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New to tortoises please help!

Discussion in 'Greek tortoises' started by torttywaffle, Sep 11, 2019.

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  1. torttywaffle

    torttywaffle New Member

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    I am planning to get a tortoise and have an outdoor enclosure for him, however, I do not want a tortoise that will hibernate because I don't trust myself in doing so. And with an outdoor enclosure, I cannot keep it warm 24/7 so that he will not hibernate. What kind of tortoises will not hibernate but will also keep at a relatively small size while also not breaking my bank. I was thinking of a red-footed or cherry head tortoise but I don't really like the look of them. I have heard before that certain types of greek tortoises will not hibernate but I don't know which ones won't. Please help me!
    I would prefer to get a Golden Greek tortoise which I hear do not hibernate but I can't find where to buy one without them all being out of stock!

    Thank you so much :))
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  2. crimson_lotus

    crimson_lotus Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Where are you located to give us more of an idea what your climate is like?

    Redfoots or Cherryheads are not good options if you cannot keep them warm 24/7. Unfortunately I am also pretty sure Greeks do hibernate, but perhaps someone can confirm or deny this with more certainty.

    The relatively small tortoises do hibernate, like Russians. It's a tough call.
  3. SweetGreekTorts

    SweetGreekTorts Well-Known Member

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    Do you plan on bringing the tortoise inside every evening so that it will stay warm? A tortoise that does not brumate, but is left outside 24/7 with no way to keep warm during colder evening temps, will not survive.

    The terrestris/Mesopotamian (incorrectly nicknamed "Golden Greek" - because they are not always golden), does not brumate, and cannot handle temperatures under 60 degrees, so it will have to be brought inside and kept in a suitable and warm enclosure if temperatures ever drop below 60. They are not a large tortoise; males reach about 5" and females are approximately 7" as adults.

    The Mesopotamian is also a dry, desert subspecies, and cannot handle excessive moisture, especially combined with cooler temperatures, so it would need to remain warm and dry during monsoon seasons, again suggesting that it be brought indoors when necessary. So it's not a subspecies that can be left outside 24/7 if efforts aren't made to provide it a dry, warm place to escape rain and colder temperatures.

    I rarely ever see adult Mesopotamian available for sale, mostly just hatchlings which are more delicate during the first couple of years and I do not recommend keeping babies outside unless there is enough shade, warmth (they need even warmer temps at night), and protection from predators. I live in Arizona and raise all my Greeks indoors for the first year, then let them spend a few hours outside, while they remain raised mostly indoors another year. Then mine can be outside longer, while certain subspecies are brought inside overnight.
    Tom likes this.
  4. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Since you don't live in the tropics, any tropical species (non-hibernating), is going to need a heated night box to live outside here in SoCal. Ant species that doesn't need a heated night box would be a temperate species, and they will hibernate when winter temps set in.

    The only other way to do it would be to have both a large indoor enclosure, and a large outdoor enclosure. Put the tortoise outside on nice days, and bring it in at night every evening. Leave it inside in its indoor enclosure on cold rainy winter days.

    A baby of any species will need to be kept mostly indoors.

    Here are examples of heated night boxes:
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/another-night-box-thread.88966/
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/double-door-night-box.129054/

    Care info for both tropical species and temperate species to give you an idea of the differences:
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-sulcata-or-leopard-version-2-0.79895/
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/

    Come back with all your questions. We're here to talk tortoises! :)
  5. torttywaffle

    torttywaffle New Member

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    Thank you so much for all the advice! I was thinking of trying to put a light outside but I don't know where to put the plug that's the main issue for me. However, I read another thread on here about Golden Greeks and some people said living in SoCal even when it went under 50 they were fine outside all year and thats what my temperature will usually be also.
  6. SweetGreekTorts

    SweetGreekTorts Well-Known Member

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    Okay, I spoke briefly with Chris Leone at Garden State Tortoise for his input on this issue since he has the most experience with Testudo graeca than anybody else I know. He's a bit busy right now because it's hatchling season, but he asked me to pass on what he said and he will chime in here when he can...

    He says the terrestris/Mesopotamian DO brumate for a few months, but a hatchling will not survive if being housed outdoors 24/7 to fend for itself. Adults can handle temps down to the low 40s with the exception that they must remain DRY. He has worked with the terrestris subspecies for 2 decades and has learned all this from his experience and observations.

    However, he says if a warm place is also not provided for the tortoise to use during extreme cold temperatures, that is a mistake.

    He also suggested getting a Hermann's tortoise instead, which is also a Mediterranean species like the Greek.

    Here is a link to his detailed care sheet for the Testudo graeca.
    https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/174622/
    method89 likes this.
  7. torttywaffle

    torttywaffle New Member

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    I was planning to raise the hatching indoor at first then when it got bigger, outdoors. Also in my area, it stays dry for a majority of the year. I have never really felt the humidity in the area I live in. If I need a warm place for my tortoise would it need to be a light? or is there another way to be able to provide heat while outdoors. Also can you please explain brumate for me, I think I know it means they get sluggish but does it mean he will hibernate? I want to avoid getting a tortoise that may hibernate because I am scared of preventing him from doing so but also to hibernate him which I do not trust myself in doing correctly.
    This is also the thread I got my previous information from:
    https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/does-golden-greek-hibernate.35683/
    Thank you !
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
  8. SweetGreekTorts

    SweetGreekTorts Well-Known Member

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    Brumation is known as the hibernation for cold-blooded animals. Cold-blooded animals will move on warmer winter days and find water, unlike hibernators who are in a deep sleep and do not move at all.
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  9. torttywaffle

    torttywaffle New Member

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    I was doing more research and came down to the potential of getting a leopard tortoise? I love the look of them and know they won't grow to be TOO big. Any specifications about there care? Please let me know !
  10. SweetGreekTorts

    SweetGreekTorts Well-Known Member

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    Leopards are a great tortoise. Here is the link to their care sheet. If you have any specific questions, ask away!

    https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/78361/
  11. Raymo2477

    Raymo2477 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Leopards are great, but they will get big. One of mine is over 16" SCL and not done growing.

    I own Hermann' s, Leopards, and Redfoots.

    For your situation I think a Hermann's or Ibera Greek would be best. They don't get huge and as adults can take colder temps.
  12. torttywaffle

    torttywaffle New Member

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    Would Hermann's or Ibera Greeks hibernate though? Thank you :)
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