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#61 Worried

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 04:30 AM

(This thread has gone on to page 4 now, there are photos of Lively and more of my replies on the previous page)

 

A lot depends on he general shape of this tortoise though Freddy. As the owner says it has been here since a baby, it may well not relate well to the Jacksons ratio, which was devised for the average wild shaped adult Mediterranean tortoise. It's also not possible to say what wind down time is applicable without seeing if it is a normal weight for a 7 year old. Wild/outdoor reared 7 year olds would be a lot smaller than one reared under lights indoors and normal adult weight is reached between 10 and 15 years ;)  Not saying it is likely to be grown badly, just thought it would be better to wait to see pics ;)

 

She's never been under a light. Our friend kept her outdoors at all times and left her to fend for herself, only bringing her in to hibernate/brumate



#62 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 11:18 PM

Thank you for the replies! Sorry it took me a while to return. I've learnt how to post images now, I'll respond to the replies after I've posted them.

 

Tortie's bum - girl or boy? I think girl:

 

 

Yes, girl - very poorly grown though looking at the tail spur - I would concentrate on calcium supplementation, it's obviously not had much/any :(

 

 

2pyzt52.jpg

 

nyzec1.jpg

 

Tortie's underside - what race? (That's my mum in the pictures BTW)

 

Your Mums hands are in the most crucial place to check subspecies from that pic, but looks Testudo hermanni boettgeri. Need to see the bit where the back legs come out and where the upper shell (carapace) joins the lower shell (plastron).

1447adl.jpg

 

2hrjss0.jpg

 

Other pics - any commments on health or race?

Species Thb and very poor condition, possibly even a degree of MBD (metabolic bone disease) How does she walk, low to the ground or on tip toes? Certainly needs a lot of tlc, including high level uvb and a good supplement such as Nekton MSA

 

2af0l8l.jpg

 

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33w00vr.jpg

 

1zojax0.jpg

 

xooaj5.jpg  (the mark to the left of her head is a hole in the tile)

 

30j5jxf.jpg  (this pic was taken earlier in the year)

Does she now have regular supplements and high light levels etc?



#63 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 11:24 PM

 

Not true!

 

"At a depth of 1 - 2 metres, there is a constant annual temp of 6 - 8°C. Temperatures in the top 2 feet of the soil fluctuate with the solar input and are liable to freeze."

 

Got the info from this uk site about geothermal heating: http://www.tigergree...und_source.html

 

 

That makes sense as I lost plants in 2010 that had roots very deep into the soil and the soil was solid for a long way down when I had builders here to the water pipes.



#64 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 11:50 PM

Thank you to Wizzasmum for your long reply :)

Torts should never display excessive thirst, so never put onto anything warm as all heat should come from above. Personally I would not hibernate this tortoise this year until I had had a full blood profile and x-rays done, as it is not in a good way to be honest and tortoises with MBD should not be hibernated. You would need an exotics vet to diagnose mbd though and not your average dog and cat vet. 10% is the overall weight loss, 10% a month would be a dead tort :(  Re the oxalate issue, I'm only going by what has been proven over many years by people who have studied them. All brassicas are relatively high in oxalates. The aim is to mimic as closely as possible what they would have in the wild, so no cabbages, cauliflowers, spinach etc ;)  I'm afraid the shell will never improve as it looks as though there is a degree of spinal depression, although there are no profile pics to show this. There is certainly a lot of too fast growth and what looks like thickened keratinised growth. This will not rectifiy as it is already formed and is the sort of shell that on autopsy, would show thicker shells than normal but full of holes like an aero chocolate bar. Yes, more calcium can be laid down to the bones but it has to be done slowly and sometimes a tortoise with such deformities will suddenly die, so it's not a quick fix sadly. The lighter coloured growth areas are too wide, showing that recent growth has been fast. Slow growth will help with the bone problems too, so if she was mine I would be not hibernating her but just feeding enough for her to tick over with a good supplement with a good calcium to phosphorous ratio. A tortoise should be able to right itself on flat ground, but not if it has poor shell growth and is not domed as it should be. There is a huge difference between looking for food in the wild and patrolling a border fence. In the wild they do indeed roam large areas, but very slowly as there is no need to search frantically. I have never had any of mine pace the edges unless they have been put into a strange area with limited space and no difference in terrain. I've yet to see a female trying to escape to look for a mate. If it was a dog with a regular cycle, then yes, but tortoises mate all the year round in captivity and females that have not been with males don't appear to look for mates ;) Even males don't look for females if they have never had one or can't smell one. Given her shell formation I would be careful not to introduce her to a male, this could have catastrophic consequences if she was to become gravid. The best substrate is plain soil, with added rocks and logs etc, same as the wild. It needs to be relatively deep so that she can dig in when needed, this will help the shell too.

Hope this helps



#65 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 11:55 PM

 

The back half of our garage is within the rest of the house, and the front half sticks out from the main building. It's north-facing. The house is detached. Will there be significant differences in the temperature within the garage? Nothing inside it has ever frozen, according to my mum. This summer we got an expensive whole-house water filter to put in the garage, which are ruined in freezing temperatures, and she was confident enough to spend over £600. However, it's situated on the inner wall next to the house. 

