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New Hermanns Tortoise Owner - Advice Needed

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#1 Guest_george_hermann_*

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Posted 08 December 2005 - 12:05 PM

Hi there, I recently purchased a 4 year old Hermann's tortoise from a UK website. He arrived safe and well, and indeed was scurrying around and feeding normally.

On the whole, he looks to be in great condition, but on the CITES certificate, it states

Hatched in : 2001
Country of Origin : Slovenia

I thought nothing of this (probably through my naivety) until I began reading this forum. There seems to be a major issue regarding Slovenian Hermann's tortoises. I genuinely hope that my little fella doesn't succumb to any illnesses in the near future.

I was led to believe that he was captive bred in the UK but the CITES certificate says "Previously on Slovenian certificate no. xxxxxxx - xxxx"

Is the dealer as scrupulous as he should be? I've given the Hermann's lots of space in an indoor open pen, and he eats like a horse! It's just this Slovenian issue which is now bothering me a lot. :-(

Many thanks

Mike & Jacqui Newall

#2 Guest_JJ_*

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Posted 08 December 2005 - 12:15 PM

Hi Mike and Jacqui,
I got my hermann's tortoise when he was 4 and my certificate said exactely the same thing. Country of origin was also Slovenia. He is now 5 (hatched in 2000). He was captive bred in Surrey and he has always been fine (fingers crossed). Only thing I have ever had to do was have him wormed and the vet said he was very healthy so if your worried have the vet check him over but I don't think you have anything to worry about. :-)

#3 Guest_george_hermann_*

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Posted 08 December 2005 - 12:18 PM

Thanks JJ :-)

Poor fella has never shown any signs of illness but now we're staring at him like he's gonna pop his clogs! :)
Bet George wonders what all the fuss is about. Thanks again.

Mike & Jacqui

#4 Guest_JJ_*

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Posted 08 December 2005 - 12:26 PM

No probs. I know what's its like to be a worrying parent. I am the worlds worst for worrying. I have never had any real problems. I see the littlest thing though and think straight away that I'm killing him!! I have worried when he is too active, too slow, not eating enough or eating too much!! What are we like. He is in hibernation at the moment and I'm still worrying.

Say hi to George for me and hope he will be ok. Let me know how he's doing. They are so cute at that age. ;-)

#5 Guest_george_hermann_*

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Posted 08 December 2005 - 02:56 PM

Just e-mailed the 'reputable' supplier and he gave me the following response, which (again) i'm not entirely happy about...

Hi Michael,

All of our tortoises are imported from Slovenia. So far we have had no problems with the health of our tortoises. however we do provide new owners with 30 days illness cover, meaning that if your tortoise is sick within the first 30 days we will pay for any vets bills and if any such illness does not go away offer a refund or replacement. The our tortoises are all healthy, we would not sell sick tortoises as this would be an enormous problem for us when we are trying to grow our business more by word of mouth than from advertising. If you have any doubts concerning this matter feel free to phone me on xxxxxxxxxxx (<--- MOBILE PHONE NUMBER!) :-(

Best Wishes


#6 Guest_JJ_*

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Posted 08 December 2005 - 03:39 PM

mmmmmm, that does sound a bit dodgey. On the certificate does it mention where he was captive bred? Mine says Surrey. I will check on my certificate tonight to see where it says it and let you know. I also have an address and tel no for protected species office in Bristol. I will get my certificate and see what I can find. Will let you know tomorrow...unless anyone else has any other ideas??


#7 Guest_mattgriffin1_*

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Posted 08 December 2005 - 07:40 PM

There are large scale tortoise 'farms' in Slovenia where the tortoises are I believe captive bred but from there are deported all over the world. Clearly not an ideal situation because these places are breeding grounds for parasites. I too had a tortoise that I believed was captive bred in this country but the Cites said Slovenia and the little chap did have gut protozoa which needed treatment. Without wishing to unduly alarm anyone that tortoise died not long after I got him.
Much betetr to find a reputable breeder, breeder being the operative word rather than dealer.


#8 Guest_george_hermann_*

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Posted 08 December 2005 - 11:20 PM

I agree, the website which sells the tortoises (not a million miles away from a Google UK search for 'tortoise') seems to promote itself as tortoise lovers that has turned a hobby into breeding for sale. As they only sell a couple of species, I wasn't unduly suspicious compared to some offering dozens of breeds. I was led to believe that they were sold as bred from their own premises.

As long as George stays alright, then we'll count our blessings.
Forgive the language, but the seller's promise to replace the tortoise if he develops an untreatable illness is just crap.
These creatures aren't disposable toys to be replaced at a whim, just like you wouldn't ask for a substitute dog.

I think I may have had my fingers burned here, and as a first time tortoise owner, I genuinely hope i'm the exception. Please stay tuned folks.


#9 Guest_arnhib_*

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Posted 09 December 2005 - 08:52 AM

Hello Michael
Not knowing the web site you bought the tortoise from I can't comment, on a positive note collect a sample of his poo, which can be kept hygenically in the fridge for a couple of days, take it to the vet asap and have a feacal test for worms or parasites on it, that way your mind will be put at rest

#10 Guest_l1277702_*

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 10:44 AM

Hiya folks.

I think I might well have got my tortoise (a 2 year old hermanns) from the same guy. Is he based in Carlisle? I went to collect my little guy, and saw the other tortoises he keeps. He had two table of imports for sale, and two of his own tortoises, bought from a pet shop.

