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#1 Rosemae

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 11:26 AM

Hi all, my name's Jo and my family and I have been thinking about getting a tortoise for many years. I've been reading this forum a lot in the last few days and thought that it was time to join up so I could ask some questions and get to know everyone.

We recently visited a petting zoo type place that had both giant and smaller tortoises and this resulted in the whole family falling in love with them even more. It has become apparent to me since reading through this forum that the care that they were getting probably wasn't ideal and the staff weren't as knowledgeable as they thought they were! They had a lovely leopard tortoise that they insisted was easy to keep - didn't grow very big and (although they didn't) would hibernate in winter! All of us came out thinking we'd have a leopard tortoise so I started some intense research and I'm now of the opinion that a Hermann or Spur-thighed would be better!

We know we need an indoor 'table' and an outdoor enclosure for it/them. So or first job is to build the outside area and get that right. Inside we hope to use a large rabbit cage with a basking lamp and uv lamp combo.

My questions are - would it be best to get one or two?

I understand that you can't sex them till they're older so would it be a potential issue if we ended up with 2 boys?

What age is it best to get - my children are keen to see them grow from a young age but I'm not sure what age is best for the tortoise?

Sorry this is so long!
Jo

#2 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 05:35 PM

Hi Jo and welcome to the forum

It's sad that these petting zoos give out such awful information isn't it :( I took my grandchildren to Walton College Open day last month and was very upset to see they were teaching such dreadful info to their students. My ten year old granddaughter spoke up and said how bad things were, while her little brother was embarrassed, saying we were like the tortoise police lol. She was perfectly right though, there was mixing of species, feeding large hard lumps of carrot amongst other dreadful food. I won't be going again :(

If you build an outdoor area with heating, you will only need the rabbit cage at either end of the season. Getting one or two is personal choice and while they do tend to miss siblings at first, they are solitary creatures in nature. Two boys is not a problem, so long as there are no females around, one of each would be a bigger problem. Babies have exactly the same care as adults but you have to be more careful of dehydration, so more checks per day while they are young. I don't let mine go until they have had one hibernation as I feel this sets them on a good steady course for growth.

Hope this helps ;)



#3 Rosemae

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 07:46 PM

Thanks Sue, I'm really glad I found this site before we bought a tortoise!

I am thinking of getting a combined uv heat lamp for the indoor cage, what make/type is best?

Outdoors I thought a cold frame to get toasty in and a Guinea pig/rabbit wooden house (with a ramp that folds up as the door) fitted with a thermostatically controlled heater. Does this sound OK? What type of heater would be best for outside?

Thank you again :-)
Jo

#4 Freddy

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 08:59 PM

Hi Jo,

Welcome to the forum. Glad you found us. We are a friendly, helpful bunch. You will get plenty of great advice here and make many new friends. Best of luck in your quest for a tortoise. Hope you enjoy your stay. :)

Take care. 

Kind Regards

Freddy :D



#5 mildredsmam

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 09:13 PM

Hi Jo, welcome to the forum. :)



#6 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 10:00 PM

I find separate uvb and heat lamps work best in rabbit enclosures as it is not so easy to get them to the right height for temps, but I know some use them.  Outdoors I have used tubular background heaters, but given a long period of bad weather, they may need basking facilities as background heat does not raise their body temps ;)



#7 Rosemae

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 11:13 PM

Thanks again Sue.

If we put the wooden house (with background heater) inside the cold frame and then put a basking lamp in the remaining cold frame area for 'bad weather days', would that work? Also would we need to keep the soil in the wooden house damp like in the inside enclosure?

Really sorry for all the questions!

Thanks again :-)
Jo

#8 mildredsmam

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 07:11 AM

Hi Jo,

It's best to ask all these questions before you get your tort, it's good to see your doing all your research first. :)

I agree with Sue with some combined bulbs they need to be a little higher and you can't always archive this in a cage set up.

For your outside set up you could just have a basking lamp, with out some thing for back ground heat, I use a heater for back ground heat but it's mainly for the front and back end of the year when the temps can drop really low out side, if you have a look through our outside enclosures section you might get some ideas how other members have set there's up. :)



#9 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 04:48 PM

I would not use both Jo, 'either or' will suffice. If you have a cold frame, you don't need a separate hide in there as you want them to dig down into the soil preferably. I keep all soil slightly damp, not wet, but not dry either.



#10 Rosemae

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 07:42 PM

Thank you to everyone for your help and advice so far!

After doing more reading and taking on-board everything all of you have said we have drawn up the following plan... :-)

For outside: We have bought a second hand rabbit hutch. We are going to remove the bottom, fill in the mesh area and fully insulate the walls and roof. We're going to add a tubular heater and a basking lamp. There will be a tube/tunnel leading outside to an area fenced off using decking boards and covered with a mesh lid.

For inside: An indoor rabbit cage with 36 inch D3+ 12% acardia uv tube and a Exo Terra PT2136 Intense Basking Spot, 75 Watt bulb with a Reptile Tortoise Metal Clip On Ceramic Bulb Heater Holder.

Do both of these set ups sound OK?

A few more questions...

Do we need a uv lamp inside the outside hutch as well?
I've seen 100cm and 120cm indoor cages - would it be better to get the biggest one? Is 120cm big enough?

I really am very grateful for all the help and advice, I'm determined to make both the inside and outside as ideal as I can so that my future friend has the best life possible :-)

Jo

#11 Guest_Stella_*

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 06:06 PM

Hiya Jo...... Lovely to meet you x x x hugs x




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