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My First Hermann Today


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#1 Laura-1992

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 08:28 AM

Hey Guys, im getting my first hermann today!! We bought a rather large vivarium as I was advised by the pet shop that we was better to by a vivarium for a baby hermann as you can apparently get the temp rihht, then I read a few posts after we bought it second hand. Is it really bad to have my tortoise in the vivarium?  What is better a heat mat with a uv light or better to have a uv and heat light with no mat? So confused. The vivarium came with heat mat.. thanks for your help!!! Laura  :)



#2 Kelly

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 11:12 AM

I'd advise that you try and sell the vivarium and heat mat set up to get your money back. Pet shops unfortunately have no idea on what is a suitable set up for tortoises and many have died as a result of people following their advice. :(

 

You need an open top tortoise table, with a top soil substrate and a basking light and UVB bulb (you can buy these combined).



#3 mildredsmam

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 12:37 PM

Hi Laura welcome to the forum. :)

heat mats are no good for tortoises as there heat needs to come from above ,as Kelly has already said a vivarium is no good to house a tortoise as you can't get good temperatures, it's normally to hot with a tortoise table you have a basking area and a cooler side so your tortoise has a choice in temperatures as to where he wants to be.

With tortoises try and think natural as in what they would have in nature so soil substrates a good one with rocks, slate plants added for interest.

I see it says your getting your Hermann today so that doesn't give you much time to sort a tortoise table, but as short term solution you could take the doors out of the vivarium and either put a mesh front on or some thing along the front so he can't get out but it lets an air flow through, but it would be better to have a tortoise table sorting first, could you change the day your picking him up to a different day which would give you more time to sort some thing. :)

have a read of this care sheet http://www.tortsmad.com/hatchlings.htm  I think it will help, any question you have just ask.



#4 Laura-1992

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 02:48 PM

Oh no. I bought him this morning before I could read the posts. I'm really unsure of what to do now, as I have tortoise and nowhere for it to live! :-(

#5 Hellymack

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 04:51 PM

Hi Laura

 

I am sure someone more experienced than me will be along shortly with some sound advice.

 

So that someone can give the best advice do you know the age of your tortie? how big is he/she? how was he/she being kept?

 

What is the size of your vivarium? Length, depth & height? As a short term measure, to get you out of trouble, is there any way that you can remove the glass and replace it with a strip of wood along the front- the reason for this is torts cannot understand glass so they keep trying to walk through it! The wood would need to be tall enough to stop tortie climbing out but should then leave a nice air gap at the top to let the fresh air in. 

 

If you could post a pic of what you have I am sure someone would have an idea of how to get round it for now, and then you can work on what to do next.

 

I got my first Hermann - George - last year and the 1st month was horrendous trying to work out what to do with him! He now has a bedtime box kept in a cool room in the house purley for sleeping in over night when its too cold to go out, then outside he has his main bedroom which is setup with a heat lamp to warm him up, ( I put him out every morning around 8am) he has a porch to get outside when he feels like it, a conservatory and then his garden which we extended to a 10 metre by 2 metre. It takes me ages to find him sometimes as he likes to hide in the weeds. 

 

I personally don't use any uv as he gets that from being out and about every day - but he is already 6 years old so not a .

 

You will be fine I am sure as it sounds like you gonna take great care.

 

Hope you enjoying the little critter x



#6 Laura-1992

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 05:14 PM

Well ive attached a few pics for you to see the size of everything. The heat mat is thermostatically controlled, we've also got a basic glass thermometer, and an electric display metal probe thermometer too so although people say about the mat being dangerous for burns we are constantly monitoring the amount of heat the mat kicks out. The vivarium is 2 x 1.5 x 1.5 - we would have been looking to upgrading yo a tortoise table when he grows as he will clearly grow out of it!! He was born in September 2012 so 18 months.

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#7 Hellymack

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 05:28 PM

Hi Laura

 

What a cute critter :) 

 

You would be best to swap the substrate for topsoil as in the wild they would not live on chippings, soil makes it easy for them to manage their own temperatures (thermoregulate).

 

I would not use the heat mat if I was you as they like to feel like the sun is on them.

 

Personally if I was in your situation I would consider sliding the glass out, removing the tube light and turning the viv over so that the opening is at the top - then you would have 4 sides and an open top - I would then buy a clip lamp and heat bulb - to replicate the sun until you get the table sorted - you may also need a uv bulb (or you could invest in a combined uv/heat bulb) dependent upon what your plans are for an outside enclosure?

 

But either way you now gonna spend ages just watching the little fella!!



#8 Laura-1992

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 08:48 PM

Hi again, I have just purchased a tortoise table from Ebay as I didnt want to cause any distress to the little guy despite have the vivarium literally a day :-/ but its up for sale so hopefully someone will buy it from me soon. . This is my new table

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#9 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 07:29 PM

If you bought it from a pet shop I would take it back and tell them you would like a refund for the housing etc as it would be a pretty disastrous start. If a pet shop tortoise, then you will need to get a faecal sample done at the vets too as imports almost always carry parasites. The pet shop are legally obliged to refund your  money for the viv as it is not suitable for the purpose it was sold. The Tortoise Trust used to back people on this, but not sure if they still do.



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Posted 31 March 2014 - 07:34 PM

You really need to take the heat mat out Laura as they can actually kill, especially with small tortoises. Dehydration can happen in a matter of minutes and it is nothing to do with how hot the mat gets. They really are lethal as heat MUST come from above. I would seriously think about getting the shop to refund you, if only to let them know how wrong this is and to help prevent more people from having problems with their tortoises.



#11 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 07:37 PM

Sorry to sound negative, you must be fed up with people by now. I would remove the glass and replace with plywood and remove the little house as it is better if they dig down into the soil overnight to help with smooth growth by thermoregulating.



