Cicitina

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Joined
Aug 8, 2020
Messages
181
Location (City and/or State)
Ontario, Canada
Hi everyone!
I am a new owner to a baby Hermanns, it has been 4 days since bringing baby home and I was given very little information when adopting him.
I have done as much research as possible since bringing my new little family member home but I have so many questions and concerns.

POOP:
Most importantly, I have yet to see or clean any poop! I believe I may have cleaned something out of the water the first day but since haven’t seen anything similar.

YAWNING:
I’ve seen him yawn and open his mouth a few times. At first I thought this was cute behaviour but after a little research it said they may have a respiratory infection, or blocked airway. His nostrils seem to be clear and I’ve only seen him do this 3 times. He is active and eating so is there any need for alarm?!?

Thank you,
Cici & Poe the tort
 

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Hermann1alexo

New Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2020
Messages
6
Location (City and/or State)
bucks, UK
Hi, i have hermann tortoises myself and I see their yawn from time to time and I dont think its something to be worried about unless its very persistent. As long as their environment is not to humid they should be fine. The only concerns for them should be if they show signs of weariness or visible problems. hope that helped 👍
 

Golden Greek Tortoise 567

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Messages
1,764
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Colorado Springs,CO
Hi, i have hermann tortoises myself and I see their yawn from time to time and I dont think its something to be worried about unless its very persistent. As long as their environment is not to humid they should be fine. The only concerns for them should be if they show signs of weariness or visible problems. hope that helped 👍
Their environment needs to be humid to prevent pyramiding, that won’t cause them to open their mouths lots.
 

Minority2

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Joined
Jul 30, 2018
Messages
1,059
Location (City and/or State)
Tortoise Hell
Read and follow this guide as closely as possible:

Hatchlings are still quite vulnerable to changes in their surroundings. If temperature and humidity levels are incorrect the tortoise is going to have a tougher dealing with them than say an tortoise that has transitioned into adulthood/possessing fully grown organs thereby being more capable of surviving more unfavorable environments such as those horror stories people hear from bad owners keeping their tortoises in dark closets, only feeding a diet of sugary fruit and lettuce.

You say you were given very little information. This is exactly the place to help.
1. Please provide a clear picture(s) of your enclosure. We want to see everything so that we can point out what is unsafe and how to prevent your tortoise from accidentally getting themselves injured or even killed. Please do not take these critiques and suggestions too personally because we all want to see tortoises stay alive and healthy.

2. Please provide picture(s) and or link to the lighting fixture and bulbs you're currently using to provide uv(b) and heat. A link to the product or even the product packaging would be better.

3. Please provide the basking temperature, ambient temperature, and humidity levels of your enclosure. All hatchling tortoises require moderately high to high humidity (80-100%) to promote healthy grown and to prevent pyramiding. A number of members in this forum have done study after study to conclude this to be fact.
 

Cicitina

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2020
Messages
181
Location (City and/or State)
Ontario, Canada
In the wild they are buried down where humidity levels are 90% and even higher. If it doesn’t hurt them in the wild it shouldn’t hurt them in captivity.

I thought I somehow lost him today when I came home from work, he buried himself right into the corner of his shelter. The humidity levels are always right on though
 

gurgleblaster

Member
Joined
May 19, 2020
Messages
66
Location (City and/or State)
Charlotte
My herms love to burrow I have a large outter enclosure (fenced in portion of property) where they explore during the day. It has lots of loose soil for digging etc. One dug a two foot trench and ended up another one 🤣. The one on top was so confused but then went back to napping. I recommend

https://www.youtube.com/c/GardenStateTortoise.

For just really good information.


And

Kamp Kenan
While some have their opinions on Kenan from Kamp Kenan his enthuisam really comes through in his videos and is a worthwhile watch although I would double check any advice from that channel(bear in mind he can get away with things the average owner can't because of location and finances.)
 

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Minority2

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The issue with Kamp Kenan has always been in his mixed usage of new and old school tortoise care knowledge. He's incorporated some new school stuff but he's also still doing a lot of the wrong old school stuff as well.

Personally I believe it's much easier to simply rely on tortoise forum. They have the most updated care sheets. Members are constantly debating and creating mini studies to try and find safer ways to improve the tortoises overall way of living as a captive pet.
 

Cicitina

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2020
Messages
181
Location (City and/or State)
Ontario, Canada
The issue with Kamp Kenan has always been in his mixed usage of new and old school tortoise care knowledge. He's incorporated some new school stuff but he's also still doing a lot of the wrong old school stuff as well.

