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Member Since 06 Mar 2016
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#68565 Harry's Summer

Posted by babettebeau on 10 September 2018 - 09:06 PM

Awww I love the pictures of Harry. He is such a character :))
Thank you for sharing Graham.

#68550 Rain In The Outdoor Enclosures?

Posted by babettebeau on 23 August 2018 - 11:29 AM

Hi Nicole

Queenie is so adorable!!!


The rabbit house is unsuitable as shelter in the cold months for several reasons:

1) It is too low to accommodate a heat lamp

2) It is not enough insulated to retain heat

3) it is too small for a tortoise to have some decent activity inside a shelter when it cannot stay out due to the weather

4) it is dark inside and no daylight go through. I think it is nice for a tortoise be in a heated shelter with day light coming through duting cold/bad weather


Heat lamp height in my cold frame:

  • The height of the stand from top of it to ground level (excluding the buried part of the stand): 65cm
  • Height between the lowest part of the bulb to ground floor (36cm)
  • When looking into installing a heat lamp, you need a height of about 70-80 cm height, this is to take into account the roof of the shelter, the height of lamp stand, length of lamp dome, length of the hook where the dome will be hung etc...and of course sufficient height so the bulb is not close to the ground level and also to have margin to adjust the lamp higher if needed.
  • There are some cases when heat lamps too close damage and burn the carapace of tortoises when it is too low, because torts will stay under even for a shorter of time but still they get damaged, if that makes sense.

Pictures of set-up

Attached are the pictures of the cold frame fitted in the enclosure of my two babies Hermann.Sorry they are bit dark with this grey weather these days.


Also attached are pics of the Greenhouse/enclosure set up for an adult tortoise, as you can see the greenhouse is large and so is the enclosure, this set up allows the tortoise to have a sustainable life outdoors and use the greenhouse as a living space when needed in colder months outside hibernation. This is the set up of Ben. The link of the thread about it is here:http://www.hermann-t...?showtopic=9758 and the pictures are attached. You can see on the pictures that there is a rabbit hutch in the enclosure and how it is compared to a larger set up for living outdoors for long period of time for an adult tortoise. This is quite a striking difference between the greenhouse and the rabbit hutch, and it demonstrates clearly that a rabbit hutch is insufficient to keep an adult tort under shelter outdoors in colder months.

The rabbit hutch is probably fine from May to September with a garden with great sun exposure and a great summer like we had this year, but otherwise it cannot accomodate the physiological needs of a mediteranean tortoise living in the UK.


Cold frame information

Also here are some links of cold frames that you can buy in the UK:




You can also buy the automatic window opener for the cold frame and it opens the top of it according to the temperature, so that the cold frame does not overheat.




Whole thread on cold frame below. I think we were part of the discussion



Please note that i am unsure if the cold frames in the links i provided on Amazon are good enough to keep torts 24/7 in cold months. 


I hope this helps



Attached Files

#68542 Rain In The Outdoor Enclosures?

Posted by babettebeau on 15 August 2018 - 05:57 PM

Hi Nic


I have two young ones (nearly 3 years old each) outdoors 24/7 since end of May until mid September, and here is what I have done:


- A cold frame of 1 square meter in plexiglass sitting on wooden sleepers with heat lamp inside. Lamp on from 7am to 4:30pm when overcast, no sun, rain, and with temp below 20/22 degrees during grey days. The temp in the cold frame is regulated because the roof of the cold frame opens automatically when it is too hot inside. When better weather conditions, heat lamp is on from 7am for about 3 hours. No heat at night regardless the weather.


- In rainy weather i make sure the cold frame is the dedicated dried area (expect that i always keep the soil damp the sleeping area where they dig in or hide for the night).


- Ground level in cold frame elevated about 10 cm higher than the rest of the enclosure to avoid flooding inside


- Soil in enclosure mixed with grit to make it well drained and not muddy.


- Hills and rocks in the enclosure to climb on in case they need to escape too much rain (not sure if they do that instinctively though!) and to catch sunrays higher should some sun comes through the clouds.


- Small hides (cork barks) and bushes in enclosure to shelter in case they are caught under the rain and too cold to be able move back inside the cold frame.


- In bad weather I tend to scatter and hide food closer to the cold frame. In torential weather, I give them access to a less big part of the enclosure so that they don't go too far from the cold frame and it's easier for them to go back quickly inside the cold frame.


- I use the app called Dark Sky which gives accurate local weather hour per hour and from what time to what time it is going to rain, how long, heavy or light rain etc / be overcast / UV index etc


Tortoises are very aware, they figure out pretty quickly how to use the shelters and heat lamp that we put at their disposal. And yes after basking and being warm enough they have no fear to get out and search for food under heavy rain!


