New tortoise parent need advice please

Louise66

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2019
Messages
41
Location (City and/or State)
Milton Keynes uk
Hello everyone,
I bought two hermann tortoises 2 months old two days ago. I have all the equipment the seller advised . One settled straight away and eat almost immediately the other had nothing on day one or two and has only eaten a tiny bit today. I have bathed them both, the one that has eaten did a stool In the water. Should I be worried or will she settle? I haven't seen her drink even when being bathed. She took a long time this morning to wake after going to the hot spot and has then been very active.
Sorry for the very long message.
I would appreciate any help. This is so worrying . I just want them to be happy and healthy
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
52,029
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California

Louise66

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2019
Messages
41
Location (City and/or State)
Milton Keynes uk
Oh no. The breeder said they would be much happier as a pair and advised as long as they were girls it was fine.
 

Maro2Bear

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 29, 2014
Messages
11,283
Location (City and/or State)
Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
In general - tortoise are solitary animals/reptiles that get along to themselves just fine. They don’t make or need friends or playmates, in fact they will bully one another for the best food, the best place to sleep, the best mate, etc. Males and females come together to mate, fertilize eggs, and move on. Two males will fight and bully one another, as will two females. It’s natural selection - the biggest, meanest bully wins.

There are plenty of threads here on the forum against keeping two together. It’s really best to separate them ASAP, maybe ring the breeder and ask to return one. Unless you have a monstrous garden and can keep them separated.

By the way, breeders often encourage folks to purchase two torts so they can be friends and not lonely - bad advice. Also, be very wary of any info from a pet store employee if they encourage the purchase of items that you absolutely need. More often than not, they are dead wrong and just selling you “stuff”.

Check here on the Forum. Folks have lots of info and nothing to sell.

@JoesMum and @Lyn W are there in UK and can advise too.
 

Louise66

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2019
Messages
41
Location (City and/or State)
Milton Keynes uk
Thanks for that. I will contact the breeder. As I am writing this they have both gone to sleep together in the same corner . Does that mean anything? The largest always goes straight to the food we tried to get as much the same size as possible. Is it best to return it then before getting too attached. ? We've had them for two days
 

Maro2Bear

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 29, 2014
Messages
11,283
Location (City and/or State)
Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
Thanks for that. I will contact the breeder. As I am writing this they have both gone to sleep together in the same corner . Does that mean anything? The largest always goes straight to the food we tried to get as much the same size as possible. Is it best to return it then before getting too attached. ? We've had them for two days
Thats a subtle sign of being a bully - one will shove the other, bump, push. It really is best to separate and keep one and take good care of it. Good luck
 

JoesMum

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2011
Messages
21,010
Location (City and/or State)
Kent, South East England
Hi there

I can only agree. They don’t get lonely and don’t want a friend. Another tortoise is simply a rival for food and territory.

Cuddling up together is one tortoise trying to stop the other sleeping in a particular spot. It wants the other to leave.

Sitting on food is another bullying behaviour... trying to stop the other eating.

They need to be kept separately.

In addition to Beginner Mistakes that Tom posted, I recommend this care guide. It’s written about Russians but applies to Hermann’s and is specific to baby torts.

http://www.tortoiseforum.org/thread...or-other-herbivorous-tortoise-species.107734/
 

Lyn W

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
18,904
Location (City and/or State)
UK
Thanks for the advice. I am going to contact the seller tomorrow.
Hi and welcome, you have found the best place for up to date advice.
As much as I hate the thought of one being returned to a breeder who is obviously only trying to make more profit from you, or has limited knowledge of torts and their care, it would be better in the long run to take one back - unless you can make 2 separate enclosures with it's own set of lamps etc. and then they will be fine and have a good home.
If you post pics of your set up we can let you know if he has given you the right advice about equipment too and let you know if any changes need to be made to make sure you have a happy healthy tort.
Good luck and let us know what he says.
 

Louise66

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2019
Messages
41
Location (City and/or State)
Milton Keynes uk
This is my set up. The substrate is the coco coir bricks you soak. The light is a heat and light lamp. The temp stays around 29 I am going to change the water dish to a saucer tomorrow. Is this okay or have I been told the completely wrong thing.? The breeder I went to has been doing it for 40 years. I found him through the tortoise society website as an approved dealer and I have all the paperwork .
 

