Jump to content


- - - - -

New Tortoise - beginner questions


  • Please log in to reply
35 replies to this topic

#21 Guest_ianb_*

Guest_ianb_*
  • Guests

Posted 27 December 2005 - 07:22 PM

I've spent all day reading the various links now, and have another question.

I assume that here in the UK, he can't live outside during the winter - temperature is around 0 degrees centigrade during the day, and below freezing at night. It's not going to get any warmer for at least a month or two now. Do people have heated outdoor hutches, or must he stay in the house or be hibernated during the winter?

Assuming he is living in the house (he is at the moment) but that I want him to live in the garden during the summer, should be be allowed outside at all just now? I mean - should he be allowed to run around the grass just now for small amounts of time, or is it just too cold?

thanks again,

#22 Guest_omare_*

Guest_omare_*
  • Guests

Posted 27 December 2005 - 07:33 PM

[updated:LAST EDITED ON 27-12-05 AT 07:34 PM (GMT)]It's too cold for him honey and it will confuse him too much if he gets cold, he may stop eating. If he's not going to be hibernated he must be kept in an indoor enclosure that has UV and heat lights. Ours are in now until the frosts have well and truly gone.:)

#23 Guest_ianb_*

Guest_ianb_*
  • Guests

Posted 30 December 2005 - 04:31 PM

[updated:LAST EDITED ON 30-12-05 AT 04:36 PM (GMT)]Some more questions if you don't mind - I am reading, honestly - it's about all I've done for the last few days, but I find lots of conflicting advice:

Bath - Mr Tortoise does NOT like this - man, I haven't seen him run so fast. How 'warm' is warm? I probably erred on the side of safety (not too hot) but definitely wasn't cold. He went mental and literally jumped out. Does he really need this?

Food - I have bought this Florette salad which he loves - but is it or is it not nutritionally good? It's going to be a few months (UK) before he can go outside, and a while before I'm going to be able to grow any weeds. Got him some dandelions from outside, but with the weather they are pretty miserable looking. If he is only getting fresh salad, will he be okay? And is a big handful of this once a day enough?

License - I have read huge documents on the DEFRA site, but they are all pretty vague and ambiguous. It's no wonder people don't know what's what. I understand you need a Article 10 in order to retail trade the tortoise, but I can't find anything anywhere that says I should have been given a copy of the certificate. Can anyone point me to an official document that says, when you buy an Article 10 tortoise that the buyer must get a copy of the cert (as opposed to the seller must have a cert, which is not the same thing).

cheers!
Happy New Year as well.

#24 Guest_omare_*

Guest_omare_*
  • Guests

Posted 30 December 2005 - 04:35 PM

Baths, yes he definitely needs them and he will get use to having them, keep with it, he's young enough to get use to it so please don't give up, they will help to hydrate him. As for crispy salad, ours have it this time of year along with the T Ladys seed mix, Dandelions are harder to find but if you have snow no way. Our Tortoises are all rescue so can't help with the Licence, someone will though.:)

#25 Guest_kirsty10_*

Guest_kirsty10_*
  • Guests

Posted 30 December 2005 - 04:57 PM

As far as I know the license goes where the tortoise goes. This is because you the owner needs to prove its origin. If you pass on the tort the cert goes with it and so on. The defra site is a nightmare I had to use it to revise for an exam once and I was more confused by the time I sat the exam than I was before I started revising. If in doubt phone them. the number on my cert is 0117 372 8749 This is for the main licensing office in Bristol.

#26 Guest_ianb_*

Guest_ianb_*
  • Guests

Posted 17 January 2006 - 07:22 PM

Hello,
Well after a few weeks of reading everything I can find, I have yet more quetsions if you don't mind. I've read so much now, I'm starting to see conflicting advice, and just want to do the right thing. I have finally got the CITES license certificate for him which shows Humpty was captive bred in Czechoslovakia.

-I see recommendations for the combo UV/IR heat/light bulbs, but other people are saying turn the heat off a few hours before the light. The combo ones are obviosly both on or both off, so which is best?

-How much weeds/leaves for a 11cm tortoise - is 1 meal a day, a pile as big as the tortoise himself about right ?

-I've seen advice to feed in the morning, and others say only in the afternoon after he has warmed up.

-How much of the Limestone Flour/Nutrabal mix needs to be sprinkled on the leaves? A teaspoon?

-Do tortoises need any protein at all? Would they benefit from pellets one day a week, or 1 pellet a day, or should I simply throw 30 of pellets away?

-I've seen talk of humidity in the pen - am I supposed to keep the substrate damp?

-Can I keep a male and female tortoise together in the same enclosure all the time? - I've seen advice saying you can't, but then there are links from this site to people who seem to have done so? I suppose I mean, can i buy him a mate?

