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Help With Hermann I Have Had Since 2002

eating hermann food lighting water

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#1 jaydotpee

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Posted 04 January 2015 - 08:20 PM

Hi All,

 

I am new to the forum and would really appreciate some advice regarding the care of my hermann considering this year has been a bit different from previous years for him....

 

So I have had my hermann, tortilla, since 2004 he was born in 2002 according to the papers which I have now lost since moving house!

 

He has never hibernated as I am too scared to do so and he lives in the house so its never really that cold. This year has been a bit different he has slept since october and not eaten at all I just cant get him to eat and have stopped putting food out for him for the time being.  Also he is not drinking water. Do I need to encourage him in any way?

 

So this week he has started to come out of his constant sleep and is spending the afternoons basking under his lamp but then going straight back to sleep which is really unusual as normally he helps himself out his enclosure and roams around the lounge. He feels really light I just wonder if he decided to hibernate himself this year which is strange as he has never done it in previous years...

 

He has been looked after really well - he has both an indoor and outdoor enclosure - fed regularly with his favourite food being banana and kale. This really is the first year I have expressed concern.



#2 crotchetybear

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 12:55 PM

Hi, and welcome to the forum. You will find lots of help and advice here.

 

I am no expert - there are many much more experienced than me and it's likely Matt or Sue will be along to provide help shortly - but, at 12 years old, it would be better if Tortilla was hibernated in future. This is natural for their normal development and helps to maintain good health. See the hibernation topic for advice and hopefully you will be more confident next winter.

 

If tortilla has slept since October until now, it sounds as if he has taken things into his own hands and hibernated himself. As he is now coming out and basking it is imperative that you get him rehydrated. Give him plenty of warm soaks to encourage him to drink and ensure he has water available all the time - preferably in a dish deep enough for him to sit in. You could also give him a warm shower from a watering can - I find this stimulates mine.

 

Continue to encourage him to eat by providing plenty of weeds for him and keeping daytime temps up, but drinking is more important in the first instance. Banana is not a good food for tortoises but I think kale is OK.

 

You say he feels really light. Do you know what weight he is now and what he weighed before he went to sleep? Weight loss during hibernation should be no more than 10% of total body weight.

 

More detail about how you keep him would also be helpful. Wandering around the lounge is not really a suitable environment for a tortoise - he needs a suitably sized enclosure with conditions close to what he would experience in the wild.

 

You may need to get him seen by a vet - make sure it is one experienced in reptile care. If he has hibernated himself with food in his gut this could potentially lead to problems. As could dehydration.

 

Hope this helps. And hopefully one of the very experienced members will be along shortly.

 

Chris



#3 jaydotpee

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 08:20 PM

Thanks for your help with this Chris really appreciate it. I wish I had sought help sooner however it is what it is and I do believe he is in good condition on the whole (no signs of pyramiding etc)

 

I have attached some pictures to show you how he looks and the conditions he is kept in during the off summer season. I have stopped feeding him banana now and will also look into growing some dandelions and other weeds (it cant be that difficult!)

 

I gave him a warm bath after your recommendation and have weighed and measured him I have also hand fed him which miraculously he is starting to eat! Thankyou! Unfortunatley I did not measure him before his self-hibernation but here are his current stats:

Weight: 645g

Length: 16 CM

 

I want to look after him as well as possible and after reading some of the other posts I may even change his substrate from the wood to a soil substrate although I may have to find another place in the house for him as we dont want all the mess of soil going through the house nor do we want it attracting ants.

 

I understand wandering around the lounge may not be suitable but we always keep the doors open in his vivarium so he gets more air circulation and he seems to enjoy going in and out as he pleases - he really is well house trained (always goes back in the viv if he needs a poo).

 

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Thanks again



#4 Beermat89

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 10:02 PM

Hi
Chris has given you some great advice.just like to add tho,tortoises should never be kept in vivs as can not regulate their body tempts,they need to have a hot end (30-32c) and cold end to be able to pick and choose the tempts they require.wood chips are not great either as can be ingested easily causing compaction wich could cost you alot in vets bills or even death,also it doesnt hold moisture for hydration and heathy shell growth.if hes now back up and lively then do not try to re hibernate keep his tempts up and keep on a good diet with daily suppliments added to his food(no fruit)bathing daily is a good practice to keep up hydration as chris mentioned.
Im no expert ive learnt alot off these lovely people on here and they really do know their stuff.
Regards matt

#5 jaydotpee

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 09:12 AM

Hi Matt

 

Thanks for your response. Ah right the viv must of been mis-sold to me all those years ago. To be honest im between a rock and a hard place (excuse the pun), With him measuring 16CM now (fitted in the palm of my hand when I had him) he is quite big and the other box that I use for outside I dont think is big enough now, I usually slide out one of the sides to allow him to roam.