 

If we do hibernate her ourselves, it will be in the garage, but I'm worried about whether it will get too hot in the back or too cold in the front corner furthest from the house. I would have to go in and measure the temperature in various places on a few cold days and nights, and then take averages. But it might be a while before it gets cold enough to take measurements. 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have those corrugated type metal doors on your garage and they are painted a dark shade then they will act as a radiator when the sun in on them. I had to paint mine white lol. I then had to have a stud wall put in so that I could use the rear just for torts. I have heaters on a stat in case the temps drop too low. On the other hand if it gets too warm, she will wake up, so you would then have to bring her inside.



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Posted 04 November 2013 - 11:57 PM

(This thread has gone on to page 4 now, there are photos of Lively and more of my replies on the previous page)

 

 

She's never been under a light. Our friend kept her outdoors at all times and left her to fend for herself, only bringing her in to hibernate/brumate

It's a miracle she survived :(



#67 Freddy

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 12:05 AM

Does anyone know of a good thermometer which I can leave in the garage, but read the temperature on a display indoors? That way we can check on the temperature at all times. Or a thermometer with an alarm that goes off when it gets too hot or cold. 

 

 

 

Thanks for your response :)

 

I now think the wind down period was actually a bit longer than ten days. She would not eat for 10 days, then our friend would put her in a cold hallway until she fell asleep. Then she would be moved to the garage for her hibernation. So it might have been a little longer than I first thought. 

 

The back half of our garage is within the rest of the house, and the front half sticks out from the main building. It's north-facing. The house is detached. Will there be significant differences in the temperature within the garage? Nothing inside it has ever frozen, according to my mum. This summer we got an expensive whole-house water filter to put in the garage, which are ruined in freezing temperatures, and she was confident enough to spend over £600. However, it's situated on the inner wall next to the house. 

 

If we do hibernate her ourselves, it will be in the garage, but I'm worried about whether it will get too hot in the back or too cold in the front corner furthest from the house. I would have to go in and measure the temperature in various places on a few cold days and nights, and then take averages. But it might be a while before it gets cold enough to take measurements. 

 

Hi There,

What you have said makes perfect sense. The lady who previously hibernated your tortoise may not have been too far off the mark. Besides the proof is in the pudding and your tortoise has survived hibernation thus far so she must have been doing something right, although as Sue says she got the husbandry all wrong. With regard to a good thermometer I am not too sure of the current models available. Hopefully some one who has knowledge of thermometers will come along soon to help. You should be aiming for a temperature range of between 1- 7 degrees in your chosen garage location. If temps drop below 1 degree torts can freeze to death. So this must be avoided. If this happens you must be prepared to move your torts box to a milder location. On the other hand if temps rise to between 8-10 degrees or more tortoises can wake from hibernation. Striking a balance  between the two extremes can be tricky. These temp ranges should give you an idea of what you should be aiming for. Personally I feel If you find winters in your locality are severe I would  tend towards putting your torts hibernation box nearer to the wall attached to your house. Anyway this has been my experience of hibernation using the box method in a garage. I hope you find it useful. Should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to ask, we are only too delighted to help. For now take care. Hope to talk to you again soon.

Kind Regards

Freddy



#68 Worried

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 03:12 PM

Thanks for your replies :)  

 

We didn't realise how bad her condition is  :(

 

The only other torties we'd ever seen were at the Earnley butterfly and beast centre, when we visited about 9 months before we got her. They had hundreds of Hermann's that had extreme pyramiding and were fed a terrible diet. (They were being bred to contribute to the wild population too :() Compared to those, and the pictures we saw when we first started learning about Hermann's, our tortie looks great! 

 

The reason we know so little about them is because last year, our friend just asked if we wanted her and we just took her home. I did do my research, but I guess our lack of real-life experience is why she didn't look too bad to us.

 

We phoned a vet with a certificate in reptile care, who had been recommended on another tortoise site. We have an appointment in the next few days. I spoke to the vet assistant and she said it's a positive sign that her shell is very hard. She seemed to know what she was talking about for most things, but wasn't aware that torties get their heat from basking rather than the ambient temperature. She also didn't give me a straight answer when I asked about the tortoise food my mum bought yesterday (which we're going to return as we're unhappy with the ingredients). But, she's just a vet nurse so hopefully the vet will know better.

 

I looked at her walking, and I do think she's walking quite low  :(

 

Here are some more pictures of the side of her shell:

 

nouas9.jpg

 

292qxwy.jpg

 

2rzatev.jpg

 

20f25xl.jpg

 

 

Questions:

 

1) Lighting. We haven't got one yet. We looked on this page: http://www.tortoiset...s/lighting.html  and now my mum's frightened that the mercury ones are going to release harmful gases (there is evidence to show that they do),but they seem to emit better light than the other ones. I need someone to recommend me a good UV-A, UV-B + heat lamp. They seem to clip onto things. Would it be alright to clip one onto a radiator, or the leg of the breakfast bar? We need one that's clippable and with an adjustable head, because we're not yet sure what we should attack it to. We would prefer a low watt light because her little area in the kitchen is fairly small. I'm concerned about the mercury, but we need to get a light ASAP to make sure she has vitamin D before she hibernates (if it's recommended that she hibernates this year). So, someone tell me which one to get and I'll order it right away!

 

2) Chalk/limestone: is calcium carbonate actually digestible? Some sites recommend sprinkling it onto their food. It seems to be the main calcium source in the supplements, along with calcium phosphate. 

 

3) This is just an idea, since I've seen deer and other non-sea animals eating seaweed - can tortoises eat it? They seem to live naturally in near-coastal areas. Sea vegetables are very high in calcium and other minerals, which is why I'm wondering if they like it.  

 

 

 






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