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#1 Julie FC

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 05:03 PM

Hello, I am new to tortoises and have had my 2 six month old Hermann's for about 6 weeks now. They seem very happy and are eating well, a weed diet. I was told to keep a smaller heat lamp on at night for them while they are tiny but have noticed when they sleep they are not digging down into their substrate just sleeping on top of it. Is this ok or normal? I want to do the best for them. Any advice appreciated, thanks Julie

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 06:53 PM

They don't need heat lamps on at night even when first hatched. It can actually be harmful to them and as you have found interferes with normal behaviour such as digging down. No heat is needed vet night at all. Was this a reptile shop that gave this advice?

#3 Julie FC

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 07:31 PM

No it was the breeder I got them from. Thank you for this Sue I will leave it off each night now. How long should their light/heat be on in the day. At the moment I have them on for about 13 hours. Julie

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Posted 08 November 2014 - 10:24 AM

That's very unusual advice from a breeder, as if they had done even the smallest amount of research, they would know how bad this can be for them. Breeders usually provide comprehensive care sheets too, for their immediate needs. Hopefully paperwork etc was completed properly. Normally light hours need to replicate normal daylight hours as this their activity trigger, but in wintertime this might mean they go into hibernation mode. I would aim for very little weight gain during winter (if any), so weigh weekly to make sure you are on track for a good smooth growth pattern for the future ;) good luck.

#5 Julie FC

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Posted 08 November 2014 - 01:02 PM

So should I cut down their food in the winter and give them less during this time? I was thinking they wouldn't hibernate this young but want to do the best for them. Sorry to have so many questions. I do have their cites paperwork but she didn't give me a care sheet I have been reading up on tortoise forums for the correct husbandry. I am so glad I found this website. Thank you Julie

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Posted 08 November 2014 - 03:00 PM

Yes, absolutely! If you cannot hibernate them for whatever reason, they still need a period of slowing down, to mimic wild growth, which is the bests start in life you can give them. I hibernate mine from the first year, when over 20-30 grams as this give a terrific start to their carapace growth. This is one reason I do not sell them until their second year. If your breeder happens to be on my breeders list, I would be grateful if you could PM me as I like all of my recommended breeders to give top notch info when selling their babies. It's at www.tortsmad.com/breeders.htm Many thanks ;)



#7 Julie FC

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Posted 08 November 2014 - 03:52 PM

Hello Sue. My 2 are 49g and 43g and appear healthy and bright. Should I hibernate them? I understand
In the wild they would but didn't think at 6 months this was possible.
Can you advice how I go about this safely? Is it a case of slowly dropping the temperature and light.
While stopping food. I know they have to have empty stomachs. How long should they hibernate for at this age? So much to learn so I really appreciate all this excellent advice.
No the breeder isn't on your list.
Julie

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Posted 08 November 2014 - 05:12 PM

I've known tortoises in the Channel Islands hatch late and stay underground until spring, surprising the owner with their appearance. So long as conditions are right, there is nothing to worry about ;) at those weights they are fine, but as you have not had them long, you do not know much about their previous care. They are around the size of my two year olds so,have been overfed, so best to keep them awake with no weight gain if they were mine just to be sure. I hibernate mine like this www.tortsmad.com/hibernation.htm but as mentioned you do not know how they were kept before, so best not hibernated this year.do they have any signs of uneven growth at all?

#9 Julie FC

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Posted 08 November 2014 - 07:15 PM

When I got them they were in a viv with another 5 which were 6 weeks old, their parents were in a tortoise table above the viv. We have them in a tortoise table from the moment we got them home as I had read before that a viv was unsuitable for tortoises. Their shells seem fine they are smooth and seem even but that is to me and I am obviously no expert ! I asked if she weighed them weekly and she said I didn't need to bother so I haven't until today, but will monitor them weekly now and cut down on their food over winter.
Julie x

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Posted 08 November 2014 - 08:05 PM

It all sounds a bit odd Julie as you cannot breed tortoises in a table top, they need substrate at least as deep as they are long and preferably deeper to dig the flask shaped nest needed. They will not just lay in a table top, well they will, but only after being forced, due to lack of nesting areas, which is obviously quite unkind. Your breeder sounds more like a dealer. Well done you for doing your research and making a better life for them :)

#11 Julie FC

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Posted 08 November 2014 - 08:17 PM

She said she had an outside area but they were indoors which I thought a bit odd as they were both 10.
I want to do the best for them, I love them to bits already and they do seem to have great little characters. I will aim to keep their weights stable over winter without any more gain and come spring should have a safe outside area ready for them to go into during the day we are working on it now, very exciting.
thank you for your time and help I will let you know how they go
Julie x

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Posted 08 November 2014 - 08:42 PM

Goodness, very odd :( They will really thank you for an outdoor area next summer Julie. Well done ;)

#13 Julie FC

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Posted 08 November 2014 - 08:53 PM

And you will be pleased to hear tonight 2nd night with no heat lamp and they are happily asleep dug right down into their soil substrate. Happy days x

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Posted 09 November 2014 - 10:42 AM

Brilliant, doing just what a tortoise evolved to do. I put 14 babies into a new enclosure yesterday, ready to go to my daughters for their 'hols'. By bedtime you would have thought it was an empty habitat. This morning, all are out sunning themselves and raring to go. It's such a shame that breeders give out such awful advice. Mind you if they didn't the forum would be totally dead lol :D




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