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Humidity In An Indoor Hermann Tortoise Enlosure & Other Questions


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#1 nzflorin

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Posted 25 February 2016 - 08:57 AM

Hi all
I am worried about the humidity level in my tortoises indoor enclosure. I have had my Hermanns Tortoise for approximately 3 weeks and I have been putting outside in his outdoor enclosure everyday, as we are having a good summer here at present. I bring him in at night around 7.30pm everynight. I noticed that the humidity reading in his indoor (open tortoise table) enclosure at night is reading around 70% last night 83%, and tonight 90%. The room I have him in has also got a 2.8m tank with 2 Reeves turtles in it, so I assume that kinda helps with keeping the humidity quite high. So I need to know what humidity levels are best for my two year old. The breeder kept him outside full time and apparently he has gone through his first hibernation, he did this the natural way, not the fridge way. I am in New Zealand and where I live the climate is slightly colder than where he came from, so that's one of the reasons I bring him in at night plus of course to avoid him being stolen as Tortoises are rare here. Our temperatures at night at present fall to around 15 degrees so I thought it was kinder to bring him in at night. The breeder told me to leave him outside in his enclosure full time, like he's used to, He also told me not to worry about humidity levels as it wasn't relevant for my tortoise, but I gather he is wrong. Because of the humidity readings I have not attempted to dampen down his substrate (which is soil) and it appears to be dry. Also, he seems still quite shy and I wonder if he is okay, although I did take him to a vet that knows reptiles, and he said he was fine. I weighed him today and he's gone from 274 grams to 271 grams.  Is the weight okay for a two year old? He eats okay, not sure exactly how much I should be giving him, but I have had to give him different food than he is used to, the breeder used to give him mixed vege, which he loved and I decided not to give him the mixed vege (peas, carrots, corn, & green beans combo, frozen and defrosted).  I have been giving him what we call puha, botanical name is Sonchus oleraceus, watercress (which I think is different to what you have over there), dandeilion, cats paw, (I think it's called), Aloe vera, fushia, grape leaves, a bit of spider plant, a bit of kale, and cos lettuce etc... Any comments, opinions or advise is very much appreciated.Thank you



#2 wizzasmum

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Posted 25 February 2016 - 09:26 AM

Hi allI am worried about the humidity level in my tortoises indoor enclosure. I have had my Hermanns Tortoise for approximately 3 weeks and I have been putting outside in his outdoor enclosure everyday, as we are having a good summer here at present. I bring him in at night around 7.30pm everynight. I noticed that the humidity reading in his indoor (open tortoise table) enclosure at night is reading around 70% last night 83%, and tonight 90%. The room I have him in has also got a 2.8m tank with 2 Reeves turtles in it, so I assume that kinda helps with keeping the humidity quite high. So I need to know what humidity levels are best for my two year old. The breeder kept him outside full time and apparently he has gone through his first hibernation, he did this the natural way, not the fridge way. I am in New Zealand and where I live the climate is slightly colder than where he came from, so that's one of the reasons I bring him in at night plus of course to avoid him being stolen as Tortoises are rare here. Our temperatures at night at present fall to around 15 degrees so I thought it was kinder to bring him in at night. The breeder told me to leave him outside in his enclosure full time, like he's used to, He also told me not to worry about humidity levels as it wasn't relevant for my tortoise, but I gather he is wrong. Because of the humidity readings I have not attempted to dampen down his substrate (which is soil) and it appears to be dry. Also, he seems still quite shy and I wonder if he is okay, although I did take him to a vet that knows reptiles, and he said he was fine. I weighed him today and he's gone from 274 grams to 271 grams.  Is the weight okay for a two year old? He eats okay, not sure exactly how much I should be giving him, but I have had to give him different food than he is used to, the breeder used to give him mixed vege, which he loved and I decided not to give him the mixed vege (peas, carrots, corn, & green beans combo, frozen and defrosted).  I have been giving him what we call puha, botanical name is Sonchus oleraceus, [/size]watercress (which I think is different to what you have over there), dandeilion, cats paw, (I think it's called), Aloe vera, fushia, grape leaves, a bit of spider plant, a bit of kale, and cos lettuce etc... Any comments, opinions or advise is very much appreciated.Thank you




15 degrees overnight is far warmer than some have and bringing him in overnight will just confuse him as his ambient temps will be too high. Humidity is naturally high at ground level overnight, so that's not an issue. I would concentrate on making his outdoor area safe, rather than taking him in and out, which can upset them. He will be shy as tortoises don't like change and the constant changes he is experiencing are likely upsetting him. In the wild or under sanctuary conditions a two year old hermanns would weigh around 40-50grams max. He's around the size of a four or five year old. Given that it takes 10-15 years to reach adult, I think yours will be adult by five if he grows at the same rate. It's possible though that he's older. Peas carrots corn etc will destroy his kidneys very quickly and will account for his rapid growth. Your breeder sounds more like a dealer as you could not raise a tortoise healthily on this diet. Do you have pics? Stick to the diet you have changed too, it's far healthier.

