A Beginner to Beginner Advice - Plus "Thank You!"

Vold-e-torte

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Aug 2, 2020
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15
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Birmingham, UK
I just wanted to take a moment to thank all of the amazing, inspirational tort owners and the helpful information I've received on this site. (Long post - strap in)

I spent a long time considering what animal to get as a pet. I live in rented accommodation and a cat or dog would not be appropriate with my landlord, whilst a tortoise he shouldn't really have a problem with.

I grew up with Reptiles and Mammals (these weren't all mine) - two Indian Pythons, one boa constrictor, a gecko, 2 Iguana's - various chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, cats, dogs and various birds etc. My dad actually used to joke on answering the telephone "Welcome to Sandown Zoo how may I help you......." - So whilst I wasn't new to Reptile care - I was perhaps a little naive specifically about tortoise care.

Somethings that have really helped me when Timothy "Vold-e-Torte" would not eat anything first four days, then got addicted to red lettuce raddicio and would trample through his carefully picked greens - dandelions, chard, hibiscus leaves etc..... He also wasn't that adventurous and slept "All the time...."

1. Don't overfeed - 5 days a week is a good bench mark and since he has just had a 24 hour fast.... He's finally eating dark leafy greens! Proper One's!
2. They'll eat what you put out and are stubborn if you make the mistake like I did of actually putting a salad (lettuce) mix out.... They are little diet terrorists
3. Takes time for them to acclimate to their new surroundings - He wouldn't eat for three days, five days and I swear I nearly lost my tort-mom mind over it.
4. A bath/soak and some exercise in the garden (supervised) (if temps are okay with a shady area) can really help stimulate the appetite.
5. Make sure your substrate is damp enough.... I made a really big mistake and didn't mist, water, now i do it every day.
6. You can never have too many good quality digital thermometers or humidity readers - shell height everything....... (check your night-time temperatures)
7. babies sleep a lot, so does your baby tortoise. try not to fiddle too much with them as you'll extend their stress periods... Voldetorte will now let me dry his head after a bath and his little legs.
8. Timers for consistency on your UV light and Your basking lamp, I have noticed an incredible difference in behaviour/activity now that I've got a 12/13 hour cycle on both heat and light.
9. DONT PANIC! - I know I did and I've got so much more to learn but Timothy "Volde-e-torte" is now eating greens (can I get a hallelujah) and is active for periods of the day, including healthy roaming and burrowing (i build him hills).
10. There are lots of conflicting information and advice regarding your Tortoise, I've found this site amazingly helpful, but even here there are different opinions.
11. Do what's right for your set up, including geography (climate etc.), an open Tortoise Table would be impractical for me personally and I wasn't sure I could get it at the right temps (I live in the UK) consistently,. However, I am already planning huge outdoor summer Digs for Timothy as he get's to the 3 year mark.

SET UP (because i know I'l get asked....)
I have an enclosed reptarium all wood except for sliding glass doors at the front. (Don't grown at me, I looked at the worldwide Zoological society and it was recommended). It is huge. I have taped the bottom of the glass so that Timothy doesn't get confused after reading loads on this site, however, to be fair he's never bothered with it - I think this is due to him being raised in a glass fronted tank, he was confirmed as captive bred by the pet shop (again don't grown). Dimensions are around 4.5 feet long and 1.75 feet wide. Currently Timothy is less than two inches in length and is being weighed and measured later. He has the squiggly lines in his shell that are supposed to mean he is growing and hydrated. He has a basking spot with ceramic heat lamp controlled by a Thermostatic Classic Probe thermometer set at tort shell height - 90 - 95. For UVB/A he has a full length strip light.

The mid temperature of the tank is around 85, with the cool end in the 70's. He has a wooden log - hide with grasses/hay. I have two humidity digital thermometers set on the wall at both the hot end and the cold end (at shell height). I also have a free standing digital probe thermometer which I can move around the tank. I have two very prickly plastic cactus plants as I noticed the original plastic plant set up seemed to confuse him and i caught him trying an experimental nibble.....

