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Can't Get Temps/humidity Right For Hatchling... Help!


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#1 animallover53

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 12:25 AM

Hi everyone. I'm a Canadian girl that just got my first ever tortoise. It's a hatchling Hermann's and I adore him/her already. I know how sensitive hatchlings are and I really need to get everything settled!

 

I'm building a big 7 foot enclosure but until that's done, he/she is in a temporary home. This is the home:

 

50 gallon rubbermade with large hole cut in lid (9 inches)
100w mercury vapour bulb is suspended above the hole
substrate of coconut coir mixed with cypress mulch, 5 inches deep
Humid hide filled with moss that I keep moist
Large terracotta water dish surrounded by rocks (easy for tortoise to get in and out)
Lots of fake plant cover (he loves hiding in the fake plants)
Acurite thermometers but I got ones without probes. All I could find in Canada. I'll have to get new ones.

 

Temps are as follows:

Basking spot is 95 degrees

Humidity is 35-40% under the bulb

Other side temp is 67-77 and humidity ranges from 40-77%

 

As you can see, I need help!!! I mist the enclosure 5x a day but within an hour everything is dried out again. It's driving me nuts! I really want to add topsoil to make things more moist but there's literally none available here without additives. Gardening isn't big during Canadian winters. I can do that once spring comes but for now I'm stuck!

 

As for the temps... I know the basking temp is good but the ambient is giving me issues. I know 67-77 is too low. I'm afraid to add a che to the other side because that will kill the little bit of humidity I have.

 

How do I fix the humidity? My baby, luckily, loves baths. I've been soaking him for 15-20 mins twice a day and he happily sits in the water and hangs out. He drinks a little and usually pees. He always has fresh water and he has the moss... but I'm so worried that this little one is going to get sick!

 

Also, when I came home from work today I found him turned upside down. I don't know how long he had been like that. I think he must have tried to climb his hide. I immediately righted him and then gave him a good soak in case he had dried out. He ate a little bit after. Did I do the right thing?

 

Thanks for your help! I've posted on other forums but haven't gotten any answers and I'm really worried.

 



#2 wizzasmum

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 09:37 AM

Hi, welcome to the forum. Hermanns are lovely torts aren't they. Firstly your temps are fine, so nothing to worry about there. What makes you think ambient temps are too low, in the Med, temps drop much lower than this at ground level overnight. Is the lid of your Rubbermaid clear, as they need high light levels. Personally I wouldn't use the lid, as normal indoor ambient temps are fine. Spraying doesn't work as you have found. You need to water the enclosure so the substrate is damp underneath and drier on top. Spraying will only raise the humidity if your room for a few minutes and then is lost to evaporation. This is how I keep my hatchlings before they go to new homes www.tortsmad.com/hatchlings.htm you did the right thing soaking him after being upside down, but he'd probably not been upside down for long as they do it all the time and right themselves without us seeing. One that had been upside down for a long time would have been covered in poo and urine due to struggling for a long time.

#3 mildredsmam

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 11:12 AM

Hi everyone. I'm a Canadian girl that just got my first ever tortoise. It's a hatchling Hermann's and I adore him/her already. I know how sensitive hatchlings are and I really need to get everything settled!

 

I'm building a big 7 foot enclosure but until that's done, he/she is in a temporary home. This is the home:

 

50 gallon rubbermade with large hole cut in lid (9 inches)
100w mercury vapour bulb is suspended above the hole
substrate of coconut coir mixed with cypress mulch, 5 inches deep
Humid hide filled with moss that I keep moist
Large terracotta water dish surrounded by rocks (easy for tortoise to get in and out)
Lots of fake plant cover (he loves hiding in the fake plants)
Acurite thermometers but I got ones without probes. All I could find in Canada. I'll have to get new ones.