#3 nzflorin

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 05:48 AM

Hi

I appreciate the advice given by the Moderator, thank you. I put my Tortoise outside in his outdoor enclosure yesterday morning and he spent last night out there and today.  So I will let him live in his outside enclosure full time as he is used to.  I also put in a mini cold frame, that was a pain of a thing to put together, took most of the day and I stayed up till 3am to get it right.  I was determined it was going to work after buying another version and having to take it back to the shop as it did not clip together properly.  I pulled out the grass from his enclosure where I have put it and put topsoil in there. I also planted some cactus in and on one side placed some hay and a smaller hide in case he wanted to use it.   So my questions are:

I put some food out for him, and as it was overcast today, cloudy, and the temperature was around 22 degrees, he didn't seem to come out as much. He seemed to eat a bit, but I didn't seem him all day, and I am worried that if it is too cold for him to bask and walk around and he doesn't come out to eat, or does eat, as he needs warmth to metabolize his food, what does that do? if he eats does it remain in his stomach and rot? or if he doesn't eat because it's not warm enough will he be okay just staying in his hide all day and not eating or moving around? I also don't like the hay it seems to have thistles in it, I pricked my finger several times, so I tried to place soft hay in that had no prickles,  but worry about the prickles I might have not removed. His breeder told me not to worry as his tortoises  eat hay and would often eat the thistle parts.   His pen is on grass as the breeder did not like me taking some of the grass out, saying they need grass to eat and walk on. From further reading I see that is also wrong. The only part that of his hutch that has topsoil is the cold frame, his hide (which is seems to prefer) is wood and hay in it.  I noticed that every time I put something new in his pen especially when I was putting in the cold frame, he would come out of his hide and check everything out, he even walked into the cold frame after I cut a door for him.  So he seems to be getting used to me more. I put out some food for him today and he seems to have eaten some.  I hope he is okay as he is in his wooden hide with hay most of the time today.

As you can probably gather I worry about him alot, as he is very precious to me.  Should I remove all the grass and fill the hutch with topsoil?Any advice or comments really appreciated. In NZ there is nobody that can help me properly.  I have a lot of respect for you people out there that are knowledgeable and helpful to newbies like me. Thank you



#4 wizzasmum

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 09:35 AM

So my questions are:
I put some food out for him, and as it was overcast today, cloudy, and the temperature was around 22 degrees, he didn't seem to come out as much. He seemed to eat a bit, but I didn't seem him all day, and I am worried that if it is too cold for him to bask and walk around and he doesn't come out to eat, or does eat, as he needs warmth to metabolize his food, what does that do? if he eats does it remain in his stomach and rot? or if he doesn't eat because it's not warm enough will he be okay just staying in his hide all day and not eating or moving around? I also don't like the hay it seems to have thistles in it, I pricked my finger several times, so I tried to place soft hay in that had no prickles,  but worry about the prickles I might have not removed. His breeder told me not to worry as his tortoises  eat hay and would often eat the thistle parts.   His pen is on grass as the breeder did not like me taking some of the grass out, saying they need grass to eat and walk on. From further reading I see that is also wrong. The only part that of his hutch that has topsoil is the cold frame, his hide (which is seems to prefer) is wood and hay in it.  I noticed that every time I put something new in his pen especially when I was putting in the cold frame, he would come out of his hide and check everything out, he even walked into the cold frame after I cut a door for him.  So he seems to be getting used to me more. I put out some food for him today and he seems to have eaten some.  I hope he is okay as he is in his wooden hide with hay most of the time today.
As you can probably gather I worry about him alot, as he is very precious to me.  Should I remove all the grass and fill the hutch with topsoil?Any advice or comments really appreciated. In NZ there is nobody that can help me properly.  I have a lot of respect for you people out there that are knowledgeable and helpful to newbies like me. Thank you[

The odd overcast day won't hurt as you would get this in the wild too, but supplementary heat (basking or tubular heater) outdoors would help if you have the ability to do this. Failing this a cold frame will do the trick at those temps. He needs to get used to his new setup too, this sometimes makes them quiet for a time. Remember if the sun comes out, even for a short time, his core temp will be much higher than his surrounding temperature, due to the very clever 'mechanism' of the shell. The food won't rot in his gut, that only happens if he goes down to very low temps such as in hibernation, for extended periods. Don't use hay, it serves no purpose for tortoises as they are cold blooded and can't use it to keep warm. Digging into soil does this for them. Grass is very bad for them to walk on and encourages shell rot due to it never being dry. I'm thinking your breeder is a dealer to be honest, as the advice given is not too good :( Yes, remove all of the hay, which is a hazard and replace with soil, you will see the tortoise respond to this by digging in slightly which is how they have evolved to thermoregulate. Good luck :)




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