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Help, 2 Little Girls


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#1 Debbie

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 10:14 AM

Hi
I have a 8yr old male hermanns tortoise called Dorothy (i know, i thought it was a girl) which I've had from a baby. He always lived indoors on the nights in his own bedroom & then we would put him in his enclosure in the garage during the day. In May I had 2 hermann girls who are 4yrs old, I wanted to see if he would like the companionship. I can't believe how well it went, they formed a proper little gang & the little girls followed him everywhere & they've also got an outdoor enclosure which has been lovely this summer, he even started tucking into weeds with great gusto when before he was a bit fussy, we even started to leave them in the garage enclosure on the nights rather than bring them into the house. Here's where it's going wrong though, the 2 little girls have started to not get up in the mornings on their own, I get them out from under their igloos, put them under the heat lamp but they just turn around & go back to bed, they aren't really eating either. Dorothy is most upset, he keeps pacing round & looks under the igloos, I'm sure he's really missing his mates. None of them Dorothy, Zippy or Winkle have ever been hibernated & I had no intention of doing so because I'm sooooo scared!
Hope this isn't to long that no-one reads it, any advice please
Debbie

#2 Freddy

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 12:09 PM

Hi Debbie,
I think your torts are slowing down in preparation for hibernation. Of course it is your decision whether or not you wish to hibernate them this year. But the decision may be out of your hands if they start to go in to hibernation mode. The garage is probably becoming too cold for them. You will need to keep them in a warm environment if you are going to keep them awake over the winter period. In fact it may be easier just to hibernate them in your garage using the box method. Here is a link about hibernation methods and wind-down which you may find useful: http://www.thetortoi...bernation04.htm.
For further information please see some of the topics and stickys on our hibernation page.
Hope this helps. Take care.
Kind Regards
Freddy

#3 Debbie

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 12:39 PM

Thanks for the advice Freddy.
I think they are slowing down but the garage is toasty warm, we have insulated all inside their enclosure, there's 2 heat bulbs & a radiator just outside.
If I was to hibernate them would you also hibernate Dorothy the male tortoise? He's still stomping round like a good un & outside now enjoying some late sunshine.
Regards
Debbie

#4 Freddy

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 12:52 PM

Hi again Debbie,
The garage is probably fine during the day but at night temps can take a big drop especially at this time of year. This means it can take tortoises a while to get going the next day. Tortoises are also very sensitive to ambient temps and changes in barometric air pressure. I am having the same problem with my adult tortoise at the moment. Are Zippy and Winkle still eating? If so then you may be able to keep them going for a time yet. The same would apply to Dorothy. As long as he is eating then things should be fine for now. However, when torts finally stop eating they start to lose weight and it is usually best to begin wind-down and hibernate them. Personally, I think Dorothy is old enough now for hibernation. However, if you still feel a little unconfident then it may be wise to skip hibernation for this year. But you will need to keep temps up and ensure all your tortoises are active and eating if you are to keep them awake over the winter period.
Kind Regards
Freddy

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 06:18 PM

I am trying to envisage your garage - do they have access to outdoors from there? A lot depends on where your females came from as to why they are behaving this way. If the garage is not highly lit with natural light (as many garages aren't) then they will be looking to hibernate, especially if they are wild caught or imported tortoises as they will be really highly geared to natural light levels. To be honest, you have the age ratio back to front as your females should really be older than your male as he may well do them serious harm once he realises they are females and you may have to separate them in a couple of years if not sooner. If your tortoises are in the garage permanently with no outdoor access, then there really is no need to bring them into the house at all as this could also be confusing to them - remember they are reptiles and not mammals, so they will react quite differently to heat and light changes.

Personally, I would hibernate all of them, For just three tortoises a fridge would be a good idea as they keep temps to 5 degrees, meaning that tortoises should lose the least weight.

Hope this helps ;)



#6 Beermat89

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 08:36 PM

Hi debbie,ive found a couple of my torts are not coming out in the mornings to well from their hides but the last couple of days i have removed the hides and the last two mornings they have come out basking early in the mornings with out any help and eating well but as sue has mentioned if the light levels are very low this will kick them into hibernation mode and if the day tempts arnt warm enough then this will play a role in this too
Regards matt

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 08:53 PM

Meant to say too Debbie, I have a little girl tort called Albert and an old female called Herbie :)



#8 Freddy

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 09:25 PM

LOL! It was the opposite for us. We thought our tort was a male for almost 30 Years then we found out otherwise. She is now called 'Billiejo' a slight change from her previous 'BillyJoe'!
Best wishes
Freddy

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 10:28 PM

Herbie came to me as a seriously injured rescue and her owners assured me she was male. I pointed out the differences and they said they knew she was male as the other smaller one had laid eggs on occasions, although they had never seen it happen. They eventually gave the other one up too, which was obviously male lol

Albert was named by my granddaughter after I gave her Old Tilly's first baby. I said it would most likely be female, but she insisted and who was I to interfere.



