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#1 Kitkat

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 06:30 PM

Hi.
I don't currently have a tortoise but me and my partner plan to get one in the next few months.
We are so excited but first we need to get everything.
I have been doing lots of research and have found some fantastic products but I do still have a few questions.
I have read the best substrate is a play sand and top soil mix. Is there anywhere I can buy this already mixed? Also what ratios do you use for your hermanns?
Finally would you recommend getting any tortoise first aid products or just anything you consider than comes in handy but is not well advertised for your torts?
Thanks so much, I cannot wait to learn more and get to know you all. 😊

#2 Beermat89

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 08:54 PM

Hi Kitkat
Welcome to the fourm :)
Its great to her people like you're self doing research before jumping in and getting one :) personally wouldnt use playsand at all,just topsoil on its own is a perfect substrate!as for first aid you dont need none as such but a bit of iodine comes in handy to keep grazes and cuts clean!theres lots of gimics out there for sale for torts but to be honest most of them are rubbish and not needed,they are only out there to make money.
Regards matt

#3 mildredsmam

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Posted 25 June 2015 - 02:50 AM

Hi Kitkat,

Welcome to the forum. :)

I agree with Matt, I would just use topsoil as substrate without the sand, sand can cause a few problems so better with out. :)

As Matt has already said no first aid products are needed, but it is good to get supplements for your new tort, Nekton Msa and limestone flour are good ones to get.

If you have any questions just ask there's always someone around happy to help. :)



#4 wizzasmum

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Posted 25 June 2015 - 10:54 AM

Agree with the good advice above. Once you are set up with table, lights etc the rest is stuff you can get from the garden or in the surrounding countryside. Toys as sold by pet shops are usually just frustrating to torts and what can be seen as playing from a human point of view is better interpreted as annoying from the tortoises lol. Avoid sand and stick with soil or maybe mix a bit of coir in to make it lighter to carry etc. lots of people here to help you when the time comes and do avoid pet shop tortoises which are imports, take longer to adjust and do carry diseases, some of which can affect them for life ;) there are several recommended breeders in UK now, so gave a look at various approved lists to find one near to you.

#5 Kitkat

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Posted 25 June 2015 - 06:17 PM

Thanks so much!

I have been finding it a bit difficult recently to get the best information, so I'm so happy I have joined to hear it straight from tortoise owners rather than an outdated website.
I have been looking for tortoise breeders in my area but they only seem to sell hatchlings and I don't think I'm confident enough to take on a hatchling as I read the mortality rate is so much higher. Could anyone point me in the right direction?
I refuse to buy from a pet shop after hearing some of their poor advice in the past so I'm feeling slightly stuck.

#6 wizzasmum

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Posted 25 June 2015 - 08:36 PM

My hatchlings don't die, so the mortality rate is only higher if they are not cared for properly. The truth is that an adult would survive neglect for longer than a baby, but as we are aiming for the best care, this need not be an option. Breeders don't keep babies until older as they then have to re-cert them and microchip them, pushing costs up. Occasionally you will get some selling older males, which were originally thought to be female, but they are few and far between. Pet shop torts will come with their own problems, apart from the guilt trip of you knowing they will be imports :(

#7 mildredsmam

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Posted 26 June 2015 - 04:33 AM

I have never lost any of my hatchlings either, maybe the stories you've read are pet shop bought torts or one that have not been cared for in the correct way, hatchling need the same care as an adult, and if you find a good breeder then you wont have any problems, also a good breeder will be there for before and after sales advice for as long as you need it. :)



#8 Kitkat

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Posted 26 June 2015 - 07:17 PM

Well tbh with you, I bought a red food last year and he died after a month, at the time I thought I'd done something wrong which led to his death. Looking back he barely ate and slept most of the day everyday. I took him to my closest exotic specialist vets, which is a 45min drive each way and he died over night, which was my 3rd vet trip that week.
I was absolutely gutted!
I later read that they have lower immunity when young so thought I thought I'd get an older one but by the sounds of it seems he may have just been ill to begin with. He was also my first tortoise so I had no comparisons to make.
This is one of the reason I won't rush in to getting another tortoise straight away.
But I think you guys are right, as long as he comes from a trusted, reputable breeder I will be fine. Plus the fact I would get after sales care makes it a lot more worth it.
Thanks so Much for your help

