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#68666 Box Hibernation

Posted by babettebeau on 28 November 2018 - 12:55 PM

For those who are hiberanting their torts with the refregiration method (fridge method), this is what i did last year for the boxes. It worked well, so i thought i would share it this year. Open PDF document which is inside the thread link below, you will see pics of the boxes etc.




And a cutie photo from last year (yawning when emerging from hibernation) as a bonus below.



Attached Files

#68657 New Here Have A Few Questions

Posted by babettebeau on 25 November 2018 - 06:50 PM

Please use plain top soil. It is the cheapest and the best. 

No sand because some sand types cause eye irritation.

Please DO NOT use compost. They do not live on compost in nature.

Changing soil, it depends of the size of the indoor enclosure. In the daily routine you will need to scoop up any soil soiled by droppings, urine (if you see that) and urates.

People say changing the soil every couple of months is swhat is recommended. 


By the way on the hydration, i will be on the safe side with your young baby and soak it daily every morning in luke warm water (temp no higher that 30-32 degrees), i am saying that because babies are very prone to dehydration. I find that a terracotta dish keeps the heat longer for the soak. If your baby wants to go out of its soak it is becasue the water has gone too cold or it is too hot. Then you can change the water and continue the soak. Please don't soak your baby in the sink or bath tub. 


For example I soak my babies daily 20-30 minutes when they have woken up and warmed up for a little while under the heat lamp. The dish they soak is placed in the enclosure so there is no change in surroundings. When you soak your baby tort,  it has to be under supervision (you have to watch it in case it falls asleep in the water, the head falls in water and to avoid drawning - Hermman tortoises are not amphibians and they cannot swimm).

Typically when they have their soak, they will however lower their head in water to drink, their nostrils will also be in the water, this is nornal and you notice their eyes are opened (not asleep) and their throat moving as the water is sawllowed. So don't panic and let it drink.


Also tortoises do not like to be handled and to be lifted from the ground, this is a big source of stress for them, they are ground animals and they freak out when lifted from the ground, so handling must be to the minimum and only if necessary (when soaking, weighing etc).

When handling, you will have to be sure you approach your hands very slowly so they see your hands, and not be surprised otherwise that will stress them as well. Also when handling you have to think of the size of your tortoise, so if you move it fast and lift is very fast high, imagine we put you in a supersonic high speed plane and you go from 0km to 300km from floor zero to floor 100 in 3 seconds, this is a lot for a tortoise. So handling is slow and low. Typically when they freak out when being lifted they urinate because too scared. Frequent handling will lead to stressed tortoises, and symptoms will be from hiding away to diseases.


The way I handle my babies is this way: approach hands slowly, make sure they see my both hands, then put one hand flat on ground, then slide the tort on the palm of hand, slowly cover the tortoise with the other hand, so it does not see, and then lift it very low and move it very slow and transfer it in the soaking dish or on the scale. etc... 


Basically tortoises are not domesticated animals, they are still wild and have stong natural instincts, they are not pets, we cannot play with them, they have no affection for us like dogs or cats, they cannot be petted. The less they see us, they less we interact with them, they less we handle them, the better they live in captivity.

Also they don't hear sounds like we do, they hear vibrations. So if you call them by their names they basically won't hear your voice. Also they have no voice and no facial expressions.


Having a tortoise is a hobby rather than having a pet if that makes sense and an interest in learning about tortoises and reptiles in general. Also because they are an endangered specie, this is also a way to contibute to the preservation of the specie. 


When you are about to buy stuff for the indoor enclosure please email us before you buy and we'll tell you if this is ok to buy. 


Do you have a garden for an outdoor enclosure?


I hope this is some good insight for you.



#68643 Hedgehogs

Posted by babettebeau on 14 November 2018 - 04:56 PM

At this time of year hedgehogs are fattening themselves up for hibernation, however if you see one foraging in daylight it is probably underweight and might be in need of help.

The London Wildlife Trust posted on Instagram and Facebook about an underweight hedgehog rescued from Dulwich Wood (London) a few days ago.



#68636 Box Hibernation

Posted by babettebeau on 08 November 2018 - 06:46 PM

Thanks Sue that very good to know for prevention.

It is horrible to think they can suffer in silence because they have no facial expression, and no voice.

How would you detect if a tortoise suffers from pain?


#68625 Box Hibernation

Posted by babettebeau on 05 November 2018 - 12:28 PM

HI Sue

Sure, here are 6 pics taken this weekend. Although they are under my care, they will always remain your babies too.



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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



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#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.