HELP!!!

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rawdeluxe

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Hi im new to this and dont ever use forums, but i am kind of worried about my tortoise! Someone gave it to me as a present after returning back from holiday in morrocco. she bought it there and one her friend also bought two from the same clutch (i think; as they looked exactly the same). anyways they were very little when i first got it. one of her friends one is already dead! :-I I researched how to look after it properly without spending a lot of money on the enlosure, lighting etc. ive had it for nearly a year and a half now but it has not really progressed looks wise in health and alertness. ive especially got worried after finding these two articles about it.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1703184.stm

http://www.rspca.org.uk/ImageLocator/LocateAsset?asset=document&assetId=1232715046737&mode=prd

i know maybe i should give it to a professional but i am sure i can do it! ive kept other reptiles in the past successfully too. ok so heres the things i need to find out about my tortoise:

its sleeping most of the tym, id say like 95%. i had read tht thts normal but when its awake it should b pretty fast and alert..which i dont feel it is 100%. i do feed him/her enough and it does eat every morning (like a pig) but apart from eating it sleeps the rest of the day. i am also not sure if it is big enough for his age.

his favourite is rocket salad and it does mostly eat that. it hardly eats other greens. i also use calcium supplement in addition to uv lamp and light bulb. i think maybe he does not have anough heat so i am going to get him a proper reptile heat lamp next week.could u pls tell me the best one to get aswell!

it has had dry flakey skin since ive received it and i even spoke to a vet about it. he told me that its nothing to worry about but its getting worse even tho i do soak him quite a bit. today i saw which i think is dry skin on the left eyebrow and i just wanted to make sure its not affecting vision in way way. he does scratch his eyes when i first put him in water.

i also wanted to find out the gender and the exact species. i think it is a sulcata, spurr thighed, Testudo Graeca Graeca but i could be wrong. please help me out with all these queries as i am sure you are much more experienced with tortoises than me. i do want to do everything in my power to help him survive! i gna try and add pics to this for u to see the left eye , species, gender, size and general looks. PLEASE let me know what u think!!!!id appreciate advice from pro's. sorry for the bad quality in pics btw...
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Missy

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The pics are a little fuzzy but it does look like a sulcata, so you need to do a lot of reading on them. I do see some pyramiding wich could have started before you got him. How often do you soak? At that age and with the dry skin you should soak every day in my opinion. Does he drink? Does he get to go outside? His beak looks over grown also. Does he have a cuttlebone? You have come to the right place for help to get your little guy on the right track.
 

greeks

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Hi!

I'm pretty new to tortoise keeping (I have 4 Testudo gracea that range from 3 months old to over 2 years old) but some information the really awesome keepers on here will likely need to know in order to help you include the temperatures under and not under the lamps, humidity levels, what type and how much calcium or other supplement, approximately how old the tortoise is, how much it weighs, how long it's carapace is, substrate, and watering and soaking frequency. They'll ask you :)

For some of your more general questions, most folks prefer the Mercury Vapor bulbs for heat and UVA/UVB. I use a UVA heat lamp and a separate UVB bulb (NOT the compact fluorescent spiral bulb types as they are fairly new and cases of eye damage and other health effects have been documented...better to be safe!)

If you're having real issues getting the temps up in the basking area (they should be in the high 90's for the Testudo species), I've also used ceramic heat emitting bulbs (I live in a place with winter snow). I keep my bulbs on dimmer switches so I can adjust the output as needed. Many folks also use timers.

A good digital thermometer and hygrometer is a must! :D

My tortoises often rub their eyes with their front legs when they soak, I'm pretty sure that's normal. They usually seem to be removing debris from their faces. If his eyes are puffy and oozy or of he's snotty or sneezy, those could indicate actual health issues, like a respiratory infection, or something else.

I have seen a young juvenile show signs of dry, flaky skin but I'm not sure what the cause was. I keep a shallow water dish with clean water available to allow the tortoises to drink when they want to and I don't over-supplement.

Give your tortoise time in the sun every day if you can.

These are my opinions. I hope it helps. Good luck with your little tort!
 

egyptiandan

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Welcome to the forum :)

You have a Southern Moroccan Spur-thighed tortoise, Testudo graeca soussensis. It looks to be a male.

You've gotten some good advice already, but if you have any more questions just ask. :D

Danny
 

KQ6AR

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I was leaning towards greek or hermans. But again I've never owned either one. Although you said they came from Morocco, Not sure what species are native there.
For you're Mediterranean tortoise care check out www.russiantortoise.org
Very good care info for tortoises from that climate. Good for you're testudo's

The bulb I like is the trex active UV/heat. It has good uv output, & provides a warm basking area. 95F

Its too young to guess sex.

Try posting you're first picture in a less specific area of the forum.



From a google search, for morrocan tortoise's
Subspecies: Testudo graeca graeca (western race)
The basis colour of the shell differentiates a lot. It can be bright yellow, pale olive or brown to red brown. The black pigments are also present. However, the back edge does not have any pigments. The western race is smaller than the eastern race and has a highly curved shell (length up to 25 cm). Testudo graeca graeca can be found in southern Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. Only small populations have been proved there. The largest population is estimated to be in Spain. Hibernation should not follow outdoors. They need a frost free room, where no wet and cold weather can enter.
 

rawdeluxe

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sorry for not answering back i wasnt tryna hide!... thers just been a lot of replies and i appreciate it, just needed the time to reply properly. i wanted to answer everyone back so i respond to everyones queries.

