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Newbie - Advice Needed Pls :)


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#1 ellie1991

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Posted 01 January 2015 - 08:06 PM

Hi all,

 

i recently brought a Hermanns from a family friend as they were emigrating. They tell me he is 8 years old. 

 

He has never been hibernated and has lived on a diet of weeds, pansies etc in the summer and then curly kale, lambs lettuce and rocket in the winter months every other day. 

 

He currently weighs 574g and is 14cm - i checked this against the jackson ratio and this seemed a healthy weight and size.

 

I keep him in a wooden table 5ft x 3ft with ProRep Tortoise Life for the substrate, this is about 6mm deep so he can burrow at night. I have a 100w spot bulb and also an Exo Terra Repti Glo UV UVB Bulb.

I water the substrate every morning and also spray water on his shell and he has a bath every couple of days.

 

My concern is that i have noticed when he walks he doesn't seem to lift his shell more than 2mm from the ground. I have heard this may be a sign of dehydration - can anyone confirm? Aside from giving him regular baths and watering the substrate is there much else i can do to prevent this?

 

Can anyone please let me know if what i am doing is ok? If there any thing else i should be doing? Is his lighting ok?

 

Sorry to ask all these questions i just like to know that he is in safe hands with me and that I'm taking care of him properly!

 

Any help you can give me would be really appreciated, thank you,

Ellie



#2 Beermat89

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Posted 02 January 2015 - 02:58 PM

Hi
Welcome :)
You have done right in giving regular baths and keep the good diet up!if hes never been hibernated then hes a good weight supprisingly as many torts would be lot larger at this age due to fast growth by not hibernating.are you supplimenting his food daily with nutribol/necton msa?this will be a good idea to do this on a regualr daily basis.as for the walking,does he dragg his back legs at all when walking?if your bathing and keeping humidity up then i cant see this being down to hidration!give the eyes a good looking at to see if they are realy sunken in as this is a good sign of dehydration.it could be another underlining health problem but some of the more experienced keepers on here hopefully will be along to assist you on this!
Could you post a pic of him?
Regards matt

#3 Guest_SueBoyle (was wizzasmum)_*

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Posted 02 January 2015 - 03:37 PM

Not walking tall is not a sign of dehydration, but more likely a sign of MBD or metabolic bone disease. If he has not been kept outdoors, which he should have at this age and his uvb lamp has not been replaced regularly, then if he's not been supplemented daily with d3 his bones may well be fragile and weak. Another sign is a shell that seems higher at the front end tapering off towards the back, or even dipped in the middle showing spinal depression. Do you have pics of him from the side and from above as this will help to see what might be going on. A healthy tortoise will appear to walk on tip toes though, so something is certainly in need of help there. Whatever the outcome, until you can start to hibernate him next year, he needs an outdoor setup for summer months, at least 10% uvb when indoors which needs to be replaced regularly regardless of whether it still works or not, a regular supplement such as Nekton MSA as already mentioned by Matt. Dragging back legs can be an indication of egg binding, but obviouly this is not the case if he is definitely male. Would love to see pics ;)

#4 ellie1991

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Posted 02 January 2015 - 07:08 PM

Hi both,

 

Firstly thank you both for coming back to me so quickly, its really appreciated :)

 

At the moment i am sprinkling limestone flour (as some one on here previously had recommended it) as well as some pet shop brought Komodo Dandelion flavour supplements which are high in fibre but low in protein.These are alternated each day so that he gets a good mix each day. 

He also has a cuttlefish bone in there but rarely goes near it so i do not think he is too fussed over this!

 

His back legs don't really drag, he does lift them when walking just not as much as his front legs. It just seems to be more of an effort to lift the back legs as opposed to the front legs.

His lights were changed every 6 months, sometime sooner for the spot lamp so i do not think the lighting was ever a problem for them.

 

Regarding your comments about living outdoors - i was told he was always outside in the summer in an outdoor enclosure (which they have let me keep) but was brought in once the sun went down. They said that he LOVED it outside though and they were always careful to make sure that he had a) ample room in the enclosure and b) was given an abundance of dandelions and all the correct flower etc. However, he was never left out overnight as temperatures do drop and they were worried that it would be far too cold for him for stay out overnight. I was worried about the same thing but are tortoises more hardy than i am thinking?

