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Is She A Hermann?


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#1 Leafy2015

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 09:17 AM

Hi there,

I'm a total newbie to tortoises and this forum has so many useful questions and answers.

I'm going to ask first if you all think that this lovely tort is a Hermann?

She is female- totally flat underside and measures 20-21cm (the shell) or about 25cm when her head is out!

And weighs 1.5kg.

Thank you for anyone who can help me determine her breed.

Sian

 

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#2 mildredsmam

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 02:47 PM

Hi Sian,

Welcome to the forum. :)

Im going to leave this one for Sue, she's not available for a few days but will be back on then to help, it might be helpful if you post some pictures of the underside of her as well, she's lovely by the way, do you know how old she is. :)



#3 Leafy2015

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 07:25 PM

Hi Karen,

Thank you for your welcome.

I don't know how old she is and sadly I know nothing about her which is why I'm starting at the very beginning with trying to find her breed : )

Here are some photo's of her underside, she was not very pleased having her world turned upside down- legs everywhere!

Kind regards

Sian

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#4 Leafy2015

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Posted 30 September 2015 - 06:00 AM

Hi again,

It's pretty quiet here : )

Does anyone have any info to confirm that she could be a Hermann?

I found her and I'd like to know if she is a Hermann or not because I am worried if she is then I will have tort that doesn't have any papers.

I'm guessing that she is of a good age but how old I don't know.

Any advice wiil be gratefully accepted.

Kind regards

Sian



#5 wizzasmum

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Posted 30 September 2015 - 07:50 AM

Do you have a clearer pic of underside showing the tail and top of leg area, where the skin joins the shell? It doesn't matter about papers as DEFRA would not supply them anyway without knowing her origin. The only time this would be a problem would be if you tried to sell her or any babies. She is elderly 😉

#6 Leafy2015

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Posted 30 September 2015 - 12:39 PM

Many thanks for your reply. I have taken a few more photo's but these two were the only ones in focus. She is very riggley.

I hope they help. Thank you for the info regarding DEFRA, I have been worried about what to do about her but this has eased my mind.

As you will see from the photo's, she has shell damage, I think that it looks like someone has made a hole in the shell and it has broken. I have seen photo's of tortoise's here with string tied to a hole in the shell, I find this very upsetting.

 

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#7 wizzasmum

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Posted 30 September 2015 - 02:00 PM

She's a very elderly Female hermanni. Makes you sick to think of people treating them this way doesn't it. I'd like to see them have holes drilled into them, see how they feel. You don't need to do anything about DEFRA she's fine just as a pet. Good luck with her, she looks lovely :D

#8 Leafy2015

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Posted 30 September 2015 - 04:33 PM

Thank you for confirming that.

She is very lovely, and walks at speed. I found her 6 weeks ago when I was walking my dog down our farm track. I was shocked to find her as we live atleast 2km from a village, I have been asking so many questions to myself about her. I know they are native to the south of France but it's far to wet here and cold in the winter for her to have been out for a long time. My neighbour said "she's been dumped most likely" which is heartbreaking but I guess if people have them without papers then they can't pass them on to anyone else if they were to need to.

I feel very honoured to have her living here, but I am scared/ worried that I won't provide for her in the way she wants. She's done very well to get to the age that she is so I don't want to confuse things but to help.

I don't feed her, she lives in a large fenced area in the garden ( but it's more like a field) which I move every 4-5 days. I have given her a few treats, she goes mad for blackberries. She loves walking free, and moves at a fast pace. The past few nights, the temprature has dropped and it was very wet so I have brought her into the livingroom just for her to sleep. She seems quite happy hidden under a small blanket until morning then I put her back out again. I don't wash her ( maybe I should?) as I feel the dew is heavy and would be absorbed into the skin the same as a bath of water. She hates the fence and spends too much time trying to find a way out. This saddens me too. We are planning on building a large permenant enclosure for her.

There is so much to think about and to plan with hibernation coming etc. I just want to make sure that I don't let her down and I am certain that I will be checking out this forum often. Thank you

Sian



#9 wizzasmum

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Posted 30 September 2015 - 05:16 PM

They are not native to the south of France, that is hermanni hermanni which are smaller. This is an eastern subspecies. Someone may be missing her, have you enquired with the police or vets in your area? It's unlikely one so old has been dumped, she will have been imported many years ago, so a long term family pet, someone is likely frantic looking for her. You can pass them on without papers, just not sell them or their offspring. Don't give her fruit, this close to hibernation it will upset her gut flora, which could kill her during hibernation. She needs the opportunity to access heat at this time of year as your garden will not necessarily have the same aspect that she is used to. I can give you the details of someone who helps to find the owners of lost tortoises. I would make this a priority if it was me.

#10 wizzasmum

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Posted 30 September 2015 - 05:27 PM

These are John Haywards details. He is the national exotics animal control-ordinater and deals with all missing, stolen and found exotics animals. He is an ex policeman.
National Exotic Pets Theft Register coordinator: Contact John Hayward about tortoise thefts, lost and found animals
Tel/Fax:01869 325699
Mobile: 07802 404929
Pager: 07626 120425.

#11 Leafy2015

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Posted 30 September 2015 - 08:13 PM

Thank you for your information. I have checked in the village and on lost and found sites plus the vets and there is nothing listed. I will keep my eyes open for any missing torts adverts, she's easy to describe with the hole in her shell- which does bring me back to what sort of owner has she had? 