 

Do you know anyone that would be able to supply a big enough enclosure and where I could get the best compound? I cant leave him outside unattended because the neighbours have 6 cats! Ive already seen them eyeing him up :(.



#6 TortoiseJay

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 11:52 AM

Try building an outdoor enclosure with chicken wire top etc which is what I am doing for mine now ready for spring!! :D

#7 Guest_SueBoyle (was wizzasmum)_*

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 12:30 PM

Looking T the pics, your tort appears to be pro lapsing slightly or is this just the pic. One thing is certain, this must NOT be treated as hibernation as there is something more serious going on. Tortoises can often survive for several years before succumbing to poor husbanddy. If you can weigh him in grams and measure his straight carapace length in cms we can see just how light your tortoise is. Do NOT let him bask under the lamp and then sleep without drinking especially if the dubstrate is dry, this could be lethal. He needs to be on soul or damp coir to help him rehydrate and he must be soaked regularly each day for around 20 mins again to rehydrate him. Don't let him roam your house, but until he is eating properly and behaving more normally keep him in the viv to maintain hydration, but on damp substrate. A huge change right now if he is underweight would just stress his system more. Can you tell us what temps you are using, how often he is bathed and what uvb or supplements you are using?

#8 Guest_SueBoyle (was wizzasmum)_*

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 12:31 PM

Sorry for ipad errors in text, hope you can understand. Should read substrate.

#9 jaydotpee

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 02:15 PM

Cheers Jay where do you source the materials?

 

Hi Sue,

Prolapsing? I dont think this is the case I cant see any issues with his exterior. His tail does curl up inside his shell and he is definetley male as he is always humping socks in the warmer months.

 

I have already weighed him at 645 grams and did the carapace measurement of 16 CM (Using the paper and tape measure against the skirting board). I will bathe him again tonight and keep bathing him. I have topped his water bowl up but he never wants to go in or have a drink whenever he is in my view. What kind of substrate do you suggest? I will go to the petshop after work. The temp of his enclosure is usually around 25 degrees using the red desert spotlamp and a uv desert light all of which comes from the petshop as advised by the staff there.

 

Kind Regards

 

Josh



#10 jaydotpee

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 08:02 PM

Just got home right the uvb is +10% he has a 100w habistat red light and the temp set on the thermostat is 30deg c.



#11 TortoiseJay

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 11:09 PM

Ideally he needs a basking spot of 31-33 degrees centigrade with a bright white basking bulb/lamp. Also ensure that the uv light in changed regular every six months or sooner as ther deteriorate so fast!

Best substrate is just damp topsoil a couple of inches or so deep so he can burrow a bit of he feels the need to thermoregulate, damp substate underneath and dry on top will help his shell growth a bit and aid in water intake through the cloaca!

I've brought most of my bits from b&q and on eBay if that helps or builders yards etc still got a lot to do and buy but il upload some pics in the next few months when it's finished!

I hope this helps and haven't anything!

#12 TortoiseJay

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 11:12 PM

At the other end of the viv it's going to be hard to reach lower temps of about 20 ish which would be ideal, for now if you can get hold of an old bookcase you could turn that into a tort table? Just an idea, hope everything works out for the best :)

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 11:57 PM

As I said it could have been the photo, just thought it looked a little as though he had a protrusion through the cloacal opening. Would it be possible to take another pic of the tail area?  

 Red lamps are not good for tortoises, causing confusion, he needs bright white light to simulate the suns brightness. 25 degrees is far too low a temp, he may well eat at these temps but cannot digest his food without a core temp of at least 30 degrees, which would lead to him ticking over for years possibly, but not thriving and internal organs etc will be suffering slowly. Unfortunately the shape of the shell does not indicate total health, as once formed, all sorts of problems could be going on underneath. Substrate needs to be changed as that which you are using is not natural and will not allow him to thermoregulate, which is essential to all tortoise species and any hide areas need to be well away from any heat source. He does seem to be missing some scales from his back legs, possibly due to walking low to the ground and has an overshot beak, I am wondering if he has some metabolic problems. None of this is meant to offend, just to build up a pic of what the problem might be caused by. His weight is very low, being in the area that needs really special care.