Thanks again for your help

#27 Guest_omare_*

Guest_omare_*
  • Guests

Posted 17 January 2006 - 08:27 PM

[updated:LAST EDITED ON 17-01-06 AT 08:40 PM (GMT)]Ok, long question but I'll try and answer some of em honey, you don't do things by halfs huh lol, here goes...For one tort you could get a high output UV strip light that goes right over the enclosure and about 6/9 inches above the tort so it gets maximum UV. Make sure you change it at least every 6 months as they wear out, we change ours more often but it's personal choice. Basking light..normal 60 watt house bulb will be fine in one area of the enclosure. Small amounts of food for torts, they need to grow slowly, take out any remains after one hour and don't feed again until the next day. Feed when the tortoise wants to eat, some will prefer morning, some afternoon feeds, you will have to see what works best for your tort and you. Definitely NO PELLETS!!! They cause more problems and just because they're cheap don't make em good. Throw them away and don't give to tortoises EVER!! Limestone flour should be mixed with Nutrabol, 7 parts Limestone with 2 parts Nutrabol and sprinkled onto food everyday. You do not need to dampen the substrate, tortoise pee will do that lol. If you have a male tort then sometimes they won't accept another tortoise, if you get a female he may constantly harass her and she will get no rest, some get on fine. You just have to be prepared to separate them into two enclosures if they don't get on, so think carefully if you want another, some get on others don't lol.We have some that just won't socialise but others that are fine with both sexes. Ok, Limestone flour can be bought from Horse suppliers or online from here http://www.uksaddlery.com/item408.htm it will last you ages and Nutrobol can be bought from here http://www.livefoods...products_id=115 hope this helps:) UV can be bought from here http://www.livefoods...products_id=578 Both lights should come on at 7am, basking light go off at around 5pm and UV go off around 8pm. If you can get timers for them then you will not have to remember, it will do it automatically.:) In the end it's personal choice how you choose to have your enclosure set up.:)

#28 Guest_ianb_*

Guest_ianb_*
  • Guests

Posted 17 January 2006 - 09:04 PM


Ok, long question but I'll try and answer some of em honey, you don't do things by halfs huh lol,


Heh - I try not. I'm used to having things defined absolutely, so I have difficulty dealing with terms like 'sprinkle' and 'enough' which are open to wild interptretation. When you look at the sizes of human vitamin tables, and you powdered them down, a 'sprinke' could be anything from the correct amount to 500% too much of RDA.

I do very much appreciate help from you and the others though.

here goes...For one tort you could get a high output UV strip light that goes right over the enclosure and about 6/9 inches above the tort so it gets maximum UV.

I already have one of these (given that I was recommened to keep him in a viv). I was really just wondering if the combo lamp was a better option or if it was a compromise. I'm not worried by the cost, so in building a new table I will install either seperate lamps or a combo one depending on what is best. I've been looking at pre-made tables on Ebay, and notice that the lights are often in the enlcosed bit rather than outside. So does Mr Tortoise want light in his dark hidey-hole during the day. Sooooo many questions :-(

Small amounts of food for torts, they need to grow slowly, take out any remains after one hour and don't feed again until the next day. Feed when the tortoise wants to eat, some will prefer morning, some afternoon feeds, you will have to see what works best for your tort and you.

Okay - thankyou. I will let him eat for an hour. To be honest, he doesn't seem to care when you feed him, but I had read that feeding after basking, when he is hot is a necessity, since he needs to be hot in order for his metabolic functions to work properlly. That goes totally against the 'feed him in the moring if he wants' since he will be cold from the night sleep.

Definitely NO PELLETS!!! They cause more problems and just because they're cheap don't make em good.

Heh - they are anything but cheap. My wife bought(on petshop advice) 2 different versions, at 15 per tub. 30 would buy him Florette for a year! It wasn't money I'm worried about - I'm quite happy to throw the stuff away - I just wondered whether they needed some protein ever, which they won't get from the weeds. If they don't, then that's okay.

If you have a male tort then sometimes they won't accept another tortoise, if you get a female he may constantly harass her and she will get no rest, some get on fine. You just have to be prepared to separate them into two enclosures if they don't get on, so think carefully if you want another

Hmm - I'd like to get him a mate, but I definitely won't have the room to keep them seperate if they fight. And, at 5 years old, we only think he's a he from his bendy tail. Can you tell straight away if they will get on? We had 2 Chinese hampsters who were bought as a pair, and ran side-by-side in their wheel for 2 months... before waking up one night and tearing each other to pieces :-(

As I say - sorry if it looks like I'm being pedantic - just want to get it all right. And I just want to say again, thanks for all the help.

cheers

#29 Guest_omare_*

Guest_omare_*
  • Guests

Posted 17 January 2006 - 09:09 PM

[updated:LAST EDITED ON 17-01-06 AT 09:16 PM (GMT)]No we don't think your being pedantic, it's personal choice at the end of the day honey, everyone does things slightly different, it's up to the individual how they do their set up. This site has lots of excellent information that you can't go wrong.:) Pellets contain too much protein, thus leading to the tortoise growing lumpy, very difficult to reverse once the tort has it, thats why we say NO PELLETS! In the wild they wouldn't have protein, it's calcium they need in the form of Limestone flour with Nutrabol, a good sprinkle. Think tortoise in the wild and you won't go wrong lol:)

#30 Guest_blondesarah_*

Guest_blondesarah_*
  • Guests

Posted 17 January 2006 - 09:23 PM

Pellets are a definate no no, they are just a way of a pet shop getting more money out of someone else how would they make money out of telling you to pick weeds from your garden. Limestone flour is brillaint i changed my tunsian tortoises diet over a year ago to weeds and limestone flour and her shell is growing very flat. I mix my limestone flour with nutrobal to the ratio of 7:2 and put it in a sprinkler and nearly drown my tortoises food in it.

