Hermanns Tortoise - Advice Needed!


New Member
Apr 4, 2019
Location (City and/or State)
Good evening,

I’m just looking for some advice as I rehomed a tortoise yesterday and seem to be finding conflicting advice online.

A friend’s relative was giving their tortoise away ‘free to a good home’ and, as I was concerned about where it would end up, I volunteered to take her on. They had very little information about her as they said they’d had her less than a year and had been given her from someone down their street, they think it’s a female Hermann tortoise who’s around 6 years old. They brought her with a tortoise table which is 1m x 1m and 8” high, an Exo Terra Reptile UVB150 bulb (which doesn’t seem to provide much heat), a water dish, and a feeding plate. I’m unsure what the substrate is called but it is visible in the pictures. They also brought her with a salad bag (iceberg lettuce/grated carrot), strawberries, some tortoise food in a jar, and calcium supplement (though this is in a container, so I can’t provide details on brand etc).

I am aware this is not a good diet for her and I think it may have caused her shell not to form properly as it seems misshapen and flatter than what I have seen in images, though it’s still hard and she can move around properly. I think she needs a larger enclosure too as she has been scratching against it a lot, but I have seen some advice that they should not be removed from their own environments to have a walk around. I’m also concerned about the bulb not providing heat as she doesn’t feel very warm, I did give her a soak in some luke warm water to try and help.

My main questions are:
Does that type of bulb provide heat, or will she need a separate bulb?
How many hours a day should the UVB bulb be on?
What’s the best substrate for this breed?
What should I feed her? (I will be ordering one of the seed packets which I’ve seen be mentioned, but in the meantime, what is best to give her?)
What is the best calcium supplement to give her?
Should she be kept in her enclosure at all times?
Will she need to hibernate in winter?

Any help would be greatly appreciated as I’d like to do my best for her.


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May 23, 2018
Location (City and/or State)

Here is the care sheet. There will be a lot of improvements to make over what you've got there.
1. The bulb should never be the flourescent swirly ones like that, you should get the long tube style T8s for UV light.
2. For basking you should have a regular heat lamp without UV or ceramic heat emitter or something similar.
3. Pay attention to the 4 temperature zones in the care sheet above and simulate the 4 microclimates within the enclosure. (Warm side, cool side, basking, night time)
4. That substrate, the soil, is all wrong. Rabbit pellets aren't good for tortoises, they should be on soil or coco coir. Don't use potting mix that has the little white perlite in it either, the tortoise may eat the little white pellets.
5. It looks as if your tortoise has been deprived of some nutrients, mainly water and sunlight. There may be some slight MBD going on which suggests a poorly balanced diet and the pyramiding of the scutes suggests that the tortoise has been kept drier than he should be.
6. You should bathe the tortoise every few days in 90 degree water (F, don't boil the tortoise), in fact it wouldn't hurt to give him a daily bath. They spend most of their time in a much more humid environment in the wild being exposed to dews and rain and being burrowed in the moist ground.
7. Tortoises in the wild spend a long time traveling and need lots of space, as much as you can possibly give them. Walking aids in the digestion of their food.
8. Make sure he always has access to a shallow water dish that he can walk into and out of.
9. Get a thermometer and monitor the average temp in the tank and don't let it go below 70 degrees F, and also you will need a hydrometer to measure humidity, don't let that go below 65% or 70% humidity. Luckily, these are cheap, and often come in the same unit.

I'm sure other people will be on to discuss some other issues since I'm pretty new at this, just figured I'd get you some info to get you started.
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