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Help: Tips for a new owner!

Discussion in 'Advanced Tortoise Topics' started by Ninpoop, Jun 26, 2019.

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  1. Ninpoop

    Ninpoop New Member

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    Hello all,
    I live in the UK and am about to get a tortoise this weekend after months of research and previously having one in the family.
    I understand that the care and requirements has developed considerably since the last tort and wondered if I could have some tips about what I should buy and the type of care I should provide. Things they don’t always tell you on the internet!
    Some answers I couldn’t find to my questions were things like, do they have to have yearly check ups or vaccines at the vets, what should my initial ‘set up’ include like the types of bulbs, how powerful should the wattage be?
    Any other tips you have to help settle in your torts would be appreciated too!
  2. dmmj

    dmmj The member formerly known as captain awesome Moderator 10 Year Member!

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    @Lyn W
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    Welcome to the forum
  3. katieandiggy

    katieandiggy Well-Known Member

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    Hey Ninpoop, welcome!

    I’m in the UK I live on the East Coast. I see your a bit further south than me!

    What species tortoise was you thinking of getting? The care is different for different species. Russians/ Greeks & Hermanns are probably the most common tortoises kept in the UK and are by far easiest to care for as they are hibernating species.

    If you let us know what tortoise your getting and whether it’s a hatchling or adult etc we can advise on the correct heating/lighting requirements. An adult Russian would need a minimum of 4x8feet enclosure preferably as big as possible, with access to a secure outdoor area.

    In answer to your question above, there is no need to take a tortoise to a vet yearly. Vets in the UK (unless you find a specialist tortoise/reptile vet) often do more good than bad. If the tortoise is well and happy you do not need to see a vet at all.
    Ninpoop likes this.
  4. Ninpoop

    Ninpoop New Member

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    Hey!
    Thanks for your response this is great help.
    I’m going to see at the weekend but I’m looking. For either a Hermann or a Leopard!
  5. katieandiggy

    katieandiggy Well-Known Member

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    Lynn keeps a leopard she can advise you more on that but remember leopards are non hibernating and need to be kept warm at all times. That means all through the winter you need to provide an area that is large enough and heated. Lynn has a whole room in her house for Lola and I believe the heating bill becomes very expensive. Leopards can grow to a fair size, but they are beautiful tortoises. In the UK a leopard could not live outside full time unless you had a large fully insulated/fully heated shed and be prepared for your electric bill to double throughout winter. While I’m not trying to put you off I’m just trying to tell you the reality of keeping a non hibernating tropical tortoise in the UK. It was the deciding factor for me, I had the space for a sulcata and I could have provided the heated shed etc but with an electric bill of £150 a month already I couldn’t justify that doubling through winter.
  6. Ninpoop

    Ninpoop New Member

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    Ah of course that makes a lot of sense I had seen that a leopard isn’t a tort that hibernates which is why I thought about maybe a hermann instead although the thought of hibernating my tort feels a little worrying!
  7. katieandiggy

    katieandiggy Well-Known Member

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    You don’t have to hibernate a Hermann. I don’t hibernate my Russian at the moment and I probably won’t this year either. But they are small enough to be able to accommodate indoors fairly easily.

    An adult Hermann 4x8 enclosure for an adult. for a sub adult or yearling you could go smaller. Mine is 3ft by 5ft at the moment.

    Indoors you need a basking spot of 35c, I use a 100w basking lamp on a thermostat because i could never quite achieve the required temperature, you can either lower or raise the lamp to achieve the desired temperature instead of using a thermostat. You then want a nice gradient of temperature to the cooler side of the enclosure.

    UVB- personally I prefer a tube style. The best on the market are probably the T5 HO with a 10% UVB tube.

    In winter only, I use a CHE on a thermostat over my tortoises hide, the extra heat stops him going into a dormant mode! I don’t let it drop below about 18c in winter.

    There are care sheets for each species in the species section, I can’t link them as I’m on the iPhone app rather than the web but hopefully someone can link them for you.
    Ninpoop likes this.
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