May I introduce... Kevin (comments and questions welcome!)

tortoisekev

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For the last 2 years I have wanted and researched getting a tortoise, and finally the week has arrived! We will collect Kevin this week and I'll introduce him properly then... for now here's some questions, info and pictures!

Kevin is a 2.5 year old Hermann's Tortoise, bred in the UK by a local breeder who has assured me he will come with the correct legal paperwork when I collect. I understand that he has been kept outdoors for the majority of his life so far.

Why Kevin?
We (my wife) loves the film "Up" and we (my wife) wants a Golden Retriever called Doug! We (me this time) wanted a tortoise and so we (my wife) is naming him after the companion bird from the film!

Why now?
It was a 30th Birthday present from my, now, wife in January and as we were getting married and honeymooning in August we decided to wait until things were a little less hectic!

Where am I getting him from?
I did some research and have elected to buy him from a breeder local to me in Newbury (WestBerkshireTortoises). He has maybe 40 tortoises ranging from hatchlings to a 50+ year old! His locality means I have someone to contact should I have any issues, plus the convenience!

How do I know it's a him?
I don't, not yet! But I'm sure Kevin won't mind the name if it's a boy or girl!

Indoor or outdoor?
Predominantly indoor, but I have an outdoor run for him.
I would appreciate any comments you have on the enclosure or its contents.

Outdoor run picture:

IMG_2842.jpg


Indoor enclosure picture: (currently missing Tortoise Life substrate, which I will add when we collect him)
Notes: I have lined the base of the enclosure with plastic to protect it when cleaning and from moisture damage.
- MegaRay 100W heat/light bulb
- digital thermostat x2 (for each end)
- Calcium block
- hide
- fake grass and plants (too tall for him to reach and eat) for decoration and texture changes
- Slate for food / claw trimming (probably need to get a bigger one, this one was tiny - oops!)
- small water dish (may turn into a feeding dish if it's too small for him as a water tray)

IMG_2846.jpg


Let's see him then!
I would appreciate any comments (from the pictures) on his health or how he looks.

Here are some pictures I took when we went to select him.

IMG_1664.jpg

IMG_1665.jpg

IMG_1666.jpg

IMG_1667.jpg
 

TechnoCheese

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Welcome to the forum!

Don’t get the tortoise life substrate. It’s too dry, and since it has bits of calcium in it(correct me if I’m wrong), it encourages them to eat it. Use 4-6 inches of orchid bark, cypress mulch, peat moss, or coco coir.

Please keep in mind that this tortoise needs a minimum enclosure size of 8x4 feet, or will when it’s a bit bigger. How high are the walls on the current enclosure?

I would recommend getting a large terra cotta saucer for water, and using the current water dish for food.

Other than that, everything looks pretty good to me!
 

Gillian M

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A warm welcome to the forum, to you, your wife and cute little tort.

Please read the "Beginners Mistakes" Thread.

Your tort looks nice and healthy.
 

LaLaP

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Awe Kevin is adorable! Welcome to the forum. Looks like you are off to a great start. You'll make a great tortoise parent!
So your suspicion about that water dish is accurate. It won't work. Lots of people here suggest terra-cotta plant saucers... the kind that sit under a flower pot to catch the water. They are cheap, don't cause the tipping hazard that bowls like yours do and the tort has good traction when climbing out. Make sure you get one big enough for him to bathe in.
Here is a great thread called "Beginner Mistakes" that I found helpful when I started.
https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
Also be sure to read this caresheet...
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/sticky-hermanns-tortoise-care-sheet-updated.101410/

I'm not familiar with that light you have but I'm sure some other members are and can give advice on whether that's a good one or not.
Have fun getting to know your new tort!
 

tortoisekev

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Welcome to the forum!

Don’t get the tortoise life substrate. It’s too dry, and since it has bits of calcium in it(correct me if I’m wrong), it encourages them to eat it. Use 4-6 inches of orchid bark, cypress mulch, peat moss, or coco coir.

Please keep in mind that this tortoise needs a minimum enclosure size of 8x4 feet, or will when it’s a bit bigger. How high are the walls on the current enclosure?

I would recommend getting a large terra cotta saucer for water, and using the current water dish for food.

Other than that, everything looks pretty good to me!
Thanks
1: Hmm, I've looked on many tortoise websites (eg howtocareforatortoise.com, http://www.hermann-tortoise.co.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=7773, tortoiseprotectiongroup) who've advised against bark type filling - as it encourages moisture and can encourage mould growth - and stick to a 50:50 top soil and play sand (which is what I believe the Tortoise Life stuff is). But I'm happy to take advice - there's just so much conflicting information!

2: The enclosure is the Vivexotic Viva Tortoise Table + extension. 3ft x 4ft. A shade under 1ft tall. Though Kevin is only about 2-3 inches long.

3: Yes I had read on here about the terracotta saucer, so that has gone on my list.
 

