer my question and tell me how long will a 4 foot by 2 foot indoor glass vivarium last for 2 hermann tortoises.

They should not be in it the first place. :angry:

Junior can I just say that vivariums are not the normal, or the correct, habitat for Hermann tortoises. The constant, humid conditions are really not healthy for them and can make them sick. As wizzasmum says you can adapt a viv to be better for them, Mediterranean and Russian tortoises regulate their own temperatures, by digging in the soil, basking under the sun or a lamp, or going into the shade.

Unfortunately it sounds to me as if you have the been the victim of some very bad advice from a pet shop (not uncommon at all) Did they tell you that tortoises cannot go outside for the first year and must be kept in a viv? Unfortunately that is all wrong. We do not have a suitable climate in the UK for torts, so the best we can do is provide them with heated accommodation outside, with a run & plenty of soil to bury in. If they need to be in the house and at 3 months probably they do, you need a tortoise table with sterilised top soil. My advice to you is to sell the viv to reptile keeper and make, or buy a tortoise table. The best thing ever for your torts is real sunshine, rather than a uv lamp, mine is 14 months and was straight out in the garden, when we had that week of nice weather, aged 7 months :sun:

You also need to give thought to the fact that you cannot accurately sex your torts until they are four years old, so you may need to separate them at a later date. You will definitely need to separate them if they are male and female as males are sex pests and need a little harem ;) If they are two males, they might be okay as they have been brought up together, but here again, they may fight. Torts are loners in the wild, if you are lucky enough to have two females you will probably be okay.

It just sounds to me as if you have had some very bad advice, if you have been told to feed them pellets, fruit or vegetables, please stop that now, Wizzasmum has been breeding torts for decades and you won't get better advice than from her. :)

#6 mildredsmam

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 04:23 AM

hi junior all we can do is offer you advice its up to you to take it or not, i agree with sue and chris vivs are not the best to house tortoises in but then again its your choice as there your tortoises.
as for the size its best to give them as much space as you can,also alot will depend on how fast your torts grow they can grow faster with the wrong diet and care etc,so the slower they grow the longer it would last :)
as for going outside my hatchlings were out most of this summer when the weather was good and their only 3 months old now :thumbup:

#7 Kelly

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 06:02 AM

Here's the latest research and report from tests conducted on two different types of vivariums. I think you'll find it enlightening.

http://www.tortoiset.../vivreport.html

This is also interesting reading:

http://www.tortoiset...ise Housing.pdf

#8 Kelly

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 06:05 AM

Actually wizzasmum they can not go outside for the first year of there life. And a constant amount of airflow is bad for them they need to be kept contained.

Here's some information on how to raise hatchlings correctly. :)

http://www.tortoiset...s/helhatch.html


And i do not think you have answered my question.
Can someone please answer my question and tell me how long will a 4 foot by 2 foot indoor glass vivarium last for 2 hermann tortoises.

In answer to your question, a 4 foot by 2 foot indoor glass vivarium is not suitable at all. :( Is there any way you could adapt it? :hmm:

Tortoises are not naturally 'indoor' creatures and you should be aiming to provide them with suitable outdoor accomadation in order that they thrive as nature intended. Indoor accomadation is purely used to extend the seasons for a tortoise and should only be used when the weather in the UK does not permit for them to be outdoors. (Usually early spring or autumn before they hibernate.) Sometimes, however, due to a tortoise being underweight, ill and under observation, it may be necessary to overwinter them in an indoor enclosure. A 4ft by 2ft open topped enclosure is fine for two hatchlings or juveniles, however once they get to adults size they really should be housed outdoors in a shed/greenhouse set up attached to a secure planted, outdoor enclosure. I have heard of some people using a conservatory for their adults too. :) Just think of it from the tortoises perspective...... they roam over huge distances in the wild to forage for food..... you'll be able to clearly see when they have outgrown it.


Why not post some photos of your tortoises and set up? :)

#9 Junior

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 11:44 AM

Thank you everyone for posting on your opinions. I have been to several professionals to ask about my tortoises and everything seems to be going fine. There shows no sign of pyramiding so far and they are male and female but as they are just babies there will not be any domination this year.

And it is getting close to winter and the weather is getting chilly, thats why I would rather keep them inside than out.

I will try to get some photos of my tortoises

#10 Junior

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 11:44 AM

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#11 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 01:51 PM

Hi Junior
I think by professionals you mean dealers/commercial outlets as no long term breeders will sanction most of what you have been told.
Your tortoises cannot possibly show pyramiding at this age as they are still too young or too small. An expert would be able to tell if it is starting though, but hopefully yours will be OK.
There is also absolutely no way of knowing for sure what their sex is at this age. you may have one with a longer tail that the other but at this age, this means nothing at all I'm afraid.
No-one said that they should go outside in autumn, it was you who stated that they were not old enough to go outdoors - they are able to go outdoors from hatching - mine do and I know of one breeder whose tortoises hatched in the ground (accidentally) hibernated underground and came back up in April the following year ;)
I would be very wary of the info you have been given and urge you to listen to people who actually keep these tortoises to a ripe old age. Yours are still very young and it would be a shame for them to go the wrong way and grow poorly with so many years ahead of them.
Do keep asking the questions, there are many people here able to help and advise you ;)

#12 Graham

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 06:38 PM

Junior, Sue is absolutely right here; true advice comes from those who've been keeping tortoises, not those who sell them. Some of the things you've been told are positively erroneous; you've done well in coming to the forum to ask for advice, it is here you will get the correct information.
Please keep visiting, and take the advice offered by the senior members, your tortoises will be much the better for it.