I was also under the impression that he was a breeder, not a trader, and feel a little bit silly because I purchased a tortoise anyway. I've only had him for three weeks but he seems well and happy. Very lively and eats well.

My cites certificate sounds similar to yours, so I guess all we can do is hope for the best! Good luck, keep us updated on how he's doing.

Beth x

#11 Guest_arnhib_*

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 11:05 AM

Hello Beth
Like I have said earlier in this thread, if you have any doubts of origin get a poo test, my vet charges about 14, this may seem dear but will save in the long run,
3 brilliant sites on rearing med torts in the uk.
If you or any new owner has been sold equipment that is not suitable for the tortoises, then come back and we will try to see if we can improvise the things you have, I.E.heat mats and vivariums
Tortoises need calcium, vitamins, UV, basking heat, and a good diet that is fruit and brassica free and a tortoise should be slow grown

#12 Guest_l1277702_*

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 11:21 AM

Thanks for the advice Arnie.

I think everything i have is suitable. He has a tortoise table that is about 2' by 4'. I bought a combined UV/basking bulb, a clamp lamp and reptovate supplement from the same guy. Godzilla also has cuttlefish to nibble on and soil/sand substrate to dig in. He's eating all the dandelions/bindweed that I can find in the garden at the moment, but I've ordered some herbiseed mix today.

I've looked at the list of tortoise vets and there's one very close to where I live. I'll book him in for the new year and get him looked at. I'm trying to do my best for the little guy, and I hope i can make up for the shaky start he may have had!

Thanks again,
Beth x

#13 Guest_rupert_the_dog_*

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 01:23 PM

HI all,

Can I ask who's name is on your paperwork? Thats the name printed top left on the yellow article 10 paperwork?

Take Arnhibs advice and get the poo analysed. I would also have mine wormed as a precaution.



#14 Guest_l1277702_*

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 08:24 AM

Hiya Mike.

It says 'Appleton Exotics' at the top. I've heard that name on here before so i'm guessing it's probably not a good thing! I'm getting very worried about my little guy now. I keep poking him when he's trying to sleep to make sure he's ok! I saw the guy worm him when I went to pick him up, but as soon as i can get a 'sample' I'll get him down to the vets for a check up.

Beth x

#15 Guest_l1277702_*

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 12:04 PM

[updated:LAST EDITED ON 29-12-05 AT 12:05 PM (GMT)]Hi again.

I've booked Godzilla in at the vets for 3pm tomorrow. Please keep your fingers crossed for him that he's healthy. I'm prepared to get an ear bashing off the vet so please keep your fingers crossed for me that I get out alive!

Thanks for the advice everyone, have found a lot of useful stuff on here.

Beth x

Godzilla x

#16 Guest_kirsty10_*

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 12:21 PM

Good luck with the vets!!! I went the first time yesterday with my imported tort! The vet was informative but if you feel a wee bit guilty now you will feel worse when you come out. Keywords he used to describe the tort were stressed and confused. I feel horrible about the fact my tort was imported but I have him now and we all learn from our mistakes. I do feel better for getting him checked and wormed. The vet also told me he had a nice hard, even shell so that was at least a bit of good news. I'm going back with a poo sample when Archie eventually feels like passing something. Good luck!!!

#17 Guest_l1277702_*

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 05:15 PM

Hiya Kirsty.
Have just got back from the vets (after 1 1/2 hours wait!), and it wasn't as bad as I expected. She said that Godzilla looks very healthy and seems well. Sent of a sample to get checked, but doesn't think there's anything to worry about. Nice pink mouth, smooth shell etc. She also said that we may just be prejudiced, and there may be some good tortoise breeders in Slovenia after all. She also thinks that Godzilla might be a girl, not a very feminine name though! Good luck with everything, thanks for the reassurance!
Beth & Godzilla x

#18 Guest_rupert_the_dog_*

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 06:07 PM


Don't feel bad your tortoises are not leppers! I myself probably have 3 x 1 year old's from the same origin. I originaly had 5 but lost 2 in a long fight against worms and there associated problems in such small tortoises. The issue that people are making is that there origin is probably wild caught which is not what anyone wants. The other point is how they are shipped to the UK! 100 to a box and sometimes of mixed species which gives them the worse start to life. They are then sold to the pet shop trade who mostly continue the misery with heat mats, misleading advice and of course the expensive glass fish tank.

By visiting the vets you are taking precautions before you have a sick tortoise which believe me can be a real problem.

The fact you are here shows you care and I am sure with all the good advice available your tortoise will thrive.



#19 Guest_kirsty10_*

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 06:42 PM


#20 Guest_george_hermann_*

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 06:37 PM

Hi Beth,

Sorry for the late reply - been away on holiday.

I think you and I definitely bought our tortoises from the same guy. He's based in Carlisle and sounds very similar.

I think what misled me was the website (which is ominously no longer listed on Google) and the inference that the tortoises were all UK bred by a couple turning their hobby into a breeding venture.

That concept sold me and I bought George thinking that he'd been reared in the UK since hatching in 2001, not shipped over from Slovenia via Hermann Airways :-(

Again, i'm sure there are teachers from Tortoise High who'll readily give me six of the best for being so naive, but I genuinely didn't know about the full-scale problem of Slovenian imports! x(

It's really good to hear that Godzilla is doing well.
George is out of control :-) He's very active and spends the majority of the day running around and climbing and burrowing.

I'd really like to believe that both of our Hermanns are in good health and can thrive with some TLC.

Here's a pic of George having his morning bath while in mid-yawn!

Sorry it's a bit rubbish - came from a mobile phone! :)

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