TechnoCheese

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Thanks
1: Hmm, I've looked on many tortoise websites (eg howtocareforatortoise.com, http://www.hermann-tortoise.co.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=7773, tortoiseprotectiongroup) who've advised against bark type filling - as it encourages moisture and can encourage mould growth - and stick to a 50:50 top soil and play sand (which is what I believe the Tortoise Life stuff is). But I'm happy to take advice - there's just so much conflicting information!

2: The enclosure is the Vivexotic Viva Tortoise Table + extension. 3ft x 4ft. A shade under 1ft tall. Though Kevin is only about 2-3 inches long.

3: Yes I had read on here about the terracotta saucer, so that has gone on my list.

Sadly, most of the info online is very old and outdated. This forum strives to correct it.

Sand should not be used in any amount in any tortoise enclosure. Not only is it huge impaction risk, but it is a skin, nose, eye, and cloaka irritant.

I have never experienced mold growing on bark, and it should be very hard to grow it in an open topped enclosure.

That enclosure size should be great for now, just be ready to upgrade in around a year or a bit longer.

If you have questions about anything else, be sure to ask!
 

Yvonne G

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I hesitate to refer to any tortoise-keeper as an "expert," however, the fellow who wrote our Hermanns care sheet has earned that title. He has written the most up-to-date information on caring for Hermanns tortoises. You can't go wrong if you listen to him and care for/set your tortoise up according to how he says in his care sheet. You can find it pinned at the top of our Hermanns section, and here's the link:

https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/sticky-hermanns-tortoise-care-sheet-updated.101410/

One of the "safety" differences between our care sheet and those in either print form or on other web pages is that our care sheet is updated whenever Chris learns something new about Hermanns' care.
 

katieandiggy

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Hi and welcome.
I am also from the U.K.
I followed all advice on here and my little guy is thriving. I’ve just moved from a Viv to an open table that I made myself from an Ikea book case.
I use fine grade orchid bark- occasionally I may find a tiny amount of mould under the water dish but I have never found it anywhere else. I spray down my substrate regularly but my humidity is generally at around 60% so I’m not too worried. Follow the information on Chris’s care sheet. He really knows what he’s talking about especially when it comes to Hermann.
 

tortoisekev

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Hi and welcome.
I am also from the U.K.
I followed all advice on here and my little guy is thriving. I’ve just moved from a Viv to an open table that I made myself from an Ikea book case.
I use fine grade orchid bark- occasionally I may find a tiny amount of mould under the water dish but I have never found it anywhere else. I spray down my substrate regularly but my humidity is generally at around 60% so I’m not too worried. Follow the information on Chris’s care sheet. He really knows what he’s talking about especially when it comes to Hermann.
Hi fellow Brit!
Thank you - I fully intend to follow this advice and am returning my Tortoise Life substrate this weekend.
I now need to get the list of alternate substrates in order to start off right. Where do you normally source yours from? My local garden centre was disappointing to be fair. And do you do a mix of all the different substrates at once? (i.e. orchid bark, cypress mulch, peat moss and coco coir all mixed together?)

(FYI, receipt of Kevin was delayed until Monday so I have this weekend to finish the set up!)
 

katieandiggy

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I bought mine from Jolly’s Pets or Pets at home rather than the garden centre. The fine grade bark from the garden centre like B&Q in my opinion is not fine enough.
I don’t mix my substrate together, I just have half an enclosure of coir and half of orchid bark. Coir is messy but it’s a bit easier for tiny torts to move around and bury themselves.
 

TechnoCheese

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Hi fellow Brit!
Thank you - I fully intend to follow this advice and am returning my Tortoise Life substrate this weekend.
I now need to get the list of alternate substrates in order to start off right. Where do you normally source yours from? My local garden centre was disappointing to be fair. And do you do a mix of all the different substrates at once? (i.e. orchid bark, cypress mulch, peat moss and coco coir all mixed together?)

(FYI, receipt of Kevin was delayed until Monday so I have this weekend to finish the set up!)

You can mix them if you want, but they’re fine on their own :)
 

tortoisekev

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OK - so I'm getting:
  • Hydrogarden Canna 50L Coco Coir Natural Bag
  • Zoo Med zoomed EE-8 Eco Earth Substrate Loose Pack, 8.8 Litres
  • KOMODO Habitat Moss, 3 Litre
Any concerns over any of those?
 

TechnoCheese

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OK - so I'm getting:
  • Hydrogarden Canna 50L Coco Coir Natural Bag
  • Zoo Med zoomed EE-8 Eco Earth Substrate Loose Pack, 8.8 Litres
  • KOMODO Habitat Moss, 3 Litre
Any concerns over any of those?

I would personally recommend against the moss. They usually just eat it, and it could cause an impaction.

The rest sounds right, though!
 

tortoisekev

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I would personally recommend against the moss. They usually just eat it, and it could cause an impaction.

The rest sounds right, though!

Thanks.
Is that different to the peat moss then? (It’s what came up when I was googling it).
 
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