#14 jaydotpee

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Posted 07 January 2015 - 07:25 PM

Thanks Jay where in the Midlands are you based? Is there any guides anywhere on how to make a tortoise house? See picture here:

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This is his other house for him that he stays in during the summer this may be more suitable for him indoor than the viv however not sure how or where to place a basking lamp :\ . Would any other lighting be neccessary?

 

Hi Sue see pics I have attached:

 

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I will replace the red lamp next time i get chance to go to the petshop which one in paticular would you recommend? As for substrate that was recommended by someone who has 4 tortoises. Its called beech chips and even says its for tortoises! Why do they suggest this when its not good :(. Yes he doesnt have some scales on the back legs maybe this is because he walks alot on the hard flooring in the lounge which I have now stopped thanks to the advice from you lovely people. As for the beak how do I trim it? I thought his claws were big also any ideas on how I can trim those?

 

I got him this food:

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However he refuses to eat it grrrrr!!! (at least he is eating now though)



#15 crotchetybear

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Posted 07 January 2015 - 09:19 PM

Hi Josh,

It's very good news that your tortoise is eating again. And I agree it is very frustrating to be given bad advice - unfortunately pet shops are among the worst culprits. (The "reptile expert" at one such shop - in the west mids - told me I would blind my tortoises if I used the correct uvb lamp!)

Your tortoise enclosure looks on the small side but would still be better than a viv. Ideally you are looking to create a temperature gradient with a warm end - with the bashing lamp - and a cool end. He will also need uvb and you can either get a combined bulb or have a basking spot and a separate uvb strip. Regarding guides, have you looked at the advice on this forum - may provide useful inspiration.

And the best diet is fresh leaves. I'm sorry but pellets are not recommended, so don't worry that he won't eat them. Weeds are best but can be supplemented with salad leaves when in short supply - eg: Florette crispy salad.

You clearly care very much about your tortoise and please don't be too daunted by the amount of change that's being suggested. You will get good advice here - I have found the forum really valuable since I took on my youngsters and have learnt a great deal. I strongly urge you to listen to Sue's advice and you won't go far wrong.

I'm sure it's possible to trim the beak yourself but I was nervous about it when my adult needed it done, so got my vet to do it.

All the best,
Chris

#16 TortoiseJay

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Posted 07 January 2015 - 10:37 PM

That little enclosure (zoo med) is ideal seeing as you've already got it even though it might be a bit small it's better than a viv or terrarium!

Yes those chips are a Nono! Top soil all the way with a few pebbles/rocks and small logs etc to help keep the claws trimmed down and having things for him to ramble over will help stimulate his muscles in his legs making them stronger!

Ditch that pelleted food don't even re sell it, it's terrible for them as it's high in proteins and carbs which they do not need! They need ideally an all weed diet as it's high in calcium and fibre for easy passing through the gut and bone and she'll growth!

Try cuttlefish this may help trim the beak when he nibbles on it also get a piece of slate to eat his food off (don't put this near the basking lamp as it can burn his underneath if it gets hot!) eating off the slate will help trim the beak!

Also use florette crispy salad mix (bagged) from supermarket if you cannot find any weeds, it's better! And use some Nekton Msa supplement (eBay) which is to be put on your hand and blown over the food just enough to slightly dust it (I also do this with limestone powder off eBay!).

If your going to keep him outdoors you'll just need a basking lamp which could be rested on the mesh top providing it's not raining etc! Il try and show you what I'm going to do with an enclosure for outdoors as soon as I can!
If you going to use the zoomed enclosure you'll need some form of uva/uvb lighting like arcadia t5 d3 + 12% desert which can also be found on eBay with the arcadia controller etc to make them work!

Il explain more through messages!

#17 JerryMaffz

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 01:21 PM

You could use one of these for a lamp with your table..They are fully adjustable to get the correct height for the right teperature..You can get them cheaper and there are two different sizes..I have no connection to the seller but add this link for reference....http://www.ebay.co.u...=item2c5d968de3

 

It's clear that you wan't the best for your tort and with help here you are on your way to making steps in the right direction.



#18 jaydotpee

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 08:20 PM

Thanks for the information everyone and sorry for the slow reply I have had a hectic week at work. So we took tortilla to the vet tonight (robin bone) and the vet gave a glowing report saying that he was in good health and didn't even need his beak trimming.

He did say that he was now too big for the vivarium and I wanted to let you all know that I am currently digging a hole out in the garden to keep him. I will run some conduit under ground to a hatch with a heater in there to keep him warm. I will be looking to complete the project around April/ May so hopefully by then he will be in even better health! I will upload some photos to show you how I am getting on.







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