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#1 Olly&Flo

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 09:20 AM

Hello everyone,

 

My name is Olly, I'm 13 years old and I have a Horsfield's called Flo, it's early stages, but we think she's a female. I got her for my birthday in November, I had originally wanted Terrapins but after realizing how much work they were (three water changes a week) I opted for a Tortoise. I did lots of research prior to my birthday, as I know how crucial it is to get the correct set-up (no vivs etc) Flo lives in a large tortoise table, with topsoil as the substrate, Spider plants, a log hide, a water dish and big lumps of chalk to make the environment more stimulating. She has a 100w basking bulb and a 10.00 UV tube. She also has a large outdoor enclosure, with Carex, Dandelion, Plantain, a Tortoise home (wooden box with entrance) inside the enclosure, Pansies and lots of other plants to again provide a stimulating environment. She is fed a weed diet with calcium sprinkled daily. She is said to be 2-3 years old, and is just a wonderful and happy Tortoise, her favorite food is Plantain and white clover. She sleeps a lot, but when outside she zooms around (especially in the sun.) My Grandad had imported Spur-thigh Tortoises when he was a child, my Dad had Tortoises when he was younger but they died off in hibernation because of suspected stomach rot, so it's great that I have a Tortoise. It's amazing how husbandry has changed. 

 

 

 

Thanks for looking  :)



#2 mildredsmam

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 10:10 AM

Hi Olly,

welcome to the forum. :)

Horsfield tortoises are lovely, I look forward to seeing pictures of Flo, and hearing more about her. :)



#3 Graham

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 04:43 PM

Hi, Olly, and welcome to the forum  :welcomechalk:

It's great to hear of a young person being so dedicated to the keeping of their torts; you've obviously been doing your homework.

Flo sounds wonderful, and we'd all like to see some pics of her. Keep up the good work, and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask, there's lots of experts on this forum who will help in every way they can.

With the continuing care and attention you're giving Flo, there's no reason why she can't be with you for the rest of your life.



#4 Guest_Stella_*

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 07:46 PM

Hello Olly..... Welcome to the forum. It sounds like Flo owns someone who really cares about her. I have Hermann tortoises......as did my dad way back in the 1940's.... and you are right, husbandry has changed. We understand the needs of tortoises far more and caring keepers try hard to make tortoises lives much better than in the past.

Keep posting your questions, show us your pictures of lovely Flo, and ask for support whenever you need it. Hibernation is scarey, and is a risk, but tortoises need the process for their health and wellbeing. The trick is to plan ahead and things will work out in a good way.
Hugs x x x

#5 Freddy

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 07:49 PM

Hi Olly,

Welcome to the forum. Glad you found us. :)  Look forward to hearing more about your wonderful tort Flo :wub:  and seeing some pics.

Hope you enjoy your stay. ;)

Take care.

Freddy :D



#6 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 08:37 AM

Hi Olly

Well done on doing your research and giving Flo a good home. I nearly called my dog Flo, but work with a lady with the same name, so thought she might not be too happy lol. Lots of tortoises died in hibernation years ago, but it was the owners feeding them up beforehand and keeping at incorrect temperatures that killed them, not the hibernation itself. Horsfields are much better for hibernating as they need to grow very slowly compared with other tortoises, so if you can bring yourself to do it then so much the better, but if not, as Karen said, reduce the heat so she does not gain any weight over winter and you have the next best thing :) Remember too, she needs much deeper substrate than Mediterranean tortoises so she can burrow.



#7 Olly&Flo

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 12:02 PM

Hello everyone! Thank you for your warm welcome, it's great to have found a brilliant Tortoise forum. I'll try and get some pictures up of the enclosures and Flo herself. 



#8 Olly&Flo

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 12:16 PM

I didn't know whether to post some photos here, or on a different section of the forum, but here are some anyway! :) Her skin looks a bit dry in some of the pictures, but she does a get a bath every two days and has a bathing dish in both enclosures :)

 

  image48_zps9aebdcd8.jpeg

 

Spot Flo?! (I need to get round to getting a metal mesh instead of just weighted-down netting, but the enclosure's raised about 1.5m above the ground. 

 

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Love this one :)

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When I first got her (a size comparison) it looks like she's sunbathing, aha!

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#9 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 06:13 PM

She's lovely and dry skin and shell is perfectly normal, you will never see a shiny one in the wild. If I HAD to give a warning it would be to feed her a bit less as she is starting to pyramid a bit, not badly, but it's something that once started is hard to stop. Her enclosure is lovely and she has plenty to keep her occupied. Make sure she has very fibrous food too, to keep her beak filed down, so whole leaves which she has to tear at and nothing chopped up or soft such as pellets. I'd give her a good D3 supplement daily too and keep a weight chart to make sure weight gain is minimal. At this time of year she will be starting to slow down in weight gain, getting down to virtually nothing in winter. Well done on making her a lovely enclosure, you obviously care about her very much. I have taken one of my babies to a 16 year old today, who sounds just as keen as you :D



#10 Graham

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 06:39 PM

Olly, what lovely pics, thanks for sharing them with us, we love pics in this forum. Flo's absolutely gorgeous; do keep up the good work!  :thanks:



#11 mildredsmam

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 09:19 PM

Hi Olly,

What great pictures of Flo she's lovely. :)