#31 Guest_p1glet_*

Guest_p1glet_*
  • Guests

Posted 17 January 2006 - 10:02 PM

Lighting; i used to use the strip light spot lamp method but after much research decided to change to the combination form as the uvb out put from these all in one lamps (bulbs) is far greater than any strip bulb can give of for instance the trex combined heat , uvb, uva lamp gives off the same uvb directly under the lamp as the midday
sun in the mediterreanan so to me this is far more beneficial to the animal. as for the lights going off together i turn the bulb off after 12 hours but if the room is dark i leave the main room light on for half an hour the tortoises automatically retire to there hides i can then turn off the room light.
Feeding ; my lights come on at 7.30am and go off at 7.30 pm i feed at 1.00pm lunch time this is now when the tortoises have reached optimum tempreture as they would in the wild they are fed a mixture of freshly gathered weeds or florettes salad mix they are fed as much as they can eat for 1 hour generally there is some left over this is removed , if i'm feeding a group of tortoises i might allow feeding to go on for longer as some animals feed quicker than others but generally they are content after an hours feed and have returned to there basking areas to digest for a few more hours they may wake after a while and look for food this is best ignored as exessive feeding can lead to extra scute growth, they often retire at 4.30 but individuals may carry on being active depends on the animal.
Calcium amounts;i don't mix my calcium and nutrabol but use them seperatly calcium carbonate daily you can't overdose on this so a liberal sprinkle all over is usually enough for one tortoise i find a quarter of a teapoon seems enough but you can leave cuttle fish bone in the enclosure if the tortoise requires extra calcium it will no and eat the cuttle fish bone, nutrabol i use twice weekly a good pinch will be enough sprinkled on the food for a tortoise of your size.
Pellets sorry not good they are two high in protien and addictive, can you not return them to the pet shop and swop them for something else like a new hide etc.
Compatibility ; tortises are naturally solitary so living a lone is quite normal, if you can't supply seperate accomadation i would stick with one as if you did get a companion for you existing tortoise and they where compatable there is no saying it will last into adulthood
Humidity; hermans are capable of living in a dry enviroment but in the wild they would retire by burrowing under a bush or disused animal burrow where the humidity would be higher than the open surrounding area provide a hide that has a slighly humid substrate your tortoise can then choose its own sleeping area

#32 Guest_arnhib_*

Guest_arnhib_*
  • Guests

Posted 18 January 2006 - 10:56 AM

[updated:LAST EDITED ON 18-01-06 AT 10:57 AM (GMT)]Hello Ian
You've been given good advice so far so need'nt go over things.
Calcium and vitamins are important to your little one so please add but don't overdo it and put the tortoise off his food which can happen, it's trial and error, dust the food all over, if the tortoise starts to hesitate, cut down the amount of suplements, or do it the other way round start with a little and increase more.

I used to have the tubes and a basking light but 2 years ago I bought a combi for my 2004 babies, I was really impressed so much that I have now got rid of all the uv strips and use only the combined lamps. I use the second one on the page below, if you want the lamp to go in a large outside enclosure with your youngster then the 160 watt would be best, if it's only going to be a small hutch, then the 100watt would be better, just adjust the height of the lamp for the correct basking temps below

http://www.aquatics-....uk/Z243494.asp

This is the holder that you need which can also be suspended as well as clamped
http://www.aquatics-....uk/Z560501.asp
Please note that orders over 50 are free P&P
Don't worry about asking questions, how else are you going to learn and by doing so your tortoise will have a much better life
Arnie

#33 Guest_arnhib_*

Guest_arnhib_*
  • Guests

Posted 18 January 2006 - 05:09 PM

A couple of photo's of tortoises just eating lime stone flour or calcium carbonate
Arnie

#34 Guest_omare_*

Guest_omare_*
  • Guests

Posted 18 January 2006 - 05:10 PM

so cute lol:)

#35 Guest_Amy_*

Guest_Amy_*
  • Guests

Posted 19 January 2006 - 08:35 AM

Hi, like the pics - are you saying it's ok to put a large amount of calcium in like that for them to help themselves to?
Mine is very powdery and difficult to sprinkle properly, so doing that would be much easier.
I'm going to get a cuttlefish bone today and leave in for them to nibble on.

Amy

#36 Guest_arnhib_*

Guest_arnhib_*
  • Guests

Posted 19 January 2006 - 09:00 PM

Yes you can put it in a shallow dish if you want, any their bodies don't need will go through them, youngsters and gravid females need plenty of calcium
Arnie




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users