Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Some Advice Would Be Appreciated


  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 jecra

jecra

    Tortoise Forum Newby

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 4 posts

Posted 28 May 2017 - 11:32 AM

I've finally convinced my husband that a tortoise would be a great addition to the menagerie. After doing a bit of research I decided a hermanns would suit us best. I just have a few questions really before we actually get one.

 

I'd like to get a hatchling, I know they live an extraordinarily long time but the children would be able to look after it when I'm gone.

 

I have an indoor guinea pig cage that I'm setting up, combined uv and basking lamp is on its way. Husband is building an outside enclosure this afternoon. We're going to use log roll as an edge, put a little hut in and create an area under some Perspex for warming up. Will be planted with some lavender, rosemary etc plus a shallow water tray and some slate for eating off. I want to control the food intake so won't be planting weeds directly into the enclosure. Have plenty of weeds growing in the rest of the garden!

 

The weather here is now pretty warm (Norfolk, UK) so my concerns are really there is no electricity available outside to install a heater, would it be ok to put the tort out during the day and bring it in to the indoor enclosure at night. I'm concerned that this might be stressful but am also thinking that I wouldn't want to leave it out all night without any back up heat source?

 

Is there anything else I should be doing?

 

Thanks for any advice



#2 mildredsmam

mildredsmam

    Advanced Tortoise Member

  • Administrator
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,821 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:north east

Posted 28 May 2017 - 02:28 PM

Hi welcome to the forum. :) 

It sounds like you have every thing sorted will you be getting your hatchling from a breeder, it can be a little stressful for them going in and out the nights are quiet warm now so he could stay out over night as long as he's protected from any predators, but for now I would just get the new addition settled in first as they don't really like change so best to settle him/her, if you feel you can't leave her out over night then any time outside would be beneficial to her as you can't beat natural sun. :) 



#3 jecra

jecra

    Tortoise Forum Newby

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 4 posts

Posted 28 May 2017 - 04:33 PM

If you think that he'd be ok out overnight then I can do that. The outside enclosure will have a mesh lid/roof fixed to it. We have dogs and cats and wouldn't want any accidents so it would be always covered unless we were outside as well. I was just concerned that it wouldn't be warm enough for a little one at night as I can't get a heater set up for a while until I can get some sort of outside electricity supply. Am I right in thinking then that I'd just need an inside enclosure once the weather starts to cool off. Long term plan is to convert the greenhouse once I can figure out how to get power to it.

 

That was going to be my next question if anyone knows of any reputable breeders in Norwich/Norfolk area. I know Swallow Aquatics (east Harling) have them as I get a lot of my fish supplies from there and for fish they are great. However I am always dubious buying animals from 'pet shops'

 

My other question was regarding calcium and vitamin supplements.  I was looking at nutrabol as a lot of people/sites seem to recommend it, but can't work out if this is a combined calcium and vitamin or if I need limestone powder as well. Already have plenty of cuttlefish available as we have giant African land snails.



#4 wizzasmum

wizzasmum

    Advanced Tortoise Member

  • Moderator
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,133 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Shropshire/Welsh Borders
  • Interests:Family
    Tortoise keeping and breeding
    Gardening
    Greyhound rescue
    Reading
    Walking
    Travelling

Posted 28 May 2017 - 08:25 PM

My hatchlings are outdoors overnight at the moment, but in a greenhouse where heating is an option for bad weather days. I'd not be happy if there wasn't the heating option. Moving them in and out has them running in all directions, so I take this as being stressful. Personally, I would be looking at getting the electrics sorted before getting one, just to be sure everything is working correctly. I don't know of any breeders in the Norfolk area personally, but you might find one suitable on my list on www.tortsmad.com/breeders.htm I use Nekton MSA daily as a supplement. I've had better results than with nutrobal, which goes off quickly. It's a calcium balancer so contains all the calcium and minerals a growing tortoise needs. I'm not keen on cuttlefish as it's high in phosphorous.

#5 mildredsmam

mildredsmam

    Advanced Tortoise Member

  • Administrator
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,821 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:north east

Posted 29 May 2017 - 02:47 AM

Hi, i agree about the heating sorry i rushed my post and missed that bit out, the nights are warm enough for them to stay out now but they will need heat for mornings and cooler weather this way they stay outside longer as long as their safe overnight and nothing can get to him/her, mine have a heated shed and enclosure but don't have any extra heat over night. :) 

I also use Nekton msa you can buy this on Amazon I've found it loads better than Nutrobal.

You could have a look on here to see if there's any breeders near to you, you would be better going to a breeder.   https://www.facebook.../?ref=bookmarks:) 



#6 jecra

jecra

    Tortoise Forum Newby

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 4 posts

Posted 29 May 2017 - 12:55 PM

Its going to be quite some time before I can get electrics outside to the greenhouse. The problem is that the house is surrounded by around 4ft of concrete on all sides and the south facing area of the garden is also patio and concrete till the back where the outside enclosure would be. This makes it an extremely expensive and major overhaul to get a cable buried to where its needed. Is a coldframe not enough to provide  a warmer area?

