My new baby C.B. Western Herman!

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John Stamos

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Hello all my name is John and I live in sunny So-Cal. About one week ago now I made one of the BEST decisions that I have ever made and bought a baby captive bred western hermans tortoise from my local pet store. I felt safe buying from this particular pet store due to the fact that it has a great reputation as one of the best privately owned small pet stores in the area. Also because I have purchased beardies, fish, and other pets from this store before with no problems whatsoever. They told me that the little guy that I purchased was captive bred from a proven local breeder, and they assured me that this tortoise would not grow bigger than 10", that it would be a good starter tortoise, and that the climate here in so-cal fits its needs well. I payed $170 for the little guy. Not to sure if that's a fair price or not. They also told me that he is no older than 6 months old, he is legal size though 4". Still not sure at this point if its a lil boy or girl. I decided on the name Shell-E, kinda a girls name and if it turns out to be a boy then I will probably go with Sheldon. Its a very happy and I believe healthy lil guy that loves to eat A LOT and explore around my yard when I let it. There is already LOTS of love for the lil guy and I just want to make sure that I'm caring for him properly. At the moment I have him in a 20 gal tank with small wood chips as the substrate and a wire mesh top that his Power Sun 100w UVA/UVB bulb shines through during the day on half of the tank. I don't have a thermostat handy to monitor the inside temp all day, but half of the tank is lit up and warm and the other half is a little shaded and cooler. There is a water bowl with a ramp for drinking and soaking on the cooler end. A hide in the middle of the tank, and a food tray on the warmer end with space in between all of this to roam around at his current size. I realize that as he grows I will need to expand the enclosure size accordingly. He seems to be fine for the most part. He loves to eat and walk around the tank trying to escape, then when he gets tired probably like 60% of the day he likes to burrow under the woodchips and sleep. I usually wake him up around 8 before I leave for work to turn his light on, give him a 10-15 min soak, and perpare his food for the day. Which currently consists of a small hand full of chopped up romaine lettuce coated in a calcium/vita booster. Then when I get home from work around 7 at night I will take him outside to let him explore in my backyard for a bit before the sun goes down. And usually somewhere between 8 and 9 I will turn off his lamp for the night and he will burrow down into the wood chips and completely cover himself. This is where he stays until morning when I wake him up again. Sometimes when I come home from work he will be burrowed in as well, so I'm not all entirely sure how much time that he spends burrowed a day. I'm also not sure what his tank temps or humidity levels are either. As far as I can tell he seems to be a happy healthy little guy for the most part when he is awake and definitely has a great appetite up to this point. I am so happy to have found this site that I'm sure will provide me with much knowledge and support. Sorry for such a long intro to anyone who may read this. I would appreciate any beginner advice or tips on a raising a tortoise. I have a few pics of Shell-E and her enclosure that I will try to post. Thanks! :)

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John Stamos

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Yea, I initially thought that as well. Due to the fact that the Easterns are much more common to come by then the Westerns. The store clearly stated that they were the Western breed. It doesn't really matter that much to me other than the fact that the Eastern Hermans tend to grow a bit bigger then their Western counterpart. I guess it will be easier to tell as he gets older. Thanks for the input!

I love my baby C.B. Western Herman (Shell-E)!!! :)
 

kimber_lee_314

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Congrats! Considering the price you paid - I would almost bet it's not a Western. :( Looking at the picture - I don't think it's a Western either. :( He is a cutie though and you will love him no matter what his subspecies is. Good luck!
 

Maggie and Torie the Tort

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I suggest you Get a Terra cotta saucer (for the food and water). I also suggest you change the substance to something like dirt.
P.s. I love your tortoise!!!!:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D
 

John Stamos

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Kimber Lee - I agree with you, and the entire time that I was in the pet store purchasing him that was in the back of my mind. I had no clue what the normal asking price for either a Eastern or Western Hermans.

Maggie - Thanks for your tip. As of right now he has a food and water bowl that I got from the pet store. I think that they are some sort of composite plastic that's safe for pets. And I was also thinking about switching out the wood chips for soil due to the fact that since his legs are so small still he has a hard time walking around on the wood chips. I wasn't sure what kind of soil to put in his enclosure because I didn't want to throw off the humidity levels any.

I love my baby C.B. Western Herman (Shell-E)!!! :)
 

Yvonne G

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Hi John, and welcome to the Forum!

Is 'Stamos' really your name, and (I gotta ask) are you related to the celebrity?
 

John Stamos

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Hey Yvonne, and thanks for the warm welcome to the forums! Yes my name is really John Stamos, and I am Greek...but I honestly have no idea if I am actually related to the John Stamos the actor. Maybe I should do some research to find out because that would be awesome to be related to Uncle Jesse. Lol!

