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A Little Advice For A Newbie

feeding sleeping poo

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#1 MikeA

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 03:53 PM

I am completly new to owning any type of tortoise, although I have had a gecko now for 4 years and have read everything I can find about the Eastern Hermman but I always like to get a bit of feedback from expieranced owners. My tortoise is two years old, and last time i weighed her she was 99 grams, up from 95 when i first bought her on the 25th of last month.

 

At the moment she seems to be sleeping, like a lot, I've been waking her up daily or every other day for a bath at which point she will eat but will borrow herself back to bed within the hour, when she first arrived she would spend most of the day wondering her tank and my first question would be is this change in energy a normal settling in process. The tank is a steady 31 degrees dropping to 18-20 at night.

 

My second question is around food, I have been growing a selection of different seeds and plants which she does enjoy but they are growing relatively slowly at the moment and I've been giving her Kale, endive, fennel and carrots to acomidate the lack of weeds, I tried ordering a few cactus's of a website that is set up for tortoise food but I didn't hear anything back. Does anyone have any advice on what would be a better filler while I'm waiting for my weeds to grow back, or somewhere that you've used and trust for ready grown plants.

 

My final question is to do with her bowl movements, I've had her now for about 3 weeks and have only seen her poo once, she does have a water bowl in her table and I have read that they may eat their poo, I was just concerened as shes been on store bought vegtables the last week rather then her proper diet. I know that's not really a question but any advice would be greatly appricated.

 

Sorry for the long message I've been looking to join this forum for a while so had a lot saved up!

P.s. I know its too early to sex my tortoise but I'm really hoping its a girl, hence why I keep referring to the tort as a she :)



#2 mildredsmam

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 04:35 PM

Hi Mike, welcome to the forum.

Tortoises can take some time to settle into a new enviroment they don't really like change, when you say tank im taking it you mean a vivarium if so a tortoise table would be so much better for her, what lights are you using in the set up and is there a uv bulb in there also what substrate are you using sorry for all the questions it helps us help you.

As for diet you only want to feed her a weed diet only no fruit or veg at all and shop bought things need to be kept at a minaml these are really ok through winter when weeds are low, at the minute theres loads of different weeds about you just have to go out and find them you might have some in your garden, have you thought of making her an outdoor enclosure she will benefit so much from going out side, regarding safe weeds to feed you might find this book really helpful you can take it out with you when your looking for weeds   https://www.facebook...oisePlantsBook/as for shop bought plants you need to be careful with these as they use a lot of chemicals on them if bought they need repotting and leaving for quiet some time and then only new growth is to be fed hope that helps a bit. x



#3 MikeA

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 04:59 PM

Thanks for the quick reply, I built a table for her, about 4foot by 2.5 and I am using a uv light bulb, at the moment I have soil and cypress mulch as substrate but am going to remove the mulch and just have soil as the mulch seems to dry up to quickly, as far as weeds go I have found it surprisingly hard to find some this year. My girlfriend was a gardener and helps a lot with finding appropriate weeds but other then bindweed our gardens not offering much of anything. I am reluctant to start an outdoor enclosure as between my dog, my cat and all the neighbourhood cats that seem to love my garden I thought this may stress her.

#4 wizzasmum

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 05:21 PM

Hi Mike, welcome to the forum.
Tortoises can take some time to settle into a new enviroment they don't really like change, when you say tank im taking it you mean a vivarium if so a tortoise table would be so much better for her, what lights are you using in the set up and is there a uv bulb in there also what substrate are you using sorry for all the questions it helps us help you.
As for diet you only want to feed her a weed diet only no fruit or veg at all and shop bought things need to be kept at a minaml these are really ok through winter when weeds are low, at the minute theres loads of different weeds about you just have to go out and find them you might have some in your garden, have you thought of making her an outdoor enclosure she will benefit so much from going out side, regarding safe weeds to feed you might find this book really helpful you can take it out with you when your looking for weeds   https://www.facebook...oisePlantsBook/as for shop bought plants you need to be careful with these as they use a lot of chemicals on them if bought they need repotting and leaving for quiet some time and then only new growth is to be fed hope that helps a bit. x