 

Would I therefore be better using the indoor enclosure and moving the entire thing outside on warm sunny days so I wouldn't be stressing out the tort by moving from one space to another?

 

Thanks for all the advice.

 

I have now found a local breeder after looking through various sites



#7 babettebeau

babettebeau

    Advanced Tortoise Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 169 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:London
  • Interests:My interests: Naturopathic nutrition, biology, physiology and biochemistry, Iyengar yoga, meditation and mindfulness, swimming, food, cooking, baking, growing flowers and plants, nature in general, travel. Also metaphysics and the 12 universal laws.

Posted 29 May 2017 - 05:47 PM

If this is a no brainer for you in terms of practically and costs, your hatchling will be absolutely fine if you move its cage in and out. But the hatchling has to stay in that cage. Just make sure you include a shade area when you put it outside in the sun and the holes of the ginnea pig cage are not to big for a rat or the leg of a cat curious to get in for example. Otherwide just cover the cage with a net.

Also with the intention of moving the cage in and out, please bear in mind that if using topsoil as substrate the entire cage might be quite heavy to carry, top soil is heavy. So you might use coconut coir as substrate as it is lighter and very suitable for young tortoises.

Also somebody will have to be there to get the cage inside if the weather turns quickly. Otherwise the cage might get too soaked.

May be in a couple of years you can build your outdoors enclosure, you don't have to rush for it. By experience it takes a lot of thoughts to design and build an outdoors enclosure. So waiting will give you the chance to make research, get inspiration, discuss and think about different ideas and also you can start to save money for it.

Keepers on the forum and who posted pics of their outdoors enclosures took a long time before deciding on what to build and they put a lot of thoughts in the project. The same happened to me and I am a rather newbie in toroises.

I hope his helps :)
Sabina

#8 babettebeau

babettebeau

    Advanced Tortoise Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 169 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:London
  • Interests:My interests: Naturopathic nutrition, biology, physiology and biochemistry, Iyengar yoga, meditation and mindfulness, swimming, food, cooking, baking, growing flowers and plants, nature in general, travel. Also metaphysics and the 12 universal laws.

Posted 29 May 2017 - 06:00 PM

And the good thing with the cage is that you can move it and optimise the sun/shade exposure for the hatchling.

Sabina

#9 wizzasmum

wizzasmum

    Advanced Tortoise Member

  • Moderator
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,133 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Shropshire/Welsh Borders
  • Interests:Family
    Tortoise keeping and breeding
    Gardening
    Greyhound rescue
    Reading
    Walking
    Travelling

Posted 29 May 2017 - 07:02 PM

Its going to be quite some time before I can get electrics outside to the greenhouse. The problem is that the house is surrounded by around 4ft of concrete on all sides and the south facing area of the garden is also patio and concrete till the back where the outside enclosure would be. This makes it an extremely expensive and major overhaul to get a cable buried to where its needed. Is a coldframe not enough to provide  a warmer area?
 
Would I therefore be better using the indoor enclosure and moving the entire thing outside on warm sunny days so I wouldn't be stressing out the tort by moving from one space to another?
 
Thanks for all the advice.
 
I have now found a local breeder after looking through various sites


No a cold frame alone is not enough. If the weather was poor with no sun for more than a day, temps would dip much lower than is needed to sustain a tortoises life, particularly a tiny one. Moving the whole cage inside and out would be slightly better, but still stressful to a point, as the ambient temps would change. I would say, if you cant commit to this fully, them best wait until you can. It would be ok to keep hatchlings indoors for their first season, but only if you are certain you could add electrics sometime in readiness for next year after hibernation. It's not worth finding it can't be done once the baby is in place.

#10 jecra

jecra

    Tortoise Forum Newby

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 4 posts

Posted 29 May 2017 - 10:42 PM

So basically don't move the enclosure outside to get natural sun and heat would be needed outside for next summer or I'd be best off not having a tort.

I must admit I'm now very confused. Why if they need to be outside in summer, with the added security of a heat source after their first year are there so many being kept indoors in large tables under artificial lights. There's a large section of the forum dedicated to indoor keeping. Many of the tortoise organisations also say it's ok, including the tortoise trust. You've also commented on how good the enclosures that are modular so are easy to move between inside and out, but also here that it's still going to be stressful for the tort.
I've also seen lots of pictures and articles of outside enclosures without any heat.

The main site attached to this forum says it's ok to let a hermanns have outside access during good weather and bring it in at night, but other places on the forum say that it is too stressful.

I thoroughly research all my pets before purchase and not buy on a whim or without thought. As I said previously I will eventually be looking at getting power into my greenhouse (probably next 2-3 years) but will be a while as I said it will be expensive due to all the concrete unless someone knows of a cheaper ( but safe) alternative.

If I need to wait until electrics are installed then that's not a problem. I know everyone has a different viewpoint which is why forums can be great to draw on others experience but I must admit there is so much conflicting advice on how to do things. I just want to do what's best for any pet I have.

