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Tort burying itself in substrate under the basking lamp?

Discussion in 'Hermanns tortoises' started by Chelsea, Mar 28, 2010.

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  1. Chelsea

    Chelsea New Member

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    As the title suggests, my 18 month old Hermanns has recently started to completely bury himself under his substrate (aspen), directly under his MVB. He's burying himself to the point of me thinking I'd lost him! Can't see him at all under the aspen! Do you think there's a reason for this, or is that just where he's most comfortable? He'd never done this up until around a month ago

    I've varied the temperature under the lamp between 30 and 35 degrees C to make sure that it wasn't because it was too warm or too cool for him but he does it regardless. I just want to make sure I'm not doing anything wrong!
  2. GBtortoises

    GBtortoises Active Member

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    What is the ambient temperature in the rest of the enclosure? The tortoise may be staying directly under the basking lamp because it is too cold elsewhere. What may changed in his enclosure or surroundings a month ago? Tortoises don't often alter their routines unless something else changes that makes them do it. Could be temperature, humidity, light, re-arranging the enclosure or any number of several other things.

    The problem with decreasing the temperature under the basking light is that if the rest of the enclosure is still cooler than normal the tortoise will stay put in that warm spot indefinitely until it can sense that the entire enclosure is up to normal activity range.

    30 degrees is too cold for basking anyway regardless of the situation. 35 degrees is at the lower end of the scale also.
  3. Stephanie Logan

    Stephanie Logan Active Member

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    I thought I read on the forum that tortoises bury themselves for concealment, for humidity, and for thermoregulation.

    There was an adorable photo on here recently of a butt-end-up tort buried in his substrate, and another one of a Redfoot buried under her hide with just her head peeking out...where's your photo? ;)
  4. Chelsea

    Chelsea New Member

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    The rest of his enclosure never gets below 20 degrees, that has never changed. The only thing that has changed recently is that I have moved the position of the slate that I feed him on. Various care sheets say that a basking temp should be up to 95 degrees f, which is 35 degrees C. What temperature do you recommend? He buries himself during the night (he's always done this though), and a few times during the day now, too. He comes out regularly to charge around some more though.

    Stephanie - i'll get photos as soon as I can!
  5. GBtortoises

    GBtortoises Active Member

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    Does your tortoise have hide boxes or similar dark hiding areas to go into? 20c at night or during the daytime? 35c (95f) is okay for basking, it shouldn't be very much lower. I think 100 degrees is a better number to shoot for with a young tortoise, 105 for a larger adult. You can increase the basking heat temperature and solve the worry of him digging in directly under the basking light by placing a large flat stone directly under the basking light. The stone should be of the size that it is still warm along the edges of the stone when centered directly under the hottest point of the basking light. This will allow the tortoise to move in and out of the hottest area as needed. It's difficult for an organic substrate to hold the heat as well as a solid surface such as a stone. The heat simply dissapates to easily whereas a stone absorbs, holds and radiants the heat more evenly.

    "I thought I read on the forum that tortoises bury themselves for concealment, for humidity, and for thermoregulation."--Absolutely true, but the only one of those that should be taking place directly under a hot basking light is the thermoregulation. If the tortoise is burying itself under the hottest point to stay warm enough continuously then there is a possibility that the rest of the enclosure may be too cool for normal activity. It definitely is not doing so to seek humidity. That is probably the driest area of an enclosure due to the heat from the light. And tortoises wouldn't typically conceal themselves in the direct sunlight for fear of overheating.
  6. tortoisenerd

    tortoisenerd New Member

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    Does he have a warm hide? If so, some torts just prefer burrowing too. My tort has hides in different temperatures, but prefers his warm hay pile for his daily napping times.
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