#10 Debbie

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 11:43 AM

Hi
Thanks for the advice. There isn't really much natural light in the garage but they have got a uv strip light & they haven't got direct access to the outside I carry them out everyday but if its slightly chilly I won't put them out. I had the 2 little girls of a couple who had bred them & have never hibernated them.
Regards
Debbie

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#11 Debbie

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 11:45 AM

Tried to show a couple of pics inside the garage, the girls have gone back to bed again, I've got them up twice today already.
Not sure what to do for the best!
Regards
Debbie

#12 Freddy

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 01:56 PM

Hi Debbie,
It is obvious that the garage set-up isn't working. Personally, I would move the torts into a warmer room of your house. You still need to keep them going for a time yet. If they slow down again after their move you can consider hibernation. But if they pick up and the situation improves you may be able to keep them going for the winter period. However, at the end of the day the decision to hibernate them is entirely yours. IMHO it would be easier to do so. Hope this helps.
Kind Regards
Freddy

#13 Debbie

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 03:13 PM

Thanks again Freddy
I am thinking of converting the spare room into a tortoise room & bringing them in & not hibernating them this year, would you also bring Dorothy in even though he is up & about every morning before I've even turned the lights on? He is very active & eating but I'm sure he keeps looking for his mates!
Soz to be a pain & go on about it but at the moment it's all I can think about & even considering giving the little girls up because I'm so worried I'm not doing right by them. :(
Regards
Debbie

#14 Freddy

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 03:39 PM

Hi Debbie,
Please do not be too hard on yourself. Tortoises are always full of surprises no matter how long we have them. We are all of us learning all the time. I think you are doing your best for your torts and that's all we can do.
With regard to hibernation. The usual advice for new torts is not to hibernate them for the first year but to get to know them a little first. Also, many owners are nervous of hibernating their torts for the first time so it is common to postpone it until one is better prepared and more confident. However, in your case your girls are slowing down so my advice would be if you want to keep them awake for the winter period you need to act quickly and move them into a warmer room of your house. Once they are eating they will be fine.
As for Dorothy I would leave him 'as is' unless he begins to slow down or stops eating. You seem to have developed a nice little routine for him so I wouldn't go changing anything just yet. However, I would be aiming to hibernate him next year at the very latest. Also, although they thrive in groups tortoises don't really suffer from loneliness as such and do quite well on their own. True, Dorothy may miss seeing his companions about but the same would be true if they were hibernated.
Anyway Debbie, I wish you the best of luck with your tortoise troop whatever you decide.
Take care.
Kind Regards
Freddy

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 06:52 PM

Hi Debbie,
It is obvious that the garage set-up isn't working. Personally, I would move the torts into a warmer room of your house. You still need to keep them going for a time yet. If they slow down again after their move you can consider hibernation. But if they pick up and the situation improves you may be able to keep them going for the winter period. However, at the end of the day the decision to hibernate them is entirely yours. IMHO it would be easier to do so. Hope this helps.
Kind Regards
Freddy

Agreed - there is no substitute for natural light movement, the movements of the sun stimulate them far more than any amount of artificial light. I would take them into the house and put them somewhere where they can see the daylight appear and recede. As Freddy says, hibernation is a natural part of the lifecycle and really recharges their batteries so to speak. Good luck.



#16 Debbie

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 06:11 PM

Hi all (especially Freddy)
Thought I'd keep you posted on progress with my little girls. More advice is needed I'm afraid!
I've bought all the gang indoors (Dorothy included) he is well happy stomping up & down the landing while we get ready for work, he is eating & very active & I still put him in his garage enclosure during the day. Zippy is ok, she gets up in the morning by herself & is also eating. Winkle on the other hand is a bit of a worry, she won't get up on her own so I get her up put her under the lamp but she just goes straight back into her box, so I get her up again & the same happens. I also haven't seen her eating & she is very lack lustre but on Sunday we had some lovely sunshine so I put them out & she was loving it & very active but indoors again today & very quiet. What would be a healthy weight for a 4yr old female Hermanns? Zippy is 1 pound 6 oz's, 5 inches across by 6 inches long & Winkle is 1 pound 3 oz's, 5 inches across by 5 inches long, does this seem healthy do you think?
Sorry for the long winded message.
All comments gratefully welcomed :(
Regards
Debbie

#17 Freddy

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 06:51 PM

Hi Debbie,
Glad to hear your torts are still active and eating and seem to be doing well. Winkle has probably gone a little quiet because she was out in pleasant sunshine and is now back indoors again. Being moved about can affect tortoises differently and some can become a little confused and subdued. However, be patient with her. As long as you are providing enough heat and light she will become active again and should start to eat when she gets hungry.
With regard to weight and size. Weight is usually measured in grams and Size/Length in millimeters/centimeters and then compared to the Jackson Ratio Chart.
Here is a link to this guide which you may find useful:http://www.hermann-t... for adult.html
Be sure to measure your tortoise correctly:http://www.hermann-t...ksonsratio.html
Hope this helps. Take care.
Kind Regards
Freddy

#18 Debbie

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 06:58 PM

Hi
Me again, well its been 2 weeks now since I brought the tortoises indoors. I've converted the whole spare bedroom which was my wizard of oz room, hence the name Dorothy. The 2 girls just arent having it. I have to get them up everyday & put them under their lamp, then to make them eat I have to put them in front of their food which they will then happily chomp on, (especially dandelion leaves) then they just plod back to bed & thats it, show over. Today I tried a little experiment & didnt det them up I just left them to it & low & behold 8 hours later when I returned from work they hadnt moved at all from where they'd gone to sleep last night! I got them out give them fresh leaves which they scoffed then just bogged off back to bed. I really don't feel confident enough to hibernate them this year so do you think they will be ok going on like this all winter?
Regards
Debbie

#19 Freddy

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 09:51 PM

Hi Debbie,

Sounds like your two girls are set in their ways. It is never easy keeping torts up at a time when they should be hibernating. They will inevitably slow down. Torts also do not like change and can take a while to settle into a new environment.The best you can do is to ensure they have sufficient heat and light and keep them eating. That is why hibernation is sometimes the best policy. Take care.

Kind Regards

Freddy



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Posted 21 October 2013 - 10:03 PM

You really need to come and talk to my Thb's Ozric, not that I want them to stay awake of course ;)






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