Agree completely. I was only out half an hour today and got a carrier bag of weeds from just one spot in the lane. It's very important that they eat a high fibrous weed diet, which keeps growth nice and slow too. Anything that is soft and easy to eat can possibly cause jaw problems and too fast growth which can cause pyramiding. This is how I keep mine www.tortsmad.com/diet.htm

#5 mildredsmam

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 04:35 AM

Hi Mike,

Your set up sounds fine does the table have plenty of light as well i always add extra light to mine when mine are indoors before the weather picks up, also are you watering the soil so it's not to dry, just keep getting her up and bathing her and offer food see how she goes we would love to see a picture of her. x



#6 MikeA

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 11:28 AM

The only extra light coming into her table would be from the windows, although she does have 3 around her table. I do spray the table and have been doing it daily as the mulch seems to dry up quickly. Again I plan to take out the mulch for multiple reasons. I saw on the forum that if your tortoise is not well it would be more likely to hide then burrow away. I guess more then anything I'm trying to figure out good warning signs compared to bad warning signs. Sorry about all the questions I always seem to have an OCD about these things until I'm sure my new beast is fully settled!

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#7 mildredsmam

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 02:08 AM

It's fine ask as many questions as you need too, little ones do sleep a lot the weather can make a difference to them been active or not so can things like to much heat and too little heat also light levels I find my hatchlings are so much more active outside, signs to look for that are not good are your tortoise having a runny nose or breathing with it's mouth open sort of gasping these thing need checking, also you can have a sample done for worms at the vets to rule that out at a later date but I would give her more time to settle first, if you don't mind me asking where did you get her from a breeder or pet shop, she's lovely. x



#8 MikeA

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 11:42 AM

I purchased her from this site - www.tortoisecentre.co.uk
I will try an avoid pet stores as best I can, my closest exoctic pet stores is not the best. My gecko didn't travel for more then a few hours but she was on the road for most of the day before she got to me, it was a heated truck and she was housed accordingly but I'm sure that didn't help her settling in process and I would do it differently next time.
She's been more active this weekend and I found her some honeysuckle and dandelion which she devoured, especially the dandelion so thanks for tips. I have half a dozen trays of different plants and flowers growing for her too so just have to play the waiting game. For the flowers is it better to wait until they've fully flowered before I offer it to her?
Also does yours eat their cuttlebone cos mine doesn't seem bothered by the normal nor the cucumber flavored one.

#9 mildredsmam

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 05:08 PM

You could maybe try and plant some seeds i the garden in an area just for tort weeds i find they grow better this way, flowers can be fed any time as long as the plants not bought from a garden centre, i've got pansy coming through also snapdragon and welsh poppy at the minute, as for cuttlefish i dont use it much but have found they eat it better when it's been left outside some time to weather off. x



#10 wizzasmum

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 09:28 PM

I purchased her from this site - www.tortoisecentre.co.uk
I will try an avoid pet stores as best I can, my closest exoctic pet stores is not the best. My gecko didn't travel for more then a few hours but she was on the road for most of the day before she got to me, it was a heated truck and she was housed accordingly but I'm sure that didn't help her settling in process and I would do it differently next time.
She's been more active this weekend and I found her some honeysuckle and dandelion which she devoured, especially the dandelion so thanks for tips. I have half a dozen trays of different plants and flowers growing for her too so just have to play the waiting game. For the flowers is it better to wait until they've fully flowered before I offer it to her?
Also does yours eat their cuttlebone cos mine doesn't seem bothered by the normal nor the cucumber flavored one.