 

Temps are as follows:

Basking spot is 95 degrees

Humidity is 35-40% under the bulb

Other side temp is 67-77 and humidity ranges from 40-77%

 

As you can see, I need help!!! I mist the enclosure 5x a day but within an hour everything is dried out again. It's driving me nuts! I really want to add topsoil to make things more moist but there's literally none available here without additives. Gardening isn't big during Canadian winters. I can do that once spring comes but for now I'm stuck!

 

As for the temps... I know the basking temp is good but the ambient is giving me issues. I know 67-77 is too low. I'm afraid to add a che to the other side because that will kill the little bit of humidity I have.

 

How do I fix the humidity? My baby, luckily, loves baths. I've been soaking him for 15-20 mins twice a day and he happily sits in the water and hangs out. He drinks a little and usually pees. He always has fresh water and he has the moss... but I'm so worried that this little one is going to get sick!

 

Also, when I came home from work today I found him turned upside down. I don't know how long he had been like that. I think he must have tried to climb his hide. I immediately righted him and then gave him a good soak in case he had dried out. He ate a little bit after. Did I do the right thing?

 

Thanks for your help! I've posted on other forums but haven't gotten any answers and I'm really worried.

 

Hi welcome to the forum. :)

Do you have some pictures of your set up, and we would also love to see pictures of your new hatchling. :)



#4 animallover53

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 02:23 PM

Hi, welcome to the forum. Hermanns are lovely torts aren't they. Firstly your temps are fine, so nothing to worry about there. What makes you think ambient temps are too low, in the Med, temps drop much lower than this at ground level overnight. Is the lid of your Rubbermaid clear, as they need high light levels. Personally I wouldn't use the lid, as normal indoor ambient temps are fine. Spraying doesn't work as you have found. You need to water the enclosure so the substrate is damp underneath and drier on top. Spraying will only raise the humidity if your room for a few minutes and then is lost to evaporation. This is how I keep my hatchlings before they go to new homes www.tortsmad.com/hatchlings.htm you did the right thing soaking him after being upside down, but he'd probably not been upside down for long as they do it all the time and right themselves without us seeing. One that had been upside down for a long time would have been covered in poo and urine due to struggling for a long time.

 

Thank you very much for the reply. This place already seems to be more friendly and helpful than the forum I was on before. :)

The lid isn't clear. The whole thing is a dark blue. I'm very worried about taking the lid off. Won't all of the humidity escape right out the top (not to mention I have 2 cats)? I joined an American tortoise forum and the caresheets for Hermanns there said humidity HAS to stay at 70% (currently it's at 47%) and ambient needs to be 80-85 so that's what I've been aiming for. He won't get too cold if it's between 67-77 all day? 

 

I tried pouring water into the substrate before and it seemed to get sucked up. When I went to mix it, it didn't seem moist at all. Maybe I'll take the substrate out in small batches and actually soak it with water. I don't think I got the bottom layer properly wet when I first set up and I think maybe that's my problem.

Thank you for the caresheet!! I will take a look at it :)



#5 animallover53

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 02:23 PM

Hi welcome to the forum. :)

Do you have some pictures of your set up, and we would also love to see pictures of your new hatchling. :)

 

I don't, but I will get some!



#6 wizzasmum

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 02:47 PM

Thank you very much for the reply. This place already seems to be more friendly and helpful than the forum I was on before. :)
The lid isn't clear. The whole thing is a dark blue. I'm very worried about taking the lid off. Won't all of the humidity escape right out the top (not to mention I have 2 cats)? I joined an American tortoise forum and the caresheets for Hermanns there said humidity HAS to stay at 70% (currently it's at 47%) and ambient needs to be 80-85 so that's what I've been aiming for. He won't get too cold if it's between 67-77 all day? 
 
