Herman’s tortoise sleeping and feeding

Harvey0602

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Hi everyone, I am a new tortoise keeper and have had my Herman’s for 2 weeks now, he is 2020 bread 60 grams in weight and 6cm x 5cm. Perhaps this is normal behaviour for a hatchling but he seems to sleep an awful lot and only wakes when I litterally wake him up, once I have woken him I bath him and then put him in front of a bowl of food (picked weeds from my garden, don’t worry I’ve identified weeds and made sure they are safe to feed) but will only nibble and then just go back to one of the hides and burrow himself and then sleep again! Also I never see him basking under the lamp. Trying my hardest to make sure temperatures are always appropriate but very difficult to check every 30 mins and adjust height of lamp and turn the heating on or off 20 times a day. He is passing feces and urine with no issues and all seems to be healthy. He does not seem in any discomfort but just not sure if this is normal behaviour or weather I should come home from work and see him bolting around the enclosure.
See attached for a pic of enclosure and tort itself.
would appreciate any advice :)
 

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Jan A

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Hi everyone, I am a new tortoise keeper and have had my Herman’s for 2 weeks now, he is 2020 bread 60 grams in weight and 6cm x 5cm. Perhaps this is normal behaviour for a hatchling but he seems to sleep an awful lot and only wakes when I litterally wake him up, once I have woken him I bath him and then put him in front of a bowl of food (picked weeds from my garden, don’t worry I’ve identified weeds and made sure they are safe to feed) but will only nibble and then just go back to one of the hides and burrow himself and then sleep again! Also I never see him basking under the lamp. Trying my hardest to make sure temperatures are always appropriate but very difficult to check every 30 mins and adjust height of lamp and turn the heating on or off 20 times a day. He is passing feces and urine with no issues and all seems to be healthy. He does not seem in any discomfort but just not sure if this is normal behaviour or weather I should come home from work and see him bolting around the enclosure.
See attached for a pic of enclosure and tort itself.
would appreciate any advice :)
Hi. Welcome to the forum. You definitely have a cutie! This forum has many experienced tort owners & breeders & advise on current best husbandry. The short answer is yes, babies sleep a lot.

It would help if you tell us your temperatures, humidity levels. Is this a closed enclosure or open. From whom did you purchase your tort & do you know anything about the breeder/how he cared for hatchlings after they are born? How big is your enclosure? What about lighting? Those answers can help our experts help you.
 

MarginatedMooney

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Welcome to the forum!
Babies do sleep and hide a lot and since you've only had your little guy for 2 weeks, he's probably still getting used to his new environment. Nothing sounds out of the ordinary to me, but as Jan A said, knowing more about temps, humidity, lighting and enclosure details will help the experts give you better advice. This is the most up to date care info:
 

Harvey0602

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Hi. Welcome to the forum. You definitely have a cutie! This forum has many experienced tort owners & breeders & advise on current best husbandry. The short answer is yes, babies sleep a lot.

It would help if you tell us your temperatures, humidity levels. Is this a closed enclosure or open. From whom did you purchase your tort & do you know anything about the breeder/how he cared for hatchlings after they are born? How big is your enclosure? What about lighting? Those answers can help our experts help you.
Hi Jan and Tmooney, thanks for your reply. I try to keep the hot end between 30-35 degrees c and the cool end I try to not let it get colder than 20. Although at night it had been dropping below 20 as we don’t keep heating on over night as I’ve read that torts will be perfectly fine with the temp dropping significantly over night. I don’t have any sort of humidity gauge but the enclosure is open and next to a window which is quite drafty so plenty of air and light is aloud in. I have the 100w
 

shawngt2

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Read that temperate species care sheet that TMooney sent you link for. There are many things sticking out to me already. The cool end should not even get near 20 during the day. Ambient should be around 26C and the hot basking end 35-37C. Humidity for a young one like that at minimum 70% and that is ambient humidity. Open table or tank designs are not good what so ever and as Tom puts it, like trying to keep your house warm/humid without a roof. You can do it, but the room needs to be controlled. Your tortoise is likely too cold and causing him/her to sleep because they are normally active.

I got mine about 2 months ago and is also a 2020 baby from Sept, had setup correct in an enclosed environment and follow's Tom's care sheet to a T (for Tom) and I have had one very active and awake tortoise since the beginning. Only thing that changed is he was trying to get out for the first week or two constantly climbing the walls and now chills out and has a daily routine that he is all settled in (wakes up around 9, eats after warmed up, takes a few micro snoozes during the day, but more or less very active and out in the open all day, hits the sack around 6-7PM buried in his hide of damp Fir Bark).

Do not mean to be insulting, but if you don't get it right soon, you can expect problems down the road.
 
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Harvey0602

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Read that temperate species care sheet that TMooney sent you link for. There are many things sticking out to me already. The cool end should not even get near 20 during the day. Ambient should be around 26C and the hot basking end 35-37C. Humidity for a young one like that at minimum 70% and that is ambient humidity. Open table or tank designs are not good what so ever and as Tom puts it, like trying to keep your house warm/humid without a roof. You can do it, but the room needs to be controlled. Your tortoise is likely too cold and causing him/her to sleep because they are normally active.

