Beginner Questions (Humidity, Diet, Temperature, Sleep) for Hermann's

tortycher

New Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2019
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
Hsinchu, Taiwan
I am a new tortoise owner. Very beginner so I have a lot of questions. I have a baby Hermann's which is about 6 months old. I've done my research but I still got confused or maybe still suffering from information overload. I have few questions:

1. Humidity - What is the right humidity for a baby tortoise? His humidity is around 60-80% I live in Taiwan and it is very humid. And I know that babies need to have higher humidity.

2. Temperature - What is the right temperature for a baby Hermann's? The cooler side of his enclosure is at 22-23C and for the hotter side is around 28C. I have 1 UVB light and a CHE.

3. Diet -
a) What is the right amount of food for a baby tortoise?
I read that 80% grass and 20% flowers and it should be the size of its shell. But as of now as a first-time owner, I just feed him red lettuce and occasionally mulberry leaves.

b) suggestions for Hermann's tortoise diet?
The pet store sold us RepCal (with Fruits) as his food. Would this be fine for him? I know that Hermanns are not a fruit eating tortoises. I stopped giving him this when I knew that it has fruits. Should I just switch to Mazuri?

c) In tortoise table app, they say safe to feed, feed occasionally, and feed sparingly. How often is that in weeks or months?
Like occasionally is once a week? and sparingly once a month?

3. Substrate and enclosure - I have a fir bark substrate for my baby hermanns. I read that the best substrate will be topsoil but we still cannot find one here (most of them sells potting soil). I also have sphagnum substrate on the sides of his enclosure and on his hiding spot for humidity. The size of his enclosure is 6ft by 2 ft. Am I doing it right?

4. I noticed that my tort is always opening his mouth? is this normal?

5. How long does a baby Hermann's sleep? He usually sleep around 19hours per day.

Am I doing it right? I love my baby tortoise and all I want is best for him. I will post some photos when he wakes up.

Thank you so much.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,503
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hello and welcome. :)

Most of what you need is extensively explained in these care sheets, but I will also answer your questions one by one:
Care for hermanni is the same as it is for Russians:
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/

  1. Generally, 50-70% is fine for a baby hermanni. 60-80% is totally fine too.
  2. There are four elements to heating and lighting:
    1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt floods from the hardware store. I run them on a timer and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. Basking temperature shot be around 36C.
    2. Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species. You'd only need day heat for a temperate species like Testudo or DT. Down to 18C is fine at night for Testudo sp.
    3. Light. I use florescent tubes or LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most tubes at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish.
    4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. If you want it anyway, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height.

    What type of UV bulb are you using? Is your CHE on a thermostat?

    3. They are not grass eaters. That info is for sulcatas. Testudo are broadleaf weed eaters. I'd go easy on the lettuce, but the mulberry leaves are great. Skip the text and grass info on this thread and scroll down to the food list: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/

    They should be fed as much of the right foods as they want to eat and they should have access to food all day long.

    Once or twice a week, mixed in with other stuff, is a good rule of thumb for items that say to "feed sparingly" or "occasionally".

    3 again. Enclosure size is great! Fir bark is good. It is my preferred substate for adult Testudo species, but I prefer coco coir for baby Testudo. I would never use soil, top soil, or any sort of bought-in-a-bag type of composted dirt.

    4. Not normal. The yawning is a sign of oncoming reparatory infection. The solution is warmer temperature. Get day time temps into the 30s, and have that 36-37 basking area.

    5. Its normal for babies to hide and sleep a lot.


    Read those threads for more guidance and tips. Keep asking questions!


 

tortycher

New Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2019
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
Hsinchu, Taiwan
Hello and welcome. :)

Most of what you need is extensively explained in these care sheets, but I will also answer your questions one by one:
Care for hermanni is the same as it is for Russians:
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/

  1. Generally, 50-70% is fine for a baby hermanni. 60-80% is totally fine too.
  2. There are four elements to heating and lighting:
    1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt floods from the hardware store. I run them on a timer and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. Basking temperature shot be around 36C.
    2. Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species. You'd only need day heat for a temperate species like Testudo or DT. Down to 18C is fine at night for Testudo sp.
    3. Light. I use florescent tubes or LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most tubes at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish.
    4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. If you want it anyway, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height.

    What type of UV bulb are you using? Is your CHE on a thermostat?

    3. They are not grass eaters. That info is for sulcatas. Testudo are broadleaf weed eaters. I'd go easy on the lettuce, but the mulberry leaves are great. Skip the text and grass info on this thread and scroll down to the food list: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/

    They should be fed as much of the right foods as they want to eat and they should have access to food all day long.

    Once or twice a week, mixed in with other stuff, is a good rule of thumb for items that say to "feed sparingly" or "occasionally".

    3 again. Enclosure size is great! Fir bark is good. It is my preferred substate for adult Testudo species, but I prefer coco coir for baby Testudo. I would never use soil, top soil, or any sort of bought-in-a-bag type of composted dirt.

    4. Not normal. The yawning is a sign of oncoming reparatory infection. The solution is warmer temperature. Get day time temps into the 30s, and have that 36-37 basking area.

    5. Its normal for babies to hide and sleep a lot.


    Read those threads for more guidance and tips. Keep asking questions!


Thank you for replying.

I'm using a UVA + UVB for repltiles and reptisun 5.0 UVB. My CHE is on for 24 hours and I checked the temperature below it, it just reached to 24C.

For the yawning, I think I got the temperature right. I don't see him yawn again.

I keep on reading those threads, and I found other websites sometimes contradicting. I need to clarify and make sure.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,503
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Thank you for replying.

I'm using a UVA + UVB for repltiles and reptisun 5.0 UVB. My CHE is on for 24 hours and I checked the temperature below it, it just reached to 24C.

For the yawning, I think I got the temperature right. I don't see him yawn again.

I keep on reading those threads, and I found other websites sometimes contradicting. I need to clarify and make sure.
What kind of UVA + UVB for reptiles. There are many types. And a Reptisun 5.0 produces hardly any UV at at even at a distance of 10-12 inches form the bulb.

A CHE is meant to keep the entire enclosure warm. If it is only 24 directly under it, then you need more heat. It needs to be around 36-37 directly under your basking bulb. Ambient temp of 24 throughout the enclosure is good.


There are four elements to heating and lighting:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt floods from the hardware store. I run them on a timer and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them.
  2. Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species. You'd only need day heat for a temperate species like Testudo or DT.
  3. Light. I use florescent tubes or LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most tubes at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. If you want it anyway, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height.
 
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