Personally I believe it's much easier to simply rely on tortoise forum. They have the most updated care sheets. Members are constantly debating and creating mini studies to try and find safer ways to improve the tortoises overall way of living as a captive pet.

I was finding it very difficult to collect information and know what to do. Everything you read is difference and inconsistent. You’ll read one thing and then the next site will contradict that which is why I chose to join this forum.
I am so anxious I am doing everything wrong, I just want a happy healthy baby!
 

Minority2

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Joined
Jul 30, 2018
Messages
1,059
Location (City and/or State)
Tortoise Hell
I was finding it very difficult to collect information and know what to do. Everything you read is difference and inconsistent. You’ll read one thing and then the next site will contradict that which is why I chose to join this forum.
I am so anxious I am doing everything wrong, I just want a happy healthy baby!

This is the only forum or site I've personally found to have members, as well as established breeders, actively come up with and do studies to aid in the advancement of tortoise care.

Everyone in this forum has been in your shoes. Being wrong from time to time is totally fine so long as you're willing to learn from your mistakes.
 

Cicitina

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2020
Messages
181
Location (City and/or State)
Ontario, Canada
Read and follow this guide as closely as possible:

Hatchlings are still quite vulnerable to changes in their surroundings. If temperature and humidity levels are incorrect the tortoise is going to have a tougher dealing with them than say an tortoise that has transitioned into adulthood/possessing fully grown organs thereby being more capable of surviving more unfavorable environments such as those horror stories people hear from bad owners keeping their tortoises in dark closets, only feeding a diet of sugary fruit and lettuce.

You say you were given very little information. This is exactly the place to help.
1. Please provide a clear picture(s) of your enclosure. We want to see everything so that we can point out what is unsafe and how to prevent your tortoise from accidentally getting themselves injured or even killed. Please do not take these critiques and suggestions too personally because we all want to see tortoises stay alive and healthy.

2. Please provide picture(s) and or link to the lighting fixture and bulbs you're currently using to provide uv(b) and heat. A link to the product or even the product packaging would be better.

3. Please provide the basking temperature, ambient temperature, and humidity levels of your enclosure. All hatchling tortoises require moderately high to high humidity (80-100%) to promote healthy grown and to prevent pyramiding. A number of members in this forum have done study after study to conclude this to be fact.

I skipped over this message (my bad,hard to read on my phone)
But I will try and provide photos soon!
The humidity has been inconsistent on the basking side I’ve noticed, it’s usually around 60, but sometimes goes up between 90-100.
How do you control this?
I did move his enclosure from the chilly basement into the dining room upstairs where I hope it will be easier to control his environment
 

Minority2

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Joined
Jul 30, 2018
Messages
1,059
Location (City and/or State)
Tortoise Hell
I skipped over this message (my bad,hard to read on my phone)
But I will try and provide photos soon!
The humidity has been inconsistent on the basking side I’ve noticed, it’s usually around 60, but sometimes goes up between 90-100.
How do you control this?
I did move his enclosure from the chilly basement into the dining room upstairs where I hope it will be easier to control his environment

Pour an entire jug of water into the substrate. The deeper your substrate the better.

If you're worried about it being too wet you can mix it with your hands. You're going to need to do this daily if you have an open enclosure. That's the cheapest, simplest, and most effective way to maintain humidity levels.
 

Cicitina

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2020
Messages
181
Location (City and/or State)
Ontario, Canada
Pour an entire jug of water into the substrate. The deeper your substrate the better.

If you're worried about it being too wet you can mix it with your hands. You're going to need to do this daily if you have an open enclosure. That's the cheapest, simplest, and most effective way to maintain humidity levels.

Thats so obvious I’m not sure why this didn’t even occur to me, thank you! I will try this
 

Cicitina

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2020
Messages
181
Location (City and/or State)
Ontario, Canada
Read and follow this guide as closely as possible:

Hatchlings are still quite vulnerable to changes in their surroundings. If temperature and humidity levels are incorrect the tortoise is going to have a tougher dealing with them than say an tortoise that has transitioned into adulthood/possessing fully grown organs thereby being more capable of surviving more unfavorable environments such as those horror stories people hear from bad owners keeping their tortoises in dark closets, only feeding a diet of sugary fruit and lettuce.