 

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I am hoping the attached picture work :)

 

Thank you both again.

Ellie



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Posted 02 January 2015 - 07:16 PM

Ellie, personally I would be aiming for a permanent outdoor enclosure as moving torts inside and out can cause a bit of stress. Check out your garden and see where the sun hits it best. That will be an ideal place and then see if you can develope an area with a small house so tort can stay outside in a secure place. Check out the outdoor enclosures on this forum for ideas. A lot of the enclosures have been developed over a number of years and with a variety of expense. Summer night temps are ok for an outdoor Hermanns, but I would make sure he has a house to be in for security . X x x hugs x x x

#6 ellie1991

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Posted 02 January 2015 - 09:18 PM

Hi Stella,

 

Thank you for your great advice - so am i right in thinking that the best thing to do would be to put him outside from around May time and leave him out side until end August?

 

Im just so worried about leaving him out at night when the sun goes down, i would hate to upset his routine and cause him any stress as this isn't his normal routine in the summer but obviously at the same time i also want to do what is right for him - what a worry they put us through eh!

 

What would i then do with him in the autumn months? Im guessing that from Nov onwards i would look to hibernate him, just wondering what i would do from end Summer to then. 

 

Thank you all so much for your help so far :)

 

Ellie x



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Posted 02 January 2015 - 09:29 PM

I think his routine will be upset far more by taking him indoors each evening. As long as he has secure outdoor accommodation he will be fine. The 'secure' depends very much on your own circumstances...... Human predictors- thieves.... Foxes, large birds etc.... And therefore you sort your enclosure for your own peace of mind.
As the evenings get shorter and cooler a heat lamp could extend the outdoor experience..... I use an ordinary household flood light to heat an area, in the spring and autumn. It just extends the season of outdoors. X x x xhugs x x x

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Posted 02 January 2015 - 10:50 PM

Hi Stella,
 
Thank you for your great advice - so am i right in thinking that the best thing to do would be to put him outside from around May time and leave him out side until end August?
 
Im just so worried about leaving him out at night when the sun goes down, i would hate to upset his routine and cause him any stress as this isn't his normal routine in the summer but obviously at the same time i also want to do what is right for him - what a worry they put us through eh!
 
What would i then do with him in the autumn months? Im guessing that from Nov onwards i would look to hibernate him, just wondering what i would do from end Summer to then. 
 
Thank you all so much for your help so far :)
 
Ellie x

Yes mine are out 24/7 from May to September and even earlier if we are having a warm April. It's the sun that warms them, not the surrounding temps and so long as we can offer background heat to protect them from frost, they will be fine. Bringing them in overnight means they often have warmer ambient temps overnight than in the day which is confusing to them and leads to stress, which then leads to illness. You need a heat lamp throughout the summer months to fall back on in periods of bad weather as without the sun they would not get warm enough to digest their food properly. Once the days get shorter and cooler you bring them in and prepare them for wind down for hibernation ;)

#9 ellie1991

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Posted 03 January 2015 - 10:56 AM

Hi both,

Thank you for your wonderful advice -  i am going to get researching for an outdoor enclosure so it is ready in good time. 

 

Does anyone have any advice on what to do about his back legs? 

 

Thank you all,

Ellie



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Posted 03 January 2015 - 06:39 PM

Your tortoise has a very fast period of growth going on there and is very highly domed for a hermanni, unless the pic is not showing properly. Id keep up warm baths, throw any pellet food away and weigh monthly to keep an eye on weight progress. At the moment he should not be gaining anything at all, as it is winter and they need this period of rest even if not hibernating. Fast growth could well have depleted his calcium levels, so keeping this in check and watching for improvement, along with offering a dish of limestone flour for him to help himself from, should show an improvement in walking soon. If his legs show any sign of paralysis though, do get him x-rayed by an exotics specialist, who might also ask to do blood counts.



