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Goosefoot Adventures

Discussion in 'Hermanns tortoises' started by Rue, Mar 7, 2016.

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  1. Rue

    Rue Well-Known Member

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    Goosefoot's room March 2016.jpg I have been a tortoise owner for just over a week now. So far so good! I continue to read as much as I can and keep myself informed. This is an excellent source of up-to-date information. Thank you all for providing that!

    It was mentioned that pictures are appreciated, so I thought I'd start this thread and keep our progress all in one place.

    Goosefoot is an Eastern Hermann's tortoise that we purchased from a local breeder. I am going to default to calling Goosefoot a 'she' (wagers anyone?) for the interim. I wanted a unisex name...and have fond remembrances of The Land Before Time dinosaur movies. I also went through my native plants books and found an endangered plant species called Smooth Goosefoot that could use a little press. Seemed like a solid tortoise name! She is 3 months old.

    I did buy pet store products to make do with for now. We will revisit indoor housing requirements when the time comes.

    I purchased the low 40g ExoTerra vivarium. What I like about it is its height (low), the screen mesh on top (to keep cats out) and the doors that open in front (to let me in without having to remove tops and move lights (been there, done that, don't want to do it anymore if I don't have to).

    The back of this vivarium comes with a decorative Styrofoam backing, so we cut plywood for the sides and for the lower front strip to get rid of the see-through glass issue and to make the enclosure 'warmer'.

    I have wood chips on the bottom. I have a hide filled with sphagnum moss (which she tried to eat and then spat out, so I'm not worried about her eating it) that I make sure is moist at all times. Then for an experiment...I filled a water bowl with damp peat moss. I want to see if she is interested in it at all and how it acts for retaining humidity. I have been misting the entire enclosure 2X a day and keeping the substrate humid.

    There is a little water dish, filled with pebbles so she can drink but not drown, if she wants to.

    I have a terra cotta saucer for food. However, I have turned it upside down. I had it right-side up...watched her climb in and out several times without issue...and then came home to find her upside down in the middle of the dish. I have no idea how long she was like that and frankly, I found it rather stressful myself. Such a helpless situation to be in. Mother Nature goofed a bit when designing tortoise anatomy. If she can up-end herself that easily in a 'safe' environment - how often does it happen in nature?

    I have a MV bulb hanging from a pet store light stand for stability and safety. The temperature at the substrate is between 90-95 F (using a probe thermometer). I have a light at the other end that gives off no appreciable heat (I turned it on to even out the light levels at both ends of the enclosure). The night time temperature is between 60-65 F. The regular light is on from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. The MV light is on from 10:00 a.m. to 10 p.m.. I think this will simulate outdoor heat levels more accurately, and keep the enclosure a little warmer for a little longer at night.

    I am giving her a bath every other day. She finally pooped in the bath water on Saturday! Now I know what goes in is coming out since I had seen no sign of it in the enclosure. When I rescued her from the food bowl she pee'd on me...so I knew she was at least getting enough fluids.

    I am currently buying mixed greens from the grocery store. She is eating well. She obviously likes radicchio. She knows exactly where the food bowl is. As soon as our spring arrives I will start pulling weeds. We are "blessed" with an abundance of purslane, redroot pigweed, lamb's quarters, Shepherd's Purse, dandelions, sowthistle, chickweek and a host of others I have yet to ID properly. We have horses, so I can easily add hay to her diet.

    Outdoor plans - so far - are to buy and modify a chain-link dog run. We have too many predators to safely have any other type of enclosure I've concluded after looking at all the many examples on this site. In the meantime I have an old guinea pig cage that I use to put her outside in, on the deck, while she's so little. I can also give her supervised free range time on the lawn.

    Did I mention she gets her own room?
  2. Rue

    Rue Well-Known Member

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    On the move 2016.jpg I think I can 2016.jpg Goosefoot profile 2016.jpg I have 'redecorated' the enclosure a couple of times already, as I see what works.
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  3. Rue

    Rue Well-Known Member

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    I have only taken cell phone pictures so far...I will try and get some better pictures with the camera down the road.

    Thanks for watching! :D:tort:
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  4. Rue

    Rue Well-Known Member

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    Stopped at the store on the way home. Came back with a planter and Rocket seed. I hadn't heard of Rocket before I joined this forum (among other things!). I will see how it grows.