I got mine about 2 months ago and is also a 2020 baby from Sept, had setup correct in an enclosed environment and follow's Tom's care sheet to a T (for Tom) and I have had one very active and awake tortoise since the beginning. Only thing that changed is he was trying to get out for the first week or two constantly climbing the walls and now chills out and has a daily routine that he is all settled in (wakes up around 9, eats after warmed up, takes a few micro snoozes during the day, but more or less very active and out in the open all day, hits the sack around 6-7PM buried in his hide of damp Fir Bark).

Do not mean to be insulting, but if you don't get it right soon, you can expect problems down the road.
Hi Shawn, yes I’ve read the care sheet and feel I’ve got most of it sussed. What I’ve gathered from advise given is that I need to focus on getting the temp level right up and start increasing the humidity. As Tmooney said I’m only 2 weeks in and every tort is bound to have different characteristics. I’ll start to increase the temp and humidity and potentially invest in some sort of humidity measuring device. As I’ve said I’m a new Tort owner and learning new things every day to help lead a happy healthy life. Apart from sleeping a lot he seems to be healthy and active when he needs to be, for example I’ve just bathed and put him outside in the new outside enclosure and seems to have plenty of energy to try and escape(lol), and doesn’t seem lethargic or as if he’s not got enough energy. Also the eating situation has improved over the last few days. Also been told that when the weather here in England begins to get nicer he should start to be more active and eat more. I’ll re evaluate over the next few weeks/months and if nothing had changed then I may have to invest in a vivarium in order to get some more accurate temp/humidity levels. Thanks again for the advise👍
 

shawngt2

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Hi Shawn, yes I’ve read the care sheet and feel I’ve got most of it sussed. What I’ve gathered from advise given is that I need to focus on getting the temp level right up and start increasing the humidity. As Tmooney said I’m only 2 weeks in and every tort is bound to have different characteristics. I’ll start to increase the temp and humidity and potentially invest in some sort of humidity measuring device. As I’ve said I’m a new Tort owner and learning new things every day to help lead a happy healthy life. Apart from sleeping a lot he seems to be healthy and active when he needs to be, for example I’ve just bathed and put him outside in the new outside enclosure and seems to have plenty of energy to try and escape(lol), and doesn’t seem lethargic or as if he’s not got enough energy. Also the eating situation has improved over the last few days. Also been told that when the weather here in England begins to get nicer he should start to be more active and eat more. I’ll re evaluate over the next few weeks/months and if nothing had changed then I may have to invest in a vivarium in order to get some more accurate temp/humidity levels. Thanks again for the advise👍
Hi Harvey, Great that you will make the changes. I can tell you from my experience, when I bought young 6mo NuNu, the original owner told me she moved him from a 60gal aquarium because she couldn't find him. He hid all day. This open top environment made him want to hide until favourable temps/humidity came (which is what they do in the wild). The heat lamp she had was only heating one small area and if the ambient temperature on the cold end is 20C, you can imagine that most of his/her environment is cold (per their standards). I set him up perfectly, as per Tom's care sheet (<26C cool/ambient & <70% RH cool end, 35-37C basking area), and he is out in the open from 9am-6pm daily. No hiding at all and completely different from the experience of the previous owner in a much larger enclosed environment than she had. These animals are very dependant on their environment to draw out behaviours, whether is roaming for food, hiding from excessively high heat during the day (burrowing) and breeding. If you have everything setup correctly, you should see a pretty out in the open Tort on a regular basis. That's my opinion. If you are going open top, you are going to have to heat the room to a favourable ambient temp/humidity.

P.S. By the photos you provided, it also appears he has early signs of pyramiding. That is related to improper humidity at top of the spectrum in regards to cause. Open environment cannot maintain appropriate Mediterranean humidity unless you heavily humidify the room.
 
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shawngt2

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Also, I would suggest you reach out to Krista S. She lives in a very cold Canadian climate (Saskatoon I believe) and has been successful in keeping her tortoise in an open environment. Please let us know what changes you are making, if you care for any overall feedback. We are hear to help and I am in no way claiming to know everything. The strongest point I can push is Tom's and HermaniiChris's care sheets. Best in the business, in my opinion. Anyone who tells you that pyramiding is not a result of humidity, has limited experience raising non-pyramided species.
 
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Harvey0602

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Hi Harvey, Great that you will make the changes. I can tell you from my experience, when I bought young 6mo NuNu, the original owner told me she moved him from a 60gal aquarium because she couldn't find him. He hid all day. This open top environment made him want to hide until favourable temps/humidity came (which is what they do in the wild). The heat lamp she had was only heating one small area and if the ambient temperature on the cold end is 20C, you can imagine that most of his/her environment is cold (per their standards). I set him up perfectly, as per Tom's care sheet (<26C cool/ambient & <70% RH cool end, 35-37C basking area), and he is out in the open from 9am-6pm daily. No hiding at all and completely different from the experience of the previous owner in a much larger enclosed environment than she had. These animals are very dependant on their environment to draw out behaviours, whether is roaming for food, hiding from excessively high heat during the day (burrowing) and breeding. If you have everything setup correctly, you should see a pretty out in the open Tort on a regular basis. That's my opinion. If you are going open top, you are going to have to heat the room to a favourable ambient temp/humidity.