#11 Collette

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 08:59 AM

Hi all, sorry I don't know how to start a new thread! I have a new Hermanns tortoise who is 6 months old. I bought her home on Saturday. She has a table, food, water, plastic plants, a tunnel...etc. her flooring is play sand and topsoil. She should be very happy but just seems to be moping about. Her heat lamp is on 12 hours a day and this contains UV too. She still hasn't eaten and I've not seen her drink. So i bathe her for half an hour in the mornings. She just hides under we plants all day. Should I get her out or leave her there? Any ideas why she's a bit grumpy please? Thank you :)

#12 JerryMaffz

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 10:23 AM

Hi Collette, I also have a Hermann of this age..It seems to me that you are doing everything correctly..What temperatures are you getting (under the lamp and at the cool end?)..If your temperatures are OK it's probably a case that your tort is just settling in. It's quite normal for the first couple of weeks...Keep up the baths.



#13 Collette

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 10:47 AM

Thank you Jerry :) Ahh they're beautiful aren't they! I just worry as all she wants to do is hide in a corner and sleep! Should I wake her and pop her under the lamp at times? My thermometer hasn't arrived yet, but the bulb is new and apparently everything it should be. Although I did say to the shop it doesn't seem to be as warm as I would have thought...she said she would give me a new bulb but is being a bit slow. I asked her on Sunday, fingers crossed she can get it to me for today as she has promised again!

#14 JerryMaffz

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 11:11 AM

They are lovely creatures...Temperatures are extremely important and you must get a thermometer as soon as possible..The temperature under your lamp should be around 32degrees and at the cool end around 20degrees..If your temps are too high this could be very dangerous to your tort and could result in the behaviour you describe or worse. If I were you I'd get a thermometer today and check temps.



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Posted 10 February 2015 - 01:24 PM

Thank you Jerry :) Ahh they're beautiful aren't they! I just worry as all she wants to do is hide in a corner and sleep! Should I wake her and pop her under the lamp at times? My thermometer hasn't arrived yet, but the bulb is new and apparently everything it should be. Although I did say to the shop it doesn't seem to be as warm as I would have thought...she said she would give me a new bulb but is being a bit slow. I asked her on Sunday, fingers crossed she can get it to me for today as she has promised again!


Once you know what temp your tortoise basks at, you won't need the thermometer any more, so you can just use any old thermometer, even a fridge one to check roughly. She does need 32 degrees in the hot spot and then she will choose whether or not to use it, the same as outdoors with the sun. Is your lamp a combined one or do you have separate uvb? If separates, you can use a normal household spot bulb, no need to pay for expensive ones with a pic of a lizard on it ;)

#16 Collette

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 07:46 PM

Thank you :) we now have two thermometers and are checking the temperatures. It seems her lamp was a little too high. It is a combined lamp. I nipped her to the vets as I was worried about her, and they said she is about a year and a half and a little overweight. She needs more calcium, but once she starts eating again she will get her calcium. She already seems much happier. She had a bit of a sore eye so has some cream. She's still not eaten, drank, or toiletted (other than 1 wee yesterday!) but I guess she takes a little time to settle. She does love a bath so at least she's getting some water :) thanks guys :)

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 08:04 PM

I'm wondering why a vet thinks she is older. Don't you have papers to say how old she is? Even if your vet is a tortoise specialist they would not be able to say the age. How did they know she needed more calcium, does she have a soft shell?

#18 Collette

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 09:42 PM

Yes sorry, the lady we bought her from accidentally referred to the tegistration date rather than the date of hatching!! Yes apparently she has a slightly soft shell. I am so surprised she's overweight!! Perhaps we should all avoid salad! :)

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 11:19 PM

The date on your certificate should give his approximate hatch date, not registration date. You should have this certificate as it is a legal requirement if you bought him. At 6 months old, there is always some give on the shell, between the plastron (bottom shell) and carapace (top shell). I have seen none specialist vets diagnose this as calcium deficiency. I'd not take too much notice of the overweight diagnosis unless your vet is a specialist.

#20 Collette

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Posted 11 February 2015 - 07:26 AM

Ah good. Thank you :) she seems happier now her light is at the right height. Fingers crossed today is the day she eats! Apparently she has chubby legs! Haha!




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