Lyn W

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
18,904
Location (City and/or State)
UK
Yes a terracotta plant saucer sunk level with the substrate will be easier to access. Also give food on a something like a piece of slate or in another plant saucer to keep the substrate off it to avoid the risk of an impacted gut - it will also help keep the beak filed. Maybe add a flat piece of stone under the basking spot to absorb the heat. Are the plants real or artificial? If they are real and are recently shop bought then they need to be re potted in chemical free soil and allow time (at least a year) for any that have been absorbed to grow out before using, but plants are good as sight barriers and for humidity - as will a cover with holes cut for the lamps. Have a look in the Enclosures thread for ideas.

Is your lamp a MVB which gives essential uvb too? Basking/spot lamps don't provide the uvb that torts need to absorb nutrients and avoid things like bone disorders. At the moment some short spells of supervised time in the sun in a safe enclosure -like a kiddies paddling pool or a large underbed storage tray - will provide enough but make sure it has a shady area and something on top to stop dogs, cats and large birds etc getting to them. For the winter you may need a che for night too use especially when it gets chilly here. I bought mine from the Range with a thermostat that turns it on and off as needed. Herrmanns do hibernate but it isn't recommended to let them the first year or so.

There is much more knowledge now about keeping torts than there used to be which is why this forum is so good because it has up to date information from people with years of experience and some who take part in research, but sometimes the older breeders are more reluctant to change or just don't know about the changes. Have you spoken to him yet or are you going to keep them in 2 different set ups?
 

Louise66

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2019
Messages
41
Location (City and/or State)
Milton Keynes uk
Hello
Thanks for all that. My light is an all in one in uva/uvb light is that okay? The plants are artificial for shade and interest. I know about the plants from garden centres I have planted plenty of seed trays from shelled warriors when getting food outside gets tough. Overall is my set up okay, size wise etc? I haven't spoken to the breeder today yet as was hoping my husband would be on board with separating them first. Initially he was annoyed that I listened to the forum as he said the breeder knows, but you guys all seem very experienced. If the breeder will take one back should o keep the one who always eats straight away or the one that hardly nibbles?
I am still worried about her as she doesn't seem to be interested still in food but has done a poo today so hoping she will eat soon. Also when is the best time to feed ? Once a day or twice and how much? One weighs 16g and the other 19g. ?
Sorry for so many questions.
Also your comment about putting a lid on , tortoise tables are all open topped arnt they ?
 

Kipley

Active Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2019
Messages
100
Location (City and/or State)
Seattle, WA
I've been reading Wolfgang Wegehaupt's book "Naturalistic Breeding and Keeping of Hermann's Tortoises.
He is a proponent of keeping Hermann's hatchlings in groups, he feels they need to bind with their conspecies and do this best in a community setting as found in nature. Once they are juveniles one can determine if they can live together or need separation.
But two rarely work. After reading his book I purchased 3 hatchlings and have them in a 2 ft x 3 ft tub for now (they are around 20 grams each). So far things appear to be ok. After their first year they will transition to an outdoor enclosure. These are supposed to be 3 females (the breeder incubates at different temps to increase the chances of selecting the desired gender) and ideally will live a happy live tolerating the presence of one another. However the reality is that I'm prepared to separate them into two or three enclosures if needed.
So I guess the point I'm trying to make is that your options are separating the pair, or possibly complicate it even more by adding a third tortoise to the mix, with the possibility that you will end up with 3 separate enclosures or return the second hatchling.
 

Lyn W

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
18,904
Location (City and/or State)
UK
I've been reading Wolfgang Wegehaupt's book "Naturalistic Breeding and Keeping of Hermann's Tortoises.
He is a proponent of keeping Hermann's hatchlings in groups, he feels they need to bind with their conspecies and do this best in a community setting as found in nature. Once they are juveniles one can determine if they can live together or need separation.
But two rarely work. After reading his book I purchased 3 hatchlings and have them in a 2 ft x 3 ft tub for now (they are around 20 grams each). So far things appear to be ok. After their first year they will transition to an outdoor enclosure. These are supposed to be 3 females (the breeder incubates at different temps to increase the chances of selecting the desired gender) and ideally will live a happy live tolerating the presence of one another. However the reality is that I'm prepared to separate them into two or three enclosures if needed.
So I guess the point I'm trying to make is that your options are separating the pair, or possibly complicate it even more by adding a third tortoise to the mix, with the possibility that you will end up with 3 separate enclosures or return the second hatchling.
The thing is the more torts you have the more space you need. If there is plenty of room for all them all to spread out and avoid each other it may work, but in the confined space of a tortoise table, I think there would still eventually be problems and you would end up with 3 enclosures. One member had 3 torts (can't remember the species) and recently came home to find that the head had been bitten off one of them - absolutely horrific and they had ignored the start of bullying behaviour. I will try to find the post but it contains some horrible pictures. I don't know what outdoor space the OP has but my guess is that in the UK it's not going to be as big as US yards/gardens.
 

