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Introducing Darwin


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#1 SeaOatley

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 06:25 PM

We were given a Hermann Tortoise about a month ago & are getting to grips with our newest family member.
He has a slightly miss formed shell, I dint think it affects his movement and seams a very happy chap.
My cats are very interested in him, one sleeping in his table but Darwin actually seems to like this as he moves to sit near her. (She is a tortoise shell cat).

#2 julieoggy

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 03:49 PM

Hi , Do you have any pics , pics are always good ,

 

John, Julie



#3 SeaOatley

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Posted 24 December 2015 - 12:48 AM

Hi, here are two photos (just worked out how to put them on.)
He has been to visit a vet that specializes in tortoises, and our local exotic pet shop has trimmed his claws for us.
I do have a few questions, how often should we weigh him and if his weight does go down, is this a hydration issue?
I've been avidly reading all the advice on here and it's given us so much info. Many thanks
Sarah

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#4 mildredsmam

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Posted 24 December 2015 - 02:23 PM

Hi Sarah,

Darwin really hasn't had the best start to life has he, how old is he now, I would change the wood chipping substrate you have to topsoil or coir, the wood chipping are really no good for tortoises, I weigh my tortoises normally once a month just to see how their weight is, has he been loosing weight at all. :)



#5 SeaOatley

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Posted 24 December 2015 - 02:40 PM

Hi Karen,
I think the lady was well meaning but really didn't do the best for him. I asked how often she bathed him, the answer being never. And she fed him lots of broccoli and tomatoes.
He came with the wood chipping and she said he didn't like top soil but we are gradually introducing bigger and bigger areas of top soil so eventually that's all he has. I have given him a bath about 2-3 days and he really likes it. The lady who had him, got him at 2 years old and has had him for 7 years, so about 9.

He hasn't lost any weight. We clearly had no idea what to do with a tortoise when she decided not to have him anymore and gave him to us, so we spent a week of reading, book surching and Internet research before we had the right info and felt confident.
A month on and he is a very happy chap, extremely curious & clearly enjoys the company of our cat.
Should I worry about his shell? The vet said he is doing ok & wasn't worried but was concerned he didn't have the best start. Hopefully we can give home a happy, long life.
I really apriciate the advice.
Sarah

#6 wizzasmum

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Posted 25 December 2015 - 06:22 PM

Your vet is not a tortoise vet Sarah. It's not so much the shape of his shell but the damage that has been done to his system. It's never possible to diagnose a condition 100% by pictures alone but this tortoise is typical of one that has MBD or metabolic bone disease and your vet should have known this. A good vet would X-ray and do full bloods. It's most likely that he has had no uvb or supplements which will have prevented calcium being laid down to the bones. I'm guessing he walks low to the ground and not on tip toes, which is because it's a painful disease. You need to give him high doses of calcium, increase his D3 supplements and give him lots of room to exercise on good substrate, to strengthen his bones and muscles, but not on smooth surfaces. Very often tortoises with MBD have shortened lives, but you can make things more comfortable for him by giving him better husbandry from now on. Hope this helps.

#7 SeaOatley

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Posted 25 December 2015 - 08:45 PM

Thank you Sue, No the first vet we took him to was our family vet who takes care of our other animals. He said it wasn't his specialty and was very honest, gave us the numbers of a few vets to go but said he wasn't in visible pain and in need of immediate emergency treatment there and then. He is booked into a specialist vet who had been recommended to us from our local exotic species shop in the area. The guys really know their stuff.
They have given us fabulous info and support as we wanted to do the best for him from now on.
Yes he walks low to the ground but gets a fair old speed up when he wants to.
He visibly so much happier in the month that we've had him. Many thanks
Sarah

#8 SeaOatley

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Posted 26 December 2015 - 09:19 PM

He is much happier now he has access to natural food, 1/3 of his habitat is 'grass', 1/3 top soil, 1/3 beech (just so he gets used to his new habitat gradually. Next week is when we change the substrate so will go on to just top soil/grass.
I've double checked the UVb light he came with and its the correct type for him. Thanks
Sarah

#9 mildredsmam

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Posted 27 December 2015 - 06:06 AM

He is much happier now he has access to natural food, 1/3 of his habitat is 'grass', 1/3 top soil, 1/3 beech (just so he gets used to his new habitat gradually. Next week is when we change the substrate so will go on to just top soil/grass.
I've double checked the UVb light he came with and its the correct type for him. Thanks
Sarah

Hi Sarah,

I would just have topsoil as a substrate and not the grass, it would be better for him to do this asap really, he needs a lot of TLC and needs every thing to be perfect for him, do you know how old the uv bulb is, if your unsure I would buy a new one as they look as though there working fine but with time they don't give off any uv any more just light, it's so important for him to get the correct uv levels, he also needs supplements for his food as well this ones a really good one to use  http://www.ebay.co.u...kg3vIquYqtSoPrA  :)



#10 wizzasmum

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Posted 27 December 2015 - 06:45 PM

Agreed grass is really not good for them. They need a decent substrate to function normally.

#11 SeaOatley

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Posted 27 December 2015 - 07:35 PM

Hello and thank you. We are going for just top soil at his change of substrate this week. We left the grass & weed (clover/dandelion) as my chum said it might be good for him to walk on to improve his movement etc. She has three 12 yr old tortoises who live out doors in the summer.
There is so much different advice. We'll remove the grass/weeds when we make the box 100% top soil and finally remove the clippings. (He rairly goes in the soil area as he seams not to like it but will have to get used to it from the next substrate change.)
The uv bulb was 2 months old as she changed it before she went on holiday (2 months ago), we have purchased spares of the heat bulb and UV bulb as I didn't want to not have one if they went. Thank you for the supplement link, we bought some just like it from our local exotic species shop who have been very helpful. We took him them two weeks ago to trim his claws.
Thank you for the advice
Sarah

#12 wizzasmum

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Posted 27 December 2015 - 09:09 PM

As he's walking low to the ground, grass or turf is likely to cause shell rot. He needs a solid surface but not slippy, so soil is the obvious choice as its what wild tortoises would have. Nekton MSA is not available in pet shops, so do be careful re comparisons as just because they say calcium or d3 doesn't mean it's the same. Many reptile supplements are formulated for protein eaters, which would not be appropriate for a tortoise with MBD. If your local reptile shop have seen him and they are experts they will hopefully not have sold you the wrong formula.

#13 SeaOatley

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Posted 27 December 2015 - 09:23 PM

Hi, I've just bought some from eBay anyway as you've recommend it, it' can't hurt to get it and just to be safe than sorry.

We'll do his tortoise table tomorrow but on your advice, I've just been to remove the grass/weeds etc (doing it at 9.45 pm, gosh I must love this tortoise).
Think they are very knowledable as they have a strong clientele and have been open for many years. They are happy for us to take him along for quick check ups & claw clipping as and when we need as they know we want to do the best for Darwin, we want the wee chap to have a comfortable life.
Thanks again, I really appreciate the advice

#14 wizzasmum

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Posted 27 December 2015 - 10:08 PM

Once you get him on the straight and narrow he won't need claws clipping. This only happens when torts are not cared for properly as with his previous owners. Always think of the wild, nobody clips claws then as normal behaviour means it's not needed. It has to be your choice of course, but when my babies go to new homes I always advise people to avoid check ups, just to give the best care and then they won't get sick ;)




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