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Reforming A Herman


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#1 Johnny Wizz

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 11:40 AM

We have a problem which I am hoping that somebody here can assist with. Back in December we purchased two, 2 year old Hermans plus a vivarium set up. We did all of this on the advice of a pet shop owner who appeared to us to be both knowledgeable and responsible (he told us tortoises are best kept in pairs!!!)How wrong we were! We took the tortoises to our local vet just after we got them and he told us he believed they were females but couldn't be sure. Not long after they got fully settled in one of them started to behave erratically. She will have spells charging around the viv, trying to escape ( one success!) and climbing on anything she can in the viv which often ends with her on her back. I have already rescued her three times today. Now, since this behaviour started I have enquired about it on this and other forums and now realise that these animals are solitary by nature and that the hyper one is probably being stressed by the other one. So with a heavy heart my wife and I have decided that one of them (not the hyper one) will have to go. I contacted the local RSPCA homing centre to be told that they couldn't handle "exotics". They put me on to their national office where a recorded message tells me to contact the local office!! So, stalemate there. What we want to do, urgently, is responsibly rehome the one tortoise. We aren't prepared to put up "free to a good home " ads as this could bring in just anyone and we need to be satisfied that she is going to a genuinely good home. Can anyone out there help us please? We live in Cornwall by the way.

#2 mildredsmam

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 01:05 PM

Hi Johnny, welcome to the forum. :)

Have you seen the other tortoise bully this one at all, by this I mean biting and mounting the tortoise, there could be a problem with one been more dominant but on the other hand it could be the set up not been suitable, they need an opened top table with plenty of space with the correct temperatures, I keep a few hatchling together and their fine, if you are still looking for help though regarding rehoming one then Sue ( wizzasmum ) on the forum might be able to help, she should be around later today, hope that help. :)



#3 wizzasmum

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 01:36 PM

We have a problem which I am hoping that somebody here can assist with. Back in December we purchased two, 2 year old Hermans plus a vivarium set up. We did all of this on the advice of a pet shop owner who appeared to us to be both knowledgeable and responsible (he told us tortoises are best kept in pairs!!!)How wrong we were! We took the tortoises to our local vet just after we got them and he told us he believed they were females but couldn't be sure. Not long after they got fully settled in one of them started to behave erratically. She will have spells charging around the viv, trying to escape ( one success!) and climbing on anything she can in the viv which often ends with her on her back. I have already rescued her three times today. Now, since this behaviour started I have enquired about it on this and other forums and now realise that these animals are solitary by nature and that the hyper one is probably being stressed by the other one. So with a heavy heart my wife and I have decided that one of them (not the hyper one) will have to go. I contacted the local RSPCA homing centre to be told that they couldn't handle "exotics". They put me on to their national office where a recorded message tells me to contact the local office!! So, stalemate there. What we want to do, urgently, is responsibly rehome the one tortoise. We aren't prepared to put up "free to a good home " ads as this could bring in just anyone and we need to be satisfied that she is going to a genuinely good home. Can anyone out there help us please? We live in Cornwall by the way.

Firstly the most important thing to accept is, it is unlikely to do with the sex or the fact that they are solitary in the wild. Your vet is also incorrect as babies all display as female, he/she should have known that. The biggest problem is the Viv. Unless it is huge, the constant temps in a viv will stress the tortoises, not the tortoises themselves. I would look at a drastic change in habitat ( outdoors at this time of year) and a choice in temps and humidity. Even one tortoise will eventually become stressed in too small an area. I have several youngsters here with no sign of bullying.
I can help with rehoming one to your area, but to be honest, I would give these two the chance to get on first by changing your habitat and access to more room for them with things to do. Have a look at the recent pics posted in the housing section for an idea to help them to thrive. Pet shops btw are not a good source of advice as you have sadly found.

#4 Johnny Wizz

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Posted 17 May 2016 - 07:41 AM

Hi and many thanks for the feedback. We went for a viv because we have two dogs and three cats and wanted the tortoises to be safe. Can you please advise how best to achieve this if we move to a table? Can anyone recommend a make / supplier ( I am not going back to the pet shop!!!!)? How do you provide the UV light on a table?

#5 wizzasmum

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Posted 17 May 2016 - 08:00 AM

Unfortunately there are no shortcuts with tortoise keeping. At the end of the day, tortoises are roaming animals and keeping them on display under glass is a bit like keeping a dog in a kennel or a cat in a cage, it's going to cause stress and ill health sadly. If you can't offer them the safe space they need, it might be better not to keep them. Unless you can keep the dogs away from the torts area, it's probably not going to work to be honest. Uvb and heat on a table top are provided exactly the same as any other habitat, but with much more choice for the tortoises. They NEED to choose their own temps, dig in deep soil and explore. When adult they will need a pretty big garden area where they can hopefully graze on plants of their choice too, with occasional supplement of picked weeds. Again, this needs to be safe from dogs.

#6 gizmosmum

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Posted 17 May 2016 - 12:09 PM

Have you thought of an outside enclosure?? Mines not perfect by any means but it may give you an idea., solid wall, 30cm, then wire to waist height, covered with pond netting as we have dogs too. look on here in outdoor enclosures page for other ideas.

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#7 Johnny Wizz

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Posted 18 May 2016 - 08:57 AM

I am now researching tortoise tables. On The Tortoise Shop site they have a Deluxe Pro Tortoise table which is 4ft x 2 ft x 8 inches. They also do a mesh lid for this. Can anyone advise me please, does this sound like a good environment?

#8 wizzasmum

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Posted 18 May 2016 - 12:50 PM

It is ok, but you don't need a covered area for them, this would need to be removed, so the mesh lid would not fit. I'd buy a completely open topped one and either make your own lid or get someone to make it for you. That's incredibly expensive for what it is and it's not even lined against damp for when you water it. Remember too that if your torts are more than say 100 grams, it's not going to last long as they will pace such a small area to try to get out.




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