I hope this helps.



#68536 Wild Tortoise Watching - What Not Do To

Posted by babettebeau on 22 July 2018 - 03:39 PM



I could not help myself putting a comment on youtube for this video.



#68532 Continuous Hot And Dry Weather

Posted by babettebeau on 07 July 2018 - 08:47 PM

Hello everyone

As we all know and as a friendly reminder for new keepers of Mediterranean tortoises (especially those with young ones), with this continued hot and dry weather please make sure torts have an area with damp soil (damp deeply, not damp on top only) where they can dig in at night and also water dishes available during the day. Also areas of good shade for those who have just built their outdoors enclosures.

Of course some fake rain with a hoose or a water can will most likely be enjoyed by our torts.


#68495 Living Outdoors Permantly - Eek!

Posted by babettebeau on 30 May 2018 - 06:08 AM


You can make the ground level of the hot house higher than the ground level of the enclosure by adding more soil in the hot house. For example I made it about 10cm higher in the hot house of my babies. This will create a slope at the entrance of the hot house.

Also do you have a heat lamp in the hot house, because that will help to dry the soil and a heat lamp is a necessity for a tort outdoors.

Do you have pictures of the enclosure, the hot house and inside the hot house?

Thank you


#68446 Thinking Of Putting Squirt In A Oustside Enclosure

Posted by babettebeau on 10 May 2018 - 08:14 PM

Yes sure there has been a lot of info provided recently on the recent topics posted. Also today Karen posted a link with great information.

What is the age of your tortoise again and its specie please?

I assume your tortoise lives in the UK, doesn't it?

Thank you

#68436 Introducing A New Tortoise To Another

Posted by babettebeau on 04 May 2018 - 08:43 PM

The reality is that there is no paternal or maternal instincts in tortoises. That was not part of reptiles's evolution for survival.

#68402 Living Outdoors Permantly - Eek!

Posted by babettebeau on 20 April 2018 - 09:45 AM

There is also this smaller model of aluminium cold frame on amazon. 




#68338 Great Indoor Enclosure Seen Youtube

Posted by babettebeau on 24 March 2018 - 07:49 PM

Hi Sue, yes I have to agree.

#68325 Slide Show - Emerging From Hibernation

Posted by babettebeau on 17 March 2018 - 03:53 PM

Thank you Sue, yes i am very grateful to have the little monsters back on the ground, as this was the first hibernation they had with me :-)  And thanks again for all your advices!!

Yes good idea to put the post in the naturalistic section. Karen do you mind transferring the post?



#68323 Slide Show - Emerging From Hibernation

Posted by babettebeau on 17 March 2018 - 01:25 PM


Here is a slide show of my two 30 months old Hermann babies emerging this morning from hibernation after 9 weeks in the fridge.

All went well. They were soaked, fed with fresh weeds and now they are napping and basking.



Attached Files

#68298 Seed Mix: Tlady's Tortoise Mix - A Grass-Free Seed Mixture

Posted by babettebeau on 27 February 2018 - 05:19 PM

Here is the link for the seeds:




A grass-free seed mixture to produce palatable green food for tortoises


This wild plant mixture has been formulated for Herbiseed by Lin King (known to many as 'the Tlady'), from her observations of the plants eaten by wild tortoises in Mediterranean areas. It comprises a mixture of edible annual and perennial plants without grass. It is designed to allow tortoises to graze naturally and hence avoid the use of unsuitable shop-bought greens, whilst providing a wide range of nutrients for healthy growth.


#68287 Book: Naturalistic Keeping And Breeding Of Hermann's Tortoises

Posted by babettebeau on 23 February 2018 - 11:02 AM



A lot of us on the forum highly recommend this book on Hermann Tortoises. 


Book name: Naturalistic keeping and breeding of Hermann's Tortoises

By: Wolfgang Wegehaupt




It is bit on the high end on pricing, however the very valuable content makes it totally worth buying.


I have been learning so much with this book about the Hermann tortoises: physiology, senses, characteristics, young vs adults, hibernation, diet, habitat in the wild, and how to keep them in the most naturalistic way in captivity and so much else.


Website of Wolfgang Wegehaupt:



Facebook page of Wolfgang Wegehaupt:





#68253 Hello, I Am From Germany....

Posted by babettebeau on 18 February 2018 - 12:15 PM

Generally speaking in the UK the people who are successful in keeping their tortoises outdoors when they are not in hibernation are the ones who have adult tortoises and have a shed (garden house) with radiator and heat lamps, and with good insulation. Some shed have glass for light (greenhouses). In the UK young tortoises can't stay outdoors as long as the adults ones. The bigger in mass weight and size they are, the longer they keep heat so more sustainable for adults to manage a life outdoors.