The problem with these sort of Reptile carriers is that they have never seemed to cotton on to the fact that reptiles should not be carried in heated trucks. When at higher temps, reptiles are at their most active, therefore travelling while active is very stressful for them. I ALWAYS deliver my babies myself and keep them as cool as possible, they then become inactive the same as at reduced night temperatures. This way there is no stress and they wake when warmed up again, none the worse and completely unaware of their adventures. The longer you can leave any plant before feeding, the better. Immature plants don't have enough fibre, so the more mature they are, the more fibre, which creates stronger jaw and leg muscles. Give the whole leaf, so they have to hold it down to tear it, brilliant again for making strong muscles. I wouldn't give cuttlefish personally as it's high in phosphorous and has also been linked to levels of mercury from some sources. Just being nosey, but is that particular company still supplying imported tortoises?

#11 MikeA

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 06:01 AM

It wasn't imported but hatched in and raised in the uk, I assume it was a heated truck as it was in a tub inside a larger tank in the truck. Not really looking to defend the courier firm or nothing though and as I said I'm sure she was traveling for a lot more then the few hours I was quoted. Maybe it's a good thing she didn't like the cuttlefish I was just hoping she could be self serving when it came to her calcium intake, for example I only sometimes dust my geckos insects but always leave a small calcium dish in he's tank which he will help himself to when he wants. I'm still new on portion sizes though and would like to hear how much you feed a 2 year old. I red on here once 2grams a month is typical weight gain you want is this correct?

#12 wizzasmum

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 08:36 AM

You can do the same with your tortoise re calcium powder/limestone. You MUST use a calcium balancer though such as nutrobal or Nekton MSA daily as occasional dusting is not enough for a tortoise, which has high calcium needs. 2-3 grams a month is fine at this age, so weighing is the way to go.

#13 MikeA

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 08:55 PM

I already have nutrobal for my gecko, if I were to leave this in a small dish will she help herself?

#14 wizzasmum

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 10:42 PM

No, that would be very dangerous.......as the dosage is 1 pinch per kilo of tortoise, she could easily seriously overdose. You can do this with limestone flour but not with a calcium balancer.

#15 MikeA

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 06:00 AM

Going of that ratio I'm going to need to give her a tenth of a pinch? Wouldn't such a small amount be in her normal food?

#16 wizzasmum

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 07:58 AM

A lot depends on where the food is grown. In their natural habitat the concentrations in the soil are more concentrated. Here in uk, soil is poor in comparison as we have so much rain to leech the nutrients from the soil. Also, sunlight levels play a part in converting the mineral content etc. Uvb tubes are excellent but can't compare to the natural stuff. Basically if you give a very fine scattering of supplement so you can hardly see it, it will be a reasonable amount.

#17 MikeA

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 11:44 AM

I have moved most of my plants and weeds outside now so this will hopefully help a bit. I weighed her again yesterday and so far she's gone up 7grams since I got her which is almost a month. I read somewhere that they are programmed to eat but she never seemed to eat excess, I'm guessing she has been though. I won't leave her food in with her anymore I will start feeding her 5 times a week to slow the weight gain down now. How little should she eat at this age? As a pet owner I usually aim for just slightly over the typical weight rather then under but I understand this can put pressure on the shell as she's growing and forming. She's looking a lot more settled now and rather then pacing and sleeping she spends most of her time basking, lounging and has a good wonder every so often. I'm wondering if it's too early to let her have a proper wonder outside of her table, or leave her be for another few weeks, just getting her out for a bath, weigh and measure. Thanks for all the tips so far by the way care sheets can only go so far.

#18 MikeA

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 03:52 PM

My main concern at the moment would really be healthy growth, how do you track healthy shell density - growth

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#19 mildredsmam

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 06:11 AM

Hi MIke,

Yes tortoises will just eat and eat i would still feed her every day just once a day for a tortoise this size a good size leaf will do you can give different leaves each day to give variety also you could add the odd flower in as well, it's good to hear she's settled in a bit they do come round but can take some time, if your just moving her table outside for her to get some sun it will be fine doing that straight away as much as possible you can't beat natural sun light, 7g is a little too much to gain but they do have the odd month that they gain a little more just keep weighing her every month and keep a record of the weight gain, also on her shell when she has new growth the growth line only wants to be thin like a pencil line hope that helps. x







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