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#1 Rue

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 04:35 PM

Hello!  I have recently acquired a 3 month old Hermann's tortoise.  While I am not new to reptiles this is my first (and likely only) tortoise and I am hoping to start off right and develop a healthy routine (for both of us).

 

It's nice to find an active Hermann's forum!  I have been doing a lot of reading about tortoises in general, and am being introduced to many species, but would like more of a focus on the Hermann's.

 

I live in a rather harsh environment (as far as tortoises are concerned) so I would like to learn how I can best provide for my new addition!



#2 mildredsmam

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 05:16 AM

Hi Rue, welcome to the forum. :)

Any questions you have just ask there's always someone around happy to help with them :)  also it would be lovely to see some pictures of your new addition. :)



#3 Rue

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 02:36 PM

Thanks!  That's 'her' in the avatar, but I'll post a couple of pictures shortly!

 

Calling it a 'her' until we know for certain.  Makes it easier.  I seem to have a hard time using 'it'... :)



#4 Rue

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Posted 12 March 2016 - 07:31 PM

Just a couple of pics.  They're from my cell phone, not the best quality.

 

Yes...I know the enclosure is too small, but we will upgrade when the time comes.  We also modified it a bit...we lined the glass with plywood.

 

I will fix up the substrate too.  I'm watching, but this particular wood chip is quite soft and she is burrowing into it well.  It doesn't show here, but I also placed a dish of peat moss in the other corner, to see if she's more interested in that texture.  So far, not.  I've also moved the furniture around a bit to see what works best.  So it's all still in progress to some extent.

 

I think I have the light/humidity cycle working well.  MV on the one side, and a regular bulb on the other, to provide a heat gradient during the day, but having 1/2 the tank at least 22 C or higher.  At night it all turns off - and the night time temperature seems to be stable at about 17 C.

 

I ended up buying a 2nd stand for the 'cool' set of lights too, to get them off the screen.  We need the screen because we have cats.  So far they are showing no interest, but I don't trust them.

 

Anyone know how much UVB might be filtered out by the mesh?  With the 2nd stand in place I can also take the screen off under the MV light for part of the day when I'm home to keep an eye out on things.  That way the mesh won't interfere.  When it warms up enough here (and that could be anytime from this weekend to the end of May :dry:) I will put her outside for direct sunlight.  We have an old guinea pig cage that will do for this summer.

 

When she's old enough I'd like to have a good outside enclosure...and then hibernate, so the permanent inside enclosure would never be used for very long.  In the meantime, she gets her own room.

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#5 wizzasmum

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 12:31 AM

Just a couple of pics.  They're from my cell phone, not the best quality.
 
Yes...I know the enclosure is too small, but we will upgrade when the time comes.  We also modified it a bit...we lined the glass with plywood.
 
I will fix up the substrate too.  I'm watching, but this particular wood chip is quite soft and she is burrowing into it well.  It doesn't show here, but I also placed a dish of peat moss in the other corner, to see if she's more interested in that texture.  So far, not.  I've also moved the furniture around a bit to see what works best.  So it's all still in progress to some extent.
 
I think I have the light/humidity cycle working well.  MV on the one side, and a regular bulb on the other, to provide a heat gradient during the day, but having 1/2 the tank at least 22 C or higher.  At night it all turns off - and the night time temperature seems to be stable at about 17 C.
 
I ended up buying a 2nd stand for the 'cool' set of lights too, to get them off the screen.  We need the screen because we have cats.  So far they are showing no interest, but I don't trust them.
 
Anyone know how much UVB might be filtered out by the mesh?  With the 2nd stand in place I can also take the screen off under the MV light for part of the day when I'm home to keep an eye out on things.  That way the mesh won't interfere.  When it warms up enough here (and that could be anytime from this weekend to the end of May :dry:) I will put her outside for direct sunlight.  We have an old guinea pig cage that will do for this summer.
 
When she's old enough I'd like to have a good outside enclosure...and then hibernate, so the permanent inside enclosure would never be used for very long.  In the meantime, she gets her own room.



