Feedback on Enclosure for Hermann's hatchling

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New Member
5 Year Member
Apr 29, 2013
Hi all,

I'm a happy new owner of a Dalmatian Hermann's hatchling, currently about 7 weeks old. I bought him from Tim/Robin here on Tortoise forum, and had him for a week and he seems to be very active and doing great (or I think so anyway). Although I still haven't thought of a name for him though :(

I've been doing a lot of research on this forum to set up the enclosure but I thought I'll post here to get some feedback from people on what I can improve.

I currently have the warm/moist side on the right hand side with about 3" coco coir substrate that I mist everyday, and churn every week (or plan to). I have a cool/dry side on the left with cypress mulch substrate, which I'll occasionally pour water into to keep the underneath slightly moist.

I wanted to give him a more natural type of setting where he can roam and eat/browse whenever he pleases, so I have a plant tray in the middle which I've grown the testudo seed mix I bought from I also give him store bought greens for variety on the feeding tile on the right. Water dish is buried into the substrate for easy accessibility.

I have two hides, one on each side. At first I only had the warm/humid hide on the right, and I was really happy that he went into the hide and dug himself in to sleep right from the first day, unprompted. I only recently added the hide in the cool side because I read that you should have a hide on each side. He actually slept in the cool/dry hide (yellow side ways pot) yesterday.

I'm currently using 125W Exo Terra Solar Glo MVB for basking spot and a Zoomed T5 10.0 UVB tube for the cool side to provide UVB away from the heat. The T5 10.0 UVB tube is currently about 14" off the substrate.
Currently the temperatures are 98F under the basking spot, around 75F on the cool side. I don't have night heat but I keep the room temperature around 75F at night. As you can see from the first picture, the enclosure is by a window (Easy facing), so sunlight gets in in the morning on the cool/dry side (doesn't reach the humid side).

The only thing that is missing right now is that I don't have a humidity gauge in the enclosure. But with the moist substrate and water dish, I'm thinking he is keeping himself well hydrated. I saw him drink from the water dish on the very first day but haven't explicitly seen him since then. He does frequently go in and out of the water dish though.

photo (1).JPG
The little one digging away in the plant tray :
photo (2).JPG

Please let me know if you think there is something that I should change or am doing wrong!

Also, I have two questions

1. Is 14" too low for T5 10.0 UVB tube? It says 10.0 is intended for deeper vivariums so I'm kinda worried that the light could be too close.

2. I've read conflicting opinions on cool/dry hides for hatchlings. I added it because I read that you should have hides on both sides, but also read that you shouldn't provide them for hatchlings. It worried me a little that he slept in the dry hide yesterday, but this morning he wondered around and then went inside the humid hide to hide after eating. Should I just leave the hides as they are and just let him choose as he wants? It kinda looks like he's doing that right now but I'm not sure which is more beneficial.

I know it's the first week but I do find myself incessantly worrying about him! But it's a joy to watch him roam around and do his thing. He started eating from my hand from day three! :D
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Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Tortoise Club
Sep 6, 2011
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Hello and Welcome:) I don't know anything about hermanns, so I will let the ones that do help you out.
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