I tried pouring water into the substrate before and it seemed to get sucked up. When I went to mix it, it didn't seem moist at all. Maybe I'll take the substrate out in small batches and actually soak it with water. I don't think I got the bottom layer properly wet when I first set up and I think maybe that's my problem.
Thank you for the caresheet!! I will take a look at it :)



Lol, we are only a small forum, but have very experienced keepers here who are always willing to help you and your tortoise. You really need to get more air circulation if possible, as covering it makes it too similar to a vivarium which is not good for Med species really. What are your room temps? If you water it, the humidity will be similar to outdoors i.e. at ground level, rather than above ground. If you are worried about the cats, you can always make a mesh top, but to be honest cats are rarely a problem, unlike dogs. Yes the water will get sucked up, this is what you are aiming for and what holds the humidity in. Coir goes a lighter colour when dry, you don't want this as the same thing happens inside the tortoise if it eats any, meaning it will swell inside. If it's already hydrated it's quite safe. It needs to be moist but you still need a dry basking area. The key is to let the tortoise have the choice. If it's totally enclosed it won't get the correct heat gradient or the change in humidity which is important. Sounds like yours is way too dry. Let us know how you go on ;)

#7 animallover53

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 03:19 PM

I just went and mixed all the coir with water and got it to really suck the water up so it's dark in colour now. It must have been really dry because I had to pour loads of water in and mix it by hand. That was a workout! I'm feeling hopeful now. My little one loves to bury down into the substrate all night and I think this will keep him nice and hydrated.

 

I'll have to see about a mesh top. The rubbermaid is only temporary. I have an enclosure being built that's 7 feet long. It's a closed chamber but I have ventilation on it and very large front doors (2 at 30x36) so I can leave them open as much as I want for airflow. My kitties are pretty obsessive about moving things. When I had my beardie, they sat and watched her for hours every day, not moving the tiniest bit. I'm going to try keeping the lid off, though, to see how that works.

 

I also took some pictures! Hopefully my setup is okay.

 

This is the outside of the bin showing where the light hangs.

 

12630783_10207921521772218_1106333244_o_

 

This is his water bowl area on the 'cool side'

 

12591790_10207921520492186_36737408_o_zp

 

These are his hides on the basking side. He loves hiding in the plants! I always find him underneath them.

 

12633191_10207921519772168_1732247821_o_

 

And this is the little guy/girl. I seem to default on calling him a male. He has no name as of yet!

12632899_10207921522652240_216166411_o_z

 

12632860_10207921518892146_1015938191_o_

 

12596870_10207921523612264_1738525168_o_



#8 mildredsmam

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 05:57 AM

I just went and mixed all the coir with water and got it to really suck the water up so it's dark in colour now. It must have been really dry because I had to pour loads of water in and mix it by hand. That was a workout! I'm feeling hopeful now. My little one loves to bury down into the substrate all night and I think this will keep him nice and hydrated.

 

I'll have to see about a mesh top. The rubbermaid is only temporary. I have an enclosure being built that's 7 feet long. It's a closed chamber but I have ventilation on it and very large front doors (2 at 30x36) so I can leave them open as much as I want for airflow. My kitties are pretty obsessive about moving things. When I had my beardie, they sat and watched her for hours every day, not moving the tiniest bit. I'm going to try keeping the lid off, though, to see how that works.

 

I also took some pictures! Hopefully my setup is okay.

 

This is the outside of the bin showing where the light hangs.

 

12630783_10207921521772218_1106333244_o_

 

This is his water bowl area on the 'cool side'

 

12591790_10207921520492186_36737408_o_zp

 

These are his hides on the basking side. He loves hiding in the plants! I always find him underneath them.

 

12633191_10207921519772168_1732247821_o_

 

And this is the little guy/girl. I seem to default on calling him a male. He has no name as of yet!

12632899_10207921522652240_216166411_o_z

 

12632860_10207921518892146_1015938191_o_

 

12596870_10207921523612264_1738525168_o_

Hi,

He's gorgeous :)  As Sue has already said I would try and replace the lid with a mesh one, as this would be loads better for him as there would be a lot more air flow in the enclosure, the only other thing I would say is maybe remove the artificial plants and replace them with some real ones, some thing like a spider plant or ornamental grass would work a lot better,  you could also place a piece of slate in there to feed him off instead of the plastic dish as this will help keep his beak nice and trim over time. :)






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