I love my baby C.B. Hermann Tortoise (Shell-E)!!! :)
 

samsmom

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HEllo John and your cute as a button tort shell-e and welcome to TFO! I can't offer any advice since I have a sulcata but good luck!
 

John Stamos

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Samsmom - Thanks 4 taking the time to stop by my thread, and for such a warm welcome to both me and my baby tort! :) I absolutely love your sulcata...beautiful! I was very close to getting one until I did my research and saw how big they can actually get. Crazy cool!

I love my baby C.B. Hermann Tortoise!
(Shell-E) :)
 

Timjb97

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Hi and welcome. I would recommend a table for when he/she out grows the tank because you get better humidity levels and when they try to 'escape' it can hurt them because they think they can get through the glass. I would use a 50/50 mix of play sand and top soil for the substrate.
 

Sloane's Redfoots

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I use coconut coir for my redfoots but not sure if that's right for your little guy. Anyway... he is dang good lookin! Warning: torts are addictive!
 

FLINTUS

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Plain top soil would do. I highly doubt he is under 6 months, 4 inches sounds way too big for that. Anyway, welcome to the forum.
 

GBtortoises

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EricIvins said:
My bet would be on it being an Eastern Hermanns....
I'd even bet it could more likely a Dalmatian. I recently ran across an online vendor selling Dalmatians as Westerns. They see the two black bans on the plastron and automatically call it a Western, disregarding all other identifying features!


John Stamos said:
Yea, I initially thought that as well. Due to the fact that the Easterns are much more common to come by then the Westerns. The store clearly stated that they were the Western breed. It doesn't really matter that much to me other than the fact that the Eastern Hermans tend to grow a bit bigger then their Western counterpart. I guess it will be easier to tell as he gets older. Thanks for the input!

I love my baby C.B. Western Herman (Shell-E)!!! :)

I hate to tell you but I doubt very much that it's a Western Hermann's. For because they are never offered for sale at a retail level and if they were they'd be about $500+. It is more likely a Dalmatian Hermann's, possibly an Eastern and the pet shop was told by the source they bought it from that it was a Western. Very few pet shops know the difference. We could tell for certain for you if you'd like to post a clear photo of the plastron. It may not make a difference to you now. But later on down the road in a few years when you get deeper into the hobby and want to breed your tortoise. Then the subspecies will matter greatly. The subspecies can be identified regardless of size. Gender will take a few more inches of growth.
 

John Stamos

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Flintus - Thanks for the tip! I have been thinking about doing that. I just wasn't 100% sure on what kind of substrate is most suitable for Hermans. So just plain topsoil will do...or a mixture of topsoil and sand?

GB - I really appreciate all of your info! I definitely will snap a few better pics of the little guy to upload. I will get one of the plastron like you said, and a clearer one of his shell. I'm actually not that sure how old he is at this point, due to the fact that he didn't come with any papers. He is about the size of a normal sized chicken egg. So maybe 3-4" long and 2" across. He still loves to burrow nd sleep a good amount. I definitely don't think that he can be 1yr old yet. I'm also kind of interested to see if its a girl or a boy. I heard that the easiest way to tell was by examining their tail once they get a lil bigger. Anyways I will post up more pics of Shell-E and her enclosure very soon. Thanks again for all of the help! :)

I love my baby C.B. Hermann Tortoise!
(Shell-E) :)
 

FLINTUS

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The problem with sand which isn't the true natural stuff is increased risk of impaction, so I would just go with the soil.
 

John Stamos

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Impaction? Do you mean that soil stays nice and fluffy, whereas sand gets hard and packed down?

I love my baby C.B. Hermann Tortoise!
(Shell-E) :)
 

Yvonne G

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You're right, of course, but that would be more COMpaction...but when we say "impaction" with regards to tortoises we mean that the sand tends to pack up in the stomach or intestine and block the 'works.'
 

John Stamos

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Ohh ok, thanks for explaining Yvonne! That makes a lot more sense now. So soil is better due to the fact that it holds more moisture, allows the tortoise to burrow, and unlike sand if consumed by the tort won't cause impaction. Do most people tend to use some sort of soil for their tort enclosures...or is it just preference?

I love my baby C.B. Hermann Tortoise!
(Shell-E) :)


Ohh ok, thanks for explaining Yvonne! That makes a lot more sense now. So soil is better due to the fact that it holds more moisture, allows the tortoise to burrow, and unlike sand if consumed by the tort won't cause impaction. Do most people tend to use some sort of soil for their tort enclosures...or is it just preference?

I love my baby C.B. Hermann Tortoise!
(Shell-E) :)
 

John Stamos

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I guess if I get some better pics of the plastron I could tell for sure if its a western or eastern hermans...

I love my baby C.B. Hermann Tortoise!
(Shell-E) :)
 
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