Lyn W

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
18,904
Location (City and/or State)
UK
Hello
Thanks for all that. My light is an all in one in uva/uvb light is that okay? The plants are artificial for shade and interest. I know about the plants from garden centres I have planted plenty of seed trays from shelled warriors when getting food outside gets tough. Overall is my set up okay, size wise etc? I haven't spoken to the breeder today yet as was hoping my husband would be on board with separating them first. Initially he was annoyed that I listened to the forum as he said the breeder knows, but you guys all seem very experienced. If the breeder will take one back should o keep the one who always eats straight away or the one that hardly nibbles?
I am still worried about her as she doesn't seem to be interested still in food but has done a poo today so hoping she will eat soon. Also when is the best time to feed ? Once a day or twice and how much? One weighs 16g and the other 19g. ?
Sorry for so many questions.
Also your comment about putting a lid on , tortoise tables are all open topped arnt they ?
Yes you would think that breeders know best, and some do, but sadly some aren't prepared to accept that things have changed and stick to the out of date methods. He may have happy, healthy torts to sell but I am concerned that he hasn't advised you that pairs of torts rarely work and was prepared to sell you 2. The little one is going to have a pretty miserable life if he is stuck in a confined space with a bully and eventually the stress could make him ill or he could be physically hurt as aggression increases. Maybe try separating them when you feed them, perhaps then the little one may feel more confident and tuck in. I was told to think of the tortoise shell as an upturned bowl and feed that much but if they want more, give more.....let the tortoise be your guide. Soak them separately too.

Tortoise tables aren't the only option and many start their torts off in vivs or closed chambers these days to try to avoid shell pyramiding, the caresheet will advise you on the best for your species, Maybe @Tom or @Yvonnne can help you better with your set up as I have a large leopard with different care needs. Using the search facility will also help.

What make is your bulb or can you post a pic of the box off google? Some of the cheaper basking bulbs say they give uva and uvb but not the amount that torts need. If you are able to take them out in the sun for short spells at the moment that will be enough for now.

As for which you should keep I'm afraid that is your call, I personally would keep the smaller one to give it a good chance ( I always support the underdogs) but you want to make sure it is healthy and check that it will eat when on its own and that's its warm enough - they won't eat if too cold. Only you can decide which one is for you.
 
Last edited:

Louise66

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2019
Messages
41
Location (City and/or State)
Milton Keynes uk
Hi thanks for that information. My y uva/uvb is a mega ray , is that one okay ? I have been out and bought a much larger enclosure for them that if necessary I can separate them with a divider .
I contacted the breeder who evaded the subject of returning one and said he would swap the one that was causing the bother but I said I would see how this weekend went as he said he was away untill Monday and if things don't improve would return one. We are building an enclosure outside now and they will be out today later for a while and I have a cage top to ensure safety. I can't afford to buy two mega ray lights and shades and would love to keep both. If I divided and pit the light in the middle would that work . The new enclosure is 39 inches by 24 inches.
Thanks again
 

Lyn W

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
18,904
Location (City and/or State)
UK
Hi thanks for that information. My y uva/uvb is a mega ray , is that one okay ? I have been out and bought a much larger enclosure for them that if necessary I can separate them with a divider .
I contacted the breeder who evaded the subject of returning one and said he would swap the one that was causing the bother but I said I would see how this weekend went as he said he was away untill Monday and if things don't improve would return one. We are building an enclosure outside now and they will be out today later for a while and I have a cage top to ensure safety. I can't afford to buy two mega ray lights and shades and would love to keep both. If I divided and pit the light in the middle would that work . The new enclosure is 39 inches by 24 inches.
Thanks again
There is no point just swapping the tort - you'll still have the same problem eventually. If you can't return one then the cost of separating them is going to be cheaper than vets bills in the long run.
I think that young torts should only be out for supervised short spells daily - and make sure they have shade and water so they don't over heat.
I just looked up mega ray and its an mvb so that will be OK What do you use for night heat?
I don't know if sharing the light will work - I'm hoping someone with Hermanns will chip in and help you with your set up. It may be OK short term especially as they'll get some real sun. I think that enclosure is still a bit on the small side for 2 torts but see what other members say.
 
Last edited:

Mo & Bolt

Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2018
Messages
56
Location (City and/or State)
Uk
Hello read my story of mo & bolt . It tells you the sad story of two being kept together. Thankfully I got advice here and it saved my tortoise life .
Ps they will sleep together and look cosy , but it's false . Good luck , find one of them a new home
 
Top