#11 mildredsmam

mildredsmam

    Advanced Tortoise Member

  • Administrator
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,821 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:north east

Posted 30 May 2017 - 02:48 AM

Hi, it is really hard at first as so many people do things different ways, i've seen a lot of people bring their torts in on a night due to the torts safety, i've just found it better for them to come and go as they please with a heated area for mornings and cooler days, you could use the cage outside for this year but keep an eye on the tortoise as i still think some natural sun is better than none. :) 

As for the electrics in the greenhouse you could ask a few people who know about this for some ideas there might be a way that wont cost as much as you thought, I'm sure there will be different ways of doing this it's just knowing about it. :) 



#12 wizzasmum

wizzasmum

    Advanced Tortoise Member

  • Moderator
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,133 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Shropshire/Welsh Borders
  • Interests:Family
    Tortoise keeping and breeding
    Gardening
    Greyhound rescue
    Reading
    Walking
    Travelling

Posted 30 May 2017 - 07:54 AM

So basically don't move the enclosure outside to get natural sun and heat would be needed outside for next summer or I'd be best off not having a tort.
I must admit I'm now very confused. Why if they need to be outside in summer, with the added security of a heat source after their first year are there so many being kept indoors in large tables under artificial lights. There's a large section of the forum dedicated to indoor keeping. Many of the tortoise organisations also say it's ok, including the tortoise trust. You've also commented on how good the enclosures that are modular so are easy to move between inside and out, but also here that it's still going to be stressful for the tort.
I've also seen lots of pictures and articles of outside enclosures without any heat.
The main site attached to this forum says it's ok to let a hermanns have outside access during good weather and bring it in at night, but other places on the forum say that it is too stressful.
I thoroughly research all my pets before purchase and not buy on a whim or without thought. As I said previously I will eventually be looking at getting power into my greenhouse (probably next 2-3 years) but will be a while as I said it will be expensive due to all the concrete unless someone knows of a cheaper ( but safe) alternative.
If I need to wait until electrics are installed then that's not a problem. I know everyone has a different viewpoint which is why forums can be great to draw on others experience but I must admit there is so much conflicting advice on how to do things. I just want to do what's best for any pet I have.

I think in recent years many people have become much more aware of the requirements of animals. Yes some keep their tortoises indoors on artificially lit tables, but I know if I was to do that with mine they would spend all their time pacing and trying to escape, being accustomed to having the whole garden to roam. People will always do things differently, some still keep fish in bowls, others still think it's ok to keep rabbits in hutches and zoos keep elephants in minute areas for their size. I guess I might go a bit over the top with what I think is right, I just think we should do what is best for them and not us. I've not seen the tortoise trust advise keeping them indoors though, other than for tiny ones. There may be outdoor enclosures with no heat, but it won't work long term I'm afraid, that's why there are no populations of wild torts in the uk. They need a body temp of 30 degrees to digest food properly, so even though they will still eat, they won't be optimising that food unless they can reach the correct core temps. Yes, it's fine to keep them on tables while small, but if when they start to grow, there's still no option to have heated area outdoors, then it's possibly not the right choice. It's pretty easy to wire up somewhere outdoors if you use pond wire and if you encase it in plastic conduit. It can be done either underground or above.

#13 mildredsmam

mildredsmam

    Advanced Tortoise Member

  • Administrator
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,821 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:north east

Posted 30 May 2017 - 03:54 PM

I think in recent years many people have become much more aware of the requirements of animals. Yes some keep their tortoises indoors on artificially lit tables, but I know if I was to do that with mine they would spend all their time pacing and trying to escape, being accustomed to having the whole garden to roam. People will always do things differently, some still keep fish in bowls, others still think it's ok to keep rabbits in hutches and zoos keep elephants in minute areas for their size. I guess I might go a bit over the top with what I think is right, I just think we should do what is best for them and not us. I've not seen the tortoise trust advise keeping them indoors though, other than for tiny ones. There may be outdoor enclosures with no heat, but it won't work long term I'm afraid, that's why there are no populations of wild torts in the uk. They need a body temp of 30 degrees to digest food properly, so even though they will still eat, they won't be optimising that food unless they can reach the correct core temps. Yes, it's fine to keep them on tables while small, but if when they start to grow, there's still no option to have heated area outdoors, then it's possibly not the right choice. It's pretty easy to wire up somewhere outdoors if you use pond wire and if you encase it in plastic conduit. It can be done either underground or above.

Your advice is never over the top just the best advice you can give, we've seen first hand with some re-homer's how bad their shell etc can get from the wrong advice. :) 



#14 Janna

Janna

    Tortoise Forum Newby

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 33 posts

Posted 31 May 2017 - 09:30 AM

Just a thought on the electrics, we have an armoured cable that runs from the house and is fixed a long the wall, so digging up concrete isn't the only option to get a electricity to the greenhouse.

We inherited our 40 year old tortoise so had to learn as we went, it is brilliant that you are taking the time to get everything perfect first. We have had him a couple of years now and he is doing really well, but we did get things wrong, there are so many contradictory ideas out there, I tend to stick with this site now as I really trust Sue and Karen's expertise.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users