#12 Laura-1992

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 09:25 PM

For a start the tortoise is not an import I have a certificate to state its bred in the UK. It has been vet checked and microchipped and again the shop provided proof for this. Unfortunately due to my lack of knowledge at the time I bought a second hand viv from gum tree and now I am using a tortoise table with heat/UV lamp..and a heat mat for at night when the lamps are off and the temp drops rapidly inmy house and at night its feezing. Every time I post something its like im doing everything wrong :-(

#13 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 10:32 PM

If you bought him from a pet shop and he is a UK bred, then he is pretty rare. I don't know of any breeders that sell to petshops at all.  If you look on the cert in the box stating country of origin, it should say where he hatched (hopefully they have given you a full copy of the cert and not just their own guarantee of species etc) If he is already microchipped, he is even more likely to be imported - most breeders don't chip their tortoises so small, but importers have to. Captive bred doesn't mean bred in the UK, just handled by a UK dealer, this is how the pet trade are misleading unsuspecting buyers. It's easier for them to do this with Russians as they do not need certificates, but many are also making false misleading statements with hermanns too.  Your certificate copy should be what is known as an article 10 and will give the dealers name and importers details too. My baby hermanns are in my unheated conservatory at night and this is fine at this time of year, even up here in Shropshire. He won't freeze indoors and will actually benefit from being cold overnight as this is what they have evolved to do, this is why they will dig down into the soil overnight. If they are too warm they will sleep on the surface and this will contribute to dehydration, you can see it is essential they dig down as they would in nature. It's actually very cold at ground level at night in Mediterranean. Keeping them warm 24/7 is really not good for them. No-one is putting you down, just telling you that the pet trade is wrong. Ask on the forums and make sure you are clear before going ahead and possibly making mistakes. No-one is criticising you, just trying to get you onto the straight and narrow to try to help both you and your tortoise.  Good luck :D



#14 Laura-1992

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 12:11 PM

Im going to return him to the pet shop I dont want him to die in my care



#15 Becca

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 12:32 PM

Hi Laura,

 

I'm sorry to hear you feel so disheartened! :(

 

Luckily I discovered this forum long before I got my tort, I spent a good few months reading all of the different threads so that I knew what I was doing however I still made mistakes.  The guys on here are great at offering advice but it can take a little while to get things right (I still don't feel i'm there yet).  I would suggest following the advice of Sue and checking your certificate, if you are not happy with where your tort has come from then return it to the pet store.  I hope however that it has not put you off completely and you find a breeder for your next purchase, this way you know your little one is off to the best start  :)



#16 Hellymack

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 07:15 PM

Hi Laura,

 

please don't do this, honestly the first month I had George I thought the same but I have been following your journey on here and you really are going to be a great tort mum, you are doing all the right things ie your not sure so you are asking, and then making things better, that is the only way we learn, please don't be disheartened - and if you send him back who knows what will happen to him then.

 

You really are doing a god job and tort survive much worse care, for many month and years before ending up at a good home, your little fella is lucky by having you.

 

I really cant imagine life without my little fella now  :)



#17 Laura-1992

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 07:36 PM

Thanks, sometimes it's nice to hear other people struggled at first because then it makes you feel your not the only one and your not doing so bad after all. I was frightened id kill him as I don't have much knowledge about them - but I think he's awesome gave him his first bath yesterday and hes was dunking and diving and my other half was amazed as was I about how much he really did enjoy it he did all his toilets in there and I kept changing the water so it remained luke warm for the 20mins he had a play in there for. Im glad I got him to be honest but every time I posted something I felt I was doing it wrong and I thought am I treating him right?! But itsgood to hear im not along. What do you feed your torte? At the mo shermans on finely sliced kale, cucumber and carrott sprinkled with calcium powder.. do they enjoy any odd treats I wouldnt think to give him.. my partner went for a walk with the dog and got sherm a few dandelions - not sure if hes fussed by them mind!! Thanks for your help :-)



#18 Guest_Stella_*

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 07:40 PM

Hi Laura, don't feel disheartened, and do keep your young tort. You can give him a far better life by a few alterations than he will get back at the pet shop awaiting a new home, which may not be as good as the one you can offer.
It does take a while to get set ups right and for a lot of us, even though we have had torts for years there is always someone on here who can support when things go wrong. X x x hugs x x

#19 Guest_Stella_*

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 07:46 PM

Sorry Laura, don't feed carrot. The absolute best for torts is lovely free weeds (though just to confuse, not all weeds)..... Dandilion, leaves and flowers, though not stalks.... Plantain, and lots of others. Check out the Tortoise trust plant data base, there are loads of stuff on there to choose from. Pansies are a great favourite.... Hope this helps x x x hugs x x

#20 Hellymack

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 07:48 PM

Hi Laura

 

George is fed on weeds of varying kinds from my garden, he enjoys dandelions and sticky weed, aubretia (that's the rockery plant that has the purple flowers in the spring), black currant leaves, hollyhock leaves, nettles, clover and daisy leaves from the lawn, pansy, 

 

I don't feed any fruit as the sugar upsets their bacteria balance in their stomach's, I don't feed any salad as it has no nutritional value other than water (it's like junk food), and I don't feed any types of cabbage (brassica's) as it stops them from absorbing calcium.

 

I don.t feed him any veg as if he was a wild tortoise he would not eat veg out in the Mediterranean dessert!!

 

Because he lives outside and gets his uv from the sun I don't personally use vitamin supplements but I do use limestone flour, this is sprinkled on the ground where his weeds grow.

 

But saying all that a little bit of food that is not ideal will not cause him any major harm so please dont feel negative, just get some weeds growing!!






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