You say you were given very little information. This is exactly the place to help.
1. Please provide a clear picture(s) of your enclosure. We want to see everything so that we can point out what is unsafe and how to prevent your tortoise from accidentally getting themselves injured or even killed. Please do not take these critiques and suggestions too personally because we all want to see tortoises stay alive and healthy.

2. Please provide picture(s) and or link to the lighting fixture and bulbs you're currently using to provide uv(b) and heat. A link to the product or even the product packaging would be better.

3. Please provide the basking temperature, ambient temperature, and humidity levels of your enclosure. All hatchling tortoises require moderately high to high humidity (80-100%) to promote healthy grown and to prevent pyramiding. A number of members in this forum have done study after study to conclude this to be fact.

UPDATE:
He finally pooped as I took these photos...
Please help with enclosure set up! I feel as though I was told to purchase all the wrong things
***Please note he does not and cannot climb or get on top of his shelter! I tried purchasing a new safer one but it arrived in the mail a fraction of the size described online. I am still in search of a new one, but every store locally has been sold out and I cannot find any suitable ones online. If anyone knows of a great place to purchase hides that are in or ship to Canada please let me know!

The temperatures stay consistently as shown throughout the day, it is the humidity that fluctuates.

He really enjoys his cuttlefish, is it safe to keep in his enclosure?

He’s also checked out the log a few time’s and sat inside it once, I think I should remove it as he’s had no interest in it since. Was looking for a flat stone perhaps for feeding?

F41E79DC-3A4E-4DDA-AEAF-C03930BFB341.jpeg 4D71B829-2175-4A7F-B9BA-00EF6D53CDA6.jpeg 48E0CF14-6501-462E-8457-BCC0B92D1781.jpeg 03511BBC-8805-41B1-9A84-18EF6594DE7B.jpeg EE9BDF25-2CCB-45A2-B408-3E9EE9F82B7F.jpeg 44D21AAC-4319-47F9-95BB-28123C179E87.jpeg B7CEA425-3365-4425-82EA-62CF49E92548.jpeg 1B590F43-AD0F-4ADC-B598-1AF28202F878.jpeg
 

Minority2

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Joined
Jul 30, 2018
Messages
1,059
Location (City and/or State)
Tortoise Hell
UPDATE:
He finally pooped as I took these photos...
Please help with enclosure set up! I feel as though I was told to purchase all the wrong things
***Please note he does not and cannot climb or get on top of his shelter! I tried purchasing a new safer one but it arrived in the mail a fraction of the size described online. I am still in search of a new one, but every store locally has been sold out and I cannot find any suitable ones online. If anyone knows of a great place to purchase hides that are in or ship to Canada please let me know!

The temperatures stay consistently as shown throughout the day, it is the humidity that fluctuates.

He really enjoys his cuttlefish, is it safe to keep in his enclosure?

He’s also checked out the log a few time’s and sat inside it once, I think I should remove it as he’s had no interest in it since. Was looking for a flat stone perhaps for feeding?

Runny poo can sometimes mean too much watery, non-nutritious foods. Even regular feedings of nopales (cactus pads) along with a diet of broad leaf weeds, flowers, and other succulents don't usually result in that type of consistency. Instead when you feed them laxative type foods in a steady diet, tortoise will just poo more. A lot more than usual which in itself is also a positive and a negative.

Positive in that I personally believe it forces them to regularly void portions of their bowels which in return does help flush out some of the bad stuff from foods which can cause them to have gout like symptoms. And negative because of the mess they make in the enclosure and during soakings. Just make sure to routinely clean your enclosure so that it won't stick up the place because wet tortoise poo is really gnarly.

I strongly suggest replacing your temperature and hygrometer gauges. Those cheapo ones can be very inaccurate in comparison to the moderately priced ones. You just need something durable enough to put in there.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HVLXXXF/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

Something like this for example would be fine. There are cheaper bluetooth models as well. In the past I've generally stuck with weather related brands because their build quality does a decent job at preventing any mess from getting inside the battery dust cover or the general housing area of the devices. But these days even the food related brands are starting to come up with durable and well priced models so take your pick.

You can leave cuttlebones inside the enclosure. A tortoise will munch on it on their own from time to time.

The gray and pink resin bowls should definitely be replaced with terracotta pot saucers. Those resin bowls are flipping hazards. They're also not as useful as a terracotta bowl or slate feeding tile in that the plastic isn't hard enough to help tortoises trim their beaks and claws when eating. Even if it's anchored it's still an overall poor choice in comparison to a cheap terracotta pot saucer you can find in your local hardware store/big box store.