#9 wizzasmum

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Posted 26 June 2015 - 09:49 PM

You don't say, but I would guess your little one came via the pet trade. Red foots are not an easy tortoise to start with as humidity requirements are far more tricky than a Mediterranean species, which are hard to maintain in a normal house environment. Gb Sorry you lost him, but it was almost certainly nothing you did. When torts are imported, dealers will order different species which come from different areas of the world and therefore cross contamination from foreign pathogens occurs. Tortoises immune systems are generally stronger than many species due to the fact that they hatch in soil, are not tended by parents and are therefore open to the elements from day one. It's worth noting too that many of the ones seen in vets surgeries are those not allowed to be tortoises as nature intended, but coddled very much like a pup or kitten. You will see people stating that sterilised top soil or other substrates should be used, whereas they are far better being exposed to natural substrates. So long as humidity, a choice of temperatures and access to water are first and foremost in the care regime, there's not a lot to go wrong with a UK bred tortoise ;) obviously if you are able to get hold of an older one legitimately, then this might be better if you are happier doing this. Make sure if so though that papers are provided if money changes hands ;)

#10 mildredsmam

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Posted 28 June 2015 - 04:07 AM

Well tbh with you, I bought a red food last year and he died after a month, at the time I thought I'd done something wrong which led to his death. Looking back he barely ate and slept most of the day everyday. I took him to my closest exotic specialist vets, which is a 45min drive each way and he died over night, which was my 3rd vet trip that week.
I was absolutely gutted!
I later read that they have lower immunity when young so thought I thought I'd get an older one but by the sounds of it seems he may have just been ill to begin with. He was also my first tortoise so I had no comparisons to make.
This is one of the reason I won't rush in to getting another tortoise straight away.
But I think you guys are right, as long as he comes from a trusted, reputable breeder I will be fine. Plus the fact I would get after sales care makes it a lot more worth it.
Thanks so Much for your help

Hi Kitkat,

Im sorry to hear this, obviously this will have knocked your confidence in smaller torts, the red foot must of had some underlying problems, and some times by the time they show symptoms its too late, when you decide the time is right to get another tortoise you can make the decision to get a hatchling or older tort. :)



#11 Kitkat

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Posted 28 June 2015 - 03:25 PM

Thanks guys.
As you can imagine I blamed myself for his death for quite a while, but since looking into to getting another tortoise, a lot of things didn't make sense with Shelton.
I think that's why this time I'm so determined to get everything perfect before getting another.
I have actually been speaking to a lovely breeder not too far from me who will have hatchlings ready in September.
I hoping to go visit her in a few weeks before purchasing. We are just arranging dates.
In regards to the certificates hermanns need, do I get a certificate when purchasing and when would I need to microchip? And who do I need to send the documents to?
Or is something the breeder arranges?
Sorry for so many questions, is there a better part of this forum this is more suited to?

#12 mildredsmam

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Posted 29 June 2015 - 02:20 AM

Hi,

It's good to hear you've found someone, a good breeder should be able to answer any questions or concerns that you have, most don't have you go to their homes but some do. :)

Sue will correct me if im wrong here and things have changed again, if the hatchling is under 60mm then you will get a copy of the certificate no... you don't need to do any thing with it just keep it safe, you only need to get the tort micro chipped and papers updated if you decide to sell or breed from the tortoise, if the hatchling is over 60mm then it should already be chipped and have it's papers, breeders have to sell them before this size or get them chipped, hope that helps. :)



#13 wizzasmum

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Posted 29 June 2015 - 09:46 PM

Spot on Karen ;)

#14 Kitkat

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Posted 30 June 2015 - 05:30 PM

Thanks that's great and thanks for explaining that so straight forward, the Internet has been so confusing when trying to find out.

#15 wizzasmum

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Posted 30 June 2015 - 10:13 PM

Thanks that's great and thanks for explaining that so straight forward, the Internet has been so confusing when trying to find out.


Whenever you are in doubt, try to imagine what they would have in nature, so deep soil, lots of shade and humid areas to maintain hydration. Feed fresh fibrous foods and no pet shop stuff. Give them a choice of temps and humidity and you won't go far wrong ;)




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