The reason for not using wood hip is not to do with softness, but because it does not have good thermoregulation properties and tends to draw moisture away from the shell rather than trap it in. The mesh will block a lot of the uvb rays but don't have an exact figure. It's not a good idea though. Do you use a d3 supplement to counteract this? Cats are rarely a problem other than wanting to hog the lights. Tanks are bad because humidity cannot be controlled via a gradient, the same applies to heat which needs to be 32 under the lamp and below 20 at the other end.
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#6 Rue

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 01:10 AM

I can get a supplement, that's not a problem.  Do you use it year round?  Or just when they are inside?

 

If I take the mesh off while we're home in the evenings, is that enough?  UVB lights are new to me, my snakes didn't need them.  The light is also very hot...I am worried about a cat catching on fire.

 

The tank is lined with plywood, should be the same as a plywood enclosure?

 

I have a temperature gun (new to me too, never heard of them before, seem very handy).  There is a good temperature gradient in the enclosure.  I will have to find a better hygrometer than the one I have which I don't think is reliable.  But I have been misting and I think I'm good - just from experience.  A better hygrometer will confirm that.

 

I've been to England!  Not too long ago.   :)  We bisected the country...from Hadrian's Wall to Stonehenge. It rained most of the time we were there...the grass was very green and sheep were very damp.  I think we managed to visit almost every rock circle within driving distance...

 

I've also been to Hungary, which from what I understand, is part of the natural range.  Also much more humid.

 

Our patch of the earth, on the other hand, is dry - and very hot in the summer sun (when we have a summer - there have been a couple of questionable years lately...).  Our place is pretty much on pure sand.  I am wondering how to best amend the soil when we get around to building an outside enclosure?  Peat moss and top soil?  3 inches or so?  More?  I like the little cloches I've seen in your set-ups, and am wondering if that's what I need as well?

 

When the snow melts a bit more I can take a couple of pictures of the two or three spots I'm considering and see what everyone thinks.  This year we'll plan and look for supplies.  Next year we'll build it.



#7 Rue

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 01:11 AM

...still thinking...if I just put the top soil down...the native grasses should grow through.  They're very tough, and will supply grasses to nibble on...



#8 wizzasmum

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 11:06 AM

Hermanns don't digest grass and none of mine attempt to eat it to be honest. I have seen them on numerous occasions attempting to remove it from their mouths by gaping and scraping if taken in when grazing. Supplements are necessary when indoors and outside if feeding on soft supermarket stuff. I can't imagine a cat being silly enough to burn itself. Looks like your lamps are outside of the enclosure anyway, which is where the hot area would be. Uvb needs to be accessible all the day really, not just a portion. How hot is your hot spot? The problem with humidity is that while they do need humidity at some times such as overnight or when dug down in the heat of the day, they also need dry basking times with no humidity, which cannot be created when enclosed in such a tiny area.

#9 Rue

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 02:16 PM

Hot spot is about 32 C.

 

I've been misting 2X a day...in the morning, to simulate morning due...and in the night - to simulate the increase in evening humidity.  The feeding area is dry.  I can also stop misting it entirely to keep it even drier..

 

If they don't eat the grasses in the outdoor enclosure...we can mow them down if they get out of hand, but at least they'll provide humidity/ cover.

 

Other plants can be established  I can also harvest some pigweed and purslane, etc. - or transplant it...

 

I pulled out my various weeds and edible weeds books to refresh my memory - it seems most of what grows so happily (mostly weeds :happy:) in our yard is edible...including the lilacs in our shelterbelt.  Who knew?

 

I'm not 100% sure about wild rose however...I know it's edible, but it's so spiky.  What part would you feed?  Just the tender tips?  Just the flowers?

 

And to supplement supermarket fair, I will see what I can grow indoors.  I've never been tempted by the small kitchen style grow-light kits for family use, but if there's a useful purpose to having them...(feed the tortoise)...it might be fun to try.  I can grow weeds under it too...

 

In the meantime I bought some arugula seed...and will see if I can grow it in a pot...by a window...






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