Your current hide boxes and bridge are okay for now. Just keep monitoring your tortoise to see if it's safe for them to successfully climb those things without falling. An adult Hermann wouldn't have any trouble with any of those things.

However, if you do want to make another safer hide you can always use small clear plastic storage container. Cut a large opening in the middle and sand the edges down with either a nail file or sandpaper to prevent sharp edges. Pile substrate in order to cover the plastic container in order to make it look like a cave.

What type of lightbulb are you using on the left hand side of the picture?
 

Cicitina

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2020
Messages
181
Location (City and/or State)
Ontario, Canada
Runny poo can sometimes mean too much watery, non-nutritious foods. Even regular feedings of nopales (cactus pads) along with a diet of broad leaf weeds, flowers, and other succulents don't usually result in that type of consistency. Instead when you feed them laxative type foods in a steady diet, tortoise will just poo more. A lot more than usual which in itself is also a positive and a negative.

Positive in that I personally believe it forces them to regularly void portions of their bowels which in return does help flush out some of the bad stuff from foods which can cause them to have gout like symptoms. And negative because of the mess they make in the enclosure and during soakings. Just make sure to routinely clean your enclosure so that it won't stick up the place because wet tortoise poo is really gnarly.

I strongly suggest replacing your temperature and hygrometer gauges. Those cheapo ones can be very inaccurate in comparison to the moderately priced ones. You just need something durable enough to put in there.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HVLXXXF/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

Something like this for example would be fine. There are cheaper bluetooth models as well. In the past I've generally stuck with weather related brands because their build quality does a decent job at preventing any mess from getting inside the battery dust cover or the general housing area of the devices. But these days even the food related brands are starting to come up with durable and well priced models so take your pick.

You can leave cuttlebones inside the enclosure. A tortoise will munch on it on their own from time to time.

The gray and pink resin bowls should definitely be replaced with terracotta pot saucers. Those resin bowls are flipping hazards. They're also not as useful as a terracotta bowl or slate feeding tile in that the plastic isn't hard enough to help tortoises trim their beaks and claws when eating. Even if it's anchored it's still an overall poor choice in comparison to a cheap terracotta pot saucer you can find in your local hardware store/big box store.

Your current hide boxes and bridge are okay for now. Just keep monitoring your tortoise to see if it's safe for them to successfully climb those things without falling. An adult Hermann wouldn't have any trouble with any of those things.

However, if you do want to make another safer hide you can always use small clear plastic storage container. Cut a large opening in the middle and sand the edges down with either a nail file or sandpaper to prevent sharp edges. Pile substrate in order to cover the plastic container in order to make it look like a cave.

What type of lightbulb are you using on the left hand side of the picture?

i will have to check on the light, it came with a startup kit which I believe was meant for bearded dragons.

Thank you for the recommendation on the temperature gauges I will definitely be making that purchase!

As for runny poo, he has been eating kale, dandelion and other weeds, and I’ve offered him some dried flower toppers which he doesn’t seem interested in. I have been looking into where to purchase cactus pads locally. What should he be eating more of to ensure his poops are a little firmer?
 

Minority2

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Joined
Jul 30, 2018
Messages
1,059
Location (City and/or State)
Tortoise Hell
i will have to check on the light, it came with a startup kit which I believe was meant for bearded dragons.

Thank you for the recommendation on the temperature gauges I will definitely be making that purchase!

As for runny poo, he has been eating kale, dandelion and other weeds, and I’ve offered him some dried flower toppers which he doesn’t seem interested in. I have been looking into where to purchase cactus pads locally. What should he be eating more of to ensure his poops are a little firmer?

Use this to check what type of foods are safe and unsafe:

Nopales/cactus cuttings/pads can be found in tortroise online retailers, Hispanic supermarkets, and farmer's markets.

Mix your food choices up and lightly coat them with a small amount of Mazuri tortoise diet. That's one of the best ways to introduce foods to a captive bred/spoiled tortoise. The less kale and other store bought greens the better. Offer more roughage if you want firmer stool. No watery lettuce or other non-fiber dense greens.
 

Cicitina

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2020
Messages
181
Location (City and/or State)
Ontario, Canada
Read and follow this guide as closely as possible:

Hatchlings are still quite vulnerable to changes in their surroundings. If temperature and humidity levels are incorrect the tortoise is going to have a tougher dealing with them than say an tortoise that has transitioned into adulthood/possessing fully grown organs thereby being more capable of surviving more unfavorable environments such as those horror stories people hear from bad owners keeping their tortoises in dark closets, only feeding a diet of sugary fruit and lettuce.