I will keep the fruit away from her, today's tempreture was 21'C, that should be ok for the daytime shouldn't it? but i have brought her in for the night just in case the temp drops considerably over night.



#12 wizzasmum

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 07:51 AM

Not necessarily. I have several rehomers with shell problems, all the fault of previous owners. This tort could gave been tethered in the 50's era and changed hands several times. I once lost one, which luckily my dog tracked to half a mile away. They can cover great distances, especially in the countryside. I would have been mortified to think nobody reported him if found. I still gave him and one of my torts is well over 100 years old now. You do need shelter for her outside though as giving higher ambient temps in the night us confusing to them, being cold blooded

#13 Leafy2015

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 10:52 AM

My two local vets have my details so they can pass them on to anyone who contacts them, there is not much more I can do other than keep my eyes open for any posts in the village and on lost/ found websites. That was amazing that your dog found your missing tortoise.

She has a wooden box that she can go inside during the day if she wants to. I've taken on board what you said about confusing her with the temprature I had not thought about it like that. Thank you.



#14 wizzasmum

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 01:30 PM

No problem. There is of course always the possibility that she has lived wild for many years! What is the lowest your temps drop in winter?

#15 Leafy2015

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 02:00 PM

I've thought that too. The winters are quite similar to the UK but the last three have been very mild but 4 years ago it was -20'c for almost 3 weeks solid.  Another thing is that on the other side of the of our farm track is a field which leads to a very large forest. Her love of blackberries is interesting since they are wild, very seasonal and when I showed her one she moved so fast towards my hand. She knew exactly what it was and she wanted it, how many tortoises know blackberries? Like I said in an earlier post, it's like being a detective and trying to piece together a little about her life especially if she is any where near 50 years old.

I do hope that her owners turn up, she is lovely but I do feel a lot of responsability taking on my first tortoise as a mature lady rather than a tiddler that I can learn together with. I just want to make sure that her life is good.



#16 Hellymack

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 07:05 PM

A friend of mine found a herman male in her garden 3 years ago with similar shell colouring and also damaged by someone trying to drill a hole in his shell (this was common tortoise keeping in the 1960's) he has been aged at 90-100 years and is still going strong!! They never found his original owners and it was suspected by the vet that he had lived wild for a few years.

 

Your tort cannot understand fences and as she can see the outside through the gaps she will just keep trying to get out - she would benefit from you blocking the view - I have used weed block fabric to obscure the view for my tort and he does not pace or try to get out (He has a 3 feet by 18 feet run) he just enjoys his surroundings - he likes hollyhock, clematis and aquiligia's which grow in his garden along with many other tort friendly plants and weeds.

 

You will be having better weather than we are currently so your tort s probably not ready to think about hibernating yet but once the weather cools and the air pressure changes she will start to dig down in the soil - they are so effective at doing this that it can be really hard to find them as they sort of shimmy down and the soil covers them over - as the temperatures drop they sort of shuffle and dig down lower and lower to keep out of the really low temps and the ground temp are much more stable and that above ground



#17 wizzasmum

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 07:31 PM

A friend of mine found a herman male in her garden 3 years ago with similar shell colouring and also damaged by someone trying to drill a hole in his shell (this was common tortoise keeping in the 1960's) he has been aged at 90-100 years and is still going strong!! They never found his original owners and it was suspected by the vet that he had lived wild for a few years.
 
Your tort cannot understand fences and as she can see the outside through the gaps she will just keep trying to get out - she would benefit from you blocking the view - I have used weed block fabric to obscure the view for my tort and he does not pace or try to get out (He has a 3 feet by 18 feet run) he just enjoys his surroundings - he likes hollyhock, clematis and aquiligia's which grow in his garden along with many other tort friendly plants and weeds.
 
You will be having better weather than we are currently so your tort s probably not ready to think about hibernating yet but once the weather cools and the air pressure changes she will start to dig down in the soil - they are so effective at doing this that it can be really hard to find them as they sort of shimmy down and the soil covers them over - as the temperatures drop they sort of shuffle and dig down lower and lower to keep out of the really low temps and the ground temp are much more stable and that above ground


Hellymack, aquiligias are toxic and should not be fed to tortoises :(

#18 Hellymack

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Posted 02 October 2015 - 06:28 AM

Oh no... all aquiligia's will be removed today!



#19 Leafy2015

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Posted 02 October 2015 - 07:05 PM

Many thanks Hellymack. That makes perfect sense about blocking her view and using the weed block fabric. One question, does your tort get his claws stuck in the fabric? 

Luckily no aquiligias here around the farm as I knew they were toxic to humans too and I having a little girl who loves to pick pretty flowers there was no way she would have resisted picking an aquiligia so I made sure none grew here. I do have Wisteria though and I believe that that is not good for tortoises but need to find out if it's the leaves, flowers or bark or all 3 that is the problem.

Todays' temprature was 24'C so it was ok for her to be out and about, but it can change very quick.



#20 Hellymack

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Posted 03 October 2015 - 06:53 AM

He does not bother going round the edge as so the fabric has never been a problem and it is quite smooth, i do have areals of gravel in his garden through that help to naturally keep his nails in trim






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