P.S. By the photos you provided, it also appears he has early signs of pyramiding. That is related to improper humidity at top of the spectrum in regards to cause. Open environment cannot maintain appropriate Mediterranean humidity unless you heavily humidify the room.
Hi shawn, I think the biggest problem is the humidity levels, it’s pretty easy to keep the temperatures high during the day and his room is on the east side of the house and warms up very quickly. I got a humidity gauge delivered a few days ago and it was only at 40% (which I’ve now learnt is way to low), I tried spraying the enclosure with water a few times a day but just doesn’t maintain the high humidity. Pleased to say I’ve got a proper humidifier getting delivered today so hopefully that make a significant improvement and then have a nice warm humid enclosure and see if behaviour changes in the next week or so. If not like you say I’m going to have to get a vivarium to get those accurate conditions. Also what sort of temperatures should I be keeping overnight? As I’ve said I’ve read they can withstand a lot cooler temps at night but heard a lot online advise just isn’t accurate. Thanks again for your advise and I’ll provide an update soon. Cheers👍
 

shawngt2

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Hi shawn, I think the biggest problem is the humidity levels, it’s pretty easy to keep the temperatures high during the day and his room is on the east side of the house and warms up very quickly. I got a humidity gauge delivered a few days ago and it was only at 40% (which I’ve now learnt is way to low), I tried spraying the enclosure with water a few times a day but just doesn’t maintain the high humidity. Pleased to say I’ve got a proper humidifier getting delivered today so hopefully that make a significant improvement and then have a nice warm humid enclosure and see if behaviour changes in the next week or so. If not like you say I’m going to have to get a vivarium to get those accurate conditions. Also what sort of temperatures should I be keeping overnight? As I’ve said I’ve read they can withstand a lot cooler temps at night but heard a lot online advise just isn’t accurate. Thanks again for your advise and I’ll provide an update soon. Cheers👍
Hi Harvey, I would recommend strongly to go the vivarium route. To have a room humidified at, let's say minimum 60%, could cause mould issues for that particular room IMO and sweating of windows during the very cold winter months (you would still need to heavily mist the open environment multiple times a day). Not to mention the costs associated with keeping that heat and humidity! In my experience, my 4x2x2' PVC enclosure, I only need 25 thermostat controlled watts going to my 35C basking spot which keeps an ambient temp of 26C, thanks to the enclosed environment (note you need a good controlled, healthy air circulation)! Also, you would only need to mist once a day at most! You should take that into account as well. During the night, I have a heat panel which barely never turns on but is thermostat controlled to turn on if it goes sub 20C, my nighttime temp in the house is 21C. So no heat at night at all and mostly there when I go on vacation during the winter months and want to go to 'away' mode. Thermostat there to save the day for his/her environment. They need that cooling cycle and they like to burrow in a damp environment for bed (not wet, shell rot).
 
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Harvey0602

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Would something like this be appropriate? Also would I still be able to use the humidifier I just bought and would I need to buy anything else to go with the vivarium approach? I’m not to bothered about getting different bulbs as the one I have will blow sooner or later. 54ABFC62-6932-41C0-82AB-3AA0EDD4FED1.png
 

shawngt2

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Way too small. You need minimum 4x2' for a juvenile and they will quickly outgrow it. I am not familiar with your market over there, but try looking for other larger vivariums for sale. 4x2' will likely be ok for the first 1-2 max. After that the recommendation is 4x8' and I will be going for a custom PVC enclosure for that.
 

shawngt2

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Would something like this be appropriate? Also would I still be able to use the humidifier I just bought and would I need to buy anything else to go with the vivarium approach? I’m not to bothered about getting different bulbs as the one I have will blow sooner or later. View attachment 323850
Strongly recommend you read the care sheet from Tom in detail. You will have all your answers.
 

Sarah2020

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Hi and welcome. They do sleep alot and normally 16.00 to 08.00 so no bolting around when you come home from work! Temperature is important along with other items in the care sheet. Soak and feed washed fresh green weeds and leaves in the morning, he will graze food during the day and then burrow and sleep.
On a fun note try to weigh weekly or monthly and keep a log you will see growth or weight loss. This is a great forum for hints and tips. Enjoy
 

Sarah2020

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I ended up buying the enclosure and adding an extension on the back. The UK shops just sell small and the tortoise will outgrow.

 

Harvey0602

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Looking better! Depth doesn't look 2' though?
Hi Shawn just wanted to say thanks a lot for your advise and pointing me in the right direction. Had the vivarium set up with humidity and temperature thermostats for a about a week and half now and definetly noticed an improvement in activity and feeding. No longer need to wake him up to eat and drink and no more burrowing in one of the hides until disturbed. Attached a little picture as well, thanks again👍 4DD433A5-5844-48A9-B654-E3032A9E8D93.jpeg
 
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