I love her outside enclosure it's great you've done a really good job with it. :)



#12 Olly&Flo

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 10:01 AM

She's lovely and dry skin and shell is perfectly normal, you will never see a shiny one in the wild. If I HAD to give a warning it would be to feed her a bit less as she is starting to pyramid a bit, not badly, but it's something that once started is hard to stop. Her enclosure is lovely and she has plenty to keep her occupied. Make sure she has very fibrous food too, to keep her beak filed down, so whole leaves which she has to tear at and nothing chopped up or soft such as pellets. I'd give her a good D3 supplement daily too and keep a weight chart to make sure weight gain is minimal. At this time of year she will be starting to slow down in weight gain, getting down to virtually nothing in winter. Well done on making her a lovely enclosure, you obviously care about her very much. I have taken one of my babies to a 16 year old today, who sounds just as keen as you :D

Thanks for your advice :) she was slightly pyramided when I got her, I just hope it doesn't get any worse. I feed her about as much as the size of her shell. But I will reduce it. I think when I got her in November, she was about 110g and now she's around 122-23g. I've heard Plantain is good and fibrous. The beak does seem to be a bit overhung. I got some huge chalk lumps from a beach in Deal (near Dover), so lots of chalk about. She does also have a cuttlefish, but doesn't seem to be interested in it. She's fed on a slate, so hopefully these factors will keep her beak nice and trim. It's amazing how obsessed I am with tortoise keeping now, I was also a member of Shelled Warriors, before the site crashed and now I can't go on it, but everyone said that they were all obsessed with providing good husbandry for their tortoises. 



#13 Olly&Flo

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 10:03 AM

Olly, what lovely pics, thanks for sharing them with us, we love pics in this forum. Flo's absolutely gorgeous; do keep up the good work!  :thanks:

Thank you! She's quite a cheeky character, but Horsfield's generally are :)



#14 Olly&Flo

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 10:05 AM

Hi Olly,

What great pictures of Flo she's lovely. :)

I love her outside enclosure it's great you've done a really good job with it. :)

Thank you! I hardly get a chance to establish some plants in it, before Flo munches them away :) 



#15 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 10:57 AM

I'd not go by the amount to cover her shell, it's not relevant at all and the best way to grow them nice and slowly is to monitor the weight gain each month. Depending on her weight now, 2-4 grams is usually plenty, so she is on track. The problem with shop bought horsfields is that they are usually wild caught or at best farmed, so they have started to grow nicely and then the pet trade feed them on pelleted stuff which causes very rapid growth, due to high protein and very little fibre, which starts the bad growth. Cuttlefish is not much good as a food source, so I would stick with your chalk for beak trimming. Can't comment negatively on other sites obviously, but you won't get better advice than you will here. I have joined and left many groups over the years lol but this is one of the better ones, with sensible advice rather than some of the weird and wonderful stuff advised on some. Another reasonable one is Reptile Forums UK where people will tell it like it is, without putting people down.

Good luck with your little one ;)



#16 mildredsmam

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 03:12 PM

Hi,

 This is the only forum I use now, it's not as busy as some but it's always friendly, with great advice given. :)



#17 Graham

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 04:25 PM

Same here, I've been a member of a couple of forums in the past, but this one is by far the best; excellent advice, and everyone's friendly and willing to help.

#18 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 04:27 PM

LOL, busy is not always good. It's a bit of a minefield out there. My advice is to take the advice of established breeders and keepers, rather than second hand advice from beginners who are also still being blinded by the minefield. When looking at websites, avoid those with commercial ads popping up here there and everywhere and those attached to pet shops, reptile centres etc as their advice is not very often based on their own long term experiences. A  really good one for beginners is www.tortoises.net



#19 Olly&Flo

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 05:55 PM



I'd not go by the amount to cover her shell, it's not relevant at all and the best way to grow them nice and slowly is to monitor the weight gain each month. Depending on her weight now, 2-4 grams is usually plenty, so she is on track. The problem with shop bought horsfields is that they are usually wild caught or at best farmed, so they have started to grow nicely and then the pet trade feed them on pelleted stuff which causes very rapid growth, due to high protein and very little fibre, which starts the bad growth. Cuttlefish is not much good as a food source, so I would stick with your chalk for beak trimming. Can't comment negatively on other sites obviously, but you won't get better advice than you will here. I have joined and left many groups over the years lol but this is one of the better ones, with sensible advice rather than some of the weird and wonderful stuff advised on some. Another reasonable one is Reptile Forums UK where people will tell it like it is, without putting people down.

Good luck with your little one ;)

I've experienced criticism and negative comments on other tortoise forums, so it's nice to find a friendly one :) it seems like there is an abundance of Horsfield's on second-hand sites. It's sad that owners don't know what they're taking on so are forced to sell. But some of the conditions that the tortoises are kept in is awful. My Aunt went to Morocco recently and sent me a picture of some tortoises being sold in a market: (sorry if any members find the photo distressing)

10445498_10152533369124134_8668652378085



#20 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 06:08 PM

Yes, it's shocking. They just don't care that they will be seized at customs. Local people don't buy them as they are wild there anyway :( We are hopefully off to Morocco in November - just need to find a good self catering place lol. Hopefully there will not be many torts around at that time of year or I will end up being put in jail :(






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