    I also bought Goosefoot her own "salad crisper". We'll see how that works to keep both both produce and weeds fresh.
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  5. Merrick

    Merrick Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I would add plants helps with humidity also the soil should not be damp tortoises can get sick if the soil is to damp and the air is to cold
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  6. Rue

    Rue Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! :)
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  7. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member Tortoise Club

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    Check out the caresheet under the Hermanns section. I'm not real familiar with the temp and humidity requirements, but I believe you night temps might be too low and more humidity might need to be added. Double check. Also, the amount of UVB going through screen is depleted.
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  8. Rue

    Rue Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. Do you know how much UVB would be filtered out by the screen? I can remove it when I'm home and am around to supervise. It has to be in place when we are at work. Cats.

    I have the 100 watt PowerSun, since the vivarium is shallow, but I could replace with a 160, if that made any difference to how much UVB output there is?

    I also was looking at metal halides...but I'm a little confused still - regarding what is what.

    As soon as it's warm enough, I can put her outside (in a safe enclosure) for supervised 'real sun' periods...
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  9. Rue

    Rue Well-Known Member

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    Rocket is arugula! I know what arugula is! Just never heard it called Rocket before. :rolleyes:
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  10. MPRC

    MPRC Well-Known Member

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    Adorable little grumpy face. I love that 'balanced' photo.
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  11. Rue

    Rue Well-Known Member

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    Thank you! Where there's a will there's a way! She's like a little tank! :<3:
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  12. DPtortiose

    DPtortiose Member

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    Thanks to the inquisitive nature of most tortoises, they often put themselves in a situation when they can be flipped over. Either by sliding from a slope or rock, even climbing a bush. Thankfully most tortoises are perfectly able or right themselves on their own. They would have gone extinct a long time ago if they wouldn’t be able to do so. You can see here how a tortoise can go about this:

    Night temperatures are fine, but I'd suggest using an tempgun to measure basking temperatures. Probes are only useful to measure ambient temperatures, not basking temperatures.
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  13. Rue

    Rue Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that video! :) Very interesting. I suppose the difference for my baby was that she had nothing to push against in the middle of the saucer. Since I turned it upside down it's no longer a danger. And when she's big enough...I can set it upright again...it holds the food in better.


    I did pick up a temperature gun last week. Very handy. It's funny though, that no one I've talked to so far has ever heard of one! I suppose you'd need to be in the electrical or heating business...or own a tortoise!

    Everything seems to be in the proper range - we'll see if and how that changes as it starts to warm up outside.

    We are having an early spring...I was excited to see the grass is quite green already - and was ready to look for dandelions at any second...and then yesterday we had a fairly major snow fall again...no more green! It won't last long though, it's warming up again in a day or so.
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  14. MPRC

    MPRC Well-Known Member

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  15. Rue

    Rue Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking about that. Seems like it should do the trick! I need to keep the tortoise and the cats safe. I was joking about setting the cats on fire (that is a very hot bulb) - and someone replied that their cats aren't that stupid. I'm not so sure about mine.

    I've also since read about cats using the tortoise table as a kitty litter box. I hadn't considered that! And I wouldn't put it past my cats to do that either!
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  16. MPRC

    MPRC Well-Known Member

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    I use wire ties to keep the lamps secure so that our cat or our rat wont pull/knock them down because they are jerks who can't be trusted.
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  17. Rue

    Rue Well-Known Member

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    Goosefoot in log 2016.jpg Goosefoot has 'discovered' the log with the moss in it...
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  18. Rue

    Rue Well-Known Member

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    Today she chased my hand around the enclosure! I think she's made the food service connection. :D Pretty funny! And when I stroked her shell, she held still and didn't tuck in...:tort:

    All good progress! :)
  19. Rue

    Rue Well-Known Member

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    Goosefoot bath 16 3 23.jpg Today's bath!
  20. Rue

    Rue Well-Known Member

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    It is unseasonably warm - but still not overly warm. I took the temperature gun outside and decided it was just warm enough for baby's first outing.

    So I took Goosefoot to the little rock garden we have on the south side of the house and put her down (and hovered over her just in case I had to fight off hoards of predators :rolleyes:).

    We spent 1/2 hour in the sun. I figured some real UVB will be of benefit. She was very excited...took a couple of bites of quack grass and sedum (just coming up)...got stuck between two rocks (I rescued her)...and then made a run for it on the lawn.

    They can move remarkably fast (er, all things considered). I 'lost' her for a nano-second too, when I looked away...she blended in with the mottled sunlight shining through some branches - invisible tortoise.

    I figured that was enough for a first time out in the big world - and we came back inside. She pee'd on me (good to know she's peeing, otherwise I can't tell) and then once back in her enclosure...buried down in her log and I assume is sleeping.

    I realize that this is all stressful. But life is stressful. We'll get a routine going and stick to it - I do want her used to the comings and goings of a regular household.
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