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Member Since 15 Sep 2012
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 05:35 PM

#67543 Harry In The Sun

Posted by Graham on 22 May 2017 - 06:23 PM

Harry's now taken to using the carex grass as a sun-lounger:







#67462 Heater, Thermostat And Cables Adivce

Posted by Graham on 25 March 2017 - 07:56 AM

Hi, Sabina,

For the cables and attachments, you need the type designed for outdoor use so that they can withstand the rain. Pond cable is ideal, and if you thread this through conduit, it will be doubly safe.

Have a read through this thread that myself and Sue commented in some time ago:





Just ask if you have any further queries; we will help.

#67403 Is It Spring?

Posted by Graham on 10 March 2017 - 01:19 PM

What a lovely photo; beautiful little torts!
Harry's due up tomorrow, can't wait to have him back

#67355 Plants In Outdoor Enclosure

Posted by Graham on 20 February 2017 - 07:27 PM

Hi, Sabina,

I'm not qualified enough to answer your first question fully as i don't keep babies, but as growth has to be slow and controlled, I would imagine that you would need to limit the amount of food available. What you could do is purchase or grow some edible bedding plants, and plant a couple in the enclosure occasionally so that they don't get eaten all at once. One good plant I'd recommend is Lamb's Lettuce, as it's very good for tortoises, and can be grown throughout the summer season. If you plant a few seeds every couple of days, you'll get a continuous supply in whatever quantity you require.

As I say, this isn't really my department; one of the other members with experience with youngsters will be able to advise you better.

As for shrubs, from my own experience with Harry, there are several which are decorative and functional, but he doesn't eat them:







Bushy Coreopsis


If you did find your torts were nibbling on them, you could prune the lower branches. I'm sure other members will list some more shrubs that tend to go uneaten.


As for cleaning the enclosure, I do change the water and keep the pool clean, and remove any poo left either by the torts or marauding cats. However, cleaning too much can result in a too-sterile environment, for like us, torts need a share of bugs to keep their immune systems efficient.


Sorry I can't be of that much help, but I hope you find some of this info useful.

#67325 Thanks To Everyone!

Posted by Graham on 29 January 2017 - 10:10 AM

That's great news; well done on your successful hibernation.

#67036 Netcam And Remote Control Switch

Posted by Graham on 07 November 2016 - 09:11 AM

They're available on Amazon, Terry, I've just looked.

#66941 Feeling Nervous About Hibernation

Posted by Graham on 24 October 2016 - 12:32 PM

Hi, Janna,

It's completely normal to feel apprehensive and jittery when it comes to hibernating out torts, especially for the first time. 

First of all, it's the wind-down that's really important; as long as you get that right, the hibernation should be completely fine. For an adult tortoise, this period lasts four weeks, so Ben is due to go in around November 10th. 

My Harry is in fifty next year, so I'm in the same boat as you. Do remember that Ben has hibernated over forty times in his life already, so he's well-used to the experience. 

I've found that a large plastic tub (similar to an ice cream container) is ideal; I half-fill it with sterilised top-soil, as this gives moisture, and a substrate to burrow down in, a more natural environment for them.

The preparation of the fridge is important; set it up a couple of weeks before Ben goes in, and add some bottles water to help keep the temps stable. I've always found it's best to buy bottled water from the shops as the caps are sealed and therefore wont leak if laid on their sides in the fridge. 

Keep an eye on the fridge temps, adjusting when necessary to attain a constant temperature of around 4°-5°C.

When Ben goes in, remember it can take a couple of weeks for torts to settle down, so don't be surprised if he's still awake when you check on him.

Each day, open and close the fridge door a couple of times to let fresh air in.

Make sure you weigh him before you put him in, and keep a record for reference. During hibernation, you can take him out once a fortnight or so and do a quick check to make sure he hasn't weed or lost too much weight; this procedure only takes a minute or so and wont disturb him at all.

I give Harry eighteen weeks in the fridge, and this seems to suit him for his size and age.


There are a couple of pinned links at the top of this topic page offering more details than I've given you here. Have a look at them, and if you have any questions or queries, just post them here, and we will help you.

#66821 Hank Is A Bit Off?

Posted by Graham on 12 September 2016 - 05:12 PM

This is a good general guide, Jen:




Please feel free to ask for any help you may need, we're only too happy to help.

#66818 Hank Is A Bit Off?

Posted by Graham on 12 September 2016 - 04:45 PM

Yes, it's completely natural for tortoises to prepare whether they've hibernated before or not, it's in their genetic make-up. You'll find he'll get progressively slower and less active in the coming weeks.
Hibernation is perfectly normal for torts, but can be worrying for us keepers, especially the first time, although as long as you follow the guidelines, particularly regarding wind-down, everything will be ok. Post any concerns you might have, and we will help you.

#66816 Hank Is A Bit Off?

Posted by Graham on 12 September 2016 - 04:31 PM

Hi, Jen. I shouldn't be too worried if I were you; with the season changing, torts are now beginning to slow down. Indeed, Harry is going this way too, spending more time in his house and becoming much less active. I've noticed it's always the same at this time each year.
I'm sure other members will be experiencing the same.

#66803 How Do You Attach A Picture Or A Video?

Posted by Graham on 06 September 2016 - 03:25 PM

Hi, Sabina, there are two ways you can do this; first is to open a free account with Photobucket, add your pics there by drag and drop, and then use the provided URL to post them on the forum. The other option is to click on 'More reply options' in the forum itself; this will give you the facility to add a pic as an attachment directly from your computer.
Give it a try, and if you get stuck, let us know and we'll help you.

#66799 Tortoise Found

Posted by Graham on 22 August 2016 - 09:13 AM

Great news, very glad to hear it.

#66742 Bigger Enclosure

Posted by Graham on 06 August 2016 - 06:12 PM

The new "Jungle Area" of Harry's enclosure is growing well now.






Here he is taking shade under the Carex grass.




And under the hollyhocks




Nearing the pool edge......




....and then in for a cool-off.




Out and straight into a cluster of dandelions.




And then on to devour the newly-planted mimulus





#66517 49 Today!

Posted by Graham on 25 June 2016 - 04:23 PM


Yes, I've been tempted many a time to have another tortoise, but I think I should refrain; Harry's pretty dominant, in fact, his previous keeper had to keep him segregated because he kept beating up the other males. The only other option would be to have several females, but then I don't think the garden is big enough really for more than two torts at any one time. Also, Harry is mostly self-sufficient now with all the flowers and weeds growing, a situation I like, for it keeps him in his natural state of having to forage for food instead of being used to me feeding him; having another tort might upset this balance.

Harry seems quite happy ruling the roost in his own kingdom, having the entire place to himself, I think any addition would unsettle him. What do you think? I'd be interested to hear. 

#66490 Bigger Enclosure

Posted by Graham on 18 June 2016 - 05:12 PM

I took the shed down in the garden whilst Harry was hibernating earlier in the year, and planted it up. This has given him a bit more room, and a lot more choice of weeds and flowers to feed on.



So far, it's growing well:





Busy foraging for nibbles:





His enclosure is now all the better:





He still leaves it in the afternoon for a stroll along the garden path, and a bask in the sun:





And onto the patio, where he gets up to his usual mischief; this time head-first into a bucket to see what's in there:





I'll post some more pics when the flowers bloom, hopefully in the next couple of weeks.