Getting a Tortoise, Complete Novice

Corneal Riggar

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Jan 15, 2019
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7
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Horsham, West Sussex
Hi,
Im a year and a half I will be getting my very first Tortoise, He will be a Hermann Tortoise, and I plan on getting one that isn't a baby, probably from a rescue.

I have been googling Tortoises for the past two days and have worked out some stuff, but still need help.

What I know so far:
  • Tortoises live a long time
  • Hermann Tortoises don't usually grow longer than 18cm
  • the enclosure i will build is 4ft by 3ft, the enclosure will be up against a window in a rabbit shed which will have heating, a vent and screen doors to cool down the room in summer
  • I know that tortoises need hidey houses, shallow food and water dishes, a basking rock, plants, and a hidey room.
  • there will be two heat lights, one above the basking rock, another in the hidey house
  • i know how much to feed them and what to feed them

What i don't know:
  • which substrate do i need? i want to get a mixture of stuff, moss, beech chips, cypress stuff, top soil and artificial grass.
  • ive seen this stuff :
https://www.amazon.co.uk/zoomed-Zoo...547469620&sr=8-1&keywords=eco+earth+substrate

https://www.reptiles.swelluk.com/zo...Ing1qmU64VMOmr2nxB9JC3TTm14zUd7caAqmIEALw_wcB

https://www.exotic-pets.co.uk/exo-terra-forest-moss.html

however they all look like similar stuff, shoul i get all three or just one or two?
  • humidity? do they like dry or humid, and how to I do either of these. how do you make humidity, and i get that you can get hygrometres that tell you how humid it is, but how do you then change how hot or humid it is?
Please Help!
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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Hello and welcome.

In some cases hermanni can reach 25-27cm. 3x4 feet os a good size to start a baby in, but an adult will need something much bigger. 4x8 feet is the minimum size I recommend for an indoor enclosure.

Moderate humidity, 50-70% , will be fine for an adult hermanni. The best substrate to use is fine grade orchid bark. No soil, no sand. Coco coir is safe, but its messy. Cypress mulch can also work, but its not my favorite.

Here is some more info:
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
 

Corneal Riggar

New Member
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Location (City and/or State)
Horsham, West Sussex
Hello and welcome.

In some cases hermanni can reach 25-27cm. 3x4 feet os a good size to start a baby in, but an adult will need something much bigger. 4x8 feet is the minimum size I recommend for an indoor enclosure.

Moderate humidity, 50-70% , will be fine for an adult hermanni. The best substrate to use is fine grade orchid bark. No soil, no sand. Coco coir is safe, but its messy. Cypress mulch can also work, but its not my favorite.

Here is some more info:
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/

this is very helpful, thankyou, but how do i go about changing the temperature? how do i make it humid, and change the amount of humidity or heat?
 

Gillian M

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Welcome to the forum!

Please do not forget to post pics of your tort and his enclosure.

I would advise you to spray the enclosure with water and mix the substrate with your hands. I for one do that daily, due to the fact that I live in Jordan where the climate is terribly dry.

Good luck.
 

Ray--Opo

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Hello and welcome!
A digital dual temp hydrometer with external wire lead probes work good and are not expensive. A good infrared temp gun are very helpful for checking temperatures all over the enclosure. Again not expensive. 15 to 30 bucks. You can find all online. Most of the time pet stores are to expensive.
Pis of your enclosure would help greatly to give you advice on humidity.
Hey we are not expecting to see the Taj Mahal we just want to see your enclosure to give you advice.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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this is very helpful, thankyou, but how do i go about changing the temperature? how do i make it humid, and change the amount of humidity or heat?
Care for Russian and other temperate species is pretty much the same. Its all explained here:
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/

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.
 

TriciaStringer

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Wow! You are definitely thinking ahead. I understand you are a year and a half away from getting your tortoise. That will give you plenty of time to collect everything you need and save up to buy a custom made 4x8 enclosure or build one yourself.
 

Pastel Tortie

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Hello from Florida, and welcome to the Forum! It's great you're doing so much planning in advance. You won't have scramble to get an enclosure set up, and it will save you money in the long run.

Here is where I usually summon @ JoesMum, who lives in Kent, UK. However, it's going to be a few more weeks before she's back to her regular appearances on the TFO, but then she will be a good one to ask about UK specific information and resources. We have a number of members in the UK, and they can help you as you go through the planning process. Cheers!
 

Corneal Riggar

New Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2019
Messages
7
Location (City and/or State)
Horsham, West Sussex
Hello and welcome!
A digital dual temp hydrometer with external wire lead probes work good and are not expensive. A good infrared temp gun are very helpful for checking temperatures all over the enclosure. Again not expensive. 15 to 30 bucks. You can find all online. Most of the time pet stores are to expensive.
Pis of your enclosure would help greatly to give you advice on humidity.
Hey we are not expecting to see the Taj Mahal we just want to see your enclosure to give you advice.

the enclosure will be in a shed i havent even built yet. so will have to wait a while for photos
 

dmmj

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Greetings! & welcome to the forum. Hope you enjoy the forum.
 
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