OK so firstly i would like to say that you are all correct and that i agree that it is bad to take any animal from the wild and i would have never bought it.I even saw some on holiday in spain but wouldnt buy it. but seeing as she had it and she ddnt hav any clue about it, i took it from her cos i feel like i can help it survive. and i know it is a criminal act, but it didnt have anything to do with me. i ddnt ask for it nor did i know about it until i saw it.

As for the concerns for worms and parasites. i found a reptile vet on the internet and am makin appointment today!
@red foot marg i appreciate your concern, i really do. and i would appreciate if u do send me the pics u were talking about and also of the enclosure u keep these ones in. i am willing to work with you on this and follow everything you advise, but im afraid i just cannot give it away to u as i hav had him for a while and he has grown on me. i understand it isnt a pet 4 fun but an animal that need a lot of attention, time and hard work to survive. i am willing to give this to him to ensure he gets fit and stays at good health.
@wizzasmum sorry its not 95% of the time. he does walk around in the mornings to look for food and early afternoon. today when i woke up he was climbing up its hide! but after he eats or afternoonish he goes to sleep in his hide and doesnt move till next day unless woken up. he does walk on tiptoes, not low to the ground and looks happy everytym i soak it in warm water.when hes had enough of soaking he goes to the edge of the bath and starts scratching the wall. as for the scratchin of the eyes, it only does it when i first put it in the water and in another forum ive been told that thats normal for them because they scratch of debris.
i did do research when i got it and i know not to keep it in a viv or tank so i hav it in a large spacious open top box. i used to have aspen snake substrate but i changed it recently to the normal rabbit n guinea pig wood chipping so it can bury itself. i did read sumwhere tht you shouldnt and some places that u whould keep it with wood chipping but i didnt think this one was in anyway harmful to it.
as for the lighting i know the uv bulb has to be changed every 6 months and it is now time to change it again so i will be doing this when i buy the heat lamp next week. the heat lamp i was using before was ok for keepin the temps up but it broke so i have been using this table lamp recently which is only meant to be temporary (because i know it isnt reaching the temps it needs) so im getting a proper one. i dont have a digital thermometer because they are very expensive but i do have a timer and a thermostat from "t-rex" (called "cobrastat")
As for the food i researched this also and at first tried giving it various things but it would only eat rocket. i do not feed it any lettuce or fruit. rarely i give it spinach leaves. i have a calcium supplement that u use but i am going to get the nutrabol one as i heard its the best and got vitmamins included as well. i always pick up dandelions when i see them for him and also in the summer when its really hot put him outside. he loves it and runs around alot. the thing is this country is mostly crappy weather so cant really do that. i know i should be feeding it garden weeds but i dont have that many in my garden and i am scared they might be sprayed with ant killers etc so i dont giv him those.therefore i do not know where to get them from. im thinking mayb i should grow them myself. some mustard plants,hibiscus, opuntia cactus pads. i read mulberry leaves and flowers r also very good but i dont think u can get them in this country? please let me know whats the best way.
and Wizzasmum i am really not botherd about getting the certs right now, just wnat to get him healthy i am sure ill b able to come up with a story (or even with the truth as i personally havnt done anything wrong or criminal).
@greeks i do not know the humidity levels as i dont have a hygrometer, is this essential? i hav had it since april 2009 and i just weighed it today (51.7g) and will be weighing it from now one regulalry and keeping track of it. i do not think it was more than a year old when i received it. and i am using calcium supplement for herbivores from "Komodo" brand.

I hope i have answered all your questions. @Red foot Marg and all: I do not wish to give my tortoise away however I do appreciate all your comments and take as constructive ones. I have successfully kept snakes in the past and so I am not a complete beginner in keeping reptiles. I started this topic to gather more information and help that will guide me to the right track of taking care of the tortoise.

ps: i am sorry about the essay but hopefully youll understand ow why i took my time to reply.

oh and as for the species.most of u said Southern Moroccan Spur-thighed tortoise, Testudo graeca soussensis but one said it looks like a sulcata, one person even said it hes leaning towards grrek or herman. but im go with the majority and say its a T.G Soussensis.
 

KQ6AR

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Hi,
If you check the footnote in my last post it says graca is the native species of the area. You're substrate choices will probably be a little too dry for them.
Again check out www.russiantortoise.org. There is very good care, & diet information on Joe's site for Mediterranean tortoises.
I don't normally read this area of the forum, but have been following you're story. If you need to email me again some time, feel free to do so.
Dan
 

rawdeluxe

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thanks dan...is it for mediterranean ones too? i can only find it for russian horsefieldii :s thts not the same is it...?? :s
 

Kristina

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Russians are considered Mediterranean tortoises, but they are a separate species from Greeks. The care is very, very similar.
 

egyptiandan

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One key difference between Russians (Horsfields) and Southern Moroccan spur-thighed is that the Southern Moroccans don't hibernate.

Danny
 
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