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Hermann’s tortoise burrowing

Discussion in 'Hermanns tortoises' started by Eeyore527, Aug 15, 2019.

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  1. Eeyore527

    Eeyore527 New Member

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    I recently got a Hermanns-Tortoise hatchling ,it is 2 in long. So I would guess approximately 3 months old. I am currently housing in a large Rubbermaid container with Reptibark as the substrate. I will be changing that to a mix of Repti bark and Eco Earth coconut fiber. I believe everything is ok. eating ok , weeds from my garden daily, soaking daily and have seen poop and urite in the water. I am using a sunGlo mercury vapor bulb for the basking and uva/uvb. According to my temp probe basking spot is approximately 95 degrees F. It does seem to stay buried for long periods of time but the food disappears so I know it comes out at some point and I understand it’s new and basically a baby so it needs its sleep. My concern is:
    The first day or 2 it would bury in the hide . I did add moss to the hide to help keep humidity in that spot for it and mist enclosure in the morning incl. the moss, but the last few days upon coming home I have found it just to the left or right of the basking spot and seems to go there even when I turn the light off. The bulb is on for about 12 hrs a day. Is this ok. It seems like it would be too warm. Should I move the light to the opposite side? Thank you for your help

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  2. dmilam

    dmilam Active Member

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    I have a seven month old Greek and it does the same thing. It basks, eats and burrows in. As I’ve learned on this forum, it’s normal. It’s essentially a survival instinct when they’re small. They hide so they don’t get eaten.
    HoosierTort, Eeyore527 and Ben02 like this.
  3. Ben02

    Ben02 Well-Known Member

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    Perfectly natural behaviour, nothing to worry about.
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  4. Eeyore527

    Eeyore527 New Member

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    Thank you, just wanted to be sure and it seems to like that I changed the substrate as it is back under its hide again.
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  5. JaySparks

    JaySparks Active Member

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    Mine used to do that back when he was small. This is normal.
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  6. method89

    method89 Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Hows your humidity? looks a little on the dry side.
  7. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    The behavior you describe seems normal, but I see a few things worth noting:

    • The orchid bark substrate is best for adults, but babies are better off with all coco coir. No point in mixing the two.
    • Your baby needs a humid hide and more humidity in general. 50-70% is good and you won't get that with an open top.
    • Are you soaking every day?
    • They will eat the moss and its an impaction risk. I'd remove it ASAP. You don't need it and it doesn't do anything.
    • The rim on that water bowl is too tall and too steep for a little hard shelled animal. I'd swap it for a terra cotta saucer sunk into the substrate.
    • The mercury vapor bulb is going to dry things out excessively. Especially your tortoises carapace. This will cause pyramiding. I'd swap it for a 65 watt flood bulb for basking and a HO tube for UV.
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  8. HoosierTort

    HoosierTort New Member

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    All great points to mention!
    I would also suggest a thin layer of cypress mulch over coco coir to aid in holding the moisture.
  9. HoosierTort

    HoosierTort New Member

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    Also, I would add more stuff in your enclosure. Some ferns hide under for shade, some rocks to break up line of sight... big empty spaces can scare hatchlings into staying buried as well.
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  10. Eeyore527

    Eeyore527 New Member

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    Thank you i have added some vines next to the hide for more hiding spots and a few flat rocks for it to climb over, i have seen it go under the vines so thats good.
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  11. Eeyore527

    Eeyore527 New Member

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    I did a mixture over this past weekend of the coco coir and ReptiBark much easier for it to burrow now and holds moisture better as i spray it down each morning.
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  12. HoosierTort

    HoosierTort New Member

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    And don’t worry much about them falling over. I walked out today and watched one of my hatchlings fall off a log I have in the enclosure right on its shell. Even as a month old hatchling, it was back on its feet in a flash. Tiny cracks between logs or large rocks is where they will “hide” in nature, it’s too easy not to provide it for them in captivity.
    Eeyore527 likes this.
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