He also has a ceramic/textured bridge which he loves and I build up one end every day underneath with misted tort substrate, i pour a tiny bit of water too, then give it a mix, so he then burrows right the way down. This is where he sleeps, I've tried everything to get him to use the log....

I do not have a humid hide at the moment and I've read so many don't need/do need threads on various reptile, tortoise forums around the internet, i'm going to wait and see how he gets on......

He has a couple of supplements namely calcium and another reptile mix... However, he also has a cuttlefish bone which he completely ignores....... i've ordered some Mazuri from a specialist reptile shop and i'm looking forward to making little cakes for him.

Thanks for reading, I will amend this post with a picture of his set-up but I'm just about to clean it. So here's one of Vold-e-torte instead...
 

Golden Greek Tortoise 567

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This is a very nice post but I do have one criticism, I believe that you should feed your tortoise everyday, they are naturally grazers in the wild and eat whenever they need.
 

Vold-e-torte

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Joined
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Birmingham, UK
This is a very nice post but I do have one criticism, I believe that you should feed your tortoise everyday, they are naturally grazers in the wild and eat whenever they need.

I’ve seen so many posts advising with Russian or Horsfield tortoises - five days a week, this has been on lots of other forums and it seems to be working for Timothy and Me. It’s encouraged him to actually eat weeds and dark leafy greens and he’s not just turning his nose up. I think it depends on the breed of tortoise. I probably should have made that clearer in my post.... my bad - I’m a beginner.
 

Vold-e-torte

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Joined
Aug 2, 2020
Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Birmingham, UK
I have a russian and I feed her everyday. As long as you provide a large enough enclosure, and a proper diet they won’t become overweight or over fed, at least that’s what I believe.

I’m not saying your wrong for your Russian, but it’s helped me personally get Timothy to settle in and eat - I did some research. This is all Horsfield/Russian related.

this was advice found on www.horsfieldtortoise.co.uk (every other day) and no more than a six in seven...

www.tortoiseshop.com - five days with a fast day every so often
 

Golden Greek Tortoise 567

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Joined
Dec 30, 2019
Messages
1,764
Location (City and/or State)
Colorado Springs,CO
I’m not saying your wrong for your Russian, but it’s helped me personally get Timothy to settle in and eat - I did some research. This is all Horsfield/Russian related.

this was advice found on www.horsfieldtortoise.co.uk (every other day) and no more than a six in seven...

www.tortoiseshop.com - five days with a fast day every so often
I understand how you found this out. But, all the caresheets here and most members do advise to feed everyday. Tortoises are natural grazers in the wild and I personally believe should have food available at all times. Now if this works for you, go ahead but this way works better for me. Best wishes for you and your tortoise.
 

Vold-e-torte

New Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2020
Messages
15
Location (City and/or State)
Birmingham, UK
This is a very nice post but I do have one criticism, I believe that you should feed your tortoise everyday, they are naturally grazers in the wild and eat whenever they need.

I think it’s a personal thing, and it won’t let me edit the post! There’s so much conflicting info, I wanted to share what was working for me and no offence is meant. :)
 

Vold-e-torte

New Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2020
Messages
15
Location (City and/or State)
Birmingham, UK
I understand how you found this out. But, all the caresheets here and most members do advise to feed everyday. Tortoises are natural grazers in the wild and I personally believe should have food available at all times. Now if this works for you, go ahead but this way works better for me. Best wishes for you and your tortoise.

thank you - he’s finally settled in and has been running around his tank far more than usual. Plus he ate a hibiscus flower and leaves today. Proud tortoise momma.
 

Golden Greek Tortoise 567

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Joined
Dec 30, 2019
Messages
1,764
Location (City and/or State)
Colorado Springs,CO
thank you - he’s finally settled in and has been running around his tank far more than usual. Plus he ate a hibiscus flower and leaves today. Proud tortoise momma.
My tortoises are addicted to hibiscus. They eat too much of it, the second they see that flower they are running (well as fast as a tort can run) to their food piles.
 
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