#13 Claireybelle

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 08:59 AM

I went to four petshops when looking for my tortoise and every one recommended a VIV, I liked the idea of my baby being all snug in a VIV but did further advice prior to purchasing from owners who had cared for tortoises for years and went with a tortoise table. I have worried whether he is warm enough, and it has been hard as he is so tiny. I have stuck with the excellent advice from this group and every time I go into a pet shop now, to purchase something for my tort...... I am always asked about housing and one pet shop even told me that the advice she was given has now been proved wrong. They now sell tortoise tables, the selling of tortoises is a new market for pet shops (Scary) and they can not give the advice from owners with years of experience.

Junior, it sounds like you are doing your best for your chappies, but you never know when you will need such expert advice. you have joined the forum for support, its free and its great so grab it while you can :-)

#14 Junior

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 11:04 AM

Wizzasmum,

The breeder I got my pet tortoises from has over 40 tortoises.
she has had every single one of them since she was a child and now she is a very experienced hermann tortoise breeder.
More than half of her tortoises are older than 30 years old.
So I think i will just follow her advice rather than someone I do not even know.

P.S. When I mean professionals I mean professionals not dealers or cormmercial outlets.
Thank you very much

#15 Kelly

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 12:00 PM

Wizzasmum,

The breeder I got my pet tortoises from has over 40 tortoises.
she has had every single one of them since she was a child and now she is a very experienced hermann tortoise breeder.
More than half of her tortoises are older than 30 years old.
So I think i will just follow her advice rather than someone I do not even know.

P.S. When I mean professionals I mean professionals not dealers or cormmercial outlets.
Thank you very much


It very much sounds like this tortoise breeder is stuck in the past and is not keeping up to date with new research. The tortoises that she has that are over 30 years old are more than likely imports. Why come on here asking for advice if you think you know it all anyway??? I think you'll eat your words in a few years time when you realise that everything we have advised you is grounded in evidence. However... as you say, you believe your 'professionals' know what they are talking about.

We have all commented on what is right as you asked in your initial posts. How can so many of us be wrong and your one person correct if that is the case I wonder? :hmm: Do your research.... and DO NOT take the advice of just one person alone.

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 12:25 PM

Well obviously that is your choice, but to be honest not a lot rings true, I would never count experience from how many torts people have. Over forty torts since she was a child is a bit worrying as that means that there is very likely a mixing of subspecies, given that years ago, not a lot was known about subspecies in the pet world - do you know what subspecies these torts are at all? There is a saying in the tortoise world which applies to a lot of issues, that is 'coming unstuck' it happens a lot. The lady you mention could be 20, she could be 80, so no indication as to experience. If it is the same person that sold you such a tiny hatchling then I think I know who it is and what advise she will have given you. You are young and have a lot to learn and will no doubt make some mistakes along the way, most of us do, but seeing as you have decided I am public enemy number one (no doubt with the help of your professionals), I will just not reply to your posts any more. Is that OK? :D

#17 Junior

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 01:24 PM

I think we would both be better that way

#18 Kelly

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 04:58 PM

It seems that The Tortoise Protection Group don't know what they're talking about either, Sue. ;)

This is what they state on the use of vivariums for tortoises:

Wooden or glass vivariums -- the type often sold by pet shops and sometimes as part of tortoise starter kits -- are not a good idea for several reasons:
  • Tortoises from arid environments where the air humidity is low, do not do well long term in enclosed environments and despite the fact that some vivariums have ventilation holes or ventilation mesh at the back top area, air cannot fully circulate. This invariably leads to a build up of humidity within the vivarium and over a long period of time the tortoise's health may suffer.
  • In addition tortoises do like to roam and the floor space within the vivarium is not large enough for the tortoise to get adequate exercise as it grows. Vivariums that have higher sides than floor area are best suited to other reptiles which prefer to climb.
  • The tortoise is an ectotherm: in other words it is cold blooded, and it relies on temperature to maintain optimum health and wellbeing and therefore it needs to be able to thermoregulate (adjust its temperature). This means that it needs to be able to move from areas of higher or lower temperatures set within its normal thermal range in all parts of the vivarium. The confines of an enclosed vivarium usually result in a similar temperature in all parts of the vivarium, and so make thermoregulation virtually impossible to achieve, and invariably the tortoise will suffer if kept this way over a long period of time.
http://www.tortoise-...uk/site/164.asp

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 05:26 PM

Yes, I have seen several disasters in such accomodation over the years Kelly. My neighbours stick in my mind the most - they had two iberas in a viv. They had seen my torts many times and loved to watch them in the garden but for some reason, travelled many miles to collect these little ones and stuck them in a viv. Every time they commented on mine i suggested they did something similar with theirs, but no, the breeder had said they were viv torts and would not survive in a garden. They had respiratory problems a few times and saw the vet each time - to cut a very long story short, one died of kidney failure at the age of five and the other died around a year later, they persuaded themselves that these tortoises must have had a weakness and then wanted to buy two of mine. I asked them how they would be keeping them and they said a viv of course until they were big enough to go outside, Needless to say my little ones did not go next door. It was all very sad and so avoidable. Apologies to anyone who has heard this story before.

#20 Junior

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 07:18 AM

Really,

But I take my tortoises outside everyday after there breakfast so they can drop there leftovers.
but I live in cold conditions were I should now probably stop.




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