You say you were given very little information. This is exactly the place to help.
1. Please provide a clear picture(s) of your enclosure. We want to see everything so that we can point out what is unsafe and how to prevent your tortoise from accidentally getting themselves injured or even killed. Please do not take these critiques and suggestions too personally because we all want to see tortoises stay alive and healthy.

2. Please provide picture(s) and or link to the lighting fixture and bulbs you're currently using to provide uv(b) and heat. A link to the product or even the product packaging would be better.

3. Please provide the basking temperature, ambient temperature, and humidity levels of your enclosure. All hatchling tortoises require moderately high to high humidity (80-100%) to promote healthy grown and to prevent pyramiding. A number of members in this forum have done study after study to conclude this to be fact.

These are the lights they sold me with the enclosure. What bulbs should I replace them with?
 

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Minority2

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These are the lights they sold me with the enclosure. What bulbs should I replace them with?

From what I can see in your photos:
1. Both lamp fixtures are not ideal types. Domes don't matter as much as the width of the lamp opening. You need a large and wide opening to allow more heat to project outwards. That's the same for a basking bulb and a ceramic heat emitter. Return or replace that fixture with something like this:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001BM5YZW/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

2. the nomenclature for the basking spot bulb is not specific enough to identify the particular model, however, any spot shaped bulbs are usually not good because they project a narrower, more concentrated type of heat which is not what you want for a basking bulb. You want something like a 65 watt incandescent flood bulb. The type you can find in local hardware shops. Example linked below:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002CZ1E4M/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

3. any uv(B) that fits into that type of lamp fixture is usually not the safe kind for tortoises. Don't use it. Replace it with a T5 light fixture and reptile rated uv(B) long tubular styled bulb. Choose a uv(B) percentage that is slightly higher than the one your species of tortoise requires. Example here:

Immediately stop using the uv(B) bulb. Instead, take your tortoise outside a few times a week for some supervised sun.

The mesh top you have is too fine and will physical block out a significant portion of uv rays because of it. You will need to either cut out sections to allow the uv(B) T5 fixture and long tubular bulb to shine through (when the product arrives to your home) or remove it completely. Another cheap way to make a makeshift top is to use either foam, cardboard, and or aluminum foil. Again, be sure to cut out sections to allow the heat and lighting fixtures to pass through.
 

Cicitina

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2020
Messages
181
Location (City and/or State)
Ontario, Canada
From what I can see in your photos:
1. Both lamp fixtures are not ideal types. Domes don't matter as much as the width of the lamp opening. You need a large and wide opening to allow more heat to project outwards. That's the same for a basking bulb and a ceramic heat emitter. Return or replace that fixture with something like this:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001BM5YZW/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

2. the nomenclature for the basking spot bulb is not specific enough to identify the particular model, however, any spot shaped bulbs are usually not good because they project a narrower, more concentrated type of heat which is not what you want for a basking bulb. You want something like a 65 watt incandescent flood bulb. The type you can find in local hardware shops. Example linked below:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002CZ1E4M/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

3. any uv(B) that fits into that type of lamp fixture is usually not the safe kind for tortoises. Don't use it. Replace it with a T5 light fixture and reptile rated uv(B) long tubular styled bulb. Choose a uv(B) percentage that is slightly higher than the one your species of tortoise requires. Example here:

Immediately stop using the uv(B) bulb. Instead, take your tortoise outside a few times a week for some supervised sun.

The mesh top you have is too fine and will physical block out a significant portion of uv rays because of it. You will need to either cut out sections to allow the uv(B) T5 fixture and long tubular bulb to shine through (when the product arrives to your home) or remove it completely. Another cheap way to make a makeshift top is to use either foam, cardboard, and or aluminum foil. Again, be sure to cut out sections to allow the heat and lighting fixtures to pass through.

Thank you so much for your help and expertise! A little aggravating that I was sold all the incorrect items, should have realized when the girl selling me these things kept referencing her bearded dragons...
Luckily I did purchase everything with intent to upgrade and change everything out eventually.
Even with the small changes and things I’ve done since receiving some of your advice I have seen a change in his behaviour! He has become much more active, spends less time hiding and is pooping more regularly. Even witnessed him go over to his water on his own yesterday and dip his head in for a little sip!
I hope these are all good signs that were on the right path with your assistance and I’ll have a happy healthy tortoise :)
 
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